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Hebrew & Jewish Studies

Hebrew & Jewish Studies is one of the greatest subject strengths of our collections. This guide provides an overview of relevant rare book and archive collections.

A page from a sixteenth-century Mahzor (MS Mocatta 2)

How to use this guide

This guide is intended as a starting point to help you find resources for your studies or research and is arranged in alphabetical order by collection name.

The collections described below are either Printed Collections or Archives and Records.

To find items from the printed collections, search the library catalogue. Follow the links in the collection descriptions below for advice on how to search and browse particular printed collections.

To find archive and record collections, search for the reference on the online catalogue for UCL’s archives and manuscripts.

Accessing these collections

Please see our website for further information and to make an appointment to view any of these collections in one of our reading rooms.

The collections

Aguilar, Grace (Archive)

Manuscript notebooks and other papers of Grace Aguilar (1816–1847), novelist and writer. The first part of the collection consists of her manuscript notebooks. The second part is manuscript material in other hands, consisting of a book of tributes to Aguilar, a description of her last illness, and an account for the administration of her estate. The collection also contains copies of several of her printed works. 

Altmann Family (Archive)

Papers of the Altmann family, which had been accumulated by the brothers Alexander (1906-1987), Erwin (1908-1986), and Manfred (1911-1999). The papers cover: their father Adolf Altmann's work as a rabbi in Salzburg and then Trier; family life until they were separated on the eve of World War II; and the lives of each of the three brothers after they each emigrated from mainland Europe in 1938/39 due to the rise of Jewish persecution in Nazi Germany. The material includes memoirs, diaries, draft manuscripts, research papers, letters, photographs, audio-visual material, family research papers, financial and legal papers, and papers relating to conferences. There is also a substantial amount of material from the Institute of Jewish Studies, which was founded by Alexander Altmann in the UK, and of which Manfred later became chairman. 

Burdon-Sanderson, Sir John Scott (Archive)

Correspondence, diaries, lectures and biographical material of Sir John Scott Burdon-Sanderson (1828-1905), Professor of Practical Physiology & Histology at UCL (1870-1874) and Jodrell Professor of Human Physiology (1874-1883). Also includes papers of his wife, the author and philanthropist Lady Ghetal Burdon-Sanderson, eldest daughter of the Rev. Ridley Haim Herschell.

Dickens, Charles / Davis, Eliza (Archive)

Autograph correspondence between the novelist Charles Dickens (1812-1870) and a Jewish reader Eliza Davis, was the wife of James Phineas Davis, solicitor, who bought the lease of Tavistock House from Dickens in 1860. The correspondence concerns the Jewish characters in Dickens’s novels, the presentation of a Hebrew Bible by Davis to Dickens, and a letter to Mamie Dickens on her father's death. 

Gaster, Moses (Archive)

Moses Gaster (1856-1939) was Chief Rabbi of the Spanish and Portuguese community in England from 1887 to 1918. He was also a prominent Zionist and prolific scholar of Rumanian literature, folklore, and Samaritan history and literature, as well as Jewish subjects. This vast personal and family archive covers almost every aspect of Jewish life and community affairs in England during the Victorian and Edwardian periods, from the personal to the political. 

Glenny, Michael (Archive)

"The Other Russia" (1990, London) was the result of a collaboration between translator and lecturer Michael Glenny (1927-1990) and the historian Norman Stone. In preparation for this work on Russian émigrés from the Soviet Union, Glenny and researchers working under his direction recorded over 160 interviews of Russian émigrés as well as collecting a number of copies of unpublished manuscripts and memoirs that had been published in little known sources. Some of the material is in Hebrew.

  • Search Archive ref: GLE/1.
Goldsmid, Isaac Lyon (Archive)

Letterbooks of financier Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid (1778-1859), one of the founders of UCL. Mainly comprises letters to Goldsmid concerning his interests and activities in Jewish emancipation, social and educational reform, including the foundation of the University of London.

Haham (Newman), Naham and Sifra (SSEES Archive)

Papers including school certificates and photographs relating to the lives of Naham (1899-1971) and Sifra (1901-1984) Haham (later Newman) in Bessarabia and Britain, mainly covering the period 1899 to 1920s. 

Hebrew and Jewish Rare Book collection (Printed Collection)

The collection contains around 10,000 volumes. It comprises the Mocatta, Gollancz, Wolf, Solomons and Myers libraries and dates mostly from the 16th-18th centuries. There are also eight incunabula (books printed before 1501). The subjects covered are chiefly liturgies, Bibles, commentaries, editions of the Mishnah, works on Cabala, sermons, polemical tracts, service books, grammars and dictionaries.

Institute of Jewish Affairs (Archive)

Printed literature, 1888-1966, collected by the Institute of Jewish Affairs (now the Institute for Jewish Policy Research), including some on Jewish affairs but mainly comprising unbound copies of British newspapers with fascist content 

  • Search Archive ref: IJA.
Jewish Pamphlets collection (Printed Collection)

The collection covers a wide range of subjects from the field of Jewish Studies, particularly Anglo-Jewish history, Zionism, British Mandate Palestine and the State of Israel as well as liturgy. The pamphlets date from 1601 onwards, and are in English, Hebrew and a number of other languages. Many of them are held in very few libraries, while some are extremely rare. To browse the records for the Jewish pamphlets collection, conduct a search for JEWISHPAMPHLETS, without spaces, on Explore. . 

