Access and Provenance

Institutional Sketch

Scope and Content Note

Box and Folder Listing

A Finding Aid to the

American Conference of Cantors Records

Manuscript Collection No. 764

1951-2013 (bulk: 1981-2005) . 3.2 Linear ft.


The American Conference of Cantors Records were donated by the American Conference of Cantors of Chicago, Illinois on December 28, 2007.

The American Conference of Cantors, by the act of donating the American Conference of Cantors Records to the American Jewish Archives, assigned the property rights to the American Jewish Archives. All literary rights to material authored by the American Conference of Cantors is held by the Conference. All literary rights to material authored by individuals are retained by the individuals and their heirs. Questions concerning rights should be addressed to the Director of the American Jewish Archives. The collection is open to all users and available in the reading room of the American Jewish Archives.


Chartered in 1951, the American Conference of Cantors became an affiliate of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, now the Union for Reform Judaism, in 1968. The American Conference of Cantors represents the Cantorate in the Reform Movement throughout the world, with a membership of over 450 cantors.

Cantors have been a part of Jewish worship since ancient Israel. In the United States, cantors have played an important role in synagogue life since colonial times, when they were regarded as a “minister of the congregation.” During the first half of the twentieth century, many European- born cantors found their way to American shores. The most talented among them achieved a level of fame usually reserved for opera singers. Today, their vocal artistry is only one aspect of an expanding role in the synagogue.

Cantors serve as leaders of worship and officiants in life-cycle ceremonies such as weddings, funerals, and b’nai Mitzvah. In addition, they are frequently called upon to visit the sick and comfort the bereaved. Cantors also play in important part in reaching out to intermarried families. Lastly, they are responsible for developing and implementing multi-generational education programs.

Many of today’s cantors come to the cantorate as a second career. Their congregations reap the benefits of experience that frequently runs the gamut. Former engineers, molecular biologists, computer analysts, teachers, musicians and others now serve congregations from coast to coast. Their job is to find new modes of musical worship while, at the same time, acting as guardians of time-honored traditions..

In 1987, the ACC established its own affiliate organization, the Guild of Temple Musicians (GTM), which represents other synagogue musicians. Members of the GTM participate in the annual convention of the ACC and serve on the Commission on Synagogue Music.


The American Conference of Cantors Records contain board meeting minutes, membership directories, convention planning documents, records of convention activities, photographs, placement guides, various handbooks, and publicity materials. There is also a small amount of correspondence. The audiocassettes, CDs, and LP in Series E of ACC members and events have been cataloged separately in AJA’s online catalog. Convention notebooks include email correspondence about the conventions. The collection has been arranged into five series::

SERIES A.  Executive Board Meeting Minutes.  1992-1998.
SERIES B. Annual Conventions. 1993-2013.
SERIES C. Subject Files. 1981-2005.
SERIES D. Photographs.
SERIES E. Audiovisual. 1971, 1997-2004. SERIES A, consists of the Executive Board Meeting Minutes; committee reports are sometimes included.

SERIES B, Annual Conventions, thoroughly documents the 50th Anniversary Convention, held in 2003; the other conventions are documented to varying degrees. The most complete information about the ACC Annual Conventions can be found in the Convention notebooks, which are extant for the 2002-2005 Conventions.

SERIES C, Subject Files, includes the ACC’s constitution, by-laws, and code of ethics, as well as publicity, which is thoroghly covered. Folders in the series are arranged alphabetically.

SERIES D, Photographs, includes mainly images of Conventions; few photographs are labeled with IDs or dates.

SERIES E, Audiovisual, consists of an LP and a large number of audiocassettes and CDs, mostly having to do with ACC conventions. The LP is a recording of President Alfred Gottshcalk’s installation as President of HUC-JIR in 1971, and includes the original musical score.


Box	Folder	Contents

SERIES A.  Executive Board Meeting Minutes.  1992-1998.

1	1		Executive Board Meeting Minutes.  March 22-23, 1998.
	2		Executive Board Meeting Minutes.  November 23-24, 1997.
	3		Executive Board Meeting Minutes.  October 13-14, 1996.
	4		Executive Board Meeting Minutes.  June 23, 1996.
	5		Executive Board Meeting Minutes.  March 17-18, 1996.
	6		Executive Board Meeting Minutes.  October 23-23, 1995.
	7		Executive Board Meeting Minutes.  June 25, 1995.
	8		Presidential Speech.  1995.  Cantor Judith Rowland.
	9		Executive Board Meeting Minutes Summary.  March 26-27, 1995.
	10		Pre-convention and Post-convention Board Meeting Minutes.  1995.
	11		Executive Board Meeting Minutes.  December 11, 1994.
	12		Executive Board Meeting Minutes Summaries.  June 26-29, 1994.
	13		Executive Board Meeting Minutes.  May 23-24, 1993.
	14		Plenary Session.  Minutes.  1993.
	15		Various. 1992
	16		Membership Directories. 1995-2004.

