Introduction to JA
Sail forth -- steer for the deep waters only, Reckless O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me, For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all. Whitman, “Passage to India.”
In 1954, a jubilant American Jewish community celebrated the tercentenary of the arrival in Dutch New Amsterdam (later New York City) of a ship bearing twenty-three Jewish refugees fleeing from Portuguese rule in Brazil. From this tiny nucleus, the United States is now home for over six million Jews, making this country the largest Jewish population center in the world. Nourished by political freedom, religious tolerance, and a favorable economic and intellectual climate supportive of educational achievement, artistic creativity, and personal and commercial initiative, the flourishing Jewish community in the United States continues to experience a Golden Age unrivaled in Jewish history.
The work presented here attempts to identify and bring under bibliographic control a significant body of printed monographic and serial literature pertaining to Jews, Judaism, and Jewish culture published in the United States, in any language, through the year 1900. The monographs recorded here need not relate to the American Jewish experience to warrant inclusion in this resource. Similarly, it will be readily apparent that a high percentage of the titles are authored by non-Jews, many of whom are not even Americans. To have limited this bibliography solely to works issued under Jewish auspices or Jewish authorship, or to American subject matter, would have resulted not only in a much smaller work, but also in a narrowly focused compilation--ultimately divorcing the Jew from the cultural milieu of the surrounding gentile community and the larger world of Christendom so eager to convert the House of Israel.
Judaica Americana: A Bibliography of Publications to 1900, with an estimated total of 9,500 entries, chronicles the decades prior to the twentieth century, a formative era for Jewish institutional development at a time when the Jewish community grew from 1,350 persons in 1790 to 1,050,000 in 1900. Taken as a whole, the bibliography provides extensive documentation of American Jewish communal activity. Equally important for the study of Jewish-Christian relations, hundreds of titles, many of them prophetic and proto-Zionist in nature, are included as relevant primary sources for assessing Christian attitudes on the development, history and testimony of the Jewish religion and the Jewish nation from early times to the close of the nineteenth century. Adventism and millenarian speculation, so pervasive in nineteenth-century America, are well documented in these pages; the same is true of conversionist activity. Creative writing (novels, short stories, dramas, poets) with Jewish themes or characters forms yet another subject emphasis and one that will prove to be exceedingly valuable for any extended study of stereotypes and the negative portrayal of the Jew in literature. For the purposes of this bibliography, annual gift books are approached as monographs.
A separate section, “Union List of Nineteenth-Century Jewish Serials Published in the United States,” lists all known Jewish newspapers, serials, yearbooks, and annual reports in the United States with an inception date prior to 1901, regardless of language, and even if issues of these serials no longer exist, or if the serials were merely projected for publication by their would-be sponsors. Included in this section are relevant periodicals with a conversionist or antisemitic focus.
An important feature of this bibliography of pre-1901 American publications of Jewish interest is the inclusion of standard National Union Catalog symbols for locations of copies at selected institutions and in geographically dispersed collections where these works are reported or known to be held. By no means intended as a census of all known copies, researchers, librarians, and collectors will have at their disposal “a sense, not a census” of the availability and rarity of individual items that are now scarce, fragile, and increasingly sought after. The names of selected foreign libraries follow immediately after the NUC symbols that represent the owning American libraries. The symbols express standard codes that identify in a succinct way both the state name and the reporting library with its town or city; they are sorted here alphabetically by state name as if written in full.
As a rule, the more readily available works, defined as those with more than a dozen locations on OCLC and/or the published National Union Catalog, Pre-1956 Imprints (London, 1968-81; 754 vols.), have the message “In most academic libraries” in the “Copies” field, indicating their relatively common status. Whenever a “Frequently reissued” note is given, it should not be assumed that all of the subsequent editions are issued by the same publisher as the first one or, for that matter, that the illustrative matter is the same or that the pagination remains unchanged in all editions.
Locations of titles listed in this bibliography were determined by visits to libraries, searching of a library’s online catalog, reports by owning libraries to the National Union Catalog, library cataloging activity in OCLC and RLIN (the latter utility no longer exists but was absorbed by OCLC’s WorldCat), and assorted reference tools and bibliographic guides in the areas of Americana, religion, and Jewish studies. A concerted attempt has been made to provide updated holdings information based on cataloging activity since the publication of Judaica Americana in 1990.
