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Whitechapel-Schweizer Yiddish collection

Collection Details

Whitechapel-Schweizer Yiddish collection held at Taylor Institution Library [Institution record]

Description of Collection

Content description

The Yiddish collection consists of some 4,000 volumes of books mainly of literary texts, including translations of European literature into Yiddish, plus works of a linguistic, historical, political and cultural nature. Titles date generally from the first half of the twentieth century and are usually inYiddish with a few in English or German.There are also partial or broken runs of some 70 periodicals in the collection.

History and development

The collection has been acquired and developed from the mid 1980s onwards. In 1984 the Taylorian was given ca. 3,000 volumes formerly belonging to Whitechapel Public Library. In 1989 the collection was much enlarged by a gift of some 1,000 volumes of modern literature from the 1930s - 1970s from the personal library of the Israeli Yiddish writer Sholomo Schweizer. A number of other smaller donated collections have also been incorporated and new works are acquired on a regular basis.


The collection includes many titles from the inter-war period including rare items from Eastern Europe. The Whitechapel collection is historically interesting in itself , representing the reading library of the Jewish immigrant community of east London.

General arrangement and access regulations

More than half of the collection is on open access and is arranged in a classified order by period and subject. Primary and secondary literature for individual authors is gathered together. Periodicals are arranged in an alphabetical sequence. The remaining portion of the collection is kept at an out-of-town repository from which deliveries are made twice daily. Members of the library may order such repository books electronically.

Subjects of the Collection

Regions of Asia

Near & Middle East and North Africa.

Languages of material

English, French, German, Hebrew, Yiddish.


Language, Literature.

Languages as linguistic focus


Collection Material and Size of Collection

Material Types

Books, Serials.

Total size of collection

4,600 volumes

Size of collection - vernacular

4,200 volumes

Size of collection - western

400 volumes

Collection Management Information

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

Annual intake

100 volumes

Content date range

1900 to present

Retention policy

The Library's collections are all for permanent retention

Collection Catalogue Information


The Library's printed holdings are all included in the University of Oxford's online catalogue (OLIS). In addition there is a file of photocopied title-pages of most of the Yiddish books at the Repository. This is shelved adjacent to the main collection of Yiddish books.

Catalogue transliteration schemes

Yivo (Yiddish)

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