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Online Collections: Digital Archives

Digital Collections at the Brooklyn College Archives

Two collections have digital content: A Life Apart and the Papers of the Reverend Dr. William Augustus Jones Jr.

A Life Apart

In 1997, filmmakers Oren Rudavsky and Menachem Daum released their landmark documentary, A Life Apart: Hasidism in America. The 90-minute film has been described as “audio-visual field notes” on the religious practices, cultural mores, communal organization, family life, inter-communal relations and the Americanization process of a distinctive immigrant community from 1936-1996.

The filmmakers donated their original footage and audio recordings to the Brooklyn College Archives in 2012.  The archive contains over 69 hours of footage not used in the documentary. Rudavsky and Daum collaborated with the Archives to secure a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission to digitize the unused material, because they strongly believe the content will be of interest and value to researchers and the general public alike.  The newly digitized film archive contains oral history interviews with members of the Hasidic community, scenes of community and family life, and interviews with scholars including Anne Braude, Yaffa Eliach, David Fishman, Samuel Heilman, Arthur Hertzberg, Martin Marty, and Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi.

The digitized material can be found here:

The finding aid for the collection can be found here:

Rev. Dr. William Augustus Jones, Jr.

The Rev. Dr. William Augustus Jones, Jr. was the pastor at Brooklyn’s Bethany Baptist Church for over forty years. He helped form the Progressive National Baptist Convention with Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as the National Black Pastor’s Conference. Jones was a renowned speaker, invited to preach at events around the world, and was a leader in the fight for social and economic justice for his community.

In the mid-1970s he was invited to share his weekly sermons with a wider audience, initially on radio, and later on television. The Bethany Hour broadcasts ran for over twenty years.  When the Brooklyn College Archives acquired Rev. Jones’ papers from his family in 2007, among the records were several hundred audio and video recordings of The Bethany Hour.


Thanks to funding from a Council on Library and Information Resources grant, all recordings have been digitized, and can be found here:  


Although the grant project has ended, archives and library staff continue to work on creating transcripts for each recording, which will be linked to the related broadcast, as seen in this example:



The guide to the Papers of Reverend Dr. William Augustus Jones, Jr. may be found here: