This Week in JPL History: The Big 5-0

Five decades, half a century, L, 110010, all these stand for 50. It is the atomic number of tin and the fifth magic number in physics. It’s also the age the Library turned in 1964 and celebrated its jubilee. The occasion of the Library’s 50th anniversary was marked in a number of ways.

Poet Itzik Manger with Rochel Eisenberg

During this week in 1964 a concert was arranged by the Musicians’ Guild of Montreal, the American Federation of Musicians, and the Trust Funds of the Recording Agencies. Entrance was free to this evening which saw Ethel Stark conduct a String Ensemble of the Montreal Women’s Symphony Orchestra. Japanese xylophonist Yoichi Hiraoka also performed.

Multiple events were planned to celebrate the Libraries golden jubilee: the publication of a 96 page booklet outlining its history and the programs of the Library, as well as the visit of Itzak Manger, a distinguished Yiddish balladist. The Library sponsored a series of lectures on Jewish History by Jacob Grossman and a second series on the Talmud.

The highlight of the jubilee year was a dinner on October 11th, held at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. The dinner saw speeches by M. Lauter, then president of the Library, Mr. Georges Emile Lapalme, the recently resigned Minister of Cultural Affairs, and Prof. Abraham Joshua Heschel, a Jewish philosopher. The event was a smashing success for the Library as tickets to the evening sold out.


David Rome is speaking at the podium with the former Minister of Cultural Affairs George-Émile Lapalme seated to the left

It has been precisely 50 years since the Library celebrated its jubilee and this year begins our 100th celebrations. A centennial is a rare and wonderful time. It is a time when we look back at our past and the journey that brought us to 100, as well as forward towards the next 100 years and everything we will still achieve.

Over the coming months the Archives will continue to highlight stories from our history. In particular, our past has shown the Jewish Public Library to be more than an institution, but a community. For this reason we would like to include some of the more personal stories from our members. The Archives will be running a special week of posts called Your Library History. We are encouraging members to share with the Archives (archives @ stories from their own time spent as the Library. We will be accepting submissions between now and June 30th.

The This Week in Jewish Public Library History blog series was made possible through the generous support of the Peter and Ellen Jacobs Virtual Archives Fund.

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