Alice Shalvi donates archive to National Library

Shalvi's archive includes letters written by her mother to her father in 1933-4, following his escape to England when the rest of the family were still in Germany under the Nazi menace.

January 3, 2019 14:11
1 minute read.
Professor Alice Shalvi donates archives to National Library of Israel in January 2019

Professor Alice Shalvi donates archives to National Library of Israel in January 2019. (photo credit: NATIONAL LIBRARY OF ISRAEL)


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Prof. Alice Shalvi, Israel Prize laureate, feminist activist, social advocate and professor emerita of English literature, donated her personal papers to the National Library of Israel, the library announced Wednesday.

Shalvi, born in Essen, Germany, in 1926, immigrated to England with her family in 1934. Later, after graduating from the University of Cambridge and the London School of Economics, she immigrated to Israel in 1949.

Shalvi taught in the Department of English at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem from January 1950 until October 1990. From 1975-1990, she served as principal of Pelech, a unique progressive high school for religious girls. From 1984 to 2000, she was the founding chairwoman of the Israel Women’s Network, an organization dedicated to advancing the status of women in Israel, which became Israel’s major advocacy group on women’s issues.

Shalvi’s archive contains family correspondence, including letters written by her mother to her father in 1933 to 1934, following his escape to England when the rest of the family were still in Germany under the Nazi menace.

There are also records and notes documenting her decades of work as an educator and activist, especially as a pioneer in the Israeli feminist movement.

“As a woman who has lived in Israel almost since its founding and has for a considerable part of the past 70 years participated actively in several of the country’s major social movements and developments, it seems important to make the material that has accumulated over that period available to researchers as well as to those of the general public who are interested in social history,” Shalvi said.

“Prof. Shalvi has impacted Israeli society to an extent that few others have,” said Aviad Stollman, National Library of Israel Head of Collections. “As a true trailblazer in terms of the struggle for gender equality, Jewish education for women and many other areas of social activism, her influence over the course of many decades continues to be felt from the political sphere to education and religion.

“As the institution of national memory for the State of Israel and the Jewish people worldwide, we are humbled to be entrusted with Prof. Shalvi’s personal archive, which will certainly provide fruitful materials for researchers and the general public in the near and distant future,” Stollman said.

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