Page 60 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 21

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time of anything serious recorded in any language pertaining
to the civilization of the Jewish people over the millennia.
The architect of this development was the late Professor
Alexander Marx who devoted fifty years of his life and all the
infectious enthusiasm, patient perseverance and painstaking
scholarship at his command to the fulfillment of this cherished
One of the most important milestones in the history of the
Library was the acquisition of the 4,500 printed books and
thirty manuscripts of Moritz Steinschneider, the most renowned
Jewish bibliographer of all time. Apart from adding some very
rare early editions, it strengthened the divisions of Hebrew and
Oriental bibliography, medieval philosophy, mathematics, science
and general culture. The significance of this library for scholars
is enhanced by Steinschneider’s penchant for making critical
notes in the margins of his books. The Seminary was immediately
established as one of the centers of Jewish bibliographical in-
This magnanimous gift of the financier and philanthropist,
Jacob H. Schiff, was followed by another from the same source,
this time in the field of biblical studies. A few years earlier,
Marx and Moses Ottinger had presented a collection of biblical
reference works. This was now augmented by Schiff s donation
of the library of the biblical scholar and Semitist, Emil Kautzsch,
a collection rich in books on modern research in the field of
Bible, Palestinography and Semitic philology.
A major acquisition were the Solomon Schechter materials
presented by his family in 1917. It contained about 1,500 books,
thirteen manuscripts, and other valuable items including Genizah
fragments, one with Maimonides’ signature. Additional notes
and personal correspondence belonging to Schechter were donated
by his daughter-in-law in 1940.
An entirely new department of Anglo-Judaica was added in
1921 with Mortimer L. Schiffs gift of the magnificent collection
of valuable pamphlets and prints, including maps and caricatures,
built up over many years by Israel Solomons. This collection is
very rich in primary material of the 17th century relating to the
question of the readmission of the Jews to England in the time
of Oliver Cromwell. There are also many valuable tracts discuss-
ing the ill-fated Jewish Naturalization Bill of 1753.
Probably the most exciting and greatest single addition was
the Elkan Nathan Adler collection, the greatest private Jewish
library of its time. A peripatetic English bibliophile, E. N. Adler
indefatigably searched for Judaic treasures throughout his world­