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Judaica and Hebraica Collections

The Collections




Manuscript & archival collections in the Stanford University Libraries

Overview: Scope of the Collections

The Judaica and Hebraica Collections in the Stanford University Libraries support research and instruction in all aspects of Jewish Studies:  history; literature; linguistics; cultural studies; contemporary social, political and cultural developments in the United States, Israel and throughout the world.

Hebraica refers to materials in the Hebrew alphabet (in the Hebrew, Yiddish or Ladino languages, for example), while Judaica encompasses materials on Jews and Judaism, written in other languages. The Judaica and Hebraica collections at Stanford include particularly extensive coverage of the following areas:

  • Hebrew and Yiddish literature,
  • Hebrew language and linguistics,
  • Jewish cultural, economic, political, social, religious history and material culture.

Chronological Periods:

Ancient and Medieval: Core resources in all relevant fields: Biblical, Rabbinic, and medieval treatises, commentaries, and exegesis.

Eighteenth- to twentieth-century collections focus on religious, social, economic, and cultural aspects of Jewish life; political and social emancipation of Jews in Western and Eastern Europe; and the emergence of Zionism and the founding of the State of Israel.

Judaica and Hebraica home page

Background on the Collections

The Taube-Baron Collection of Jewish History and Culture

Cover of the exhibition catalogue, Of Many Generations: Judaica and Hebraica from the Taube / Baron Collection, prepared by David L. Langenberg (Stanford University Libraries, 1989).
Image is from: Antoine Calmet. Dictionnaire historique, critique, la Bible (Paris: 1730).

The first large collection acquired by the Stanford University Libraries to support the Jewish Studies Program was that of Professor Salo Wittmayer Baron (1895-1989), purchased in December 1985. Prof. Baron, of Columbia University, held the first Jewish History chair established in the United States (1930-1963). His 20,000-volume collection includes Hebrew editions of the Bible dating from the 15th century, rare volumes of Jewish literature and history from Eastern Europe and around the world, works on Jewish Americana, Jewish anthropology and sociology, and thousands of pamphlets and journals. It also includes Baron's own publications and the personal research files that he used to write his 18-volume Social and Religious History of the Jews.

The Baron collection was acquired with the generous support of the Jewish Community Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, the Peninsula, and Marin and Sonoma Counties, and the family of Tad Taube. In recognition of Mr. Taube's appreciation of the need for a major collection of Judaica and Hebraica at Stanford University, the collection has been designated the Taube-Baron Collection of Jewish History and Culture.

(Adapted from Nancy Henry, "University purchases Baron books," Stanford Daily, February, 18, 1986.)

The Samson / Copenhagen Judaica Collection

The first printed bibliography of Hebraica, in Hebrew, by a Jewish author: Sifte yeshenim, by Shabbetai Meshorer Bass (Amsterdam: David Tartas, 1680).
(From the Samson / Copenhagen Judaica Collection, Stanford University Libraries, Department of Special Collections.)

As described in the Stanford Report, this collection includes close to 2,000 works printed in over 115 locations from 1517 to 1939. These books cover a wide range of topics, including Bible and Talmud texts and commentaries, Jewish law and ritual, Jewish liturgy, rabbinical responsa, treatises on Jewish law (halakhah), scientific works in Hebrew, kabbalah, apologetics, bibliography, the sciences, ephemeral publications relating to the Jewish communities of Denmark and other Northern European countries, and even poetry. About half of the books were printed before 1800 in places as far flung as Amsterdam and Calcutta. Enhancing their value for research, many of the volumes contain handwritten, marginal notations by rabbis and other scholars. The collection also contains a small number of manuscripts documenting religious life in Denmark's small but influential Jewish community.

The books in the Samson Collection belonged to the Jewish Community of Copenhagen, Denmark, until the early 1980s, when they were purchased by Herman R. Samson, a native of Copenhagen. Their acquisition by Stanford in 2003 was made possible by a lead grant from the Koret Foundation, with funding assistance from the Jewish Community Endowment Fund and private donors.

