Page 69 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 36

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The L ibrary’s Hebraic collections, now considered among
the richest in the world and the largest under government
auspices, had their inception with a gift of 9,936 volumes and
pamphlets brought together over a period of many years by
the great bibliophile, Ephraim Deinard. I t was presented to
the Library by Jacob H. Schiff of New York City, a well-known
philanthropist and library benefactor, in 1912. In 1914 Mr. Schiff
reinforced this collection with a supplementary gift to the Li-
brary of more than 4,200 volumes, also obtained from Mr. Dein-
ard. In 1917 and 1921 the Library came into possession of two
additional collections of 2,500 and 3,000 volumes respectively.
T he materials thus acquired covered a period of nearly three-and-
one-half millenia and contained manuscripts, incunabula, and
numerous rare books of the 16th and 17th centuries. They
laid a solid foundation for the subsequent development of our
holdings, and have helped to assure our preeminent position
in this field.
From this nucleus the collection has grown gradually but
significantly, in Semitica, Hebraica, Yiddica, Judaica, other
cognate languages, also vernaculars such as Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-
Persian, Judeo-Spanish (generally known as Ladino) etc., which
are considered adjunct to Semitica because of their Hebrew
T o assure the steady and systematic growth of this collection,
ca. 3,500 titles, monographic and serial, are accessioned yearly,
through exchange, gift, copyright, government transfer and
purchase. The material acquired covers all fields of old and new
Hebrew literature.
There is in the Hebraic Collections a long series of editions
of the Bible and parts of it, with and without commentaries,
beginning with the 16th century and ending with those of
recent date. Besides the well known Rabbinic Bible editions of
Venice, Basle and Amsterdam; Polyglot and Hexaglot Bibles;
and the so-called ‘parallel Bibles’ which give variants of the
Samaritan, Septuagint and Vulgate versions, there are the
notable early editions of Frobenius, Stephanus, Giustiniani,
Plantin, Hutterus, etc. Very numerous are the Bibles accom-
panied by translations in ancient and modern languages. The