Rare Book and Manuscript Collection

The HUC-JIR Rare Book and Manuscript Collection brings together fine examples of manuscripts, books, bookplates, stamps, maps, and broadsides.

Open Book

The HUC-JIR Rare Book and Manuscript Collection includes rare incunabula, illuminated manuscripts, Biblical codices, communal records, legal documents, and scientific tracts.

Special exhibits can be viewed in the David Ellenson Rare Book Room (Cincinnati). Additionally, many of our manuscripts may be viewed online. Researchers are encouraged to visit the Klau Library in Cincinnati to explore the Library’s many historical treasures. Additionally, many of these items have been digitized and cataloged and can be viewed on the HUC-JIR Manuscript website here.

Americana Rare Book and Manuscript HUC


All American books printed through 1875 which relate in any way to the Jews are sought for the Library’s Rare Book Collection of Jewish Americana. This collection includes early printed Hebrew Bibles, prayer books, periodicals, Hebrew grammars, travel books about the Holy Land, and books printed by and about Jews and Jewish life in the United States.

Bindings Rare Book and Manuscript HUC


The Library’s collection of unusual and artistic bindings includes those made of wood, ivory, leather, embroidered cloth, and silver; many have fine tooling or other decorations.

Bookplate Rare Book and Manuscript HUC


The Library’s bookplate collection contains plates commissioned by Jewish owners or executed by Jewish graphic artists. Many artistic techniques are represented: etchings, wood and copper engravings, woodcuts, lithographs, and scissor cuts.

Broadsides Rare Book and Manuscripts HUC


The Library’s collection of some 10,000 broadsides includes notices to the community, prayers, eulogies, poems honoring a marriage or other special occasion, theater posters, and governmental announcements.

page from the haggadah


The Library’s extensive collection of manuscript and printed editions from Europe, Asia, and the Americas includes the First Cincinnati Haggadah (Germany, 15th century) and the Second Cincinnati Haggadah (Moravia, 18th Century).

Jews of Kaifeng Rare Book and Manuscripts HUC

Jews of Kaifeng

The Kaifeng manuscripts from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) were acquired in the 1920s by the Library from a missionary society. The collection includes Torah portions, prayer books, and the only known manuscripts which contain both Chinese and Hebrew characters.

Maps Rare Book and Manuscripts HUC


The Library’s collection includes both manuscript and printed maps, dating from the fifteenth century to the present. Most of these maps are of Israel and its environs.

Music Rare Book and Manuscripts HUC


The Library’s vast collection includes manuscripts and musical scores for cantorial chanting, cantillation (trope) used for reading the Pentateuch and the Prophets, and instrumental and vocal music for synagogue service.

Stamps Rare Book and Manuscripts HUC


Among the Library’s holdings are stamps from around the world which depict famous Jewish figures, events from Jewish history, and various Jewish themes. Of particular interest is a major collection of the stamps of the State of Israel.

The images included above have been prepared exclusively from its own permanent collection. To include any of these image for publication or to reproduce them in any way, please contact Jordan Finkin, the Rare Book Librarian.