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Portrait of the Artist as Rain(bow) Maker: Joseph ben Meir Schmalkalden

In 2017, the Hebraic Section acquired a miniature Hebrew prayer-book of exceptional beauty and detail, handwritten and illustrated by one Joseph ben Meir Schmalkalden in Mainz, Germany in or around 1745. With its brightly painted images and exquisite detail, this miniature is one of the loveliest examples of a genre which enjoyed something of a renaissance in 18th century Central Europe. This blog places special emphasis on the life of the largely unknown artist who created this beautiful piece, and examines the connection between his signature and the rainbow with which he illuminated one of its pages.

In Memoriam: Abdul Samed Bemath: A Committed Librarian

This post is a personal reflection on a professional friendship that African Section librarian Eve M. Ferguson had with renowned bibliographer, Abdul Samed Bemath, who recently passed away after producing a third bibliography of the legendary African historian, the late Ali Al’Amin Mazrui, who was memorialized at the Library of Congress in December 2014. Eve Ferguson worked with Bemath to create a chapter in a book of tributes, A Giant Tree Has Fallen: Tributes to Ali Al’Amin Mazrui. Abdul Samed Bemath died in South Africa on July 31, 2020.

“And for my glory a butterfly sews / A many-colored suit of clothes:” A Hebrew Tom Thumb by Chaim Nachman Bialik

In 1911, Jewish children in the Russian Empire woke up to find a Tom Thumb of their own, a Hebrew Tom Thumb of the greatest charm imaginable, and written, moreover, by that greatest of modern Hebrew poets, Chaim Nachman Bialik (1873-1934). Bialik’s “Etsba’oni” first appeared in the pages of Ha-Shahar [The Dawn], one of a growing number of Hebrew periodicals created specifically for children in the early decades of the 20th century, especially in Eastern Europe and Russia. The Library of Congress has an almost complete run of the periodical from its seven months of existence, covers included.

Celebrating International Workers’ Day

On the first day of May, International Workers’ Day, 2020, staff of the international collections divisions at the Library of Congress celebrate workers everywhere by sharing a tribute to workers who have engineered and implemented innovations like paper, movable print, video, internet, and crowd sourcing to make information sharing possible!

Celebrating the Library’s 220th Anniversary with Open Access Digital Gifts from the International Collections

To honor the Library’s 220th anniversary, this blog looks at some freely accessible digital collections and projects from four divisions: African & Middle Eastern, Asian, European, and Hispanic.