Collection Development Statement

Last updated July 2020


The collection supports the research and teaching of faculty and students in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. Formerly known as the Department of German and Romance Languages and Literatures, the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures reconstituted under its present name in 2020 to reflect the inclusion of other languages (e.g. Modern Hebrew). As the birthplace of the Modern Language Association (, the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Johns Hopkins University remains committed to the highest standards of teaching and research in literary studies and related disciplines (see “Collaborations” below).

Departments/disciplines/programs subject areas supported

The Department of Modern Languages and Literatures is comprised of the following sections:

  • French (Major, Minor, PhD)
  • German (Major, Minor, combined BA/MA, PhD)
  • Hebrew & Yiddish (possible for minor in Jewish Studies)
  • Italian (Major, Minor, PhD)
  • Portuguese (possible for Romance Languages major and for Latin American Studies minor with a focus on Portuguese language and Brazilian culture)
  • Spanish (Major, Minor, PhD)

Undergraduates may also combine French, Italian, Portuguese, and/or Spanish for a major in Romance Languages.

Formats Collected

Formats collected 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 and archival materials
  • Audiovisual materials

Formats collected selectively or by request:

  • Commentaries
  • Dictionaries
  • Dissertations
  • Microforms
  • Textbooks
  • Translations

Languages Collected

Materials in English, French, German, Hebrew (Modern), Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Yiddish are collected. Occasionally, works in various Scandanavian and Slavic languages will be considered for acquisition. Works in dialects are only purchased on a selective basis.

Chronological or geographical focus

Works whose focus postdates Greek and Roman antiquity in the languages indicated above are collected, from the Middle Ages to the present day.

Specialties include:

  • French
    • Diderot
    • Dreyfus Affair
    • Avant-garde
  • German
    • Incunabula
    • Goethe
    • Avant-garde
  • Hebrew
    • Rabbinics
  • Italian
    • Medieval and Renaissance Literature (Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Tasso, etc.)
  • Spanish
    • Literature of the Golden Age
  • Yiddish
    • Children’s literature from the Soviet period
    • Periodicals


  • Center for Language Education
  • Classics
  • Comparative Thought and Literature
  • Film and Media Studies
  • History
  • History of Art
  • History of Science
  • The Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Program in Jewish Studies
  • The Roman de la Rose Digital Library

Subject Librarian

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