While every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of holdings information, readers are cautioned that copies once reported as owned may be no longer available, or the library that owns a later edition, or a reprint by another publisher, has -described the book in hand by miscataloging it, for instance, as the first edition. Some of the holdings data given here may, inadvertently, represent photocopies or microforms and as a result, a title in its original state could be considerably scarcer than assumed. If a library creates a preservation microform of an owned text, and it also retained the hardcopy text, no attempt has been made to signal the availability of the microfilm or microfiche as the case may be. With respect to the monographs section, Judaica Americana neither identifies nor locates individual titles acquired by institutions in commercially-available microform collections; the same principle extends to the ever-increasing availability of digitized texts irrespective of their source.
Unlike the exacting model provided by Jacob Blanck’s Bibliography of American Literature project, an example of analytical bibliography, Judaica Americana was planned in the tradition of enumerative or systematic bibliography; therefore, physical characteristics such as paper and binding or textual variants, minor pagination errors such as skipped or repeated numbering, and the ordering of printing states are generally disregarded. Thus variant printings--by no means uncommon in early texts--are seldom described, and the specimen examined by the compiler may not be absolutely identical (physically or textually) with other copies. Titles that are known to be defective (missing pages, maps, or plates; mutilated pages with loss of text) are noted as such; this data also facilitates reprinting, preservation, or digitization activity by identifying the institutions that own complete copies.
Chapter numbering expressed in Roman numerals within texts has been replaced in our notes and annotations by Arabic numerals. Pagination is expressed in as concise a manner as possible, without recourse to detailed collations of signatures typical of describing rare books. No effort is made to account for blank pages or, for that matter, preliminary paging that is consecutive with the main text. Unnumbered pages with printed text, together with advertising matter and running titles, are identified, the latter to assist users of this bibliography to identify a defective copy that is missing its title page. A special effort also has been made to isolate and collate all text pages (excluding the paper wrappers) bearing advertising matter. Researchers wishing to determine a publisher’s imprints that are no longer extant can do so by consulting these advertisements for bibliographic clues. The advertising section found in different printings of a title may vary, especially to accommodate new releases.
Entries for local institutions (i.e., not national in scope), are subsumed under the respective city or town, to facilitate a geographical clustering of entries. These headings for local congregations, charities, and communal institutions do not conform with current Library of Congress practice; the same is true of entries for liturgical texts. The form of entry for personal names generally follows Library of Congress practice adopted prior to 1981, including the retention of middle names but ignoring the maiden names of married women. In some cases, an author’s name may be more complete in the present bibliography than the form established by the Library of Congress. In lieu of copying the author’s initials from title pages, the full name is provided on the premise that this bibliography also serves as a reference tool. In the same vein, we have rejected the Library of Congress redundancy of establishing a name with the author’s initials together with the corresponding full form given in parentheses, as in “Shaykevitsh, N. M. (Naḥum-Me’ir)”; instead, “Shaykevitsh, Naḥum-Me’ir,” is used in this bibliography. Pseudonyms and pen names (e.g., Sholem Aleichem, George Elliot) have been accepted, for the most part, as author entries, ditto the revised names of Hebrew and Yiddish authors active in the nineteenth-century; for instance, Abner Tannenbaum, the form once used by the Library of Congress, is replaced with A. Tanenboym. Entries have been alphabetized using the word by word scheme; thus, “New York” precedes “Newark” whereas in the letter by letter arrangement, “Newark” would precede “New York.”
Every reasonable effort has been made to include standard reference numbers from Charles Evans’ American Bibliography and from the Checklist of American Imprints series, a continuation of Evans’ work initiated by Ralph Shaw and Richard Shoemaker for the year 1801 and gradually extended by their successors to the year 1846 as of this writing. American fiction is similarly referenced to Lyle Wright’s three-volume American Fiction bibliography. In lieu of providing annotations for creative writing--the Judaic content of which may not be apparent in a transcription of the title page--references guide the reader to appropriate critical works where a pertinent explication or summary may be found.
