We are grateful to the family of the late Joe Fishstein for its generosity in presenting this extraordinary collection to McGill University. It is surely a significant reflection of Joe Fishstein's ideals that the family would not consider selling his library, but instead that it be housed intact in an institution that valued the Yiddish literary legacy and fostered it in its curriculum.
Special acknowledgement must be made to Dr. Ruth R. Wisse, professor of Yiddish Literature at McGill at the time, who acquired the Collection for the University. We are also grateful to her for contributing the Preface to this book. Thanks are extended to Alison Cole, who was then Area Librarian for Humanities and Social Sciences, who appreciated the importance of the Collection and was most receptive to giving it a home. Professor Raymond Klibansky recognized the significance of the Fishstein Collection since its acquisition, and we are grateful for his continuing interest and support over the years. I would also like to thank Dr. Hans Möller for suggesting the idea of publishing the Catalogue as a volume in the McGill Fontanus Monograph Series.
Warm thanks are extended to the Jewish Community Foundation of Montreal, whose vision and sponsorship made this undertaking possible. I remember the warm, encouraging reception I had from Emmanuel Weiner, who was then Director of the Foundation, when I hesitantly approached him for the first time to inquire about the Foundation's possible support in the cataloguing of the Collection. He and his colleagues not only responded positively but continued their valuable sponsorship later by generously helping to defray many of the costs incurred in preparing the Catalogue for publication.
During the years devoted to the cataloguing of the Collection and its preparation for publication, many people extended their aid, both as staff and as volunteers. Joanna Andrews, Head of Technical Services, has been generous with her time and expertise. Chaya Goldman, who was sessional librarian for a term, ably assisted in some of the cataloguing. Adèle Toutant courageously struggled with the task of converting the NOTIS entries to ProCite and then to Wordperfect, and tackled the many ensuing problems as they arose. Penny Aubin was extremely helpful in conscientiously and cheerfully tying up innumerable loose ends that regularly appeared during the arduous process of reviewing the Catalogue entries. Esther Regev had the frustrating task of producing the Table of Name Equivalents in two alphabets - Hebrew and Roman. She carried out this difficult job with patience and ingenuity.
Mrs. M Antonowych, Anne Glassman, Anna Gonshor, Yetti Kalles, Marsha Lustigman, and Mildred Nathanson contributed their valuable time and skills. I am indebted to the above-mentioned people, as well as to the library support staff of the McGill Cataloguing, Collections and Rare Book Departments, who have been consistently helpful over the years. The staff at the Montreal Jewish Public Library have also been most accommodating. I sincerely thank them all.
I am particularly grateful to Zachary M. Baker, who, shortly after the Fishstein Collection was unpacked, devoted many of his days off from his job as the Yiddish Librarian at the Montreal Jewish Public Library to examine every book in the Collection and leave helpful comments on slips among the volumes. Later on, he kindly consented to read the draft of the Introduction, and his advice has been astute and helpful.
I would like to thank Professor Eugene Orenstein, who has patiently given of his time, and shared his extensive knowledge of the background to Yiddish literature. Thanks are also extended to Esther Frank and Lonny Weatherby for reading the Introduction, and to Liba Augenfeld for her verification of the Yiddish headings and the section on the Canadian Yiddish literary scene.
I am indebted to my parents, Max and Clara Kaplansky, aleyem-hasholem, who infused our childhood home with the warmth and joy of Yiddish. I am grateful to my husband, John, for his patient support and helpful advice during the extended period of time devoted to preparing this work, as I am to our children, Ron, Emily and Julie, and their families, for their understanding and encouragement.