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With holdings of over 90,000 volumes, the Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica at the University of Florida is considered the foremost Jewish studies research collection in the southeastern United States. In terms of many of its scarce, late 19th to early 20th century imprints, the Price Library of Judaica ranks among the top 20 academic libraries in the world. Indeed, many thousands of its titles in Hebrew and Yiddish are held by just 10 or less libraries in the United States.
A digital collection for the Price Library of Judaica is now being produced from some of these scarce materials, as well as a number of digital subcollections derived from materials housed within the George A. Smathers Libraries’ Department of Special Collections.
Price Library of Judaica
The Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica is currently located in the northwest corner of the ground floor of Library West at the George A. Smathers Libraries in the University of Florida.
The Library was built on the core collection of Rabbi Leonard C. Mishkin of Chicago which, at the time of its acquisition in 1977, was the largest personal library of Judaica and Hebraica in the United States. The range and depth of Mishkin's collection was described by Harvard Bibliographer Charles Berlin as "superb". The UF Libraries received the first National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant awarded to a United States Research Library in order to partially underwrite Rabbi Leonard C. Mishkin’s 40,000 volume library. The NEH Grant was matched by the first State of Florida Quality Improvement Funds.
Formally dedicated in March 1981, the Library was named for Isser and Rae Price, whose sons, Jack and Samuel Price of Jacksonville, Florida, established a fund to support sustained development of its collections. The Price family gift was the largest single gift ever made to the libraries at that time, and it was the first time that a special collection in the University Library had been endowed.
Today, library patrons will find a Jewish studies collection of notable depth, scope and singularity. Its diversified holdings of uncommon research materials in English, Hebrew, and other languages support scholarship in virtually every aspect of the Jewish experience. Materials relevant to the ancient, medieval and modern periods are available to students and researchers alike, as they are to any reader who possesses a curiosity about the Jewish People, whose cultures, societies, and influences span over 3,000 years of recorded history.
The Price Library supports the teaching and research of the University of Florida's Center for Jewish Studies. The Center website also includes beautiful Flash versions of several Special Collections books.
Banner, left: from the Price Library of Judaica’s copy of the facsimile of the Rothschild Miscellany (copyright www.facsimile-editions.com)
Banner, center and right: from the Price Library of Judaica’s copy of Shir ha-shirim, Jerusalem, c. 1955