Use has also been made of copyright records maintained by the United States Copyright Office at the Library of Congress in an effort to identify fugitive Judaica that may never have been captured or retained by any library, or the work for which copyright protection was sought was merely projected but never appeared in print? With a total of 85,602 registered claims between 1870 and 1899, the compiler does not pretend to have exploited this seldom utilized resource beyond the probe of records he conducted in the course of a single afternoon (note 1).
All of the pre-1901 Hebraica has been searched against Deinard’s Kohelet Amerika and Yosef Goldman’s Hebrew Printing in America 1736-1926: A History and Annotated Bibliography and referenced accordingly. No bibliographic checklist of early Yiddish imprints in the United States exists and the present work is offered as an initial effort to record these cheaply produced texts only to the extent they have survived the rigors of time. The publisher’s statement field (giving the city of publication and the name of the publisher or printer for Hebrew and Yiddish titles) is generally not a transliteration of the text, e.g., “Chicago,” not “Shikago” and “Press of ...” in lieu of “Bi-defus shel ...”
Text in Hebrew, Yiddish, Greek, and Russian is given in transliteration (enclosed in brackets) according to the widely-adopted transliteration schemes adopted by the Library of Congress and other American libraries and the Weinreich/YIVO system for Yiddish. It should be noted, parenthetically, that many of the older texts in “Yiddish,” especially the landsmanshaft constitutions and by-laws, are really Judeo-German (Yiddish-Taitsh) texts. With the exception of the Hebrew “chet” represented herein by “ḥ,” the other diacritical marks used for the romanization of letters in the Hebrew alphabet have been ignored as vocalization is not a relevant issue.
In this chronologically-arranged bibliography, the Hebrew year--spanning as it does two years in the Gregorian calendar (September/October to September/October of the following year)--will place a work in the lower year (unless internal evidence in the form of the copyright date, date of author’s introduction, or date found on paper wrappers suggests placing the work in the higher year), e.g., a book dated 5655 will go under 1894 and not 1895, while “1894 or 95” will be used to describe the item. Undated books and pamphlets have been clustered within the decade that in the compiler’s best judgment seems the most appropriate to each title. As should be obvious, the abject failure of some publishers and job printers to date their cheaply-produced editions poses a challenge for the bibliographer. Using city directories and the publisher’s street address, when known, one could establish with greater accuracy a probable date range for an imprint if such a determination were of critical importance. Another hindrance to bibliographers has been the loss of oftentimes data-rich paper wrappers or covers by attrition but mostly by removal at the bindery, a continuing practice that borders on vandalism.
With a relatively small number of exceptions noted by means of an asterisk, the compiler has seen all of the monographic items presented in these pages. Although many of the serials have likewise been seen, the peculiar nature of newspapers (bulky, fragile, and often delivered from the stacks in dusty and tied wrappings) prevented a complete volume by volume physical inspection, especially when microfilms of that title were not readily available for consultation. A much lower verification standard was employed in the “Union List of Nineteenth Century Jewish Serials Published in the United States” section, intended as nothing more than a convenient finding aid and most assuredly not as a systematic catalog offering content analysis and full bibliographic descriptions beyond title changes and the barest indication of editorship and place of publication. Information about publishers and printers other than sponsoring institutions is likewise omitted. Reports, calendars, and programs issued annually have been treated as serials owing to their frequency of appearance. To assist researchers, the “Union List” section identifies the microfilm holdings of the owning libraries; these are oftentimes available on interlibrary loan whereas physical volumes held in a library’s Rare Books and Special Collections area are non-circulating. Mention should be made of the Historical Jewish Press digitization project launched by the National Library of Israel and Tel-Aviv University; this ambitious project, international in scope, includes American periodicals in different languages.
