Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica

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The Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica within the University of Florida Libraries' Special & Area Studies Collections supports the teaching and research missions of the Center for Jewish Studies and the University of Florida.[1][2] The Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica currently holds over 100,000 circulating volumes. The main library is located on the first floor of Library West. The Judaica special collections are held in the Judaica Suite in Smathers Library (East).

History[edit]

The core collection of the Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica was formed from the private collection of Rabbi Leonard C. Mishkin of Chicago, Illinois. At the time of its purchase by the University of Florida in 1977, Mishkin's library was the largest private collection of Judaica and Hebraica in America.

The Mishkin collection of around 35,000 volumes was purchased in part thanks to a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Challenge Grant - the first ever awarded to a United States Research Library. This major award was matched by the first State of Florida Quality Improvement Funds.

Two large collections supplemented and complemented the Mishkin acquisition: Professor Shlomo Marenof's personal collection with its strengths in Hebrew literature (purchased in 1978), and Bernard Morgenstern's bookstore on New York's Lower East Side with its copies of major and lesser known Yiddish works (purchased in 1979). A smaller collection of mostly Ancient Near Eastern works and books on the Dead Sea Scrolls was later acquired from Theodor H. Gaster's private library in the 1980s.

In 1979, a fund was established to support the development of the Judaica library by Jack and Samuel Price, alumni of the University of Florida. Their gift of $400,000 was the largest single gift ever given to the UF Libraries up to that point, and it was the first time that a special collection in the University Library had been endowed. The Judaica Library was named for their parents, Isser and Rae Price, at a special dedication ceremony in March 1981.[3]

The Price Library grew from 45,000 volumes to a collection of over 85,000 thanks to the efforts of its librarian of 30 years, Robert Singerman and his assistants Yael Herbsman, Joy Funk, Carol Bird and Emily Madden. Initially located in Library East (Smathers Library) and then in Norman Hall from 1995, the Price Library was finally given a permanent home in Library West in 2006. The Library was rededicated 30 years later in 2011. A special collections wing to house the Judaica Library's special collections was opened in 2014. The Judaica Suite was designed by the renowned Florida architect and artist, Kenneth Treister, FAIA.

A second historic NEH Challenge Grant was awarded to the George A. Smathers Libraries in 2014 to build an endowment fund that will support the Judaica Library in its efforts to broaden access to Humanities resources relating to the Jewish experience in Florida, Latin America and the Caribbean. The fund will sustain the new online Jewish Diaspora Collection dedicated to providing global access to materials from these areas.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica". University of Florida Libraries. University of Florida Libraries. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  2. ^ "UF Center for Jewish Studies: About". UF Center for Jewish Studies. UF Center for Jewish Studies. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 
  3. ^ "Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica: History". University of Florida Libraries. University of Florida Libraries. Retrieved 18 September 2011. 

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