The Joe Fishstein Collection of Yiddish
Poetry, housed in the Division of Rare Books and Special Collections at McLennan
Library, McGill University, is considered to be one of the finest private collections of its kind
in the world. It consists of some 2300 Yiddish works, mostly poetry, and
includes many rare volumes, most of which have been preserved in vintage
condition by beautiful hand-made jackets fashioned by Joe Fishstein, the Bronx garment
worker who amassed them. This extraordinary collection, which also includes
unusual ephemeral items, such as albums of early 20th century postcards, photographs and trade union memorabilia, offers rich opportunities for research to scholars of Yiddish literature and 20th century social history.
The catalogue of the Joe Fishstein Collection, A Garment Worker's Legacy
, edited by Goldie Sigal, was published by McGill University Libraries as volume 11 of the Fontanus Monograph Series in 1998 (ISBN 0-7717-0511-5). The book launch in January of that year was accompanied by a major exhibit of highlights
from this collection at McGill Redpath Library, from January to March 1998. The book and accompanying exhibit
were prepared by editor/curator Goldie Sigal, who also acted as editor and curator of the present online catalogue and exhibit.
The first section of this web site, the Catalogue
, enables the user to search and access the catalogue entries by electronic means. It also includes the scholarly apparatus found in the published catalogue, such as its Introduction, Indices and Table of Name Equivalents.
The second section, the virtual Exhibit
, consists of the actual exhibit, augmented in content, and
strengthened with hyperlinks and enlargement capacities. Photographs and audio-visual material of the 1998 exhibition
have been included.