Libraries sometimes express their serial holdings in a variety of incongruent, even bewildering and sloppy ways, including the “incomplete” statement without more detailed holdings data; conversely, the physical volume, or range of volumes or years, listed as complete by the library may not, in reality, be complete. One barrier to bibliographic exactitude is that bulky or crumbling sets of periodicals are removed (assuming that they aren’t already missing from the collections!) to a remote (off-site) storage facility without the creation of accurate holdings data on the cataloging record. The library shortcuts that apply to the lack of precise serial holdings can apply equally to microform reproductions. As a result, the compiler was not always able to achieve a consistent holdings statement for several titles because of conflicting variations in library practices. Annual reports are especially problematic in that the year of publication will not necessarily be the same as the year covered by the report, or the report year really bridges portions of two consecutive calendar years, as in the fiscal or academic year. A library may, for simplicity’s sake, record only the report’s year of publication and not the year covered by the annual report. Again, the “Union List of Nineteenth-Century Jewish Serials Published in the United States” is intended as a ready-reference checklist to fill a perceived need; as with the chronological section devoted to monographs, it does not purport to be a census of all known holdings, though this may be the de facto case for the rarer or more short-lived titles.
Drawing on the printed book catalogs of the New York Public Library’s Jewish Division (1960, supplement, 1975), and the Klau Library of the Hebrew Union College Jewish Institute of Religion (1964), and on the “Pre-1956 Imprints” volumes of the National \ Union Catalog, the compiler created (between the summer of 1984 and the summer of 1985) a working database of citations for titles to be examined. Armed with thick computerproduced notebooks of chronologically arranged entries, the fall of 1985 and the spring of 1986 were devoted to an intensive cycle of visits to libraries for on-site physical verifications and the gathering of new citations. While not neglecting the major Jewish libraries with their rich collections, special efforts were made to visit or contact universities, independent research libraries, historical societies, Christian theological seminary libraries, and private collectors of American Judaica for the elusive items not commonly encountered in Jewish repositories either because of their great rarity and fugitive status, their predominantly Christian or secular content or--more often than not--their superficial lack of any obvious Jewish content (note 2).
The three years beginning in May 1986 (following the conclusion of the compiler’s sabbatical leave) were devoted to correspondence with repositories that would not be visited, database searches on the OCLC and RLIN networks (the latter bibliographic utility permitted keyword and subject searching) and the pursuit of promising leads into areas as disparate as the dime novel and the serial set of federal documents. More visits were made to collections during these three years, culminating in a trip to Rochester, New York, in September 1988, to meet with Prof. Abraham J. Karp, creator of a excellent collection of American Judaica that is now at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America Library. The balance of 1988 and early 1989 was devoted to indexing and readying the text for publication after reviewing and proofing successive drafts, all the while incorporating bibliographic discoveries that were made literally at the last possible moment because of Harvard University’s much-publicized tapeloads (in February and March of 1989) of Hebrew and Yiddish cataloging records into OCLC and RLIN. At the same time, the acquisition of a major collection by the American Jewish Historical Society in early 1989 (examined by the compiler while in the possession of its previous owner, Bruce Gimelson), necessitated a further revision of the text with respect to adding these new AJHS holdings designated as its Soble collection.
The extensive work required to compile an ambitious bibliography of this size has been a challenge in every sense of the word. No single institution, to be sure, has all of the materials listed here, nor are there a specific number of subject headings that collocate the bulk of the available materials in a library’s subject file. Despite the availability of A. S. W. Rosenbach’s pioneering work, An American Jewish Bibliography. being a List of Books and Pamphlets by Jews or Relating to them Printed in the United States from the Establishment of the Press in the Colonies until 1850 (1926) and three supplements to Rosenbach (note 3), the two available guides for the 1851-1875 period are outdated and are limited to the holdings of only two library collections (note 4). The period from 1876 to 1900--coinciding with the beginning of the mass immigration of Eastern European Jews to the United States and, not surprisingly, a tremendous upsurge in publishing activity as the Jewish community approached the one million mark--has not heretofore been covered in any bibliographic guide. Notwithstanding the intensified attention paid by bibliographers to identifying Jewish Americana, however defined, through 1850, Judaica Americana: A Bibliography of Publications to 1900 presents hundreds of previously unrecorded works not known to Rosenbach, Marcus, Wolf or Kaganoff.
