Question: Can you please recommend a resource that can quickly help me identify some of the rabbis in the towns of 19th century Europe. I would also like some biographical information about them.
Answer: I suggest you use זכרון לאחרונים Latter Day Leaders, Sages and Scholars Born Between Late 18th and Early 20th Century, compiled by Emanuel Rosenstein and Neil Rosenstein (1983). This "computerized bibliographic index, alphabetized by first name, surname and town" will list the rabbi's names, birth dates and death dates, and point you to biographical information in 10 different biographical dictionaries. Most of these biographical works were published in the late 18-hundreds and early 19-hundreds, providing contemporary information. Latter Day Leaders also includes rabbis active in the Western Hemisphere, Israel, Australia, and sections of Africa. It is available at the Reference Desk of the JTS Library; the biographical dictionaries are also available in the JTS Library.