Leeds University Library

Judaica and Hebraica

Roth Collection

The Roth Collection's most distinguished elements are over 900 pre-1850 printed books and 750 manuscripts including diaries, hymns, ephemeral broadsheets, liturgical works, poems, minute books, works on philosophy, polemics and Cabbala, Rabbinical literature, Halacha and Midrash. There are also letters and papers relating to the Jewish community in Salonika at the end of the Second World War. Together, they form a rich source for research into Jewish social and literary history.

Strengths of the collection include works from Italy, Conchin (South India), Corfu, England, Spain, Italy and the Sephardi community in Amsterdam as well as works by sects such as Karaites and Samaritans.

The items are written in a variety of languages such as English, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Latin, Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Greek, Judeo-Apulian, Judeo-Proven├žal and Ladino. However, Yiddish and Judaism in Eastern Europe is not widely represented in the collection.

The collection was originally assembled between the 1920s and the 1970s by Cecil Roth (1891-1970), one of the most eminent English Jewish historians of his time. After his death, it was divided between the Brotherton Library and the Beth Tzedec Museum in Toronto.