Major gift endows photography collection at National Library of Israel
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Major gift endows photography collection at National Library of Israel

Pritzker Family National Photography Collection will support the digitisation and expansion of a century-old trove of photographs

Western Wall ca 1880. The Pritzker Family National Photography Collection, The National Library of Israel [Photo credit - Felix Bonfils]
Western Wall ca 1880. The Pritzker Family National Photography Collection, The National Library of Israel [Photo credit - Felix Bonfils]

The National Library of Israel has established the Pritzker Family National Photography Collection, after the American billionaire endowed the collection to the institution.

The collection of more than 2 million images – chronicling Ottoman and Mandatory Palestine and Israeli society and culture from the mid-nineteenth century to the present – will continue to be digitised following a major financial gift from The John Pritzker Family Fund, the National Library announced on Wednesday.

The collection includes photo albums, individual photos, postcards, personal collections and archives of private photographers and photographic agencies.

Hundreds of thousands of photographs have already been scanned, catalogued, digitally restored and uploaded to the National Library’s website, affording free public access. In addition, library experts continue to research, document and acquire photographic collections of professional photographers, families, organisations and national institutions in Israel and relating to its people and history.

The Pritzker gift also will allow future exhibition of the collection, as well as its expansion. It also will establish a state-of-the-art climate-controlled repository to house the collection in the new National Library of Israel building, now under construction adjacent to the Knesset in Jerusalem.

Aerial photo of Jerusalem in 1937- The Pritzker Family National Photography Collection, The National Library of Israel [Photo Credit- Photo Ross]
“Photography plays a unique role in capturing and conveying human stories, and thereby in deepening understanding and compassion. Our hope is that this gift enables the Library to demonstrate the richness and complexity of Israeli history to an even wider audience,” John Pritzker, chairman of the board of The John Pritzker Family Fund, said in a statement.

Israeli Bookmobile, 1963 – The Pritzker Family National Photography Collection, The National Library of Israel [Photo Credit- Photo Ross]
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