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Updated 10:00 AM April 4, 2005
 

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'Portrait of a People' develops Jewish life


Constance Harris' many years of travel to locations throughout the world have resulted in a collection of items of Jewish interest. Highlights from her collection of Jewish art, books and the materials of everyday life spanning centuries will be on display April 10-Aug. 19 at the Special Collections Library.

An image from the exhibit, 'Portrait of a People: The Jewish Heritage Collection Dedicated to Mark and Dave Harris.' The exhibit, which opens April 19 in the Special Collections Library on the seventh floor of the Hatcher Library, features items donated by Constance Harris, in the name of her grandchildren. (Photo courtesy Special Collections Library)

The exhibit "Portrait of a People: The Jewish Heritage Collection Dedicated to Mark and Dave Harris" was drawn from items donated by Harris to the library and the Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies for use by students, faculty and other scholars.

"In dedicating the collection to my grandchildren, my great hope is not only to sustain their Jewish heritage, but to sustain it from generation to generation," Harris says.

A native of New York City and long-time resident of the Los Angeles area, Harris became active in the Jewish Federation Council of Los Angeles. There she became instrumental in forming the Women's Interfaith Committee, a group whose mission is to encourage people to put a face on religions outside their own and to come to understand each other's religious experiences.

Her interest and study of art led to independent study and courses at UCLA. Her study and research culminated in writing "Portraiture in Prints." But it was her travels and the opportunity to seek out items of Jewish interest wherever she went that proved the inspiration for her second book, "The Way Jews Lived"—a commentary on Jewish life as seen through illustrations.

The Special Collections Library is on the seventh floor of the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library. The exhibit is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-noon Saturdays.

For information about the library or the Harris collection, call (734) 764-9377 or e-mail special.collections@umich.edu.

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