Sunday, May 1, 2011


Elizabeth L. Kamenetzky applied for admission to the NYPL Library School in 1913, and the school’s records described her as being a “Russian Jewess.”   Throughout her 43 year career at NYPL, Kamenetzky worked in five different branches, and all of those branches served Jewish neighborhoods in either Manhattan or the Bronx.

Kamenetzky had been born in Vitebsk, Russia; came to the United States in about 1890; and was naturalized as a citizen in 1906.  She worked at the Newark (NJ) Public Library, 1907-1908 and received a certificate from the NJ State Normal School in 1910. 

Elizabeth Kamenetzky was one of only seven Jewish librarians to head a branch at NYPL, 1901-1950.  Five of those seven had entered NYPL in 1903 when it absorbed the Aguilar Free Library Society, a Jewish-run library system with four branches.  Kamenetzky was hired by NYPL in 1910, and when she was promoted to Branch Librarian in 1928 she became the first Jewish librarian to be both hired by NYPL and promoted to Branch Librarian.

May 2 would be the 123rd birthday of Elizabeth L. Kamenetzky.

1 comment:

  1. Elizabeth Kameneztky was my great aunt. She died on August 13, 1990. I do not believe that any family members have any information about publications or papers that would shed further light on the aspects of her career in which you are interested, but I can add that after retirement from the NYPL system she served for a number of years as part-time librarian at Congregation Rodeph Sholem in Manhattan.