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Penn Libraries News

Judaica Digital Humanities Launches the Digital Second Edition of Judaica Americana

Spines of five old, leather-bound books with Hebrew titles.

Judaica Digital Humanities at the Penn Libraries is excited to announce the launch of the Digital Second Edition of Judaica Americana. This bibliographic database draws from Robert Singerman’s Judaica Americana, the award-winning, magisterial two-volume bibliography of American Jewish publications before 1900. Visitors can search the database’s 9,600+ bibliographic entries by author, language, holding institution, and various tags, as well as find open-access links to digitized Jewish monographs, serials, and periodicals, when available.

Last October, Singerman donated to the Penn Libraries the draft of the full text and copyright to his revised second edition of Judaica Americana. Singerman’s first edition, issued in 1990 in two volumes, was sponsored by the Center for the Study of the American Jewish Experience, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and published by Greenwood Press as part of the Bibliographies and Indexes in American History. In the first edition, Singerman cataloged just over 6,500+ monographic and serial publications and presented each with meticulous bibliographical descriptions, classification explanations, and holdings information (i.e., the names of collections where copies are known to be held). 

Judaica Americana authoritatively chronicles American Jewish book production from the seventeenth century to the beginning of the twentieth century. The second edition contains an additional 3,000 entries. Taken as a whole, Singerman’s bibliography provides extensive documentation of American Jewish communal activity and growth before 1901.

Librarian Emeritus Singerman spent nearly three decades at the Price Library of Judaica at the University of Florida, where he grew an assortment of 24,000 unprocessed volumes to a fully-cataloged collection of over 85,000 volumes. For the second edition of Judaica Americana, the Association of Jewish Libraries awarded Singerman the 2020 Judaica Reference and Bibliography Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Singerman’s draft of the second edition — including a Supplements section, and two datasets based upon it — are now discoverable in ScholarlyCommons, the University of Pennsylvania’s open access institutional repository. All the files now are available to researchers, book trade specialists, genealogists, and bibliographers with all information needed to mine this invaluable resource. 

Judaica Digital Humanities is profoundly grateful to Robert Singerman for entrusting his extraordinary work to the Penn Libraries.

The project is an initiative of Judaica Digital Humanities at the Penn Libraries, which is a robust program of projects and tools for experimental digital scholarship with Judaica collections. Additional information about this project and program can be found on the Judaica DH website.