Preface to the 1964 Edition
One of the more interesting and unusual Hispanic collections in
the Library of Congress is the group of Ladino volumes in the custody
of the Hebraic Section of the Orientalia Division. As Mr. Henry V.
Besso, compiler of this bibliography, notes at greater length in his
introductory remarks, Ladino is the language spoken and written by
the Spanish Jews.
Mr. Besso has had a continuing interest in Ladino studies, especially
in the Library's collection of Ladino books. Mr. Besso, who is at
present associated with the United States Information Agency, was
formerly a member of the staff of the Hispanic Foundation. As
General Editor in 1947, he was responsible for several volumes issued
in the library's series of guides to the official publications of the other
This listing has been in preparation since 1959. In that year Mr.
Besso submitted a manuscript embodying the results of his research
and including extended remarks on Ladino and its problems. At the
same time, a copy of the manuscript was sent to the editor of a Spanish
publication who had previously expressed an interest in it. The
University of Granada (Spain) published Mr. Besso's 1959 version of
the bibliography, including the long introductory matter.¹ However,
publication of the present bibliography was deemed desirable in view
of the relative inaccessibility to scholars of the Spanish publication and,
more particularly, in view of the extensive revisions of the bibliography
that have been contributed in the meantime by Mr. Besso at the Li-
Ladino Books in the Library of Congress
Table of Contents
Preface to the 1964 Edition
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Problems of Transliteration
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Several members of the staff have generously contributed their
professional competence and skills to the editing of the entries in
accordance with the Library's standards of style and bibliographical
practice. Also, Rabbi Nathan A. Abramowitz served for a short
period as a special adviser to the Hispanic Foundation.
As the title page indicates, the compiler is primarily responsible
for the bibliography. Mr. Besso has patiently revised, extended, and
deleted materials from his original draft as one or another of the
Library's canons were brought to his attention. His cooperation is
here gratefully acknowledged. His own remarks which follow indicate
the scope and interest that Ladino books in general and the Library's
collection in particular have for Hispanists and students of cultures.
We are pleased to draw scholarly attention to the Library's collection
and wish to express the hope that other institutions possessing analogous holdings will prepare and publish similar bibliographical
HOWARD F. CLINE,
Director, Hispanic Foundation.
1 Henry V. Besso, "Bibliography of Judeo-Spanish Books in the Library of Congress," Miscelanea de estudios arabes y hebraicos, vol. 8, fasc. 2 (1960), pp. 55-134.
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