Page 187 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 44

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plete runs o f Canadian, American, European and Israelijournals
in English, Hebrew, German, French and Yiddish, both scholarly
journals and more popular periodicals. Some uncommon Euro­
pean titles o f the late 19th and 20th centuries are found here, sev­
eral o f them available in no other research library in Canada.
Collections o f rare Hebraica have always formed a cornerstone
o f the great European and American libraries o f manuscripts
and printed books. Among the libraries possessing such collec­
tions have been the British Library in London, the Bibliotheque
Nationale in Paris, the Royal Library in Copenhagen, the State
Library in Leningrad, the Palatine Library in Parma, the Library
o f Congress in Washington, the New York Public Library, and
the university libraries o f Oxford, Harvard, Columbia and Yale.
In this tradition, the National Library o f Canada was fortunate to
receive as a gift to the Crown, for the government and people o f
Canada, one o f the foremost private collections o f rare Hebraica
assembled in the western hemisphere in modern times. The
major part o f this collection o f world repute was presented to the
library in 1977 byJacob M. Lowy, an industrialist, philanthropist,
and private collector o f Montreal, Quebec. The product o f nearly
fifty years o f careful acquisitions, the Lowy Collection was the
single most valuable gift ever received by the National Library.
(The variety o f the contents o f the gift was highlighted in an
exhibit mounted at the library in 1981, for which an illustrated
catalogue was issued.) The remaining rarities in the Lowy private
collection were acquired by the library in 1985. They are held
integrally with the original gift in the Lowy Room, forming part
o f the library’s Rare Books Division.
The holdings o f the Lowy Collection, rare Hebraica and
Judaica spanning a period o f over five centuries, include nearly
forty Hebrew and Latin incunables, over one hundred early and
rare editions o f the Bible in many languages, and numerous edi­
tions o f the works o f Josephus, one o f which is the oldest book
held in the National Library. The majority o f the collection
consists o f rare Hebraica from the 16th to the 19th century,
encompassing all aspects o f rabbinic and Hebrew literature pub­
lished during this period, two thirds o f these works being first
editions and extreme rarities. The entire geographic and intellec­