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About the Library

The Personal Archives in the Archives Department of The National Library of Israel

From its earliest days The National Library of Israel absorbed, in addition to various types of printed works, other collections including personal archives. For many years the Library was the only institution in the country to collect such archives. The first substantial archive it received was that of Ahad Haam, which he bequeathed to the Library after his death in 1927.

The following list contains some 400 personal archives, chiefly of Jewish figures who were active and influential in a variety of spheres: Zionist leaders, rabbis, scientists, philosophers, writers and poets, journalists and critics, musicians and others.

The archives vary in size ranging from a small file of documents and letters to dozens of meters of material housed in archival containers. New material, both original and secondary continues to be added to existing holdings. In some cases, such as those of Martin Buber, Albert Einstein, S.Y. Agnon and Else Lasker-Schüler the archives include also book collections.

The contents of the majority of the archives are listed, but the descriptions are not uniform due to the different periods in which the material arrived and was sorted. Some archives have yet to be listed, but a detailed card catalogue is maintained and constantly updated for all those that are currently received from living personalities such as Haim Guri or A.B. Yehoshua, or for those for which we continue to collect and add material. The search for suitable software for the computerization of the archives is now underway.

The intensive use of this material by researchers, students and readers from within Israel and from all over the world testifies to its accessibility. The publication of this list of names with brief accompanying details will undoubtedly increase general awareness of the existence of this unique material at the Library.

For list of archives by names (A-Z) click here

For list of archives by names in Hebrew (-) click here

For detailed listing of the archives click here