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Jewish Studies Research: Welcome

A guide to getting started in the Dorot Jewish Division

About the Dorot Jewish Division

A heavy lit chandelier hangs over an oak table, with a large arched window behind


Welcome to the Dorot Jewish Division of The New York Public Library, located within the historic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Often referred to as the "Main Library," this Beaux-Arts landmark building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street houses outstanding research collections in the humanities and social sciences.

The Dorot Jewish Division was established as a distinct collection with funding contributed by Jacob Schiff in 1897, just two years after the formation of The New York Public Library. Abraham S. Freidus, cataloger of the Astor Library's rich collection of Judaica, was appointed the Division's first chief and presided over its rapid growth for twenty five years. 

The collection contains a comprehensive and balanced chronicle of the religious and secular history of the Jewish people in over a quarter of a million books, microforms, manuscripts, newspapers, periodicals, and ephemera from all over the world. Primary source materials are especially rich in the following areas: Jews in the United States, especially in New York in the age of immigration; Yiddish theater; Jews in the land of Israel; Jews in early modern Europe, especially Jewish-Gentile relations; Christian Hebraism; antisemitism; and world Jewish newspapers and periodicals of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

To access the Dorot Jewish Division reading room, Room 111, you must pass through room 108 (the DeWitt Wallace Periodical Room). 

This is a closed-stack library, meaning that our collections are stored outside of the reading rooms rather than being available to browse. To use our collection, you will need to find the items you want and request to have them delivered for your use in the reading room. This guide contains a brief introduction to how to do this.

The Dorot Jewish Division welcomes requests for class and group visits. Please visit the page Bring Your Class to the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building for more information and to request a visit.

Questions? Email us at


Image: A table in our reading room, room 111

In this guide

Research Assistance: Discover how Dorot Jewish Division staff can help you with your research. Also, browse staff-created online guides to the collection.

Finding Materials: Learn how to use NYPL's online catalogs to find and request books. This section includes some tips for searching the catalog in Hebrew.

Planning a Research Visit: Here is what you need to know about coming to our reading room to do research in person, including information about library cards and research tools.

Beyond the Dorot Jewish Division

The Dorot Jewish Division is just one research division of the New York Public Library. If you're researching Jewish Studies topics, you will likely use the materials from multiple research divisions. We can refer you to those other divisions, and most of their materials will also be discoverable through the Research Catalog.

NYPL shares some collections with Columbia, Harvard and Princeton Universities. These shared collections can be found and requested through the Research Catalog, just like other NYPL research collections. 

The Manuscripts and Archives Division has many collections of Jewish interest. See this guide for more information.

While the Dorot Jewish Division has a very strong collection of materials related to the Yiddish theater and Yiddish music, researchers working on these topics may also wish to visit the Library for the Performing Arts.

Celebrating 125 Years of the Dorot Jewish Division

In honor of the Dorot Jewish Division's recent 125th anniversary, please enjoy this online exhibit: 125 Years of the Dorot Jewish Division. From February 17 to April 3, 2024, a selection of items from the exhibition are on display in the McGraw Rotunda on the third floor of The New York Public Library's Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.

This blog post, written by Curator of the Dorot Jewish Collection Lyudmila Sholokhova, details the Division's history.