The archive was founded as a reaction to Hurricane Harvey in 2017, out of the urgent need to rescue documents and other priceless historical materials related to Jewish life in Houston that were endangered by the flood. Over time, this project developed into a much broader effort: an endeavor to safeguard the legacy of Jews in South Texas and to make the archival records available to the public for research, learning, and enjoyment. The mission of the Houston Jewish History Archive is to collect, preserve, and make accessible the documents, photographs, artifacts, and memories that tell the story of Jewish life in Greater Houston and South Texas. 

The Houston Jewish History Archive is a collaborative effort between Rice University's Program in Jewish Studies and the Woodson Research Center (WRC) in the Fondren Library, where the archive is housed.