04 May 2009

New Blog: JTS Library

The Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City is recognized as the greatest Jewish library in the Western Hemisphere. Its extensive resources and special collections can be valuable to Jewish family history researchers.

Founded in 1893, there are nearly 400,000 volumes, including 25,000 rare books, 11,000 manuscripts and more. It also has 40,000 fragments from the Cairo Genizah, a collection of international ketubot (Jewish wedding contracts) and Passover haggadot. The library also has the world's largest collection of early books printed before 1501.

The JTS Library has just started a blog - JTS Library Takeaway - to be based on questions received at the reference desk. The librarians will post comments and suggestions and invite readers to provide their input on the answers.

There are just a few postings, but I'm sure it will grow. There seem to be a lot of food-related questions, but that's what people asked. One post indicated receiving e-mail questions, so that's another route for researchers with questions about sources.

Readers can access the online Aleph catalog and explore the Library pages here.

When I was working on our DARDASHTI family project, I contacted the library for Persian Jewish history sources. Everyone was extremely helpful. It is always worth checking the catalog or contacting the Library to see if materials pertaining to your family - no matter its origins - might be among their holdings.


  1. You have written that the JTS Library has a collection of international ketubot (Jewish wedding contracts). Do you know if they have been translated into english, are indexed, or how one would search for a family member´s ketubot?



  2. Hi, Bob. See the new post on the JTS Digital Library which answers all your questions. Thanks for asking!