The University of Pennsylvania Libraries has received a series of gifts from Arnold and Deanne Kaplan, including the world’s first endowed position in Judaica digital humanities, totaling $12 million. The Kaplans’ contributions also comprise an in-kind gift of collections of Americana and Early American Judaica, research fellowships, and an endowment for continuing acquisitions.
The most recent gifts coincide with the release of a new website, The Arnold and Deanne Kaplan Collection of Early American Judaica, offering free access to nearly 7,000 digital copies of items from the collection for viewing and downloading. Digital copies of recent acquisitions will be made available in the coming year, and all future items will be made available as well.
“The Kaplans’ forward-thinking gifts continue an extraordinary tradition of philanthropy. Their generosity will ensure long-lasting access to a world-class collection,” says Constantia Constantinou, H. Carton Rogers III Vice Provost and Director of the Penn Libraries. “We are proud to be home to a collection that speaks to the history and values of freedom and opportunity and the great tradition of pluralism in Philadelphia and at the University of Pennsylvania.”
The foundation for a partnership between the Kaplans and the Penn Libraries was established more than 10 years ago between Arnold Kaplan and Arthur Kiron, Schottenstein-Jesselson Curator of Judaica Collections at the Penn Libraries. Their initial collaboration, the Jesselson-Kaplan American Genizah Project, centered around the letters of the mid-nineteenth-century rabbi Isaac Leeser. The resulting website served as an early model for using digital technologies to integrate dispersed but related documents and make them accessible to scholars around the world.
Read more at Penn Libraries News.