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Kiev Judaica Collection Home Page

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The Gelman Library has diverse and wide-ranging holdings in the field of Hebrew and Judaic studies, including modern Judaica, rare books, and archival materials. Foremost among these is the I. Edward Kiev Collection, the leading university collection of pre-modern Hebraica and Judaica, and of Hebrew and Jewish bibliographic literature, in the Washington Research Library Consortium.

Kiev Collection brochure  Kiev Collection logo, "Rimon"Kiev Collection catalog

Manger, Mi-shire ha-megilah, 1969Hebrew manuscript, 18th century Nietzsche und die Juden


Rabbi I. Edward KievThe I. Edward Kiev Judaica Collection

The I. Edward Kiev Judaica Collection was established in 1996 by Dr. Ari and Phyllis Kiev with the donation of the private library of Dr. Kiev’s father, Rabbi I. Edward Kiev (1905-1975), one of the preeminent Judaica librarians of the 20th century. In 1998, the Kiev Room was dedicated to house the collection – along with supplementary collections of Jewish graphic art, archives, printed and recorded music, ephemera, artifacts and ritual objects - and to provide a reading room for researchers.  The continued growth of the Kiev Collection is supported by the Kiev Foundation and outside donations. 



Illuminated capital, Josephus, De antiquitate Judaica, 1486 At the time of his death, Edward Kiev’s library consisted of nearly 18,000 volumes in various areas of Judaic Studies, from rabbinics and biblical archaeology to Jewish history and modern Hebrew literature.  The Kiev Collection now holds more than 28,000 volumes, composed largely of English, Hebrew and German works published between the 18th and the 20th centuries. There is also a selection of early Judaica, including a hand-illuminated incunable edition of Josephus, De antiquitate Judaica (Venice, 1486) and A. Margarita’s Der gantz jüdisch Glaub (Augsburg, 1530), together with various works of early Christian Hebraism.  The entire range of modern German-Jewish scholarship is represented, from the Wissenschaft des Judentums in the 19th century to émigré publications from the Nazi period.


HebraicaJudeo-Tat school primer, 1929

The collection’s Hebraica include books printed over the course of five centuries and around the world, especially Eastern Europe.  There are books from some 250 towns in 30 countries, among them works issued by Soncino and Bomberg in Italy in the early 16th century.

Aside from works in Hebrew, there is much Yiddish literature, together with selected texts in other Jewish languages, including Aramaic, Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Persian, Judezmo (Ladino/Judeo-Spanish), Judeo-Tat and Karaite Tatar.


Katalog hebräischer Handschriften zu beziehen, 1906Judaic Bibliography and Reference

The Kiev Collection is especially rich in Hebrew and Judaic bibliographies and reference literature, a field in which Edward Kiev was a recognized authority.  This literature, some of it very rare, includes many auction catalogues and bibliographic pamphlets.




Judaica Book News


Over 900 titles of serials and periodicals in Hebrew, Yiddish, English and German are held in the Kiev Collection, many in lengthy runs and others in shorter runs or only a few issues. These include major scholarly journals as well as out of the way publications, some very rare.




A Jew and a Bishop, Cruikshank, 1796Leo Pinker, Autoemancipation!Graphic Arts and Pamphlets

The Kiev Room holds additional collections donated by the Kiev family, including the  Kiev Foundation Graphic Arts Collection, containing printed ephemera, lithographs, engravings, cartoons, and other exempla of Jewish art as well as a wide range of anti-Semitica. The Kiev Foundation Pamphlet Collection holds booklets, pamphlets, offprints, auction catalogues and brochures, some extremely rare or unrecorded. These collections complement the many hundreds of items in all of these categories preserved in the I. Edward Kiev Papers.




