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The Price Library of Judaica Anniversary Collection represents the first stage of a project to digitize a unique and important collection of over 200 anniversary editions of Jewish newspapers held in the Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica. These anniversary issues have never been catalogued by the Library and until now have remained ‘hidden’ from Library users.
The UF collection of anniversary newspapers is highly significant for a number of reasons. The newspaper titles in the collection represent a wide cross-section of world Jewish newspapers which, by the 1960s amounted to nearly 600 titles. The Jewish press of the twentieth century was an extremely vibrant entity and an important tool of social change: not only did it report on the key events of the day, but it often led the way in major political movements, gave leading Jewish authors their first publishing platform, provided a means for Jewish women to have a voice, assisted Jews with assimilation into the surrounding culture and provided a vital link back to the community for those already assimilated. Some of these newspapers played a key role in disseminating information to beleaguered Jewish communities, such as the Polish Yiddish newspaper Moment which was smuggled out of Nazi occupied Warsaw under threat of death. The anniversary issues of these titles therefore contain a great deal of information about the history of the particular newspaper in question and, as a large and varied collection, provide a key resource for research into the history of the Jewish press.
Thirty-eight anniversary issues of 25 Jewish newspapers from around the world were selected for the Price Library of Judaica Anniversary Collection. The newspapers date from 1904 to 1973, with a heavy concentration of publications from the 1930s and 40s– a critical period in the history of 20th century Jewry. They were published in numerous cities around the world with large and significant Jewish populations, and in a range of languages including Dutch, English, German, Hebrew and Yiddish. Many of these newspapers were major daily or weekly editions, with large circulation numbers; most are no longer current; some were disbanded before the Second World War and some merged with other titles.
These newspapers in this Anniversary Collection were chosen as representative of the entire collection and, in terms of size, the easiest to process digitally. Many of the newspapers, however, are in a poor state of preservation and have had to be removed from their bindings for digitization. They have been re-housed in acid-free archival boxes and thus preserved for as long as possible. Readers can consult the original copies in the Special Collections Reading Room of the Smathers Library.
The first stage of this digitization project not only brings to light a one-of-a-kind archive, it is the first time that such a collection has been mounted online. This special Anniversary Collection has been created to coincide with another important anniversary: the 30th year of the Price Library of Judaica.