The extraordinary manuscript holdings of the Klau Library are now available online, expanding access to these rare treasures to scholars and the general public at mss.huc.edu.
Ranked among the finest in the world, these holdings contain some 2,500 manuscripts, broadsides, codices, fanfolds, and scrolls covering the full scope of Jewish life and knowledge. From illuminated medieval Bibles to elaborately decorated calendars, from liturgies of the Comtat Venaissin to wedding poems from Venice, the breadth of Jewish civilization is intricately recorded and preserved. The content encompasses Jewish history, universal texts, influential philosophies, and enduring art, at the same time recording the intimate joys and sorrows of individual Jews and their communities.
Digitized images include Meir Jaffe’s inimitable illuminations of the world-renowned First Cincinnati Haggadah, dating from the end of the 15th century (above); the unique 17th-century Yizkor Book of the Chinese Jewish community of Kaifeng; the Ibn Musa Bible of 1475, bound in one of only six known medieval Hebrew box bindings; and the Hebrew translation of the Epistle to the Hebrews made by Richard Bruarne, second Regius Professor of Hebrew at Oxford, and presented as a gift to Henry VIII.
This digitization project was initiated by Dr. David Gilner with pilot funding from George Blumenthal. Ardon Bar-Hama, who digitized the Vatican, Julliard, and Oxford collections, implemented this project under the supervision of Yoram Bitton, Director of Libraries.