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Guide to the Simcha Blass Hydrology of Israel Collection
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Custodial History
  • Biography / Administrative History
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms
  • Bibliography

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Simcha Blass Hydrology of Israel collection
    Dates: 1935-1955
    Collection number: M1438
    Collector: Blass, Simcha
    Collection Size: 5 linear ft. 6 manuscript boxes, 1 half manuscript box, 1 flat box, 2 map folders
    Repository: Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.
    Abstract: Contains reports and other documents relating to the hydrology of Israel.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    Collection is open for research; materials must be requested at least 24 hours in advance of intended use.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the repository. Literary rights reside with the creators of the documents or their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce, please contact the Public Services Librarian of the Dept. of Special Collections.

    Preferred Citation

    Simcha Blass Hydrology of Israel collection, M1438. Dept. of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

    Acquisition Information

    Purchased, 2004 (Accession 2004-167)

    Custodial History

    Collection was sold to a rare books dealer by an individual purporting to be an intermediary between the dealer and the Blass Family. The collection was subsequently purchased by Stanford University from the dealer.

    Biography / Administrative History

    Hydrological engineer and entrepreneur Simcha Blass was born in 1897 in Warsaw, Poland, the second of five children. As a boy, his education consisted of both religious and secular studies, and early on he developed a strong interest in engineering and also became intent on settling in the Jewish homeland. At the age of 17 he began his studies at the Wawelberg-Rotband mechanical-technical institute. In 1919 he was drafted and spent 18 months as a private in the Polish Army. After his discharge, he completed his studies and obtained an engineering credential.
    A gifted engineer with a talent for invention, Blass spent most of the 1920s perfecting an implement for planting wheat that eventually increased crop yields by 300 percent. He saw this new device as a key to Jewish settlers' self-sufficiency. But he did not succeed in marketing his invention to investors and manufacturers and was particularly disappointed that it failed to take hold in Palestine. Eventually he came to realize that the main barrier to successful agricultural development and increased Jewish settlement in Palestine was the lack of a steady water supply, and his focus shifted to hydrological engineering.
    Simcha Blass's involvement with the development of water resources, first in Palestine and then in the newly established State of Israel, began on a small scale. In the late 1920s, he settled in Deganyah Bet, a small agricultural community on Lake Kineret, and served as a consultant to several neighboring communities who had obtained funds from the Jewish Agency to install a pumping station to use Jordan River water for irrigation. His success in this project sparked a passion that would endure throughout his career. In 1930, Blass brought his wife from Bialystok, Poland and relocated to Tel Aviv, where he established a hydrological engineering firm. Over the next 30 years, Blass and his associates were key participants in the planning and construction of hydrological projects all over Israel, including the National Water Carrier. This ambitious project, completed in 1964, consists of a series of underground pipelines, open canals, reservoirs, and tunnels, which carry water from Lake Kineret to the Negev
    Simcha Blass died in 1982, in Tel Aviv, Israel.
    Simhah Blas, Me merivah u-maas (Water in strife and action). Ramat-Gan: Masadah, 1973.
    Dov Sitton, Development of water limited water resources: Historical and technological aspects. The American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, 2005. Retrieved from http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Environment/water.html

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Contains correspondence, maps, minutes, proposals and technical reports relating to the hydrology of Israel.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Savage, John Lucian , 1879-1967


    Blas, Simcha Me merivah u-maas(Ramat-Gan: Masadah, 1973)
    Sitton, Dov Development of water limited water resources: Historical and technological aspects(The American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, 2005)