The National Library of Israel (NLI) has announced that a generous gift from the John Pritzker Family Fund will establish the Pritzker Family National Photography Collection at the National Library of Israel. The Pritzker Family National Photography Collection, curated over more than a century, is the world’s leading collection of its kind, providing a visual record of Ottoman and Mandatory Palestine and Israeli society and culture from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. The collection includes more than two million items, among them photo albums, individual photos, postcards, personal collections and archives of private photographers and photographic agencies.
The strength, focus and pride of the Pritzker Family National Photography Collection lie in the exceptional collection of images from the formative years of photography in the mid-nineteenth century through the First World War. The collection of photographs from the British Mandate period, when photography became widespread, provides a visual record of the rapid development that occurred during the 1920s-1940s. More than one million photos in the collection’s Dan Hadani Archive and other collections document Israeli life and momentous events from the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 until today.
Hundreds of thousands of photographs have already been scanned, catalogued, digitally restored and uploaded to the National Library’s website, affording free public access. In addition, NLI experts continue to research, document and acquire photographic collections of professional photographers, families, organizations and national institutions in Israel and relating to its people and history.
The generous gift from the John Pritzker Family Fund will support continued digitization of the holdings, future exhibition of its treasures, and expansion and enrichment of the collection for years to come. The gift will also establish a state-of-the-art climate controlled repository to house the collection’s more than two million items in the new National Library of Israel building, now under construction adjacent to the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) in Jerusalem.
John Pritzker is the Founder and Managing Partner of Geolo Capital, a private equity firm based in San Francisco. Mr. Pritzker has served as Chairman and CEO of several businesses in the hospitality industry. He was also a founding member of Ticketmaster, Inc. (the world’s largest seller of live-entertainment tickets) and formed Mandara Spa (the largest operator of upscale spas for the hospitality and cruise industry). In 1972, John Pritzker joined his father, Jay, founder of Hyatt Hotels Corporation, at the company, and worked his way up to Managing Director and Divisional Vice President of Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. Mr. Pritzker is Chairman of the John Pritzker Family Fund and a past president of the San Francisco Jewish Community Federation. He serves on the boards of The Bernard Osher Foundation, which funds higher education and the arts; the Executive Council of University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Health; Tipping Point Community, which fights poverty in the Bay Area; and Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. He lives in San Francisco and has three sons.
Hi-resolution photos for download here. All photos are from The Pritzker Family National Photography Collection, The National Library of Israel. Additional credit as indicated in file name.
David Blumberg, Chairman of the Board, National Library of Israel:
“We are grateful to the John Pritzker Family Fund for their exceptional generosity and thrilled that this gift will enable us to further enrich and open digital access to the world’s greatest collection of Israeli photographs.”
John Pritzker, Chairman of the Board, The John Pritzker Family Fund:
“We are excited to support the photography collection at the National Library of Israel. Photography plays a unique role in capturing and conveying human stories, and thereby in deepening understanding and compassion. Our hope is that this gift enables the Library to demonstrate the richness and complexity of Israeli history to an even wider audience.”
English media inquiries
Zack Rothbart, National Library of Israel