Duke University Libraries Collection of Haggadot, 1200-2003, bulk 1900-2003

Navigate the Collection

Using These Materials Teaser

Using These Materials Links:

Using These Materials

Collection is open for research.
More about accessing and using these materials...


436 items
436 Items
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

The Duke University Libraries Collection of Haggadot consists mainly of Passover Haggadot (singular: Haggadah) from the past 1000 years. The 436 Haggadot in the collection, which are found in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the Divinity School Library, Perkins Library, and Lilly Library, span 800 years (1200-2003), represent five continents (excluding only Australia and Antarctica), are written in several different languages (including Russian, Marathi, Italian, Yiddish, Ladino and Arabic), and were created for a variety of specific purposes. A majority of the Haggadot were published in the 20th century. A large number of the Haggadot are illustrated or illuminated while others contain only the text. Although the majority of the Haggadot in the collection were created by printing press, or other printing methods, Duke does own a number of limited edition facsimile editions of handwritten manuscripts. Most, but not all, of the Haggadot found in the Special Collections Library come from the Abram and Frances Pascher Kanof Collection of Jewish Art, Archaeology, and Symbolism. This guide does not include the Duke University Libraries' collection of microfilmed Haggadot. See the last paragraph of the Processing and Searching Note below for further information on searching for Haggadot in the library.

Since many of the Haggadot have similar titles (e.g. Hagadah shel Pesah yields 121 results), and to accommodate the variety of ways in which patrons might want to search for Haggadot, the entire collection has been arranged into three different series: Date List Series, Location List Series, and Purpose List Series. Each of these series contains the entire collection of Haggadot, but arranged according to different criteria. Therefore, the item with call number Haggadah Pam #106, an advertising Haggadah from 19th century New York, can be found in three places: 1) in the Date List under the 19th Century Subseries; 2) in the Location List under the United States Subseries; and 3) in the Purpose List under the Advertising Subseries.

The Date List Series is subdivided by century for Haggadot published from the 13th through the 19th centuries and by decade (e.g., 1910-1919) for those Haggadot created during the 20th and 21st centuries. The majority of the Haggadot (84%) are from the 20th century.

The Location List Series arranges the collection by the country where each Haggadah was created--usually where the item was printed--then by the date of creation. However, facsimile editions have been arranged by the place of their original creation. In these cases, the location where the facsimile was printed is identified in the description of each facsimile. This series is further arranged into subseries by country, including Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Canada, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Morocco, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Tunisia, and United States.

The Purpose List Series is further subdivided by the specific purpose for which each Haggadah was written. Most of the Haggadot were created for use at a Passover seder and thus are arranged into the General Subseries. These Haggadot are generally traditional in content and are meant to be used by anyone. Other purpose subseries include Advertising, Children, Christian, Denominations (of Judaism), Facsimiles, Fundraising, Kibbutz, Parody, and Resource.

Biographical / historical:

The Haggadah, a liturgical work used in Jewish homes around the world for the yearly Passover celebration, is the most widely published Jewish liturgical book and has appeared in countless forms over the years. Around 40 pages in length, the Haggadah's traditional text is in Hebrew but is often accompanied by translations into the vernacular or occasionally appears only in the vernacular. Thousands of extant editions have been cataloged, and many more uncatalogued editions come to light each year in addition to new editions which are continually being published. Haggadot have been printed in nearly every country where Jews have lived and in nearly every language Jews have spoken.

Acquisition information:
The Duke University Libraries Collection of Haggadot consists of items found in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library, the Divinity School Library, Perkins Library, and Lilly Library.
Processing information:

Processed by Chad Spigel

Completed July 28, 2004

Encoded by Elizabeth Arnold, Syreena Bibbs, Ramona Jauneika-Devine, and Danielle McGregor

Finding aid completed May 18, 2005

Library call numbers for individual Haggadah are listed at the left (e.g., Haggadah q#4). All call numbers are actively linked directly to their individual records in the Duke University Libraries' Online Catalog.

The division of the Haggadot collection into three separate series was done to assist the researcher. However, users may have other categories of interest, which they may search for using the search box at the bottom of this Web page. Simply type in a keyword and the description of every Haggadah in this guide which contains that keyword will be highlighted. For example, it might be of interest to find Haggadot that were written in a specific language. The Location List might assist to some degree in this search, but language and country do not always correspond directly (e.g., not all Haggadot from the United States are written in English and not all Haggadot with an English text are from the United States or England). However, typing the word "English" into the search box below will yield all the Haggadot in the collection that are described as having an English text.

In addition to searches for specific languages, additional searches that might be of interest are Haggadot with commentaries by a specific commentator, such as "Abarbanel;" with "wine stains;""signed" by someone; with "music;""handwritten;""illustrated;" are a certain size, such as "17 cm;" from a specific city; illustrated by a specific artist; etc.

To locate the microfiche versions of Haggadot in the Duke University Libraries, go to the "Advanced Search" screen in the Online Catalog. Choose "Call Numbers" in the first pull-down menu, and type "M7302." Choose "Title Keywords" in the second pull-down menu, and type "haggadah." Press "Go."

Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


Using These Materials

Using These Materials Links:

Using These Materials


Collection is open for research.

Terms of access:

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University.

Before you visit:
Please consult our up-to-date information for visitors page, as our services and guidelines periodically change.
Preferred citation:

Cite each individual Haggadah following the citation format for a published work.