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Grant number: PG-52380-15

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Leo Baeck Institute, Inc. (New York, NY 10021-3502)
Renate Evers (Project Director: May 2014 to present)

Preservation of the Rare Science of Judaism Collection at the Library of the Leo Baeck Institute

The purchase of rehousing materials for a collection of rare, 19th-century books on the “Science of Judaism” (Wissenschaft des Judentums). The project, based on the recommendations of a 2010 preservation assessment, will rehouse approximately 1,000 rare books and journals from the 19th century. The applicant holds the largest collection of materials in the United States related to research on the Science of Judaism, the 19th-century precursor to modern Jewish scholarship, which illustrates the transformation of Jewish thought from secluded religious and social worlds to secularized, scholarly studies. The publications influenced the formation and development of later thinkers, including Gershom Scholem, Martin Buber, Franz Rosenzweig, Theodor Herzl, and Leo Baeck.

The grant will support the purchase of 533 custom-sized boxes for the 19th century “Science of Judaism” (Wissenschaft des Judentums) collection, a recently acquired addition to the rare book collection at the Library of the Leo Baeck Institute New York. A 2010 preservation survey strongly recommended acquiring these supplies to stabilize and protect the collection and to facilitate its handling. The preservation assessment was conducted by the Book Conservator Nelly Balloffet of Paper Star Associates, Inc., Ossining, NY, a company for book and paper conservation and library service. It was funded by a 2009/2010 NEH Preservation Assistance Grant for Smaller Institutions. The Leo Baeck Institute was established in New York in 1955 by German-Jewish refugees to document German-Jewish history and culture. It has the largest collection of materials in the United States related to the research area Science of Judaism, the predecessor of Jewish studies.

Project fields:
European History; Jewish Studies

Preservation Assistance Grants

Preservation and Access

Total amounts:
$5,083 (approved)
$5,083 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2015 – 6/30/2016