After nine years as Director of the Bloom Southwest Jewish Archives, Abraham Chanin retired from the University in July. This transition marks the end of a remarkable era for the Archives, since Abe was the founding Director. His energy and dedication -- and that of his wife, Mildred -- brought the Archives to its present flourishing state. Without his foresight into the importance of saving crucial records concerning Southwest Jewish family histories, businesses, and affairs, we would not now have collected together the rich trove of materials available to students, scholars, and the community at large who wish to investigate the role Jewish families played in the opening of the Southwest. All of us are grateful to Abe and Mildred for their dedication to this project, and their role in shepherding the earliest glimmer of this idea to maturity. Abe's and Mildred's commitment to the success of the Archives continues, and they are assured that the Archives will continue to thrive, even though their hands at the helm will be sorely missed.
This fall the Archives are under the capable direction of Ms. Melissa Amado, who is serving as Acting Director. A member of a distinguished Tucson Hispanic family with converso roots, Ms. Amado received a master's degree in Sociology in 1991, and is completing a second master's degree in Anthropology, conducting research on converso families primarily in the Southwest. She has previously worked for several years in the Archives, and in her new capacity is exploring additional directions into which the Archives can expand its activities. Some of these new activities include acquisition of transcripts of seventy-five taped interviews from the Jewish Historical Society of Southern Arizona to expand the oral histories collections for Arizona. In addition Ms. Amado is working with the University of Arizona Main Library to integrate catalogues of holdings of the Bloom Archives with catalogues of holdings in the University Main Library. Portions of the Archival collections are being made available, not just to scholars working in Tucson, but to scholars working world-wide, via the Internet. We are planning to link the Archives more effectively with the Main Library and enhance the Archives' activities through access to the Library's expertise in the building, maintenance, and publication of special archival collections. When a new director for the Judaic Studies Program at the University is appointed next July, he or she will be charged with identifying a permanent director for the Archives.
The Bloom Southwest Jewish Archives faces an exciting future. This future would not have been possible without Abe and Mildred Chanin's original idea to establish this historical collection, and the generosity of the donors who have supported their work. I am grateful to the Chanins for the idea, and for all their efforts in developing it so successfully over the past nine years. Students, scholars of Judaica, and members of the Tucson community join me in wishing Abe and Mildred well in Abe's retirement, and in the hope that they will remain in touch with the Archives and continue to contribute to its growth.Sincerely,
Holly M. Smith, Dean, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences