By Vanessa Freedman, on 24 June 2022
The Hebrew & Jewish Studies Collections in UCL Special Collections include a treasure trove of material in the form of pamphlets. There are over 9,000 pamphlets on a wide range of subjects throughout the field of Jewish Studies, particularly Anglo-Jewish history, Zionism and liturgy. The pamphlets date from 1601 onwards, and are in English, Hebrew, German and a number of other languages.
In 2019 we completed a project to make these rich collections available to scholars and the general public. They are now catalogued in Explore, the most fragile items have been conserved, and a selection of them have been digitised.
We haven’t finished developing this collection though, as we are still acquiring pamphlets by purchase or donation. If you have any pamphlets that you would like to donate, please contact the Hebrew & Jewish Studies librarian.
Here are a few highlights from our recent acquisitions.
Bekhi tamrurim : be-yom evel u-misped ʻal aḥenu ḥalele ha-peraʻot be-artsot Polin : yom 5, 28 Siṿan 679 li-f.-ḳ = A service of prayer and mourning for the victims of the pogroms in Poland : Queen’s Hall, June 26th, 5679-1919
One of the highlights of the pamphlet collection is a large number of orders of service for a variety of national and communal occasions. This particular service was a cross-communal event: published by the Office of the Chief Rabbi of the United (orthodox) Synagogue, those leading the service also included Rev S.J. Roco of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue and Rev Morris Joseph of the (Reform) West London Synagogue of British Jews. The occasion was a spate of attacks against Jews that took place in newly-independent Poland after the First World War. There were over 130 attacks against Jews in Polish territories between 1918 and 1921, causing around 300 deaths. The Hebrew title Bekhi tamrurim means ‘bitter cry’.
In this ‘provocative’ pamphlet, published in 1946, left-wing backbench MPs Richard Crossman and Michael Foot (later leader of the Labour Party) attack the Labour Government’s policy on Palestine. They criticise the government for indecision and compare the restriction of Jewish immigration in order to avoid Arab opposition to the pre-war appeasement of Hitler (hence the title). The pamphlet argues for the partition of Palestine to form a Jewish state and an enlarged Transjordan.
And finally, a fascinating oddity:
This ‘Jewish Certificate’, in Hebrew, Yiddish, English and Arabic, looks like a passport and includes space for the holder’s photograph, signature and personal details. It proclaims that ‘the bearer of this certificate is a Jew not a Zionist and has no connection with the nationalist movement which has gained control over the Holy Land and turned it into a Zionist state by falsely assuming the Jewish names of Zion and Israel’. It was produced in 1976 or 1977 by the anti-Zionist ultra-Orthodox group Neturei Karta, some of whose members refuse to carry an Israeli identity card.
 Anna Cichopek-Gajraj and Glenn Dynner, “Pogroms in Modern Poland, 1918–1946,” in Pogroms: A Documentary History, ed. Eugene M. Avrutin and Elissa Bemporad (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021), 193.
 Kenneth O. Morgan, “Foot, Michael Mackintosh (1913–2010), journalist, politician, and author,” in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2016).
 Menachem Friedman, “Neturei Karta,” in Encyclopaedia Judaica, ed. Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik (Detroit, MI: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007).
By Tabitha Tuckett, on 24 June 2022
This post was written by Caroline Kimbell, UCL Library Services
Allow me to introduce myself and ECCO: I’m Interim Head of Commercial Licensing and Digitisation, which involves working with publishers to identify rare books and archives for online publication, earning royalty income for the libraries, acquiring preservation images, free or discounted access to online resources and, after a suitable contractual period, allowing us to re-use digital content in any way. In a previous career in publishing, I worked on developing “ECCO” – Gale’s Eighteenth-Century Collections Online.
Working out how many books were published in the 18th century, in the English language or in English-speaking countries has been an ambition of the library world since 1977, and the current answer according to the English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC) is 351,689 held across 2,000 libraries.
You may imagine that this epic project was completed years ago, and that everything listed by ESTC would be available in ECCO or elsewhere? Not so.
For a few years now, a “final” tranche of digitisation has been in preparation to supplement ECCO’s current 180,000 titles. The “long list” for this third tranche currently stands at 78,000 titles. UCL is not an 18th century library, and when I arrived, I imagined that we would have little eligible material. I was wrong. We will be contributing about 320 items totalling around 66,000 pages, of which 59 have been accredited by ESTC as brand new entries – in other words, unique, first-time discoveries.
Many of these new finds are in UCL core subjects and include books on the volcanos of Sicily, agricultural enclosure, the structure of human teeth, works by Joseph Priestly and a Compleat History of Drugs from 1737. One among UCL’s thousands of eligible titles, inexplicably absent from Penguin Classics, “Human ordure, botanically considered” (1757), is already on ECCO but surely worth a mention?
Among female authors it is splendid to find An Essay on Combustion 1794 by Mrs Elizabeth Fulhame, “the first solo woman researcher in chemistry”, Mary Wollstonecraft on the French Revolution, the prolific Mary de la Rivière, or even a 4-part Ladies Astronomy from 1738, in which the Sun smiles approachably for female readers (fig.1)
We will also be contributing new-to-ESTC editions by major authors – Swift, Defoe, Pope, Beckford – astonishingly still coming to light in 2022. Our 1787 Mohawk language Book of Common Prayer is already online, but when it comes to travel and the exotic, we have real delights – such as new-to-ESTC, “Four letters concerning the growth of grape vines in the Island of Bermudas” from 1741 (worth a try), and a rare 1746 London edition of sci-fi novel A journey to the world under-ground by Norwegian satirist Ludwig Holberg (as in Grieg’s tribute Suite) for anyone who had ever wondered what a Baroque Dr Who monster might look like (fig.2).Many of the concerns reflected in these works are mundane: parliamentary bills about pot-holes which have slipped all digital nets and a newly discovered Act from 1762 “for preventing annoyances” – still to take effect. Alongside the irritations of urban life, we find pleasures and pastimes – A walk from St. James’s to Convent-Garden from 1717 and proto-Puzzler magazine “The British Oracle” from 1769 (“enigmas, paradoxes, rebusses, queries, epigrams & repartees”) both new to ESTC. Then there’s a 1779 edition of Hoyle’s Games: “whist, quadrille, piquet, chefs, back-gammon, draughts, cricket, tennis, quinze, hazard, lansquenet, and billiards”, or back outdoors “A dissertation on oriental gardening”, books on gunnery and the shoeing of horses along with plays from the Theatres Royal, poems and society gossip.
Unfortunately, data-combing our 18th century holdings against ESTC and the online landscape has revealed a backlog of wrinkles which are being addressed, in part by our wonderful placement student Ollie Nelmes: only 61% of our 18th century holdings were recorded on ESTC, but this project gives us a fantastic opportunity to refresh the collections, improve and enhance their discoverability and step forward as a rich repository of 18th century rare, and in some cases, unique books.
By Vicky A Price, on 24 May 2022
The New Curators Project is run by UCL Special Collections, in collaboration with Newham Heritage Month. It is an annual programme for young adults (aged 18-24) who are interested in working in the cultural heritage sector, whether that be the arts, libraries, museums or heritage sites. It aims to provide the training and experience required for these new professionals to take their first steps on their chosen career path, and to create an opportunity for the group to create work for a real audience as they take their first steps into this field of work.
Each year the cohort create something for Newham Heritage Month’s programme, based on the given theme. 2022’s theme is ‘What London 2012 Means to Us’, and so participants set about collecting oral histories, film footage and photography of the Olympic Park and surrounding area. This is their first short film, created in response to the theme.
Get to know 2022’s cohort and revisit this page for addition short films in the month of June 2022!
By Sarah S Pipkin, on 28 April 2022
Erick Jackaman very kindly talked to us about his experience applying for the Anthony Davis Book Collecting Prize and his fantastic collection ‘Read my Genders: A Trans for Trans Collection’. You can follow Erick on Instagram and Twitter @transingabout
Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m Erick Jackaman, a UCL alum. I was an MSc Digital Humanities student (2020/2021). I’m queer, trans, 23 and a Londoner. I’m passionate about trans representation and trans joy.
What collection did you submit?
I submitted my collection of transgender print materials, which I titled “Read My Genders: A Trans for Trans Collection”. At the time of submitting, it contained 69 items, ranging from fiction books to museum guides to event flyers to zines and more! In general, I prioritise self-published and limited edition print materials and I focus on work by trans people for a trans (and wider) audience.
How did you start collecting?
When I purchased my first trans book in 2013, I wasn’t conscious of starting a “collection”. At the time, there weren’t many trans works of fiction and I was really gripped by a book called Refuse by Elliott DeLine. I read the ebook (twice!) and then decided to purchase a physical copy so I could have it forever and lend it to other people in my life (which I did). After that, I just started accumulating ephemera from trans events I went to, like film festivals and panel discussions, and buying international publications, like FTM Magazine, online.
Do you have a favourite item in your collection?
It’s so hard to choose a favourite, but I really love the Museum of Transology exhibition guide. I had come across this guide twice before I acquired it while visiting the Museum of Transology in London and then in Brighton, but the guide belonged in the exhibition itself and wasn’t available for purchase. On my third visit to the collection, the curator, E-J Scott, was running around right before closing time and handed me a copy of the exhibition guide to keep. It was such a special moment!
Why did you apply for the book prize?
While reading about the prize, the phrase “print materials” really stood out to me because that’s exactly what a lot of my items are (rather than books). I thought it sounded like a really cool opportunity to actually take stock of my collection and present it to a wider audience. I honestly didn’t think I would win, but I thought – why not?
How did you find the application process?
I really enjoyed the application process because it made me actually write a list of all the items in my collection, which I hadn’t done before. I also loved spending so much time with my collection and thinking about the ways in which it could grow. That said, the application did take me many hours (mainly because I have so many items!)
Did the application process help you learn more about collecting?
The interview I had as part of the application (second round) was one of the most valuable chats I’ve ever had. I felt so lucky to have the attention of so many “book collecting professionals” and I learnt so much about how to store and preserve my collection. I feel very grateful for that!
How has your collection changed since applying?
Honestly, not much! I left the UK soon after applying and I am still travelling, so I haven’t been actively looking for new items. That said, I am currently in Singapore, which caused me to come across a beautiful and very meaningful book called Our Blood Runs Red Just Like Yours, which documents The T Project – “the first and only social service for the transgender community in Singapore”.
What advice would you give someone thinking about applying?
Go for it! If you already have that inkling that you have some sort of print material collection, do yourself the favour and spend time with your collection and submit an application! As for the application itself, even if you’re just starting out, demonstrate the clear “theme” of your collection and the direction you want it to grow – this part is important.
Thank you so much to Erick Jackaman for sharing about his collection and application! If you’d like to apply for the Anthony Davis Student Book Collecting Prize, you can learn more about the application on our website.
Applications are open to students at any London-based university who have a cohesive collection of print, manuscript, or ephemera items. The deadline for 2022 applications is May 3rd.
By Vicky A Price, on 25 April 2022
Applications are now open for a very special Summer School at UCL in July 2022. Year 12s based in London are invited to join Special Collections and The Orwell Youth Prize to develop their investigative writing skills, encounter first hand stories of journalism from the past and present and meet present-day journalists who are at the forefront of their profession.
Up to 25 participants will attend a range of seminars, study sessions, writing workshops and trips that will shed light on the life of professional journalists. They will develop their own writing with support from professional journalists, who will offer advice and share their experiences. They will also learn how the work of one of the UK’s most famous journalists, George Orwell, has influenced modern day writing and thought. During the Summer School, participants will have access to Orwell’s original notes, letters and diaries in the UNESCO listed George Orwell Archive held at UCL Special Collections.
The Summer School will take place for one week, from Monday 25 July to Friday 29 July, 10.00am – 4.00pm, and participants will be expected to attend every day.
Apply now to:
• Learn from the best; meet current day journalists who will share tips, techniques and stories from today’s real life news desks.
• Write your own journalistic piece, which will be published online by UCL Special Collections.
• Get hands-on experiences with original archive items from UCL Special Collections, including the UNESCO registered Orwell Archive.
This Summer School is suitable for a wide variety of students who are currently in Year 12 at a London state-funded school, particularly those interested in English, History, Politics, Language, Culture and Anthropology. Anyone applying should currently be studying at least one of these subjects at A level: English Literature, English Language, Politics, History.
This is a non-residential Summer School, meaning that participants will need to commute to and from UCL’s campus each day. Applications close at midnight on Sunday 12 June 2022.
If you have any queries about the Summer School or would like support with completing your application please email us at email@example.com or call 07741671329.
Who are We?
The Orwell Youth Prize is an independent charity that sits under the auspices of the Orwell Foundation. It is a social justice-based writing programme rooted in Orwell’s values of integrity and fairness that introduces young people to the power of language and provokes them to think critically and creatively about the world in which they are living. The prize is driven by an understanding of social and educational disadvantage in the UK and works closely with schools and individuals to deliver an annual educational programme.
University College London’s Special Collections manages an outstanding collection of rare books, archives and manuscripts, dating from the 4th century to the present day. Together, the team preserve and conserve the collection and facilitate access through a reader service, academic teaching, digitisation and outreach. The Outreach programme aims to create inspiring educational activities for audiences who would not otherwise access the university’s special collections in UCL’s neighbouring and home boroughs; Camden, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Newham and Waltham Forest.