The Kurt and Ursula Schubert Archive is one of the sections comprising the Bezalel Narkiss Index of Jewish Art.
The late Profs. Kurt and Dr. Ursula Schubert from Vienna University, established an extensive collection of photographs of Hebrew illuminated manuscripts. For many years the Schuberts had traveled to libraries and manuscript collections all over Europe, Israel, and the USA, examined and catalogued manuscripts and established contacts with manuscript keepers and curators. Several grants from the Austrian Fonds zur Förderung der Wissenschaften Forschung allowed them to acquire full sets of photographs of many manuscripts they had researched. During the 1980s and 1990s, their collection grew into an impressive archive which became the Schuberts’ major research tool.
In the last joint visit of Ursula and Kurt Schubert to Jerusalem in 1998, Prof. Aliza Cohen-Mushlin, then the director of the Center for Jewish Art and herself a researcher of illuminated manuscripts, approached them and proposed that their collection of photographs would be transferred to the Center for Jewish Art at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The Schuberts agreed, and in the summer of 1999 the archive was shipped to Israel, with the help of the Austrian Foreign Ministry.
The archives arrived to Jerusalem on 15 August, 1999, but two weeks later Ursula passed away. She never saw their archive in its new home on the Mount Scopus campus. Kurt Schubert visited Jerusalem once more, in February 2005, and participated in the opening ceremony. He then wrote in Hebrew the following in the visitors’ book:
למה שאספנו וריכזנו ועיבדנו בוינה
אני מאחל הצלחה שלמה לעתיד בירושלים
(To what we have collected, merged and researched in Vienna, I wish full success in the future in Jerusalem. 22 February 2005. Kurt Schubert)
The Schubert Archive includes 8,151 photographs of illuminations from 327 Hebrew manuscripts which are kept in 38 libraries and museums.
The Archive was scanned as part of the digitization project of the Center for Jewish Art, generously supported by the Rothschild Foundation (Hanadiv) Europe, "Landmarks" Program of the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, and Judaica Division of Harvard University Library (Judaica Book Fund endowments established by David B. Keidan).