The YIVO Institute and the National Library of Israel Jointly Acquire the Estate of the Late Yiddish Writer, Chaim Grade

NEW YORK, Feb. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For almost 90 years, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research has been home to the largest and historically most important archive and library of Eastern European Jewish civilization in the world; including the single largest collection of Yiddish language materials. For more than 120 years, the National Library of Israel has been collecting, preserving and making accessible one of the world's most significant collections of Hebraica and Judaica including the leading collection of Yiddish printed books, Yiddish newspapers, and Yiddish music. Today, Chaim Grade, one of the greatest Yiddish writers in America, joins the ranks of other legendary literary figures represented in the collections at the YIVO Institute and at the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem.

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The Public Administrator of Bronx County, NY, has awarded the YIVO Institute and the National Library of Israel successor rights to the estate of Chaim Grade, which includes his personal papers and library, literary manuscripts, and publication rights. In accordance with the terms of the agreement, the assets of the estate will be permanently housed at YIVO in New York City. Materials will be shared and made available to the National Library of Israel once its new building opens in Jerusalem in 2017. In recognition of the importance of these materials and Grade's rich legacy, YIVO and the National Library of Israel have agreed to digitize the entire archive and make it accessible for scholars globally.

Chaim Grade was born in 1910 in Vilna, Poland. In his youth, Mr. Grade was a founding member of the Yung-Vilne literary group, known for its leftist politics, secular Jewish thinking and literary influence. After tragically losing both his mother and wife during the Holocaust, he emerged as one of the most prolific and defining Yiddish voices in post-war literature. The power and depth of his works is unparalleled. Besides publishing several volumes of poetry, he is best known for his two acclaimed novels "The Agunah" and "The Yeshiva."

Bringing Chaim Grade's archive of manuscripts, letters and other documents along with his 20,000 volume library to YIVO will enrich a collection already unique in its scope and commitment to preserve and perpetuate knowledge of Yiddish culture. Making this treasure trove available not only on the premises of the National Library of Israel, already home to the archives of several leading Yiddish writers, but also on the Internet, will enrich the lives of lovers of Yiddish throughout the world.

The Chaim Grade archive and library are YIVO's most significant post-war literary acquisition.

"One of the last great Yiddish writers, Chaim Grade produced a body of work of Faulknerian power in its depiction of place and the psychological and moral depths of his characters.  The YIVO Institute is delighted to announce that it will now be the permanent home for the complete complex of his manuscripts, letters, books and other artifacts testifying to his remarkable and in many ways tragic literary life. YIVO looks forward to collaborating with The National Library of Israel to preserve and disseminate the work of this great Yiddish writer."

- Jonathan Brent, YIVO Executive Director

According to Oren Weinberg, Director General of the National Library of Israel:

"The joint acquisition of the Chaim Grade archive enhances the breadth of the comprehensive digital Yiddish library the National Library is creating and advances the strategy of the National Library of Israel to join forces with leading institutions in the realm of Judaica and Israeliana in opening digital access to our collections, and to allow maximum engagement with library treasures for our  global community of users."

The YIVO Institute and the National Library of Israel express their thanks and appreciation to Commissioner Bonnie Brooke Gould, Public Administrator of Bronx County. As Administrator of the Estate of Inna Grade, the Public Administrator, her investigators, staff and counsel spent hundreds of hours in the Grade apartment culling through a massive and uncatalogued assortment of books, correspondence, writings and memorabilia in efforts to make sure that this invaluable collection would not be lost for posterity.

ABOUT YIVO: Founded in 1925, the YIVO Institute is headquartered in New York City, and is the world's premier teaching and research institute devoted to  East European Jewish Studies with specializations in  the Yiddish language, literature, and folklore; the Holocaust and the American Jewish experience. www.yivo.org  Contact: Jonathan Brent, tel. 212-294-6126, jbrent@yivo.cjh.org          

ABOUT THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF ISRAEL: Founded in 1892 as a world center for the preservation of Jewish thought and culture, the library was established to "collect, preserve, cultivate and endow the treasures of knowledge, heritage and culture in general, with an emphasis on the Land of Israel, the State of Israel and the Jewish people in particular."

With that mission in mind, the National Library has set out on a journey of rebuilding, restructuring and enhancing capacities. The goal is to craft an institution at the frontier of information and cultural ingenuity, in the core areas that the law has enshrined. Working with partners in the fields of information and content, the National Library will make a vital contribution to the international effort to preserve and promote the treasures of humankind's cultural heritage. Contact: Dr. Aviad Stollman, aviad.stollman@nli.org.il

SOURCE YIVO Institute for Jewish Research



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