The Columbus Jewish Historical Society is the repository for a collection of roughly 500,000 negatives representing decades of work from photographer Herb Topy. Topy operated a commercial photography and photo processing business in Columbus from the late 1940s through the late 1970s. The business continued to be operated by by his sons Joel and Sheldon until 2004. Herb Topy was the leading photographer of Jewish events, organizations and businesses in Columbus during the postwar period. His photographs are a chronicle of Jewish life in Central Ohio during the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Thanks to funding from the Columbus Jewish Foundation, the Columbus Jewish Historical Society has been able to preserve a portion of the Topy Collection in digital form.

Herb Topy was born Herbert Lawrence Topolosky on April 7, 1918, in Columbus. While attending Ohio State University (from which he graduated with a degree in psychology), Topy took photos for the college yearbook, The Makio.

During World War II, he worked as a draftsman at the Curtiss-Wright aircraft factory in Columbus. After the war, Topy worked at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources until he was able to become established as a commercial photographer. Topy Photo had stores at several locations in Columbus. At one point in the 1980s, there were three Topy Photo stores in the Downtown area, with a fourth store on East Main Street just east of Bexley. By 1993, only the Bexley-area store remained, which closed in 2004. Herb Topy also took photographs for the Ohio Jewish Chronicle. High resolution copies from the Topy Image Collection may be purchased by contacting CJHS at or calling 614.238.6977.