Raphael Lemkin Archives at the American Jewish Historical Society

Archivist, American Jewish Historical Society

Tanya Elder is the archivist at the American Jewish Historical Society.  She received a B.F.A. in Experimental Theatre (New York University, TSOA, 1987), an M.L.S. in Library Science (Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, 1993), and an M.A. in History and Archival Management (New York University, 1998). 

Ms. Elder worked as a children's librarian at the Free Library of Philadelphia and the Queens Borough Public Library from 1993-1996. She worked as an archives assistant at the NYU University Archives, and was a project archivist at the Brooklyn Historical Society, the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives (Records of the New York City Council, 1898-1998), the Stephen Wise Synagogue and held archival internships at the Louis Armstrong Archives at Queens College and the Schubert Theater Archives in Manhattan. At the Riverside Church in the City of New York, she helped with archival endeavors to publish a historical record of Riverside’s spiritual, social, and political activity. She has worked on independent projects for experimental theater director/agent Mark Amitin and the Newport Jazz Festival and was a researcher for the ABC/Disney production of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? As an NHPRC archivist at the Center for Jewish History in New York, she processed and organized collections and created Encoded Archival Description records for the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS). While working in conjunction with the AJHS, she had the opportunity to re-process the Papers of Raphael Lemkin (1900-1959), a lawyer who coined the word ‘genocide’ and formulated the 1949 United Nations Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. This opportunity led to her writing an article entitled, "’What you see before your eyes’: documenting Raphael Lemkin's life by exploring his archival Papers, 1900–1959," published in the December 2005 edition of the Journal of Genocide Research. In addition to her archives and library work, she has performed in several plays and has written several one-woman shows.