Jacob M. Lowy Collection

Jacob M. Lowy

Portrait Jacob M. Lowy © Yousuf Karsh
Portrait Jacob M. Lowy
© Yousuf Karsh

Jacob Max Lowy immeasurably enriched Canada's cultural heritage with the donation in 1977 of his world-class library, a rare and old Hebraica and Judaica book collection assembled with passion and keen deliberation over a period of forty years.

He was born in the town of Bardejov, Slovakia, in 1908. Displaying the prescience that would distinguish him throughout his life, he left continental Europe for England in 1938 with his wife and children. After the family's move to Montreal in 1951, he flourished as an industrialist, real estate developer and community leader.

Jacob M. Lowy's investiture as a Member of the Order of Canada took place in October 1983. He died in December 1990 at the age of 82.

The Jacob M. Lowy Collection

The Jacob M. Lowy Collection is Canada's national treasure of old and rare Hebraica and Judaica. Its intellectual scope spans religious, scientific, historical and philological thought emanating from presses in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. It now comprises approximately 3000 volumes printed between the 15th and 20th centuries.

The Lowy Collection is rich in examples of printing in Hebrew, Yiddish, Judeo-Arabic and Judeo-Spanish as well as in Latin, Greek and numerous European vernacular languages. Among its highlights are 34 Hebrew, Latin and Italian incunables (books printed in the 15th century) and fragments thereof, over 120 editions of bibles in many languages and important editions of the works of the first century historian Josephus.

At the heart of the Collection are the first and early editions of Talmud, codes of law, responsa, legal and biblical commentaries and mystical texts. More information about these and other editions can be found in the 1981 exhibition catalogue Incunabula, Hebraica & Judaica, along with descriptions and images of 150 of its greatest treasures.

The Jacob M. Lowy Room also holds a specialized reference collection of 2500 monographs and periodicals focusing on the origin, spread and collecting of printed and manuscript Hebraica and Judaica.

The Saul Hayes Collection of 200 original manuscripts in Hebrew and other Jewish languages, are primarily from Yemen. It is also located in the Jacob M. Lowy Room, as are microform holdings of the manuscript collections of selected North American, European and Israeli institutions.

Decorative wood blocks of 3 Hebrew letters spelling the word sefer (book)
Moses Nahmanides, 1194-1270.
Perush ha-Torah. Commentary on the Pentateuch.
Lisbon: Eliezer Toledano, 1489

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How to Reach Us

The collection is open to visitors by appointment only from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday, excluding statutory holidays, and is located at:
395 Wellington Street, room 237A
Ottawa, Ontario.

For more information, please contact the Jacob M. Lowy Collection:
by email at: mailto:lowy@bac-lac.gc.ca
by telephone at: 613-995-7960
by fax at: 613-943-1112
or by regular mail at:
Jacob M. Lowy Collection
Library and Archives Canada
550 de la Cité Boulevard
Gatineau, Quebec J8T 0A7

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