Mapping Asia homepage Mapping Asia splash logo
Project background Search collections Search newspapers Language skills External links Contributors login
Back to results pageQuick collection searchBrowse collection recordsAdvanced collection search

Hebrew & Judaica

Collection Details

Hebrew & Judaica held at Wellcome Library [Institution record]

Description of Collection

Content description

Based on the collections of Sir Henry Wellcome (see parent record) and augmented with primary and secondary sources relevant to the study of medicine and allied topics in Jewish society both in ancient Israel, post biblical and mediaeval periods to present times.

History and development

The core of the collection brought together by Sir Henry Wellcome is varied in content. Acquisitions over the last thirty years have been more focused on the library’s main interest in medical history and allied subjects.


Medicine and related topics pertaining to Judaism in all periods ; small but significant collections of Hebrew manuscripts and early printed books which include early illustrated circumcision siddurim, ketubboth, 1505 Constantinople Pentateuch and other rare early printed Hebrew books. Relevant western archive material includes papers of Thomas Hodgkin (PP/HO), campaigner with Sir Moses Montefiore on behalf of Jews in 19th century Palestine, and records of Sir Henry Wellcome’s archeological project at Lachish, Palestine, in the early 20th century (WA/HSW/AR/Lac). Prints, drawings and paintings of Biblical subjects ; engravings, lithographs and photographs of Palestine/Holy land in 19th and 20th centuries.

General arrangement and access regulations

Open access : Western language post-1850 books, arranged according to Barnard (modified) classification system. Closed access : Hebrew and Yiddish printed books and manuscripts, relevant western manuscript, archive and iconographic material.

Subjects of the Collection

Regions of Asia

Near & Middle East and North Africa.


Egypt, Israel, Turkey.

Languages of material

Arabic, Dutch, English, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Spanish, Yiddish.


Archaeology, History, Human rights, Language, Law, Literature, Medicine, Philosophy, Religion, Science and technology, Sociology, Travel.

Names relevant to the collection:

  • Maimonides, Moses (1135-1204)
  • Hodgkin, Thomas (1798-1866)
  • Montefiore, Moses (1784-1885)
  • Wellcome, Henry Solomon (1853-1936)

Collection Material and Size of Collection

Material Types

Archival materials (includes non-published & mixed material), Books, Manuscripts, Serials, Theses, Visual materials (includes photographs, prints, drawings, videos & films).

Total size of collection

c. 1,440 printed books, 4 periodicals, 95 Hebraica manuscripts with relevant material scattered through the western manuscript and archive collections ; c. 1,000 prints, drawings and photographs.

Size of collection - vernacular

c. 440 printed books, 3 periodicals,and 95 Hebraica manuscripts ; c. 40 monographs and 1 manuscript in Yiddish.

Size of collection - western

c. 1,000 monographs and pamphlets. 1 periodical c.8,500 manuscripts, with relevant materials scattered through them c.550 archive collections, with relevant materials scattered through them. c. 1,000 prints, drawings and photographs.

Collection Management Information

The collection is being actively developed, and the average intake has stayed the same.

Annual intake

Year 1999/2000: 700 printed books relating to Asia in western and oriental languages and 20 oriental manuscripts;. 82 accessions of western manuscripts and archives with occasional items of oriental interest among them; 501 pictures including 130 of oriental subjects.

Content date range

0 to 0 AD

Interlibrary loan procedure

The Wellcome Library is a Reference library only, apart from ILL.

Co-operative agreements

  • Informal arrangements with British Library, Oriental & India Office Collections regarding acquisition of oriental manuscripts.
  • The Library is an Associated Institution of the School of Advanced Study, University of London, and an Associate Member of the Consortium of University Research Libraries (CURL).

Collection policy

The Wellcome Library has a collection policy for secondary post 1850 printed books which it collects to support medical history in its widest context of social history in all languages relating to every age and part of the world. Collection policies for other parts of the Library are under development.

Retention policy

Post 1850 printed books not retained include multiple copies except those of particular value or significant provenance. These are deselected, offered to other potentially interested libraries and if not required, discarded.

Collection Catalogue Information


Uses software from Innovative Interfaces Inc. Allows searches of whole database including bibliography of works not held, or of specific sections, e.g. oriental manuscripts in particular languages only, western manuscripts and archives only, printed books only, pictures only. Contains records for most of the Library's printed books: journals and a small number of oriental printed books (still on cards) are still to be added. It includes some 50,000 records of iconographic material. A database describes the majority of western manuscripts and archives; a programme to convert old printed or typed catalogues of this material is well advanced. Where a catalogue has not yet been converted to electronic form the hard copy is available for consultation.

Catalogue transliteration schemes

Pin yin (Chinese); Hepburn (Japanese); LC for all other printed oriental material. Published catalogues of manuscripts vary

Collection printed catalogues

Catalogue of Hebrew Manuscripts in the Wellcome Institute, London
Allan, Nigel
Journal of Semitic Studies,27 (2), 1982, pp. 193-220.

Catalogue of Hebrew printed books (1491-1900) in the Wellcome Institute, London
Allan, Nigel
Journal of Semitic Studies, 39 (2), 1994, pp. 183-206.

Catalogue of Western manuscripts on medicine and science in the Wellcome Historical Medical Library
Moorat, S.A.J.
London, 1962-1973.

Catalogue of Western manuscripts in the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine. Western manuscripts 5120-6244
Palmer, Richard.
London, 1999, c2000.

A Guide to the Contemporary Medical Archives Centre
Sheppard, Julia
London, 2000

Back to results pageQuick collection searchBrowse collection recordsAdvanced collection search