In addition to a robust Lunch & Learn series co-sponsored by the Silver City Museum and WILL each semester, WILL offers many courses on local history. This fall, Julia Robinson presented a class called, “Early Jewish Settlers and Those Who Stayed.”
After the discovery of silver in the 1870s, miners, and settlers flocked to this area. Some of these early settlers were Ashkenazi Jewish men who established the first saloons and general stores, owned the first banks, and started families.
Several booms and busts followed, with small waves of Jewish settlers. Julia’s quest was to uncover who these settlers were, who they married and how they survived without the benefit of a synagogue. What marks did they leave on Silver City?
With immense curiosity but no previous knowledge of her subject, she first scoured the newspaper database at the Silver City Public Library. Seeking more information, she turned to the Silver City Museum. There, in the bookstore, she found several books, Built To Last and Stories From Our Streets, that aided her research. However, her most useful resource was Ashley Smith, registrar and collections manager, who provided many old photos, which added visual interest to the presentation.
In addition to her presentation to WILL members, Julia will be presenting at the New Mexico History Conference in Silver City, which begins March 30, 2023. After this presentation, her notes will be available at the museum.
This community collaboration is a hallmark of the Silver City Museum and WILL. Please check out WILL’s courses at www.will.community.