ON SEEING the tide of this work some people may say: Why a book on American Jewish history? Those students who know the paucity of available collected sources may with justice add: How is it possible to write American Jewish history? Others, with a sardonic grin, will go one step farther and inquire: What is a "Jew"? What is American Jewish history? All these questions are justified.
In answer to the second query we can cheerfully declare that it is no more difficult today to write American Jewish history than it is to make bricks without clay. The clay, the sources, are still to be dug up. In this field there are no biographical or historical dictionaries, no atlases, no auxiliary works, few collected sources, no satisfactory union list of Jewish serials, no genealogical tables, not a single complete history of the American Jew that satisfies the canons of modern methodology and criticism. The basic tools with which every historian works are still missing.
We are not, however, entirely bereft of material for our
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Publication information: Book title: Early American Jewry. Volume: 1. Contributors: Jacob Radar Marcus - Author. Publisher: The Jewish Publication Society of America. Place of publication: Philadelphia. Publication year: 1951. Page number: vii.