Bloch, Joshua

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BLOCH, JOSHUA (1890–1957), U.S. librarian, bibliographer, and reform rabbi. Born in Dorbian, Lithuania, Bloch went to the U.S. in 1907. He taught at New York University from 1919 to 1928; from 1922 until his death he served as chaplain in several hospitals of the New York State Department of Mental Hygiene. His main work, however, was as head of the Jewish Division of the New York Public Library, a post which he held from 1923 to 1956; under his direction the Library developed as one of the major collections of Judaica in the United States. Bloch arranged many major exhibitions of Judaica there. Many of his bibliographical researches into the history of Hebrew printing were published by the Library, such as Hebrew Printing in Riva di Trento (1933; Bulletin of the New York Public Library, vol. 37), Early Hebrew Printing in Spain and Portugal (1938; ibid., vol. 46). He also founded the quarterly Journal of Jewish Bibliography in 1938 and was its editor until 1943. In 1940 he was appointed to the publication committee of the Jewish Publication Society and a year later to the editorial board of the Jewish Apocryphal Literature Series; as a result of these connections he wrote On the Apocalyptic in Judaism (1952) and Of Making Many Books (1953; an annotated list of the books issued by the Jewish Publication Society, 1890–1952). The following year he published The People and the Book, on 300 years of Jewish life in America. His bibliography was collected by Dora Steinglass in A Bibliography of the Writings of Joshua Bloch (19101958) (1960).


A. Berger et al. (eds.), Joshua Bloch Memorial Volume (1960); idem, in: jba, 16 (1958/59), 102–4; Shunami, Bibl, index.

[Abraham Berger]