Collection Development Statement

Last updated January, 2024


The Jewish Studies collection supports research and teaching in the Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Program in Jewish Studies at Johns Hopkins University and the scholarly community at large. Founded in 2002, the Stulman Program is inherently interdisciplinary, which brings together faculty and students from humanities and social sciences departments across the university (see “Collaborations” below). Some of these departments go back to the earliest days of Johns Hopkins University (e.g., Near Eastern Studies, which awarded the first American PhD in Semitics to Cyrus Adler in 1887)[i] while others have come about more recently (e.g., Film and Media Studies). Regardless of their age, all the departments listed below under “Collaborations” are currently engaged in one form or another with the “study of Jewish history, literature, language, politics, and religion.”[ii]

The purpose of the following Collection Development Statement is to define the parameters for the acquisition of materials used to support the Stulman Program in Jewish Studies, to showcase existing strengths, and to identify areas for growth. Ultimately, it is meant to guide rather than to proscribe. Knowing that any such statement can only be successful if it is mindful of the changing needs and interests of its patrons, feedback is welcome.

[i] Schwartz, Shuly Rubin. The Emergence of Jewish Scholarship in America: the publication of the Jewish Encyclopedia, Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1991, p. 14

[ii] “About.” Jewish Studies, 15 Sept. 2022,

Facilities and Collections

Bibliographic materials that concern Jewish Studies have been collected since the founding of Johns Hopkins University. These materials are held across all the libraries that make up the Sheridan Libraries. The Jewish Studies collection therefore does not have one physical center. It is, in effect, a virtual collection comprised of individual collections that are classified either as general (i.e., circulating) or special (i.e., non-circulating). The former are held in the Milton S. Eisenhower Library, the Sheridan DC Library, and the Libraries Service Center, and are available for checkout to all current JHU affiliates, alumni, and library-card holders through the library catalog (except for a small number of serials and reference works). The latter are held in the George Peabody Library, the John Work Garrett Library, and the Library Services Center, and are available to be called up through the library catalog for individual consultation in the Special Collections Reading Room in the Brody Learning Commons or for classes in two special collections classrooms in the Brody Learning Commons.

Seven endowed funds exist to support acquisitions in Jewish Studies across both general and special collections. The Librarian for Jewish Studies uses these funds to acquire materials for general and special collections from a variety of vendors (including specialty Judaica vendors) that meet the criteria set out below. The Librarian for Jewish Studies also collaborates regularly with other librarians and curators across Johns Hopkins (especially the Librarian for Near Eastern Studies) to supplement the acquisition of works procured by those endowed funds designated specifically for Jewish Studies.

Donations to the Jewish Studies Collection are invaluable supplements to purchases and are actively considered (see “Gift Policy” below). These include some of the most significant holdings in Special Collections:

  • Wyman Collection
    • Books and archival documents that belonged to the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies in Washington, D.C.
  • Hertzberg Collection
    • More than 7,000 volumes on Jewish life and Judaism from the library of Rabbi Dr. Arthur Hertzberg (1921-2006), a JHU alumnus, civil rights advocate, former president of the American Jewish Congress, and former vice president of the World Jewish Congress.
  • Schaechter Collection
    • More than 9,000 volumes from the personal library of Dr. Mordkhe Schaechter (1927-2007), noted Yiddish lexicographer and lecturer in Yiddish at Columbia University.

Departments/disciplines/programs subject areas supported

An undergraduate minor is offered in Jewish Studies. At present, there is no major in Jewish Studies. The Stulman Program does not award graduate degrees directly, though PhD students with interests in Jewish Studies may be admitted to a collaborating program (see “Collaborations” below).

Formats Selected

  • Formats acquired generally
    • Monographs (print and electronic)
    • Collected editions (print and electronic)
    • Edited volumes, including conference proceedings and Festschriften (print and electronic)
    • Serials (electronic preferred)
    • Databases
    • Rare books and archival materials
    • Audiovisual materials
  • Formats collected selectively or by request:
    • Commentaries
    • Dictionaries
    • Dissertations
    • Textbooks
    • Translations

Languages Collected

Materials in Hebrew (from Biblical to Modern), Yiddish, German, French, and English are collected regularly. Materials in other languages that pertain to Jewish culture and civilization are collected selectively.

Chronological or geographical focus

Collection development in Jewish Studies is not confined to a single chronological or geographical focus, though the collection is particularly strong in Northwest Semitic philology, the Haskalah, early Zionism, Rabbinics, Holocaust Studies, Yiddish language and literature, and Baltimore Jewish history.

Gift Policy

Donations of materials that adhere to the criteria set out above are welcome and will be considered by the Librarian for Jewish Studies (in tandem with the Associate Dean for Collections and Academic Services) as gifts-in-kind. Before sending any materials, donors must first contact the Librarian for Jewish Studies to complete the gifts-in-kind agreement and to discuss the logistics of the transfer and processing of materials. Per the gifts-in-kind agreement, the Sheridan Libraries reserve the right to add to the Jewish Studies collection or to dispose of any materials (e.g., duplicates, damaged materials, etc.) as they deem fit. The Sheridan Libraries also retain the right to discard unsolicited gifts. Donors interested in making other kinds of gifts (including bequests) to the Jewish Studies collection are encouraged to consult the Office of External Affairs. Appraisals, though highly recommended, cannot be provided by the Sheridan Libraries. Donors interested in appraisals may wish to contact recommended by the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America.


Subject Librarian

Mackenzie S. Zalin, PhD, MSLS
Classics, Comparative Thought and Literature, Jewish Studies, and Modern Languages and Literatures & Comparative Thought and Literature
(410) 516-0215