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Leon Nemoy, Yale’s first Judaica Curator


     Leon Nemoy (1901-1997) was Yale’s first Judaica and Arabic Curator. Nemoy, an immigrant from Eastern Europe began working in the Yale library in 1923 and in 1938 he was appointed Curator of Hebrew and Arabic Literature. During his tenure Yale received the Alexander Kohut Memorial Collection of Judaica (1915 and 1935) and the Sholem Asch Collection (1946). With the acquisition of these important collections, Yale became a center for the study of Jewish literature, history and culture. Under his leadership important Arabic manuscripts were acquired as well. Nemoy was also a prolific scholar and editor. A Yale Pd.D., his articles and book reviews appeared in many of the nation's most prestigious academic journals. He was also editor of the Yale Judaica Series published by the Yale Press and the Jewish Quarterly Review published by the former Dropsie College in Philadelphia.

     Rare materials are housed in the Manuscripts and Archives Department of the Sterling Memorial Library and in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Among the rare and unusual Judaica at the Beinecke Library are some 150 manuscripts and 45 incunabula (books printed before 1501). Special features of this impressive holding include the Selah Merrill Collection of Josephus, the Goodhart Collection of Philo imprints, the Alexander Kohut Memorial Collection and the Sholem Asch Collection. Materials of a political nature can be found in the Department of Manuscripts and Archives. Items of interest include the papers of Harry Weinberger, a lawyer who represented may radicals of the turn of the 20th Century such as Emma Goldman. Yale’s official records documenting the history of Jews at yale are also housed in Manuscripts and Archives.

     The Judaca Reading and Reference Room is located in 335B of the Sterling Memorial Library. It is open during Library hours to Yale students, faculty and visiting scholars. The office of the Judaica curator, Nanette Stahl, is attached to the Reading Room. she can be reached by email at nanette.stahl@yale.edu and by phone: (203)432-7207.



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