The University of Hartford’s gift of the book collection of Judaic studies (VU Faculty of History)

The University of Hartford’s gift of the book collection of Judaic studies (VU Faculty of History)

Funded project

1 700 €

out of 1 700 €

100%

In 2018 VU Faculty of History received a unique book collection of Judaic studies. Around 2,000 books were gifted by the University of Hartford’s (USA) Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies. The delivery of these books was sponsored by Arminta Saladžienė and taken care of by the Vilnius University Foundation.

The head of the Center for Judaic Studies of the University of Hartford Professor Richard A. Freund together with his students has been visiting Vilnius since 2015 and carrying out non-invasive research of the Great Synagogue of Vilna and other historical sites. The Professor contacted Vilnius University in search of expert help during his very first visit to Lithuania. Following the transition to an electronic library system, the University of Hartford’s Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies proposed an idea of gifting the paper books to VU.

According to the project’s supervisor, lecturer at the Department of Theory of History and Cultural History Prof. Dr. Jurgita Verbickienė, most of the books received were published during the period of 1970-1990. They are of superb condition and some are still unpacked. There are also some antiquarian and particularly valuable items dating back to the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.

The books cover the topics of Judaism, archaeological and historical research, study materials and history teaching atlases. Some of the books dwell on the history of the Holocaust. A lot of attention is given to the history of Europe’s and America’s Jews during the interwar period, Zionism, and antisemitism. The collection also contains works of fiction and literary learning materials.

According to the project’s supervisor, this collection partly compensates the lack of books on Judaic studies which had occurred during the Soviet period and the first years of independence, as at that time books on this topic were not acquired and did not reach Lithuanian libraries. She also appreciates the growing popularity of Judaic studies at the VU Faculty of History, as a growing number of young scholars are taking this discipline up, therefore in the future the areas of both Judaic studies scholarly research and the Judaic studies might be broadened.

These valuable books arrived to the Faculty of History in October 2018, following a year-long process of coordinating the gifting of books, their delivery to Lithuania, signing agreements, attracting private sponsors, and organizing transportation. At the University of Hartford the books were packed by Professor Freund’s students, and the project itself was facilitated by Lithuanian diplomats working in the USA.

Currently the collection is stored at the VU architectural ensemble. The books are used for research purposes and in the future they will be included in the VU database and made accessible to the wider public.

Contact person:

Prof. Dr. Jurgita Verbickienė, lecturer at VU Department of Theory of History and Cultural History,
jurgita.verbickiene@if.vu.lt

Project sponsors

Companies / organizations

  • The University of Hartford (USA)

Natural persons

  • Arminta Saladžienė