Media Resource

Jewish American Keywords for Chronicling America

Man reading newspaper in Fountain Square, Cincinnati, Ohio
Photo caption

LC-USF33-T01-001218-M1 (b&w film dup. neg.) LC-DIG-fsa-8a03582 (digital file from original neg.), Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, DC 20540 USA. 

This resource is part of EDSITEment’s Race and Ethnicity Keyword Thesaurus for Chronicling America. Here you will find historically accurate keywords that may help in using the Chronicling America historic newspaper database to research topics in Jewish American history.  

We also offer a comprehensive introduction to working with historic newspapers in our teacher’s guide Chronicling America: History’s First Draft

Hebrew

Related Terms: Semite, Jew, Israelite 

Definitions: Biblically, this term is used to denote a person belonging to groups descended from Abraham, Jacob, and Isaac. This term is also attached or pertains to a Jewish person. 

Contextual Considerations, or "How this Term was Used": Throughout the beginning of the twentieth century, the word “Jew” had a negative and sometimes offensive association due to prejudice shown toward recent immigrants in the U.S. As a result, the word “Hebrew” was considered less offensive and used more frequently. 

Examples from Chronicling America: 

The Jewish monitor (Fort Worth-Dallas, Tex.), 04 Feb. 1921. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

"Hcbrew" in newspaper

Detroit Evening Times (Detroit, Mich), 26 Nov. 1942. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

Hebrew used in Newspaper

OCR Considerations, or "How the Computer Sees it": 

"Hebrow" in Fort Worth Daily Gazette (Fort Worth, Tex.), 16 July 1885. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

"Hebrow" in newspaper
"Hebrow" in newspaper OCR text

"Hcbrew" in New-York Tribune (New York [N.Y.]), 10 April 1898. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

"Hcbrew" in newspaper
"Hcbrew" in newspaper OCR text
Israelite

 Related Terms: Hebrew, Jew, Semite 

Definitions: This term denotes the people of Israel, but it can also refer to one of the Hebrew people or a Jewish person.

Contextual Considerations, or "How this Term was Used": In the nineteenth century, the term “Jewish” became increasingly secularized, and some sought to avoid using the word by replacing it with “Israelite.” But, this term should not be confused with the modern term “Israeli,” which refers to a person from or living in Israel. 

Examples from Chronicling America: 

The Sweetwater Enterprise (Sweetwater, Tenn.), 27 Jan. 1870. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

"Israelite" in newspaper

The Colored American (Washington, D.C.), 07 Nov. 1903. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

"Israelite" used in Headline

OCR Considerations, or "How the Computer Sees it": 

"Israellte" in The Cairo Bulletin (Cairo, Ill.), 25 Dec. 1911. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

"Israellte" in Newspaper
"Israellte" in Newspaper Text

"Israelito" in The Jasper News (Jasper, Missouri), 27 May 1915. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

"Israelito" in Newspaper
"Israelito" in Newspaper text
Semite

Related Terms: Hebrew, Jew, Israelite

Definition: In the Bible, this term refers to peoples mentioned in Genesis as descended from Shem, one of Noah’s sons, and it is traditionally interpreted as including the Hebrews, Assyrians, Arabs, and Aramaeans. It can also mean any persons who speak or spoke a Semitic language.

Contextual Considerations, or "How this Term Was Used": By the end of the nineteenth century, Jews often bore the brunt of anti-immigration racism, and this term was used to refer to, euphemistically or derogatorily, a Jewish person.

Examples from Chronicling America: 

The Jewish Herald (Houston, Tex.), 17 June 1909. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

"Semite" in Newspaper

The Twin City Star (Minneapolis, Minn.), 27 March 1915. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

"Semite" in Newspaper

OCR Considerations, or "How the Computer Sees it": 

"Scmite" in The Bolivar Bulletin (Bolivar, Tenn.), 04 Nov. 1898. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress.

"scmite" in Newspaper
"Scmite" in Newspaper Text

 

"Semitc" in The Sun [volume] (New York [N.Y.]), 30 Jan. 1904. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. 

"Semitc" in Newspaper
"Semitc" in Newspaper Text