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Twenty years have elapsed since Jacob M. Lowy presented his private collection of rare Judaica and Hebraica to the National Library of Canada. Sixteen years have passsed since my predecessor, Guy Sylvestre, wrote the prefatory words to the printed catalogue Incunabula, Hebraica & Judaica, which accompanied the memorable Lowy exhibition of 1981.
Now, in 1997, the National Library is marking the milestone twentieth anniversary of the Jacob M. Lowy Collection with lectures and cultural events. Among the celebratory events is this, the publication in electronic format of Incunabula, Hebraica & Judaica.
These past twenty years have witnessed numerous changes. Most importantly, in 1985 significant additional rare material was acquired by the National Library from Mr. Lowy. Along with other gifts and purchases, the Lowy Collection has grown to over 4,000 volumes. The National Library lost a great friend indeed when, in December 1990, Jacob Lowy died in Montreal.
The passage of time notwithstanding, Incunabula, Hebraica & Judaica remains an eloquent ambassador to a widely dispersed public. It is our wish that this catalogue foster an ever-growing awareness and appreciation of the remarkable Lowy Collection. We are certain that this new electronic version will help make that wish a reality.