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Sophie Edelhart (they/she) is an organizer, scholar, and book artist from San Francisco, California. They hold a B.A. in History with a Concentration in Gender, Sex, and Family from Barnard College (2019) and an M.A. in Yiddish from University of Toronto (2021). They are currently pursuing their PhD in Yiddish in the Germanic Languages and Literature Department with a collaborative specialization in Book History and Print Culture at University of Toronto. Their research focuses on material culture, memory studies, space studies, and community-engaged archiving, especially looking at memory maps from 20th century yizkor bikher.

In addition to their research, they are also an avid bookbinder and letterpress operator, having completed a letterpress apprenticeship and fellowship under Kit MacNeil at the Massey College Bibliography Room in April 2023. Their print work focuses on Jewish book forms and Yiddish type and typography. Their first artist book, Chad Gadya was acquired by the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library in 2023. They are currently working on a series of work made from the genizah from their childhood synagogue.

Outside of school, they have worked as a tour guide, archivist, translator and librarian. They are also a singer, currently studying Yiddish folk song under the tutelage of Ethel Raim and Macedonian and Bulgarian singing with Brenna MacCrimmon. They are based between Brooklyn, NY and Toronto, ON.


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PhD, Yiddish, Germanic Languages and Literature, Collaborative Specialization in Book History and Print Culture

University of Toronto


Master of Arts, Yiddish, Germanic Languages and Literature

University of Toronto


Bachelor of Arts, History, Concentration in Gender, Sex, and Family, cum laude

Barnard College

Awards & Fellowships

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Awards & Fellowships

May 2022

Greta Golick Award

Bibliographical Society of Canada

Award received for research on Yizkor book memory maps presented at the 2022 Bibliographical Society of Canada Conference.


Helix Fellowship


The Helix Fellowship brings together a cohort of artists, scholars, and organizers to participate in seminars related to Yiddish and Jewish culture, nostalgia, and cultural memory as well as a capstone trip to Eastern Europe to engage with Yiddish in the places where it was spoken.

December 2020

Barbara Wertheimer Prize for Undergraduate Labor History

New York Labor History Association

My research explored the conditions leading up to the successful unionization effort amongst dancers at the Lusty Lady Theater in San Francisco in the 1990s and provides historical perspective on how San Francisco’s progressive political class, strong history of sex worker feminism, and expanding service sector and changing labor movement provided the perfect staging ground for the Lusty Lady dancers to unionize.


Drawing from primary sources from the Lusty Lady archive at San Francisco State University and oral histories with labor and sex work organizers, I conclude that this convergence of factors made the Lusty Lady union possible. Despite attempts to expand the movement to other clubs in San Francisco and other cities in the United States, the Lusty Lady to date remains the only sex work business to achieve a union contract. The campaign represented a new era not only for sex workers but for the feminist movement, the labor movement, and for San Francisco itself, and it continues to inspire and influence sex worker organizing to this day.


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Publications & Conference Presentations

June 2023

"Toronto Jews! Listen and Be Astonished!"

The Halcyon

Article for the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library's newsletter about their recent purchase of a collection of Yiddish language broadsides from Toronto's Jewish community in the 1930s.

December 2023

Seeking Cosmopolitan Yiddish Culture in the Pages of Milgroym

The Halcyon

Article for the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library's newsletter about their acquisition of inter-war Yiddish journal Milgroym, which was revolutionary in the history of Jewish art and publishing in Europe.

May 2022

Imaginary Lines: Affect and Memory in Yizkor Book Maps

Bibliographical Society of Canada/La Société bibliographique du Canada

Paper presentation on hand drawn yizkor book maps, memory, and preservation presented at The Bibliographical Society of Canada/La Société bibliographique du Canada Annual Conference.

March 2022

The Shtetl Imagined: Maps and Memory in 20th Century Yizkor Bikher

University of Toronto

Paper presentation on hand drawn yizkor book maps and memory studies presented at the Book History and Print Culture Student Colloquium at University of Toronto. 

February 2022

The Beauty of Strangers: Considering Itzik Manger's Felker Zingen

Harvard University

Paper presentation on Itzik Manger's international folk song collection Felker Zingen (1936)  presented at Farbindungen: A Graduate Conference on Yiddish Networks at Harvard University.

June 2021

Refracted Imaginations in a Seemingly Silent Medium

Co-written blog post about silence, family photography, and the ritual of Shabbat for the Visual Stories Blog for The Family Camera Network.

Print and Book

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Print and Book Work

June 2023

Chad Gadya/חד גדיא
Acquired by the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library

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