Page 56 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 24

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4 8
J
e w i s h
B
o o k
A
n n u a l
the library his importan t library in Judaeo-Arabic and a col­
lection of photostats of rare Judaeo-Arabic manuscripts, gathered
from many parts of the world. These are extremely helpfu l to
scholars because they contain Dr. Skoss’ in terpre tations of time,
place and authorship.
Following the death of Dr. Leo L. Honor in
1956
, his family
presented the College with his library which is boun tifu l in the
fields of education and semitics. W ith the establishment of the
Department of Education in 1946 and the M iddle East Ins titu te
in 1948, special collections were carefully assembled and devel­
oped in the fields of Jewish education, Israel and the modern
Middle East.
In its distinguished collection the library possesses 32 volumes
of incunabula, 290 sixteenth century books, and other rarities,
making it one of the most importan t sources for the study of
the history of Jewish life, law and customs.
Manuscript Collection
The pride and joy of any library is its collection of m anu ­
scripts. T he Dropsie College Library has been particularly for­
tunate in acquiring through gift and purchase a number of
manuscript collections tha t have enabled scholars th roughou t
the world to benefit from them. T h e most famous of the m anu ­
script collections is tha t of the Genizah fragments. I t was cata­
logued by Ben Zion Halper:
Descriptive Catalogue of Genizah
Fragments in Philadelphia
(Philadelphia, 1924).
I t is a notable collection in many respects. Item 211 is the
oldest extant Haggadah in the world. T h e text was published
by E. D. Goldschmidt as the
Passover Haggadah: Its Sources and
History
(Jerusalem, 1960). I t also possesses the oldest
ketubah
in the world, dating from the year 871. I t contains holographs
of Saadiah, Abraham Ben Moses Maimonides and others.
T h e library also possesses 259 Oriental manuscripts in Arabic,
Ethiopic, Hebrew, Samaritan, Coptic, Persian, Sanscrit, Tu rk ish
and Demotic and Coptic papyri of considerable antiquity.
T h e archives of the Dropsie College Library are very rich in
manuscript archival material re la ting to American Jewish his­
tory, especially the early period. T h e library possesses among
others the correspondence and manuscripts of Moses Aaron
Dropsie, of Rev. Isaac Leeser, Henry Malter, Rev. Sabato Morais,
and Mayer Sulzberger, and a selection of the correspondence of
Cyrus Adler.