Page 123 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 16

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— P
h i l i p
L . S
em a n
Very few were without marginal notes; page after page is gener-
ously underscored and notated with comments and opinions per-
taining to the subject matter. His library numbered many
association items inscribed to him by their authors. I t was built
with great care and nurtured with affection; its volumes were
chosen with the same solicitude as one selects close personal
friends. His devotion to books was further emphasized by the
specially created book plate he designed for his library. It depicts
an open book resting on a mountain, with the flame of truth and
the light of the world emanating from it.
Dr. Seman was in the forefront of those responsible for the
creation of the Jewish Community Library. This institution
was established by the Los Angeles Jewish Community Council
and is the only one of its kind in America. Mrs. Seman made a
gift of over 1,000 volumes to this institution to perpetuate her
husband’s memory. For years Dr. Seman had advocated the
establishment of a series of publications exclusively for children.
His dream became a reality posthumously with the publication
this year of the Covenant Books by the Jewish Publication Society
of America.
For ten years Dr. Seman served as chairman of the Jewish Book
Month Committee. Under his aegis this project attained high
prominence, and was acknowledged as one of the outstanding
programs in the whole country. Its scope, which embraced the
entire community, brought to our non-Jewish neighbors an
awareness of significant Jewish literary contributions to the cul-
ture of the total American community. The Huntington Library,
the University of Southern California, the University of Cali-
fornia at Los Angeles, the County Museum, the Los Angeles
Public Library and practically every prominent library and edu-
cational institution in the city were represented on our commit-
tee and annually sponsored a book exhibit during Jewish Book
Month. This involvement of non-Jewish institutions and indi-
viduals extended to sectarian as well as to the state and city uni-
Dr. Seman at all times enjoyed the admiration and esteem of
his co-workers and associates. Only nine months before his death,
a testimonial meeting in honor of his seventy-fifth birthday was
held jointly by the Los Angeles Hillel Council of B’nai B’rith, the
Western States Region of the American Association for Jewish
Education, Jewish Centers Association, Jewish Community Li-
brary, Jewish Publication Society of America, National Jewish
Welfare Board, University of Judaism and The American Jewish
Historical Society of Southern California. Dr. Seman had for
many years participated actively in the affairs of these organiza-
tions, and now they were paying him a well deserved tribute.
Dr. Seman was a paragon of order and systematic method. His
numerous files and cabinets were so arranged that he could
locate references, memoranda or data at an instant’s notice. His