The Eliasaf Robinson Collection on Tel Aviv (1909-1948)

Street pavers, Tel Aviv, 1930s.
(From the Eliasaf Robinson Collection on Tel Aviv,
Stanford University Libraries, Department of Special Collections.)

Over a period of close to 40 years Eliasaf Robinson, one of the most prominent antiquarian booksellers in Israel, collected books, pamphlets, journals, documents, photographs, posters, maps, architectural plans, and ephemera relating to the early history of the "First Hebrew City," Tel Aviv. Taken as a whole, these materials provide invaluable documentation on the political, economic, and cultural development of the Israeli metropolis during its formative decades. The collection includes several Ottoman land deeds (kushans) for lots purchased in 1909 by the first Jewish settlers, who built Tel Aviv as a new Jewish suburb outside of the Arab city of Jaffa.

Major portions of the Eliasaf Robinson Collection on Tel Aviv have been digitized.

Stanford acquired this collection at the end of 2005, with support from Koret Foundation Funds and the Jewish Community Endowment Fund.

(Based on the article "Library acquires Tel Aviv Collection," in the Stanford Report, March 17, 2006 .)

Other major collections:

The collection of the Israeli publisher and editor Israel Cohen (1905-1986) contains over 12,000 volumes of monographs and periodicals, mostly in Hebrew. The Cohen Collection is especially rich in modern Hebrew literature, but also covers every aspect of Hebrew literature from the Biblical to the contemporary. The Cohen Collection was acquired with the generous support of the Koret Foundation.

The Jo and Rabbi Jacob Milgrom Collection. Rabbi Milgrom was professor of Near Eastern Studies at University of California, Berkeley. This collection contains over 5,000 monographs and serial titles in Hebrew and English, and is particularly strong in biblical and rabbinical literature.

The collection of the late Rabbi William G. Braude (1907-1988), containing over 6,000 volumes, is strong in its holdings of early biblical and rabbinical exegesis and homiletics. It was purchased through the generosity of the Ron and Anita Wornick Family Foundation and is therefore known as the Wornick/Braude Collection.

The Ezra Lahad Collection, containing over 2,000 titles in Hebrew and Yiddish, and constituting a major resource on the Yiddish and Hebrew theaters. Ezra Lahad (1918-1995) emigrated to Palestine in 1935 and collected extensively on the Yiddish theater.

Smaller collections have also helped us to enrich our holdings in specific areas. The Barbara and Ken Oshman Fund and the Lucius N. Littauer Foundation have provided support for the processing and preservation of these materials.

The University of California at Berkeley also possesses extensive Judaica and Hebraica research collections, to which members of the Stanford community have ready access through the Research Library Cooperative Program (RLCP).  

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Locations of the collections

Cecil H. Green Library:

Information Center (1st floor, Green East)

Encyclopedias, dictionaries, indexes, general bibliographies. Reference assistance is provided by the Information Center staff and by the Reinhard Family Curator of Judaica and Hebraica Collections (office in the McDermott Suite, 3rd floor, Bing Wing).

Humanities and Area Studies Resource Center (Lane Room, 2nd floor, Bing Wing)

Lexicons, subject bibliographies, biographical dictionaries, published library catalogs, other specialized reference works; CD-ROMs.

Main Stacks

Collections of Judaica and Hebraica material, mainly in the humanities and the social sciences. Additional titles are shelved in the Stanford Auxiliary Libraries (SAL1&2 and SAL3).

Current periodicals (1st floor, Green East)

A selection of current newspapers and journals (older volumes are in the stacks).

Special Collections and University Archives (Reading room: 2nd floor, Bing Wing)

Rare and unique materials, such as early imprints (Italy, Ottoman Empire, Amsterdam, 19th century early Eastern European titles), important first editions and works of later periods; private and press prints, and related material; valuable music scores and autographs; manuscripts and autographs; portraits, maps, etc. Finding aids for many manuscript collections are accessible online.