To be sure, the scope of the project evolved as new material was identified and tested against the compiler’s working concept of “Judaica.” The basic premise has been to include all separately printed works issued under Jewish auspices, as well as all works relating to the Jewish people and their culture, from antiquity to modern times. Judaic subject matter, and not the author’s ancestry, is the determining factor in judging the appropriateness of a work for inclusion. In the final analysis, the compiler has resisted the listing of musical compositions and secular writings, as well as scientific, medical, and technical literature, by either long-recognized nineteenth-century Jewish notables or by little-known individuals with “Jewish-sounding” names whose status cannot be verified in any Jewish biographical or genealogical source. To do all of this research conscientiously and across the board for all authors would ultimately require a satisfactory working definition of “Who is a Jew?” Needless to say, this problematical question-- affecting non-Orthodox Jews and converts, baptized Jews, the children of mixed marriages, and secular Jews--cannot even be resolved to the satisfaction of all concerned parties by the Israeli government and religious courts.
As a result, several categories of material covered by Rosenbach and his successors that some readers would expect to find incorporated in this otherwise comprehensive bibliography have been deliberately excluded. The categories of extraneous areas listed below are amenable to coverage by other bibliographers in discrete bibliographies or checklists. Because of the compiler’s narrower standards for inclusion, several titles with Jewish authorship (but lacking Jewish subject matter), together with the multiple editions of Josephus (recorded by Rosenbach, Marcus, Wolf or Kaganoff), have not been incorporated into Judaica Americana, nor should this work be considered a complete replacement for those of my esteemed predecessors.
Broad categories of literature not included in the present work are:
- Works written by Jews but without any Jewish content. The arguments of a Jewish lawyer and the court opinions of a Jewish judge, or the medical treatises of a Jewish physician, are excluded as these writings constitute “professional” literature and are not “Judaica” for the purposes of this bibliography. A Jewish inventor’s patents are similarly not included. The temporal or "secular" writings of a rabbi represent the singular exception to the rule of letting subject matter determine inclusion.
- Creative writing, music, and any other material authored, composed, edited, translated, or illustrated by a Jew or a converted Jew but lacking Jewish content or themes, e.g., the works by Judah P. Benjamin, Lorenzo da Ponte, Giacomo Meyerbeer, and Henry Russell, or by luminaries such as Spinoza, Heine, Marx, Lassalle, Nordau, et al., unless translated into Hebrew or Yiddish.
- Books, whether fiction or non-fiction, containing very superficial or casual references to Jews (individually or collectively), and to Jewish history or Judaism that, in the compiler’s estimation, do not contribute to a scholarly understanding of Jewish life.
- Works published, printed or lithographed by Jews or Jewish-owned firms but devoid of any Jewish content. Examples include the sales literature of a Jewish mercantile firm or the job printing of a Jewish printer.
- Grammars of Hebrew or Aramaic and/or related philological treatises, dictionaries, vocabularies, composition and exercise books, primers, verb tables, etc., authored by non-Jews. Christian Hebraism, as a broad category, is likewise excluded.
- Holy Land/Palestine travel narratives and Palestinography.
- Works printed in countries other than the United States and any foreign work in any language concerned with Jewish Americana or Americana, or any work published overseas by a Jew prior to, during, or after his migration to America.
- Works by Jews printed outside of the United States.
- Successive editions or multiple printings of a work, e.g., repeated editions of Josephus, unless considerably enlarged or the illustrative matter has changed in a significant way, or the edition has relevance to capturing the output of Jewish publishing houses.
- Articles, news accounts, speech excerpts, or illustrations of Jewish interest in newspapers, magazines, city directories, dictionaries, etc.
- Detached articles as well as article offprints from periodicals; exceptions, may be made for articles reprinted from a daily newspaper, a weekly, or a monthly if they are more readily available as booklets and/or they are generally known and referenced in the literature as between-the-covers separates.
- Biographical entries of Jews published in legislative directories or in compiled biographical sets or annual series.
