Page 185 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 44

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Hebraica andJudaica Collections at
the National Library of Canada
h e
a t i o n a l
i b r a r y
o f Canada in Ottawa holds the youngest
but one o f the strongest collections o f Judaica in a public institu­
tion in Canada, and one o f the more distinguished collections o f
rare Hebraica in North America. This collection has been built in
little over three decades, and reflects a remarkable coincidence o f
favorable circumstances and conscientious efforts on the part o f
the institution, private individuals, and CanadianJewish commu­
nal leadership. Among the varied holdings o f the library are
incunabula and early Hebrew printed books, oriental Hebraic
manuscripts, microfilms o f manuscript collections and genizah
fragments from Eastern Europe and elsewhere, European and
American scholarly and general Judaica, bibliographic literature,
and Jewish Canadiana.
The Hebraica and Judaica collections o f the National Library
in fact began with the institution o f “legal deposit” upon the
establishment o f the library in 1953. Since that time the library by
law has usually received two copies o f every book published in
Canada, including Hebraica (Yiddish and Hebrew) and Judaica
(mostly English and French). The library has also attempted to
acquire books published in Canada prior to the institution o f
legal deposit, as well as books published outside o f Canada by
Canadian authors or o f Canadian interest, including Hebraica
and Judaica. A significant portion o f the Yiddish imprints from
the Jewish cultural centers in Montreal, Toronto, and Winnipeg
are now held in the library, such as the works o fJ.I. Segal, Melech
Ravitch, and Rachel Korn, as well as the Hebrew writings o f
Canadian rabbinic authors. Similarly, the works o f the major
CanadianJewish authors in English, such as A.M. Klein and Mor-
decai Richler, are strongly represented in the library’s holdings.
Since the National Library microfilms Canadian theses and