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Jewish Studies Library

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Moses Montefiore, from the UCL  Manuscripts & Rare Books Collection

The Jewish Studies Library at UCL supports the needs of the local academic community and of national and international researchers.

In 1929 the Jewish Historical Society of England, a learned society concerned with the history of the Jews in England, deposited its library, The Mocatta Library, at UCL. This was the library of Frederick David Mocatta (1829-1905), president of the Jewish Historical Society of England from 1900, a philanthropist, collector and supporter of Jewish learning, with UCL. This arrangement enabled researchers and students to access the collection.

UCL had its own Hebraica and Judaica collections which supported its Department of Jewish Studies. The two collections formed the core of what is now the Jewish Studies Library. Over the years important collections have been integrated into the Library; the Abramsky Collection, the Altmann Collection and the William Margulies Collection.

The subjects covered by the Library include; Jewish history, biblical studies, rabbinic literature, Jewish philosophy, Jewish mysticism, Jewish sects, Judaism and Yiddish. The Yiddish Library, established with the help of William Margulies, was opened in 1993. It covers a wide range of subjects, amongst them language and linguistics, history, folk literature, theatre and film and biography.

Highlights of Special Collections

The Gaster Papers, deposited by Hakham Dr Moses Gaster (1856-1939), a rabbi, scholar, zionist leader and a collector of manuscripts, illuminated certificates, photographs, press cuttings, posters, ephemera and Victoriana. The collection amounts to c.17,000 items covering rabbinica, Judaica, philology, Zionism, Slavonic and Oriental studies.

The Jewish Chronicle. It is the oldest Jewish periodical in England still in existence. Started in 1841, it is the leading journal of Anglo-Jewry and is a valuable research tool.

There are 409 volumes of Judaica and Hebraica rare books on Jewish history and theology including polemic tracts, sermons, Biblical exegesis, liturgies, service books, cabalistic texts as well as several editions of the works of the historian Josephus.

The Anglo-Jewish Pamphlet Collection on microfiche contains 442 rare pamphlets covering Jewish history in England from the late 16th Century to the late 19th Century.

The collections also contain many illuminated testimonies sent to Moses Montefiore (1784-1885) on the occasion of his hundreth birthday from all over the world, as well as artifacts and books.

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