The combined collections of the Center's research institutions – the American Jewish Historical Society (AJHS), the Leo Baeck Institute (LBI) and the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research (YIVO) – constitute a repository of more than 500,000 volumes and over 100 million archival documents that together constitute the largest repository of the modern Jewish experience outside of Israel. Alongside these research collections, the Yeshiva University Museum (YUM) holds nearly 20,000 museum objects, exhibiting a full spectrum of artistic, religious and cultural expression; and the American Sephardi Federation (ASF) is pioneering the documentation and study of the history and culture of Middle Eastern origins.
The partner collections range from the renaissance era in Europe to pre-colonial times in the Americas, to present-day materials from across the globe. As an example, the arrival of Jews from Recife, Brazil to the United States in 1654 spawned New York's oldest synagogue, Congregation Shearith Israel, whose papers rest within the American Jewish Historical Society and American Sephardi Federation collections. Leo Baeck Institute houses a 16th Century renaissance book collection in which arguments defend the importance of Jewish ideas and texts in a Christian world. Yeshiva University Museum holds the original letter written by Thomas Jefferson to this Congregation, in denunciation of anti-Semitism.
The Center provides access to a comprehensive literary collection, including many first editions of the seminal works of such authors as Franz Kafka, Theodor Herzl, and Else Lasker-Schuler; as well as the personal collections of such figures as Moses Mendelssohn, Karl Marx, Heinrich Heine, Sigmund Freud, and Albert Einstein. Researchers also have access to the first Hebrew books and Jewish prayer books published in the United States; and the personal papers of prominent public figures from 18th and 19th century America such as: Haym Salomon, financier of the American Revolution; Uriah P. Levy, the nation's first Jewish Commodore and savior of Thomas Jefferson’s home in Monticello; Moses Michael Hays, founder of the Bank of Boston; Adolphus S. Solomons, co-founder with Clara Barton of the American Red Cross; and Emma Lazarus, poet laureate of America’s immigrants, whose collections include "The New Colossus," the handwritten original of her 1883 poem that is inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.
Archival records of Sephardic communities and organizations. (Sephardic is used in an inclusive sense throughout.)
Yeshiva University Museum's diverse collection of more than 8,000 artifacts reflects an interdisciplinary approach, and includes fine and folk art, ethnographic and archaeological artifacts, clothing and textiles, Jewish ceremonial objects, documents, books and manuscripts. The collection's breadth and diversity reflects over 2,000 years of the aesthetics and sensibilities of Jews living throughout the world and co-existing in multicultural societies.