Collection ID: C407
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Collection context


Robert A. and Sandra S. Borns Jewish Studies Program (Indiana University, Bloomington)
The Robert. A. and Sandra S. Borns Jewish Studies Program was established on the Bloomington campus in 1972 with the aid of a Lilly Endowment. It is now one of the largest and oldest programs supporting the interdisciplinary study of the Jewish people and civilization. The collection consists of the program's administrative and subject files documenting the creation and growth of the program and includes correspondence, reports, newsletters, videos, and photographic material.
13 cubic feet
Materials are in English
Preferred citation:

[Item], Borns Jewish Studies Program records, Collection C407, Indiana University Archives, Bloomington.


Biographical / Historical:

In 1972, the Indiana University Jewish Studies program began with a single Jewish literature class taught by English professor Alvin H. Rosenfeld to indulge his own academic interests and the growing interest of the student body. During the 1972-1973 academic year, the program saw its official beginnings, with help from a grant from the Lilly Endowment, and in 1992 the program was renamed the Robert A. and Sandra S. Borns Jewish Studies program. Today the program, is known as one of the country's leading centers on Jewish research with an interdisciplinary program including faculty in anthropology, history, literature, linguistics, philosophy, political science, religious studies, and others.

Expanding form meager beginnings, in 1976 the program began offering a certificate in Jewish Studies and in 1992 a Bachelor of Arts degree. Today the program offers a Master of Arts in Jewish Studies and a PhD minor. Each year the program hosts numerous distinguished lectures, film screenings, Hebrew conversation hours, and social gatherings often in coordination with the Helene G. Simon Hillel Center on the Bloomington campus.

Scope and Content:

The Borns Jewish Studies Program records span the period from the Program's beginning in 1972 through 2010. The collection is organized into five series: Administrative files, Correspondence, Publications, Subject files, and Multimedia.

The Administrative files series (1974-2007) includes materials relating to the faculty and staff of the Jewish Studies program such as information about committees, events, and research. Other files relate to the program in general, such as the bachelor's degree and certificate requirements, lectures, files on Tal Bet Shemesh (a summer archaeological program in Israel), and the Piser essay prize.

The Correspondence series (1975-2008) includes interdepartmental communication and emails from the program faculty and administrators to all students in the program regarding upcoming events and opportunities.

The Publications series includes both newsletters and newsletter preparation materials from 1983-2010.

The Subject files series is arranged alphabetically by folder title and includes materials on Judaism and Jewish Studies, Israel, and Indiana University. It ranges from 1972-2000. Some topics of interest include the Indiana Sukkot Project and the Jewish Book Council.

The Multimedia series contains videocassette recordings of the Jewish Studies Program's sponsored lectures. Included in this series recordings from the Portrait of a People Series and Connections: The Jewish Experience in History, Thought, and Music Series. Dates range from 1978-1984.

Acquisition information:
Accession Information: 2010/077, 2011/030, 2011/011
Custodial history:

Transferred from the Indiana University Jewish Studies Program to the University Archives, Aug. 2010.

Processing information:

Processed by Amanda D. Hunt.


Collection is organized into five series: Administrative files, Correspondence, Publications, Subject files, and Multimedia.



Select files are closed to researchers. These are indicated in the finding aid. Advance notice required for access.


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[Item], Borns Jewish Studies Program records, Collection C407, Indiana University Archives, Bloomington.

Indiana University Bloomington
Herman B Wells Library E460
1320 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405-7000, United States
Indiana University Bloomington