SERIES B.  Annual Conventions.  1992-2013.

2	1		Convention.  1992.
	2		Convention.  1993.
	3		Convention.  1994.
	4		Convention.  1995.
	5		Convention.  1996.
	6		Convention.  1997.
	7		Convention.  2000.
	8		Convention.  2001.
	9		Convention.  50th Anniversary.  2003.
	10		Convention.  2004.
	11		Convention.  2005.
	12		Convention.  60th Anniversary. 2013.

3	1		Convention Notebook.  2002.
	2		50th Anniversary Notebook.  2003
	3		Convention Notebook.  2003.

4	1		Convention Notebook.  2004.
	2		Convention Notebook.  2005.					

SERIES C.  Subject Files.  1981-2005.

5	1		ACC Educational Endowment Fund.  1994-1996 Journals.
	2		ACC History.
	3		ACC Service of Installation.  2001.
	4		Applications for Associate Cantors.  1985-1986.
	5		Archives Committee.  Inc. individual photos of cantors.
	6		Articles/Programs.
	7		Associate Applicants.
	8		Cantor/Composer Biographies.
	9		The Cantor: A Calling for Today.  Film by Michael A. Shochet.  1994.
	10		Commemorative Ad Journal.  1997.
	11		Commemorative Ad Journal.  1999.
	12		Commemorative Ad Journal.  2002.
	13		Commemorative Ad Journal.  2004.

6	1		Constitution. By-Laws.  Code of Ethics.  
	2		Correspondence.  1994.
	3		Emerging Worship and Music Trends in UAHC
			Congregations.  1994.  Finding a Cantor for your Congregation.  N.d.
	4		Guidebooks, Handbooks, etc.
	5		Guild of Temple Musicians.  1994.
	6		Joint Cantorial Placement Commission.  1995.
	7		Koleinu newsletter.  1992, n.d.
	8		Koleinua B’Yachad: Our Voices As One.  1999.
	9		Nishmat Tzedek: A Righteous Soul.  Musical score and readings.  2003

7	1		Lists of Congregations and media in CT.  1994.
	2		Local News.  1990's.
	3		Mission to Israel.  2006.
	4		Music/Liturgy.  N.d.
	5		“The New Cantor.”  Reform Judaism.  Winter 2003.
	6		Newspaper Articles.  1990's.
	7		Press List - New York Publicity Guide.  1994, N.d.
	8		Press Release Reports and Correspondence.  1992-1994.
	9		Publicity.  1994.
	10		Publicity.  Floppy disks, N.d., 1994.
	11		Publicity and Correspondence.  1994.
	12		Publicity and Correspondence.  1993.
	13		Sacred Partnership: A Joint Project of the Reform Leadership Task Force on the Shortage of Jewish Professionals.  2000.
	14		Survey.  1985.
	15		Transcontinental Music Publications.  1994-95.			

	16		The Vocation of the Cantor.  An essay by Abraham Joshua Heschel. 
	17		Women Cantors, Articles about.  1980's-90's.

SERIES D.  Photographs.

8	1		Graduation Day, School of Sacred Music, New York.  June 1951.
	2		ACC Board.  1980's.
	3		Conventions.  ID, n.d.
	4		Conventions.  A few ID’s, n.d.
	5		Conventions.  No ID, n.d.
	6		Conventions.  No ID, n.d.
	7		Conventions.  No ID, n.d.
	8		Conventions.  No ID, n.d.
	9		Conventions.  No ID, n.d.
	10		Conventions.  No ID, n.d.
	11		Conventions.  No ID, n.d.
	12		Conventions.  No ID, n.d.

SERIES E.  Audiovisual.  1971, 1997-2004.

Long-playing 		Tefillah Limsirat Torah.  A Service on the
record				Receiving and Transmission of the Torah
				On the Occasion of the Inauguration of
				President Alfred Gottschalk.  Composed
				And Arranged by Cantor William Sharlin.
C-4502 - 4505		ACC/GTM Convention.  1999.
C-4514 - 4515		Cantor Merkel.  Acts One and Two.  Convention.  2003.
C-4516 - 4527		Convention.  June 23-27, 2002.
C-4528 - 4532.		Sparks of Light: Revealing the Secrets of Kabbalah.  1997.
CD-479			New Jewish Music Sampler.  2002.
CD-480 - 489		ACC/GTM Convention.  2004.
CD-490 - 499		Convention.  July 2-6, 2003.
CD-500			Nishmat Tzedek: A Righteous Soul.  1998.
CD-501 - 506		Convention.  July 2-6, 2003.

Copyright © 2008 Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives