UNION OF JEWISH LITERARY SOCIETIES:
An association of societies founded in 1902 in London, England, for the diffusion of Jewish literature, history, and sociology, and for the coordination of the work of Jewish literary societies. The organization grew out of a conference of Jewish literary societies convened by the North London Jewish Literary and Social Union, chief among whose objects was the study of Jewish literature, history, and sociology. Its first president was Israel Abrahams.
The union has constituent societies in many districts of the British empire. Each reserves its complete local independence, and is in no way controlled by the central organization. The union, however, renders assistance to the constituent societies in many ways. It has published a directory of Anglo-Jewish lecturers, with a supplementary list of Jewish litterateurs resident abroad who have placed papers prepared by them at its disposal. It also provides literary material and guidance for members of the constituent societies desirous of preparing lectures, and it has arranged a number of illustrated lectures for their use.
An important feature of the work of the union is its publications. In addition to a number of pamphlets, it issues yearly, in time for the annual conference of constituent societies held in the month of June, the "Jewish Literary Annual," which, besides supplying a record of the work of the union and its constituent societies during the previous year, contains the installation address of the retiring president and a selection of the papers read before the constituent societies during the preceding twelve months. Another feature is a bibliography of books, essays, etc., of Jewish interest published in English during the year.
The union has been instrumental in introducing the Jewish Chautauqua movement into England. It has also arranged with considerable success summer gatherings at English seaside resorts.