January 19, 2022

Penn Libraries Receive $8.5 Million Gift of the Kaplan Collection of Early American Judaica

From the University of Pennsylvania Libraries (via Business Wire):

The Penn Libraries have received the Arnold and Deanne Kaplan Collection of Early American Judaica. This gift is valued at $8.5 million and contains over 11,000 items. It is the most important private collection of its kind that documents the social and economic development of early Jewish life in the Western Hemisphere. The core of the Kaplan Collection covers the period before mass Jewish migration to the Americas in the late 1880s.

“Arny & Dee Kaplan began collecting before most people paid much attention to Judaica Americana, and they specialized in what many people neglected, such as items related to the economic life of nineteenth-century American Jews,” remarked Dr. Jonathan Sarna, Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University and Chief Historian of the National Museum of American Jewish History. “With this remarkable addition to its already highly significant holdings, Penn moves to the front ranks among libraries of American Judaica.”


Penn Libraries will make part of the Kaplan Collection available on long-term loan to the National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH). Through this endeavor, first envisioned by Arnold Kaplan, the NMAJH and the Penn Libraries have embarked upon a unique partnership to enhance public access to the Kaplan Collection.


[Our emphasis] Every item in the Collection will be digitally reproduced and made available online to scholars and students. Penn Libraries will hold an exhibition in January 2014 in its new Special Collections Center with highlights from the Kaplan Collection on view, accompanied by an exhibition catalog with essays by leading scholars in the field.

Read the Complete Announcement

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.