Rabbi I. Edward Kiev Bibliography of the Publications of David S. Blondheim

Manuscripts and Archives

The manuscript collections include the personal papers of I. Edward Kiev, as well as correspondence from distinguished figures in the Reform movement of American Judaism.  Among the primary sources are diaries and correspondence from Stephen S. Wise (1874-1949), an international Jewish leader and champion of the Zionist cause.  Wise co-founded, among other major organizations, the World Zionist Congress, and he established the Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City, later merged with Hebrew Union College.  There are also letters from the father of American Reform Judaism and founder of Hebrew Union College, Isaac Mayer Wise (1819-1900), to the Hungarian-born American Reform rabbi Adolph Hubsch (1830-1884).

Also held in the Kiev Room is the small collection of David Simon Blondheim Papers, related to the Eleanor Dulles archive in the Special Collections Research Center. (The Ari Kiev Papers, donated by Dr. Ari and Phyllis Kiev in 2008, are held in the Special Collections Research Center.)


Research Tools

The Library’s online catalog is the primary tool for locating materials in the Kiev Judaica Collection. To access an advanced search of the catalog from the library home page, click the "Research" tab, then select "Books, Articles and More," followed by "Advanced Search," and finally, "GW and Consortium Catalog." Enter "Kiev" as a search term.

Kiev Room




Kiev Room panorama

The Kiev Room

Kiev Judaica Collection bookplateLocated on the 7th floor of the Gelman Library, the Kiev Room is open to researchers Monday to Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Lectures are held in the Kiev Room regularly during the academic year. Special Collections Research Center staff are available for reference consultations to discuss research topics, help formulate search strategies, and locate useful materials. For more information about using, visiting, or donating to the Kiev Collection, please contact:

Special Collections Research Center
Gelman Library
The George Washington University
2130 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20052 (USA)
Phone:  202-994-7549
Email:  speccoll@gwu.edu


General Judaica in the Gelman Library

Aside from the Kiev Collection and other Jewish-related archival collections in the Special Collections Research Center, all areas of Judaic Studies, including Hebrew and Yiddish literature, are represented in the general holdings of the Gelman Library, accessible on open stacks.  Guides are available for the library’s resources in Judaic Studies, in Holocaust Studies, and in Middle East Studies.

Judaica Collections in the Special Collections Research Center

The Special Collections Research Center holds a number of rare book and archival collections relevant to Judaic studies or allied fields.  

Washington-related Judaica Collections

A number of archival collections document the Jewish experience in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area.  These include several organizational archives, namely:

Publication by Ari Kiev in AfrikaansPersonal Papers

The SCRC holds the personal papers of a number of individuals significant in Jewish literature or culture, or active in public or political life, especially in the Washington area.  Among these are the:


Cartography of the Holy Land; American Bibles

The Center holds several collections relevant to Oriental and Biblical studies, particularly the cartography and art of the Holy Land.  These include:

Moses Almosnino, Extremos y grandezas de Constantinopla (1638)

The Middle East Institute Rare Book Collection

In 2008 the SCRC acquired the Middle East Institute Rare Book Collection (formerly in the Washington, DC based Middle East Institute), composed of oriental literature and orientalist scholarship relating to the Middle East, the Ottoman lands and Central and South Asia.  Along with many European travelogues to Palestine and Egypt, the collection includes the rare Spanish translation from Ladino of Moses Almosnino’s Extremos y grandezas de Constantinopla (Madrid, 1638).


The Kiev Circle of Friends

The Kiev Circle of Friends was established in 2003 to help maintain the activities and projects of the Kiev Judaica Collection.  These include:

  • Research and scholarship in a variety of subjects and languages;
  • Acquisitions of books and reference literature;
  • Exhibitions and Jewish outreach programs;
  • A foundation for future innovations in Judaic studies and education;
  • Preservation of the Jewish cultural heritage for future generations.

To join the Kiev Circle of Friends, or to contribute to the work of the I. Edward Kiev Judaica Collection, please visit our donor pages.

The wide-ranging holdings of the Kiev Collection support all areas of Judaic Studies at GWU, for the benefit of local and visiting students and scholars.  Your help and participation would be greatly appreciated.  


This page is maintained by the Kiev Judaica Collection • (202) 994-7549
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