Page 53 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 23

Basic HTML Version

4 7
— T
h e
ew ish
iv is ion
without the Division and its chief. The general Hebrew encyclo-
Ozar Yisrael
(New York, 1907-1913, 10 volumes), edited
by J. D. Eisenstein, as well as the many special encyclopedias
which he prepared, likewise express appreciation to A. S. Freidus
for both service and editorial advice. Practically all the routine
articles and many of the major ones in the 10 volume
Jewish Encyclopedia
(1939-1943) were prepared in the Jewish
During World War I, when Eliezer Ben Yehuda, the great
Hebraist, had to leave Jerusalem, he found refuge in a special
room of the New York Public Library where he continued his
pioneering work. In the introduction he prepared for his great
historical dictionary
Thesaurus Totius Hebraitatis
(Milon ha-
Lashon ha-Ivrit,
1908-1959, 14 volumes), he thanks the New York
Public Library for giving him a separate room (Room 222) and
supplying him with all the books he needed, and also Freidus
and his assistants for their readiness to serve him. Some of his
correspondence during that period was headed “Room 222, The
New York Public Library.״ The story is also told by Robert St.
John in his
Tongue of the Prophets.
Among more recent works expressing appreciation for the
services of the Jewish Division are: Edward D. Coleman,
Bible in English Drama,
1931, and
The Jew in English Drama,
1943, both published by the New York Public Library; Zalman
Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre,
v. 1-4, New York,
1931-1963; Jacob Robinson and Philip Friedman,
Guide to
Jewish History Under Nazi Impact,
New York, 1960. Likewise,
various histories of the Jews in the U. S. and Great Britain, in
New York, Utica, California, South Carolina, Milwaukee, Buffalo
and elsewhere, and many anthologies of folklore, humor, litera-
ture and thought. During the last year alone the Jewish Division
received recognition from authors working in such fields as
general Jewish history, American Jewish local history, mythology
and folklore, the sociology of religion, contemporary biography,
social life, development of Jewish hospitals, a biographical die-
tionary of Yiddish authors and bibliographical works of various
types. From time to time gifts from individuals and organizations
and bequests by devoted readers, such as Edward D. Coleman,
Rabbi Maurice M. Mazure, and Charles N. Meltsner, have also
come as expressions of gratitude for the work of the Division.
Thus, the history of the Jewish Division is one of continuing
aspiration towards the proper blending of the three fundamental
goals of a great working library: wise acquisition, functional or-
ganization and ready service.