Page 47 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 29

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41
F
aber
—J
ew ish
L
ibrary
C
ollections
typical library of a rav in an East European community. It includes
many editions of the Talmud, midrash, codes, responsa, commen-
taries on
Tenakh,
liturgy, mysticism and related materials, some
of which are highly priced 16th and 17th century prints the owner
would use in his regular daily tasks as rabbinic judge, teacher,
guide, and arbiter in matters of ritual. Of special interest are
many titles, rare collectors’ items, because of their associative value
—autographs and annotations by famous scholars. Some 300 Pesah
Haggadot, many of which are rare editions not found even in
special libraries, as well as a number of Cabalah manuscripts from
the school of Rabbi Yitzhak Luria, enhance the collection’s value.
Of considerable interest are also several smaller groups of materials
relating to controversies among hasidic sects.
The library of Dr. Arthur Hyman of New York City is similar
in scope and variety of materials. Its value gains considerably in
that it includes all the publications of
Mekitze Nirdamim,
scores
of complete sets of bibliographically important Hebrew period-
icals, valuable festschriften, and rare titles in the history and
geography of Eretz Yisrael.
The collection of Dr. Solomon B. Freehof in Pittsburgh is
famous throughout the world of Jewish scholarship for its com-
prehensive responsa materials, probably the largest collection of
its kind. It includes many hundreds of titles not listed even in the
most detailed bibliography on the subject, the well-known
Kuntras
ha-Teshuvot
by Boaz Cohen (Budapest, 1930). As an indication
of its size and qualitative value, Dr. Freehof stated in a personal
note that “he would have to devote months of study to describe
the collection.” He willed it to the library of the Hebrew Union
College.
Based upon research for this essay, it appears that the collection
of Rabbi Leonard C. Mishkin in Chicago represents the largest
privately owned Jewish library in America. It consists of over
54,500 volumes in a dozen languages covering all fields of Jewish
scholarship. Its major strengths are in rabbinics, periodica, jahres-
berichten, festschriften, Jewish history, Jewish education, and bib-
liographic materials of all types. It is perhaps the only private
library this side of the Iron Curtain with hundreds of Yiddish
titles published in the U.S.S.R.
Dr. Walter J. Fischel of Berkeley has a collection which typifies
an academician’s working library, consisting of approximately
8,000 titles in the areas of Jewish history and literature, in Hebrew,
English, Arabic, Persian, and various Asian languages and dialects.
Of special interest are many manuscripts and fragmentary docu-
ments relating to Jewish diasporas in India, Persia, and com-
munities in the Far East. Foremost in the latter group are the
manuscripts in Judeo-Persian.