Page 52 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 23

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J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
4 6
sometimes climbing rickety ladders, invading dusty attics and
unheated railroad flats and descending into dark basements.
Jewish books in Latin characters are processed and catalogued
in the Preparation Division. Those in Hebrew characters are
catalogued in the Jewish Division. Cataloguing also includes the
indexing of important articles on Jewish subjects found in learn-
ed publications. Among the separate card catalogues in the
Division one might single out the elaborate index to selected
17th century responsa, prepared by Jacob B. Menkes.
A Breakthrough in Jewish Bibliography
One of the important breakthroughs in Jewish bibliography
was the publication in 1960 by G. K. Hall
8c
Co. in Boston of
the
Dictionary Catalog of the Jewish Collection, The New York
Public Library
(14 volumes). Many scholarly libraries through-
out the United States and abroad have acquired copies. This
catalogue, and the even broader one of the Hebrew Union
College in Cincinnati, now in the process of completion, are
serving as important tools for reference and cataloguing and will
greatly enhance Jewish scholarship.
The Jewish Division is participating in the Library’s massive
project of microfilming deteriorating but important publications.
Periodicals and newspapers constitute the bulk of such material.
Up to the present about 50 newspaper files and 200 periodical
files in all languages have been! filmed together with about 6,000
pamphlets and books, among them hundreds of popular Yiddish
novels published in Vilna, Warsaw and New York at the turn
of the century.
Over the years the Division, due to its character and position,
has proved to be a significant instrument in the recording of
events and the communication of ideas. This is demonstrated
by the increasing number of publications which acknowledge
indebtedness to the Division. Their full enumeration would
mirror the interests and achievements of American Jewry. A few
characteristic examples are sufficient to illustrate this.
The great
Jewish Encyclopedia
(New York, 1901-1905, 12
volumes), the first successful work of its type and the mother of
all subsequent encyclopedias, acknowledges that “Much is due to
the New York Public Library, particularly to its director, Dr.
J. S. Billings, to Mr. Charles Bjerregaard, Chief of the Readers
Department and to Mr. A. S. Freidus, Chief of the Jewish De-
partment, for special privileges accorded and assistance ren-
dered.” Mr. Joseph Jacobs, one of the editors of the Encyclopedia
is quoted as having said that the work could not have been done