Page 90 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 12

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
84
artist attempts to portray it. It may, therefore, be justifiably
asserted that Birnholz exerted wide-spread influence in this area
of the graphic arts for he had nearly 350 different bookplates
made for himself and members of his family by numerous artists.
His collection of 40,000
Ex-libris
, including many of the rarest
as well as those of the foremost artists, was confiscated by the
Nazis. Only in 1950, as a result of the intervention of the U. S.
Department of State, was his collection restored to him, albeit
with many items missing.
ON BOOKPLATES OF AUTHORS
That authors love books does not need underscoring. Their
devotion is generally reflected in their bookplates. Professor
Solomon Schechter (1847-1915), president of the Jewish Theo-
logical Seminary of America, made considerable contributions to
Jewish scholarship and succeeded in making a deep impression
on American Jewish life. He achieved outstanding recognition
for his identification of a manuscript fragment from the Cairo
Genizah as the lost Hebrew original of the
Book of Ecclesiasticus
or
Ben Sira.
This led him to discover in the same place thousands
of valuable manuscripts. Using the manuscripts he uncovered,
he published in cooperation with Charles Taylor the Hebrew text
of the
Wisdom of Ben Sira
(Cambridge, 1899). It is therefore
appropriate that Schechter’s bookplate has the following quota-
tion from
Ben Sira
38.24:
תמכח
רפוס
הברת
המכח
(The wisdom of
a writer increases wisdom). The symbols included in the
Ex-libris
are: two palms, each as part of the vertical borders; an open scroll
with “Ex Libris Solomon Schechter” inscribed on it; a candelabrum
standing on a closed book; and a Star of David in which are set
a pair of hands in position for invoking the priestly benediction.
The bookplate was designed by Joseph B. Abrahams who was
Schechter’s faithful secretary and “right hand” man all the years
he lived in the United States. It was prepared under the personal
direction of Schechter, following considerable discussion by the
artist with him concerning what he desired to be included in the
drawing. Unfortunately, it was not engraved until after his death.
Rabbi Isaac Landman (1880-1946) was for many years the
guiding mind of the
American Hebrew.
His greatest scholarly
contribution was undoubtedly his labor as the editor of the ten-
volume
Universal Jewish Encyclopedia.
He wrote several books
and numerous articles as well as a few plays. In 1927 he organized
the Permanent Commission on Better Understanding among
Catholics, Protestants and Jews. His bookplate, designed by
Joseph Urban and presented to him by the staff of the
Atnerican