Jonsson Library of Government Documents

Government publications.

Media Microtext (Lower level, Green East Wing)

Books, journals, newspapers on microfilm and microfiche.
CDs, videos, DVDs.

Education Library (Cubberley)

Materials on Jewish education.

Hoover Institution - Judaica in the Collections of the Hoover Institution Archives
Contents: Russians, Soviets, and Jews; Jews and Politics in the 20th Century;
The Holocaust; Jewish Intellectuals in the United States; Israel.

Archive of Recorded Sound

Sound recordings, including Jewish cantorial and folk music on LPs.

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Manuscript & archival collections in the Stanford University Libraries

Finding aids for selected Judaica holdings in Special Collections and University Archives:

Salo W. Baron Papers, ca. 1900-1980 [M0580]. Approximately 398 linear ft.

Gift of the Salo W. and Jeannette M. Baron Foundation, 1990.

Supplements the Taube-Baron Collection of Jewish History and Culture, acquired in 1985. Rare books from that collection are also housed in Special Collections.

The finding aid for this collection is available online.

Jewish Social Studies Records, 1931-1987 [M0670]. 57 linear feet.

Correspondence, manuscripts, financial records, and subscription records, 1934-1987; correspondence pertaining to the Conference on Jewish Relations, 1931-1956; and materials pertaining to the Jewish Cultural Reconstruction.

Complements the Salo W. Baron Papers [M0580].

The finding aid for this collection is available online.

Joshua A. Fishman and Gella Schweid Fishman family archive, ca. 1890-1993 [M0695]. Approximately 330 linear ft.

Gift of Dr. Joshua A. and Mrs. Gella Schweid Fishman, 1994.

Material from five generations of a Yiddish-activist family, including correspondence, sociolinguistic files (by language and country), data cards and tapes, working subject files, photographs, cassettes, etc.

Processing of the correspondence, published and manuscripts lectures, and talks of Joshua Fishman has been completed. Contact Special Collections staff for date of availability of the rest of his papers. Correspondence to and from Joshua A. Fishman is accessible to researchers only by permission of either Dr. or Mrs. Fishman. The Rukhl Fishman material is processed [M0778] and available for researchers, as are the Gella Schweid Fishman papers (M695). See separate records for descriptions of these materials.

Rukhl Fishman (1935-1984) Papers, 1940-1990 [M0778]. 5.5 linear ft.

Deposited by Dr. Joshua A. and Mrs. Gella Schweid Fishman, 1993.

American-born Yiddish poet living in Israel until her death in 1984; sister of Joshua A. Fishman.

Incoming and outgoing correspondence, poetry manuscripts, news clippings, subject files, personal documents, and school/youth activities.

Partially restricted. For more information contact the Manuscripts Librarian.

See also the Joshua A. Fishman and Gella Schweid Fishman family archives [M0695] for Rukhl Fishman correspondence with other family members.
The finding aid for this collection is available online.

Secular Yiddish Schools in America : collection, 1915-2001 [M0732]. 42.5 linear ft.

Gift of many donors, 1994-2001.

A collection formed through the efforts of Gella Schweid Fishman and Martha G. Krow-Lucal with support from The Friends of the Secular Yiddish Schools in America Collection (SYSA).

Materials include curricula, newsletters, instruction books, song books, school board minutes, photographs, news clippings, memoirs, ephemera and correspondence.

Searchable database and unpublished finding aid available.
The finding aid for this collection is available online.

Jewish life in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1981-1998 [M0939]. 2 linear ft., 1 record container, 1 oversize map folder.

Material collected from many local synagogues, individuals, organizations, and businesses.

The collection documents non-traditional Jewish life in the Bay Area, especially creations around life-cycle events. For example, there are AIDS memorial ceremonies, bar- and bat-mitzvah programs, gay and lesbian ceremonies and celebrations.

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Last modified: September 8, 2010

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