Jewish Life in the American West

The impact of Jews on the West

The history of Jews in America is traditionally a history of Jews in New York. Yet many Jews bypassed the Lower East Side completely—coming to America through San Francisco or the port of Galveston, Texas—and forged communities and identities as ranchers, miners, merchants, and cowboys. One even became chief of an Indian tribe.

First published in conjunction with an exhibition at the Autry Museum of Western Heritage in Los Angeles, Jewish Life in the American West includes a compelling selection of photographs and other illustrations. The art and essays together yield a volume that explores not only the impact of Jews on the West, but the West’s impact on American Jews.

Published in collaboration with the Autry Museum of Western Heritage


"An intriguing and illuminating glimpse of an overlooked chapter in the history of the American frontier. The role of Jewish movie moguls...for example, is deeply familiar, but the real-life saga of Jewish cowboys and collective farmers is considerably fresher."

—Jonathan Kirsch, Los Angeles Times


"This beautifully illustrated book provides new perspectives on life in the West from the 1840s to the 1920s, as well as on the Jewish experience in America."

—David B. Levy, Library Journal


About the Editor

Ava F. Kahn is a visiting scholar at the California Studies Center at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Jewish Voices of the California Gold Rush: A Documentary History, 1849—1880 and co-editor of California Jews, and she was a consulting historian for the exhibit on which this book was based. Other contributors to Jewish Life in the American West are Hasia R. Diner, William Toll, Ellen Eisenberg, and Moses Rischin.