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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 American republics.

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- brary's request.

Title page of Joseph Caro's Sefer Shuljan ha-Panim

Ladino Books in the Library of Congress

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Preface to the 1964 Edition
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Places of Publication
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 descriptions.

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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  January 5, 2004
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