BIBLIOTHÈQUE NATIONALE, French national library founded in the 14th century. There was no trace of Hebrew books there before 1544; however, by 1739 there were 516 manuscripts mainly from the collections of Catherine de' Medici, Cardinal Richelieu, and Gilbert Gaulmin. The catalogue of works printed in Hebrew and prepared by Nicolas Rigault remains unedited. The reforms brought about by the French Revolution resulted in several important collections being transferred to the National Library. These consisted of books and manuscripts from convents and from the Sorbonne library. Through the efforts of Solomon *Munk still further acquisitions were added. A description published in 1866 by Herman Zotenberg (Catalogue des Manuscrits Hébreux et Samaritains de la Bibliothèque Impériale, based on the preliminary work by Solomon Munk, Joseph *Dernbourg, and Adolphe *Franck), numbers 1,313 works in Hebrew and 11 in Samaritan. In the early 21st century there were a total of 1,481 manuscripts, including some discovered at Qumran, and 61 Samaritan manuscripts. Recent acquisitions were registered in the Catalogue général des livres imprimés and in Ouvrages imprimés en caractères hébraïques.
Schwab, in: REJ, 36 (1898), 112–4; 37 (1898), 127–36; 61 (1911), 82–87; 121 (1962), 194–209; M. Schwab (ed.), 64 (1912), 153–6, 280–1; 66 (1913), 290–6; I. Adler, ibid., Manuscrits hébreux de l'Oratoire (1911); I. Adler, Incunables hébraïques de la Bibliothèque Nationale (1962).
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.