Endowment Fund for Semitic Division of Congress Library is Asked
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Endowment Fund for Semitic Division of Congress Library is Asked

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A fund of $150,000 to be presented to the Library of Congress Trust Fund Board, the interest of which shall be used to augment the present number of Hebraica and Judaica possessed by the Library to acquire rare and unique items of Semitica, and to endow a chair for Semitics, so as to ensure permanently a scholarly conduct of the Division, was urged in an appeal issued by Congressman Meyer Jacobstein, of Rochester, N. Y., and Congressman Emanuel Celler, of Brooklyn, N. Y.

“Officials of the government–including Members of Congress–make constant use of the Semitic Division,” the Appeal states. “Its Chief, Dr. Schapiro is an outstanding Hebrew and Semitic scholar, who has shown great enthusiasm for the development of the collection and zeal in the service of it. He has promoted this service by cordiality to visiting investigators, by incessant correspondence and by publication: so that the department is already internationally known among scholars, and its opportunity for a wide and influential service fully demonstrated.

“But the full development of the collection and the service essential to interpret it, so that Hebrew and Semitic history, institutions and literature may receive proper importance in the Library of Congress, cannot be achieved through government funds alone.

“What is needed is:

(1) “An endowment, the income of which will be applicable to the purchase of material.

(2) “An endowment for the expert service, including an honorarium for the Chief of the Semitic Division. (The Act creating the Trust Fund Board specifically permits such honoraria, and invites endowments for them)

“The sums needed are: $100,000 as endowment for purchase, $50,000 as endowment for the “Chair.” The government will do its (major) part in providing for the accommodation of the collections, the ordinary acquisitions, and the subordinate service.”

The Library of Congress in Washington, which is now practically the National Library of the United States, has now in size taken third place among the great libraries in the world.

The Department of Semitic and Oriental literature, contains books in Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic and cognate languages, as well as Yiddish and Judaica.

The Semitic Division was established in 1913 at the time Jacob H. Schiff made his first contribution of over 10,000 books of Hebraica. Under Dr. Israel Schapiro, Chief of the Division since its inception, it has been considerably expanded, so that it now contains over 25,000 volumes in the Hebrew language alone, covering ancient and modern Hebrew literature.

By a duplicate method of indexing every library of consequence is being furnished with data concerning every Semitic book in the Library of Congress. In this way a student anywhere can secure photostat copies of any number of pages of any rare Jewish volume possessed by the Library of Congress. Through its Inter-Library Loan System rare volumes are lent to the higher institutions of learning in the United States.

A recent endowment was made by Mrs. Frederic S. Coolidge for Division of Music, involving a principal of over $400,000. A similar endowment of preferred stock of a par value of $100,000 was made by Mr. James B. Wilbur, part of the income of which is to be used for the collection of material for the study of American history. Another, by Mr. R. R. Bowker, is for the Bibliographic Service of the Library, as the Librarian may determine to be useful. The recent bequest by Mr. Joseph Pennell will be applicable to the development of the collection of Prints and its service.

Negotiations are now under way for the issuance by Bulgaria, under the auspices of the League of Nations, of an international loan of $11,250,000 to provide for settlement on land of approximately 120,000 Bulgarian refugees. The loan will be secured by a first charge on the salt and alcohol taxes and the match monopoly.

Its final sanction by the League must be preceded by the conclusion of satisfactory arrangements between the Bulgarian government and the holders of pre-war obligations.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund