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Cover of Hebraic Collections: An Illustrated Guide
Hebraic Collections: An Illustrated Guide

Hebraic Section

Special Collections in the Hebraic Section

Abraham H. Berman Haggadah Collection:
In 1976, Mr. Abraham H. Berman donated his collection of 600 haggadot to the Hebraic Section. The haggadah is the book of benedictions, prayers, commentaries, and psalms recited every year at the seder meal on the eve of Passover. Two-thirds of the Berman haggadot appear in the Library’s online catalog. The remainder of the collection is in the process of being cataloged. The Abraham H. Berman collection forms part of a larger group of Passover haggadot available at the Library of Congress. Click here, then click on the entry "Abraham H. Berman Haggadah Collection (Library of Congress)" to search for records.

Digitized Hebrew Manuscripts at the Library of Congress:
The Hebraic Section of the Library of Congress houses over 225 manuscripts in Hebrew and in cognate languages such as Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Persian, and Yiddish.  They date from the 11th to early 20th centuries and come from Jewish communities the world over. It is an eclectic collection with a wealth of materials on almost every aspect of Jewish life and culture. The digitization of these manuscripts is an ongoing project, and the Hebraic Section is pleased to offer the first 25 of the manuscripts here, together with comprehensive indices for the collection as a whole.

The Ephraim Deinard Collection:

In 1912 and 1914, Jacob H. Schiff, a New York financier and philanthropist purchased two Hebraic collections for the Library of Congress that had been assembled by book seller and bibliographer Ephraim Deinard. Two additional collections were acquired from Deinard in 1916 and 1921. Together, these four collections total some 20,000 volumes and include Hebrew manuscripts, incunabula, rare books, as well as the Library's most important Hebraic treasure -- an illuminated manuscript completed by Joel ben Simeon in 1478 called "The Washington Haggadah" because of its location in the Library of Congress. A facsimile edition of the Haggadah was published by the Library in 1993. A selection of titles from this collection is retrievable by searching the Library's online catalog under "Ephraim Deinard Collection.” Click here to search for records

Hebrew and Yiddish Artistís Books at the Library of Congress:
(PDF, 18MB)
The rich world of Artist’s Books is all too often the preserve of the few, but with this Finding Aid readers are invited to explore for themselves the Library’s superb collection of Artist’s Books in Hebrew and Yiddish. For purposes of this Finding Aid the books have been organized into three categories, and every title is accompanied by at least one image.  There are three indices to help readers navigate the collection, as well as an introductory essay.

Hebrew Incunabula at the Library of Congress: A Short-Title List: (PDF 1MB)
Amongst the crown jewels of the Hebraic Section at the African, Middle Eastern and Hebraic Division of the Library of Congress are its thirty-seven Hebrew books printed before the year 1501. These Hebrew “cradle-books” or incunabula, as they are more generally known, come from the presses of some of the best-known Hebrew printers of late fifteenth-century Europe and span the three major centers of Hebrew printing during the first crucial decades of its existence: Spain, Portugal, and Italy.

The Kirkor Minassian Cuneiform Tablet Collection:
In 1929, the Library acquired thirty-eight cuneiform tablets from collector and antiquarian dealer Kirkor Minassian. The collection includes twelve school exercise tablets; three votive and commemorative tablets; and twenty-two accounting tablets.

Ladino Books in the Library of Congress

This online version of the bibliography prepared by Henry V. Besso and published by the Hispanic Foundation of the Library of Congress in 1964, has been updated with approximately 200 additional titles recently identified in the collections of the Hebraic Section and in the general collections of the Library of Congress. In addition the guide contains links to the title pages of the cited resources in the vernacular script, standardized subject and name headings to facilitate searching for related resources in the Library of Congress catalog, and the Ya'ari number for those resources also cited in that seminal work on Ladino publications in the Jewish National and University Library (Jerusalem). In addition, location information for the resources, which are included in several collections in the Library of Congress, is also provided.

Passover Haggadot at the Library of Congress: A Guide to the Collections
The Passover Haggadah is one of the most frequently printed books in the Jewish tradition, yet the Library’s online catalogue does not always provide access to the many editions in its collections. For this reason,  the Hebraic Section has created a single portal guiding readers to the various haggadot scattered throughout the Library of Congress, manuscript and printed, catalogued and un-catalogued. Of special interest, perhaps, is the list of Artist’s-Edition Haggadot on this site, together with representative images from each book.

The Lawrence Marwick Collection of Copyrighted Yiddish Plays:
Unique to the Library of Congress are its holdings of more than one thousand original Yiddish plays--in manuscript or typescript--written between the end of the nineteenth and the middle of the twentieth century and submitted for copyright registration to the Library of Congress. Intended for the Yiddish American stage, these plays document the hopes, the fears, and the aspirations of several generations of immigrants to America. They were identified by Dr. Lawrence Marwick, head of the Hebraic Section from1949-1979 and are currently housed in the Hebraic Section. A finding aid to these plays is available for consultation in the African and Middle Eastern Reading Room. Seventy-seven of these plays have been digitized by the Library of Congress and are available for public access at: Yiddish Language Play Scripts from the Lawrence Marwick Collection

The Holocaust-Era Judaic Heritage Library:
Between 1949-1952, the Library of Congress received 5,708 books, pamphlets, periodicals, and newspaper issues from Jewish Cultural Reconstruction (JCR), a New York-based umbrella organization that served as a trusteeship for the Jewish people in the aftermath of the Holocaust. By agreement, JCR received these "heirless" and "unidentifiable" books from the United States Military Government in Germany, which had taken exhaustive steps to identify and restitute items seized by the Nazi regime to their original owners or to their countries of origin. JCR subsequently distributed almost 500,000 of these orphaned books to scholarly institutions in the United States, Israel, Europe, and Latin America. Items that the Library of Congress received from JCR bear a unique bookplate marking their special provenance. In addition -- through federal transfers that occurred before JCR began its distributions in 1949 -- the Library received approximately 150 Hebraic volumes bearing the stamps of antisemitic Nazi organizations that are also likely to have been seized by the Nazis from Jewish victims of the Holocaust. In recognition of the special provenance of these books, the Library of Congress has created a virtual library aggregating both collections in its online catalog under the "Holocaust-Era Judaic Heritage Library." The full bibliographic record for each work includes a provenance note indicating the specific acquisition source and accession date for each title. Click here to search for records

Yizkor Book Collection:
The Library of Congress holds more than 900 Yizkor books, or memorial volumes, that commemorate the Jewish communities of the cities, towns, and villages of Europe that were destroyed in the Holocaust. These books are primarily written in Hebrew and Yiddish and are cataloged under place name such as Poland or Russia. They are especially useful to individuals conducting genealogical research because they often include names of Holocaust victims, photographs of prominent community members, group photographs of organizations, and maps. In order to facilitate research, a Finding Aid organized by locality has been created and recently updated. Click Here to access the searchable Finding Aid. (PDF, 1MB)


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  May 12, 2021
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