Jews in St. Louis
The first documented Jewish settler in St. Louis was Joseph Philipson, a merchant who came to the city in 1807. The number of Jewish residents slowly increased over the next thirty years. These early families were German Jews.
When Eastern European Jews began immigrating to the United States in large numbers, from 1880 to 1920, many made their way to St. Louis. For the most part, these new immigrants created a Jewish “ghetto.” They lived in an area on the near north side of St. Louis, between Cass Avenue on the north and Delmar Boulevard on the south, spreading westward from the riverfront. As the population grew, they continued moving to the west, first to Jefferson Avenue, then to Grand Avenue. By the 1940s, as the city expanded westward, so did the Jewish population into the Central West End of the city and to University City and Clayton in St. Louis County.
St. Louis today is home to about 60,000 Jews. There are numerous Jewish congregations and cemeteries as well as a Holocaust museum, theater, charities, schools, and a nationally-known hospital.
For information on Jewish synagogues, funeral homes, and cemeteries, click here to go to the Jewish congregations page.
Jewish Resources in St. Louis
There are many resources available in St. Louis for doing Jewish research.
- The St. Louis County Library History and Genealogy department has a rich collection of Jewish books and periodicals. In addition, their Yizkor book collection is extensive.
- The St. Louis Public Library has a major collection of maps and gazetteers, which are extremely useful for pinpointing pre-World War II shtetls.
- The Missouri History Museum Library and Research Center has business records, Jewish newspapers, city directories, and other valuable information.
- The St. Louis Jewish Community Archives at the Saul Brodsky Library, on the campus of the Jewish Community Center in Creve Coeur, has an extensive collection of manuscripts, photos, newspapers, and business records.
St. Louis Jewish History Timeline
For a complete timeline of Jewish history in St. Louis, click here.
A list of many of the Jewish congregations may be found by clicking here.
Newspapers that contain information useful to Jewish research can be found by clicking here.
Government agencies also possess genealogical information. Contact information for St. Louis government agencies can be found by clicking here.
A number of local libraries also have resources to aid the Jewish researcher. Those libraries can be found by clicking here.
Information about the Jewish Genealogical Society of St. Louis (JGSs), which is no longer active, can be found by clicking here.
Back issues of Generations, the newsletter published by the former JGS of St. Louis, are available as PDF files by clicking here.
Bronson, Rosalind Mael. B’Nai Amoona For All Generations. St. Louis: Congregation of B’Nai Amoona, 1982.
Ehrlich, Walter. Zion in the Valley, The Jewish Community of St. Louis, Volume 1, 1807–1907. Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press, 1997.
Ehrlich, Walter. Zion in the Valley, The Jewish Community of St. Louis, Volume 2, The Twentieth Century. Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press, 2002.
Krasner-Khait, Barbara. Discovering Your Jewish Ancestors. Salt Lake City, Utah: Heritage Quest, 2001.
Kurzweil, Arthur. From Generation to Generation. New York: Harper/Collins, 1994.
Makovsky, Donald I. The Philipsons: the First Jewish Settlers in St. Louis, 1807–1858. St. Louis: Judaism Sesquicentennial Committee of St. Louis, 1958.
Mokotoff, Gary. Where Once We Walked: A Guide to the Jewish Communities Destroyed in the Holocaust. Bergenfield, New Jersey: Avotaynu, 2002.
Mokotoff, Gary, and Warren Blatt. Getting Started in Jewish Genealogy. Bergenfield, New Jersey: Avotaynu, Inc., 2015
Rosenkranz, Samuel. A Centennial History of Congregation Temple Israel, 1886–1986, 5647–5747. Creve Coeur, Missouri: Congregation Temple Israel, 1986.
Sack, Sallyann Amdur, and Gary Mokotoff. Avotaynu Guide to Jewish Genealogy. Bergenfield, New Jersey: Avotaynu, Inc., 2004.
St. Louis Jewish Light: Guide to Jewish Life, November 2002, p. 10–12.
Weiner, Miriam. Jewish Roots in Poland. Secaucus, New Jersey: Roots to Routes Foundation, 1997.
Weiner, Miriam. Jewish Roots in Ukraine and Moldova. Secaucus, New Jersey: Roots to Routes Foundation, 1999.
Young, David A. St. Louis Jewish Community Archives: Guide to Archival Collections. St. Louis: St. Louis Jewish Community Archives, 1995.
Last modified: 30-Jun-2016 19:54