- Well-known classics of world literature containing Jewish subject matter or themes, e.g., Merchant of Venice, The Jew of Malta, Ivanhoe, Oliver Twist, etc., or Boccaccio’s The Decameron, with its relatively minor First Day, Second and Third Stories, introducing two Jews, Abraham and Melchizedech, respectively. However, translations of these works into a Jewish language (Hebrew or Yiddish) are included.
- Works about the Bible, Biblical theology and institutions (an example is slaveholding), Biblical antiquities, and sacred geography unless directly pertinent to Jewish history or Judaism. Bible texts and exegesis are similarly excluded as the vast majority of these devotional and doctrinal works are intended for a Christian readership to fortify religious faith and, more broadly, to validate and transmit the universal gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Works about religion versus scientism, creationism versus evolution, the Sabbath/Sunday controversy, the Ancient Near East, the life of Jesus and the Apostles, Christianity in the formative period, the New Testament, and patristics.
- Court reporter series, lawsuits, including testimony, depositions, and trial proceedings, legal briefs, petitions, and arguments of counsel, court transcripts, judicial opinions and judgments, appeals, etc.
- Annual session laws of the individual states, a rich source for acts of incorporation of Jewish institutions, are excluded whereas printed acts of incorporation published separately are included.
- Business cards, visiting cards, merchant trade cards, trade tokens, advertising fliers, letterheads, billheads, bank checks, invoices, receipt forms, labels, lottery announcements and tickets.
- Synagogue fundraising appeals, solicitations for contributions, notices for the sale of burial plots, also announcements of meetings, invitations, forms, sundry resolutions and notices, program sheets, admission passes, tickets, etc., as a rule all very routine and wholly unremarkable. Older ephemeral pieces, especially that found in the Lyons scrapbooksat the American Jewish Historical Society, have been included. The coverage of ephemera, however, has been augmented selectively; for instance, by Jewish responses to national or international events or crises as well as by the circular letters and broadsides that provide documentary evidence of Jewish community-building far beyond the eastern urban centers.
- Prints, graphics, map sheets, wall posters, diagrams, stock certificates and bonds, postcards, condolence and greeting cards, printed "thank you" notes, daguerreotypes, photographs, cabinet cards, stereoviews, silhouette portraits.
- Artwork (paintings, sculptures, designs, drawings, etc.), ceremonial objects, religious artifacts.
- Book catalogs of libraries containing scattered bibliographic entries for Judaica or Hebraica; museum, gallery, or auction catalogs containing entries, typically with illustrations, of ancient Jewish coinage, artifacts, paintings, etc., with Jewish themes.
- Books containing Hebrew type – typical examples include Christian theological treatises and sermons, Bible commentaries, textual criticism, and dictionaries, occult, magical, and Masonic texts, typographic specimen booklets, histories of the alphabet and ancient languages, comparative philology, etc.
- Manuscripts, letters, diaries, autograph books, guest registers, typescripts, acting scripts, muster rolls and battlefield casualty lists, passenger and ship cargo lists, membership lists, account books and ledgers, scrapbooks, telegrams, insurance policies, documents such as contracts, holograph wills, land transfers and deeds, mortgages, minute books, registers of births, circumcisions, marriages, deaths, and burials.
- Diplomas, certificates, licenses, awards, commendations, bookplates, membership cards, trophies, plaques, pins, medals, badges, banners, flags, and all other memorabilia and personal items.
The compiler would be the first to admit that some of the material contained in this large resource may, to some, be of borderline relevance. Be that as it may, perhaps because of his earlier leaning toward a career in archaeology or his graduate degree in history, this bibliographer has deliberately selected an exceedingly spacious wall for his mural. Guidance is close at hand in the instructive words of Antony Bridge:
Recorded history is an abstract of events: a written or spoken record of a tiny section of past happenings which all too often are reduced to bare facts. At the time, however, no fact or event is bare, and history consists of a myriad of interlocking events in which a multitude of men and women are involved with their emotions of hope and fear, anger and desire, tiredness and hunger, and longing for peace (note 5).
It is axiomatic that a broadly conceived project such as Judaica Americana can never hope to be truly “definitive” or complete. An alarming number of entries are listed on the basis of the only known specimen or from a reliable reference to a single copy either lost or unlocated today in any repository. This loss of our Jewish cultural patrimony is particularly worrisome in the case of serials, especially those titles for which not even a single issue survives. Will library administrators take special measures to ensure collection security for the increasingly valuable titles found in Judaica Americana?
