The Ralph Lowenstein Historical Jewish Newspapers Collection in the Isser and Rae Price Library of Judaica
The Ralph Lowenstein Historical Jewish Newspapers Collection includes a unique range of periodicals representing over 300 titles from almost thirty countries, offering a glimpse into the Jewish press worldwide throughout the twentieth century. It illustrates a multitude of Jewish political, cultural, and economic voices and the religious, literary, and mundane interests of Jewish readers in various countries. While not being fully representative of the period's Jewish news publications; the collection nevertheless introduces readers to the main trends of Jewish journalism in Europe, North and South America, and in Mandatory Palestine and Israel.
This collection was created over the course of four decades: some of the titles were included in the Price Library's core collection, the Rabbi Leonard C. Mishkin Library from Chicago, Illinois, purchased in 1977. Additional titles were added between 1979 and 2006, through the collecting activities of the renowned bibliographer and former head of the Price Library, Robert Singerman. The idea to expand the Price Library's newspapers stemmed from Singerman's work as a bibliographer: his two-volume "research bibliography," Jewish Serials of the World, is still an authoritative tool for researchers, librarians, archivists and those interested in the development of the Jewish press worldwide from the establishment of the first known Jewish periodical, Gazeta de Amsterdam, published in Amsterdam in 1675, until the 1980s. Although the collection does not cover the whole history of Jewish journalism, its importance is highlighted by the fact that when compiling the bibliography, Singerman relied on the items included in this collection in addition to those held in three other prestigious US libraries. In 2010, a digital sub-collection, the Judaica Anniversary Collection, was created as the first stage of an ambitious project to digitize the entire collection.
Today, the complete historical newspaper collection is named for Ralph Lowenstein (1930-2020), the former Dean of the College of Journalism and long-standing supporter of the Price Library of Judaica. Dean Lowenstein, who led the journalism school for nearly two decades, was lauded as 'a visionary in the news industry' and someone who forsaw the massive potential of the digital age. In addition to his academic role, he served countless Jewish community organizations, as well as actively promoting Jewish studies at UF. We believe that this newspaper collection, in providing rich and diverse primary content for researchers around the world, will stand as a fitting tribute to his memory.