Page 100 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

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with his relatively limited means he amassed a truly great library
is a tribute to his enthusiasm, as well as perhaps to the forbear-
ance of his wife. Towards the end of his days he sold the manu-
script collection to the British Museum, which has thus far not
done all that is possible to make it properly accessible to students.
Some works which he had held back and placed in a safe deposit
at the time of the German air-raids on London, were ruined by
water from a water-main in the immediate neighbourhood that
had been damaged. What remained, however, including many
important Samaritan MSS., were acquired by the famous John
Rylands Library in Manchester—one of the greatest libraries in
the British Isles, which contains much Hebraica, including also
some truly magnificent illuminated MSS.
The third of the great Anglo-Jewish trio, David Solomon Sas-
soon, had advantages neither of the other two possessed. He
belonged to a famous Anglo-Iraqi-Indian family, with interna-
tional connections in the Far East which gave him unique oppor-
tunities; and he also enjoyed great affluence which enabled him
to acquire any work he found desirable. And he did, lavishly,
learnedly, and discriminatingly. On one occasion, while on a
boat which put in at Port Said on its way to or from India,
he learned that a Jewish peddler who came aboard had a rare
book at home. David Sassoon looked after his stock and, to the
great amusement of the fellow-passengers, did a thriving business,
while the peddler went ashore to fetch his treasure. Moreover,
Sassoon was a very considerable scholar; and his catalogue of
his manuscripts, in two splendid volumes, is perhaps the most
satisfactory description of any Hebrew collection that has ever
been published. There is another feature about his collection
which is almost unique. His son, Rabbi Solomon Sassoon, who
inherited it, devotes to it the same loving care as did his father;
and this is perhaps the only truly great library of Hebrew printed
books and manuscripts which remains in the world still in private
hands.