Illustrated books for children in Hebrew and Yiddish were a long time in coming, but when they did it was in a burst of color and style. They arrived on the wings of the Russian Revolution, catching the tail-end of the Art Nouveau and all the excitement and energy of the Russian Avant-Garde. They make for a unique - and uniquely beautiful – collection of books and represent an important moment in Jewish cultural history. They are also, alas, all too little known. For all these reasons, the Hebraic Section has created this Research Guide to showcase some of the brightest gems from its collections, and also, perhaps, to pique interest in a much neglected field.
The books in this collection are rare; in some cases, extremely rare and even unique. The same countries that gave birth to so many of these beautiful books – Russia, Germany, Poland – were also the countries in which the Jews experienced pogroms, the depredations of World War I, the atrocities of the Holocaust.
A Note About Access: Most of the sixty titles in this collection are still under copyright according to international law or presumed to be under copyright because they were published in the 20th century. For this reason, we present before you now only five of these titles in digital form: the five that have been determined to be in the public domain. These are freely available to anyone with an internet connection anywhere in the world. If you have any information about the copyright status of the other works, which are presently available on Library of Congress premises, please contact [email protected].
This guide provides a complete list of titles in the collection as a whole. The link below provides access to the handful of items that have been fully digitized and are freely available online.
The African and Middle Eastern Division (AMED) was created in 1978 as part of a general Library of Congress reorganization. AMED currently consists of three sections - African, Hebraic and Near East - and covers more than 77 countries and regions from Southern Africa to the Maghreb and from the Middle East to Central Asia. Each section plays a vital role in the Library's acquisitions program; offers expert reference and bibliographic services to the Congress and researchers in this country and abroad; develops projects, special events and publications; and cooperates with other institutions and scholarly and professional associations in the US and abroad.
As a major world resource center for Africa, the Middle East, the Caucasus, and Central Asia, AMED has the custody of more than one million physical collection materials in the non-Roman-alphabet languages of the region such as Amharic, Arabic, Armenian, Georgian, Hebrew, Persian, Turkish, and Yiddish. Included in these collections are books, periodicals, newspapers, microforms, grey literature, and rarities such as cuneiform tablets, manuscripts, incunabula (works printed before 1501), and other early African and Middle Eastern publications. Among the most prized items are also several sizable pamphlet collections on African Studies.
Reference assistance is available from the Library of Congress for Hebraic and Jewish studies. Each area specialist has reference and acquisitions responsibilities for a particular linguistic or geographic region and has developed expert knowledge of the collections for his or her area. In conjunction with other Library units these area specialists develop the collections and compile bibliographic guides to bring Hebraic materials to the attention of librarians and scholars.
Each reference specialist below is listed with their contact information and the countries and languages they specialize in. You can also use our Ask a Librarian service to contact a reference librarian.
Dr. Lanisa Kitchiner, Chief, African and Middle Eastern Division
Contact information: [email protected] | Tel: (202) 707-7937 | Fax: (202) 252-3180
Ms. Sharon S. Horowitz, Reference Librarian, Hebraic Section, African & Middle Eastern Division
Contact information: [email protected] | Tel: (202) 707-3780 | Fax: (202) 252-3180
Ms. Rachel T. Becker, Library Technician, Hebraic Section, African & Middle Eastern Division
Contact information: [email protected] | Tel: (202) 707-9150 | Fax: (202) 252-3180
Languages: Materials written in these languages are in the custody of the Hebraic Section and may be requested in the AMED Reading Room.