Work on supplementing the Judaica Americana set published by Greenwood Press in 1990 began, so it seems, even prior to dispatching the project off to the publisher. Such is the nature of bibliographies and the notion of “definitiveness” is an unobtainable ideal. Discoveries continued to be made from bookseller catalogs (albeit, a vanishing species) and as more and more libraries accelerated the conversion of their card catalogs to machine-readable form, the rich holdings of the long-established libraries were now searchable from afar via something new in the world, the Internet. (By way of an important reality check, there are titles captured by the present bibliography that have not yet transitioned to the holding institution’s public online cataloging system.)
The Golden Age for bibliographers became even more golden with digitized, full-text books accessible from freely available online services like HathiTrust and Internet Archive, enriched as they are by keyword searching capability. Access to interlibrary loan service, including today’s rapid delivery of scanned pages, also contributes to a bibliographer’s ultimate success. Valuable discoveries were also made from auction sites (eBay and Kestenbaum & Company, for instance) and online marketplaces for booksellers such as AbeBooks.com where a dealer’s well-crafted annotation might bring to the fore a Jewish aspect of a little-known title not previously recognized as having any relevance to Judaica.
The expansion of academic Jewish Studies programs on American campuses in recent decades necessitated accelerated library support through targeted collection building. Among the newer special collections of Judaica Americana are the extensive Leonard C. Milberg collection of rarities (not limited to Judaica) curated by the Princeton University Library while the University of Pennsylvania is similarly enriched by its stellar Arnold and Deanne Kaplan Collection of Early American Judaica.
Judaica Americana has been enlarged by more than 3,000 entries drawn from a broad range of genres, including creative writing, the Wandering Jew theme, foreign literature in translation, stereotype-laden dime novels, foreign travel accounts, city and county histories, American memoirs and biographies, phrenology and racial “science,” urban sociology, children’s literature and school readers, humor books, music scores and songsters, missionary accounts, also prophetic millenarian texts of which there is no shortage. Additional success with identifying Jewish-interest material embedded in sermon collections, federal documents, almanacs, and annual gift books has been made; other researchers are invited to continue probing in these potentially-rich target areas. Areas for further investigation include broadsides, Jewish social clubs, fraternal orders, and benevolent societies, playbills and event programs, penny songs and song collections, state, county, and city documents, also Masonic lodge histories and biography.
Renewed attention has been devoted to the inclusion of notes that signal the presence of iconographic representations of Jews and Jewish culture. A great many titles, at least on the superficial level if one relies solely on title page information, have no Jewish content whatsoever yet a deeper analysis often reveals submerged yet pertinent textual as well as graphic material of Jewish-interest that would otherwise be lost to researchers. To repeat, Judaica Americana’s intended scope is limited to the more sustained treatments of Judaism, Jews, and Jewish affairs. This bibliography should not, therefore, be approached as an all-inclusive “concordance” of the stray, incidental, or minor Jewish references, as in the “as rich as a Jew” variety or the evocations of the “children of Israel” (alternatively, “Israelites” or “Hebrews”), scattered far and wide throughout the corpus of American theology, homiletics, oratory, and literature extending to religious verse.
I am deeply grateful to Dr. Arthur Kiron (Schottenstein-Jesselson Curator of Judaica Collections, University of Pennsylvania) for his enthusiastic acceptance of Judaica Americana as an enduring scholarly contribution and for his generous offer to host the project as it migrates into the transformative world of resource sharing as a full-text digital database. Over time, the maintained database will, predictably, expand as new discoveries are made, for instance, by collectors, booksellers, librarians, historians, and from the relatively unexplored archival holdings of Jewish institutions and synagogues.