Jews' Charter (Italian) (Archive)

Charter of the Jews in Pisa and Leghorn, 1667. Also including four letters, the first two dated 1614, and the last 1667. 

Klier, John (Archive)

Papers of John Klier (1944-2007), Lecturer, Reader and Professor of Modern Jewish History at UCL, 1990-2007, and head of the Hebrew & Jewish Studies Department in the 1990s. 

Loewenson, Lev Sergeevich (Archive)

Papers of Lev Sergeevich Lowenson (1885-1968), teacher and librarian at The School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES), relating to material collected for a Russian-English military dictionary and Loewenson’s research on Russian history.

  • Search Archive ref: LOE.
London Society for Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews (Archive)

Papers of the London Society for Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews (now the Church's Ministry Among Jewish People), 1815-1963, consisting of foundation papers; committee minutes; correspondence; certificates of baptism; admission conditions for children admitted to Hebrew Schools; the catalogue of the Society's Library; and various printed papers and journals. 

  • Search Archive ref: SPCJ.
Mocatta Manuscripts (Manuscripts)

The collection contains a mixture of religious and non-religious material including prayer books, fragments of the Hebrew bible and the Koran, letters, diaries, calendars and drawings. There are several items from the medieval and early modern period, including an extremely rare 14th century Castilian Haggadah, and an illuminated 16th century Italian Mahzor with censors’ erasures and signatures.

Montefiore Family (Archive)

Papers and correspondence of the Montefiore family, 1827-1885, mainly papers of financier, Jewish community leader and philanthropist Sir Moses Haim Montefiore (1784-1885), comprising correspondence; diaries; account books; printed and manuscript addresses and testimonials, some illuminated, framed or in presentation cases, presented to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, 1840-1885; various other material on Jewish subjects and individuals, including artefacts and printed books, formerly belonging to the Judith Lady Montefiore College in Ramsgate. The collection also includes five volumes of letters of the family of Moses Montefiore’s nephew Nathaniel Montefiore (1819-1883).This collection is on loan from the Montefiore Endowment.

Montefiore, Claude (Archive)

Diary, correspondence, printed articles and obituaries of Claude Montefiore (1858-1938), scholar and founder of Liberal Judaism in England, and his first wife Thérèse, née Schorstein (1864-1889).

Pannwitz, Heinz (Archive)

Account by Heinz Pannwitz (1911-1981?) of his investigation into the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, head of the Nazi security police and governor of Bohemia-Moravia, in 1942. Pannwitz was appointed head of a special commission to investigate the killing. His final report was submitted to Hitler and found its way to the archives of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, New York. Pannwitz’s account was written in 1959 and translated and annotated by Stanislav Berton.

  • Search Archive ref: SPAN.
Sarlos (Spitzer), Lenke (Archive)

Personal papers of Lenke Spitzer (also known as Lenke Sarlos) who immigrated from Hungary to England in the late 1930s.

Schiller-Szinessy, Solomon Marcus (Archive)

Papers of and relating to rabbi and scholar Solomon Marcus Schiller-Szinessy (1820-1890) and his family, owned or created by Raphael Loewe. 

Soup Kitchen for the Jewish Poor (Archive)

Minutes, correspondence and other papers of the Soup Kitchen for the Jewish Poor, Spitalfields, 1854-1888. 

Suchen Manuscript (Manuscript)

15th century manuscript volume of Petrus Suchen’s, 'Reise In Das Heilige Land' (Journey in the Holy Land). 

Trades Advisory Council (Archive)

Archives of the Trades Advisory Council of British Jewry, 1936-1983. The Trades Advisory Council (TAC) aimed to strengthen goodwill in industry and commerce and to maintain standards of commercial integrity, and dealt with all questions involving Jews in trade and industry. It collected and disseminated information, studied legislation and administrative measures affecting its concerns, liaised with other trade organisations, and arbitrated in commercial disputes where one or both parties were Jews. The archive comprises papers created by the organisation and also much printed material collected by it, some of which countered its aims and objectives, for example antisemitic literature, but some in sympathy with them, for example anti-fascist literature. The collection pertains mainly to Britain but includes some material on Jewish affairs overseas; it also extends beyond economic affairs to wider issues.

  • Search Archive ref: TAC.
Wolf, Lucien (Archive)

Notes on genealogy and Anglo-Jewish history by the journalist and diplomat Lucien Wolf (1857-1930).

  • Search Archive Ref: WOLF.

The Mocatta Manuscripts collection includes a copy of Wolf’s diary of the Paris Peace Conference in 1919.

An additional archive held at UCL SSEES contains correspondence relating to Wolf’s editorship of Darkest Russia, a propaganda paper directed against the Russian Government and concerned particularly with Jewish rights.