Gained in Translation: Jews, Germany, California circa 1849 (2011)
With the establishment of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at UC Berkeley in July 2010, unique materials documenting the Jewish experience in Northern California were gifted to The Bancroft Library by the former Judah L. Magnes Museum.

The Magnes archives of Western Jewish Americana have served as an important source for several foundational studies of Jewish history in California. Researchers often relied on the combination of Magnes and Bancroft collections in their work. Now, the physically integrated collections of both institutions bring unparalleled resources under one roof, making them even more accessible for teaching and research.

The inaugural exhibition Gained in Translation: Jews, Germany, California circa 1849 draws on art, artifacts, books, and archival materials from The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, The Bancroft Library, and the Levi Strauss & Co. Archives. The resulting synergy stretches the boundaries of California history, connecting German Jewish history before 1849 to the establishment of the Jewish community in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Alla Efimova, Jacques and Esther Reutlinger Director
Francesco Spagnolo, Curator of Collections


The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life is supported by Koret Foundation, Taube Foundation, Hellman Family Foundation, Magnes Museum Foundation, Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties, Jim Joseph Foundation, Lisa and Doug Goldman Fund, Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, and Walter and Elise Haas Fund, and Lumina Foundation.

This exhibition is made possible, in part, by the generous support of the founding Friends of the Magnes: Barry and Debbie Cohn, Frances Dinkelspiel, Rosalie Eisen, Robert D. Haas, Adele Hayutin, Dana Shapiro, Janet Traub, Marjorie and Barry Traub, and Chen C. Wang.


Production Team
Alla Efimova & Francesco Spagnolo, Curators
Lara Michels, PhD, Archivist
Julie Franklin, Exhibitions Coordinator
Eva Gurevich, Collections Intern
Gordon Chun, Installation Designer
74 photos · 3,084 views