Special acknowledgments for their encouragement, staff assistance, and help with verifications are owed to Anne-Marie Belinfante (Dorot Jewish Division, New York Public Library), Tanya Elder (American Jewish Historical Society), Stephen Ferguson (Princeton University), Dr. David Gilner (Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati), James N. Green (Library Company of Philadelphia), Sharon Horowitz (Hebraic Section, Library of Congress), Ari Kinsberg (Brooklyn, N.Y.), Marie Lamoureaux (American Antiquarian Society), Melanie Meyers (Center for Jewish History, New York), Dr. Bruce Nielsen (University of Pennsylvania), Elizabeth Pope (American Antiquarian Society), Kevin Proffitt (American Jewish Archives), Lynne Thomas (Northern Illinois University), S. J. Wolfe (American Antiquarian Society), Laurel Wolfson (Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati), and in Jerusalem, Haim Levy and Zmira Reuveni (National Library of Israel). The assistance of dozens upon dozens of reference librarians, library staff, and behind-the-scenes interlibrary loan teams, far and wide, was very crucial to the verification process and to this project’s successful completion. Thank you, one and all.
In closing this labor of love, the product of thirty-five years of tenacious research, reading, travel, intuition building, and detailed manuscript preparation, it should be readily apparent that the surviving published record of our collective past represents historical artifacts. As envisioned, this bibliography of primary sources and the data-rich digital repository will sustain generations of academicians and students in their ongoing interpretation of our Jewish as well as Christian heritage in the United States. By their discoveries, the historian, the archaeologist, and the bibliographer share a common pursuit as they dig and recover buried cultural evidence. The following insight by Eric H. Cline, a scholar at George Washington University who bridges history as well as field archaeology, is instructive:
The concept of the past – that there are layers and layers of civilization and that each culture is in a very real sense built upon the cultures that came before it – is at the very heart of what archaeologists do. As we dig down through the layers of dirt, we’re not just uncovering objects. We’re uncovering our deep connections to the past (note 6).
All errors of omission and commission, as well as of interpretation and judgment, are mine alone.
1. G. Thomas Tanselle, “Copyright Records and the Bibliographer,” Studies in Bibliography, vol. 22 (1969), pp. 77-124 (back to text)
2. The compiler has written previously about his methodology and travels in connection with this project in “Compiling the Book-length Bibliography: Concepts and Strategies,” Judaica Librarianship, vol. 2 (Spring 1985), pp. 79-80, and “Jewish Americana in American Libraries: An Overview,” Jewish Book Annual, vol. 45 (1987/88), pp. 158-67. For additional methodological insights drawn from the literature of the humanities, see Robert Singerman, "Creating the Optimum Bibliography From Reference Chaining to Bibliographic Control," in David William Foster and James R. Kelly, eds. Bibliography in Literature, Folklore, Language, and Linguistics: Essays on the Status of the Field (Jefferson, N.C., c2003), pp. 19-47. (back to text)
3. The three supplements to Rosenbach are: Jacob R. Marcus, Jewish Americana (Cincinnati, 1954), limited to the holdings of the Hebrew Union College Library, Cincinnati; Edwin Wolf II, “Some Unrecorded American Judaica Printed Before 1851,” in Essays in American Jewish History to Commemorate the Tenth Anniversary of the American Jewish Archives (Cincinnati, 1958), pp. 187-245; and Nathan M. Kaganoff, “Supplement III: Judaica Americana Printed Before 1851,” in Charles Berlin, ed. Studies in Jewish Bibliography, History and Literature in Honor of I. Edward Kiev (New York, 1971), pp. 177-209, limited to the holdings of the American Jewish Historical Society, now in New York.(back to text)
4. Allan E. Levine, An American Jewish Bibliography: A List of Books and Pamphlets by Jews or Relating to them Printed in the United States from 1851 to 1875, which are in the Possession of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion Library in Cincinnati (Cincinnati, 1959). An unpublished preliminary compilation prepared in 1973 by Leopold Naum Friedmann covering the holdings of the American Jewish Historical Society for the same period is available at the AJHS.(back to text)
5. Antony Bridge, Suleiman the Magnificent, Scourge of Heaven (New York, 1983), p. 139.(back to text)
6. Eric H. Cline, Three Stones Make a Wall: The Story of Archaeology (Princeton, N.J., c2017), p. .(back to text)