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Leon Nemoy

NEMOY, LEON (1901–1997), scholar and librarian. Born in Balta, Russia, Nemoy studied classical and Slavic languages at the University of Odessa. After moving to the U.S. in 1923, he studied Semitic languages at Yale University (1924–29), where he received his Ph.D. He served as a librarian at the Society for the Propagation of Knowledge, Odessa, Russia (1914–21), the Academic Library of Odessa (1919–21), and the University Library of Lvov, Poland (1922–23) before assuming his duties at Yale in 1923. Rising to the post of curator of Hebrew and Arabic literature at Yale's Sterling Memorial Library, he became the university's first Judaica and Arabic curator. During his tenure, Yale received the Alexander Kohut Memorial Collection of Judaica (1915 and 1935) and the Sholem Asch Collection (1946). The acquisition of these significant collections was instrumental in making Yale a center for the study of Jewish literature, history, and culture. Under Nemoy's direction, important Arabic manuscripts were acquired as well. Upon his retirement, Nemoy became scholar-in-residence at Dropsie University, Philadelphia, where he was editor of the Jewish Quarterly Review.

Nemoy's scholarly activities were mainly devoted to research on the history of the *Karaites. His major work is his edition of the Arabic text of al-*Kirkis ānī's Kitāb al-Anwār wa-al Maraqib (5 vols., 1939–43). He also translated a valuable collection of Karaite texts into English from Arabic, Hebrew, and Aramaic (Karaite Anthology, 1952), with introduction and annotations. He also compiled Arabic Manuscripts in the Yale University Library (1956). Nemoy contributed numerous articles on Arabic philology, Karaite subjects, and the history of Jewish and Arabic medicine to various scholarly journals. He also published a catalog of the Hebrew and Yiddish books donated by Sholem *Asch to Yale (Catalogue of Hebrew and Yiddish Manuscripts and Books from the Library of Sholem Asch, 1945). Nemoy was one of the editors of the Yale Judaica Series and departmental editor for the Encyclopaedia Judaica on the Karaites.


S. Brunswick (ed.), Studies in Judaica, Karaitica and Islamica: Presented to Leon Nemoy on his Eightieth Birthday (1982).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.