Page 111 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 37

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Tem p le had evinced an active interest in Columbia and in add i­
tion wished to donate its library to the University as a token o f
apprecia tion for the free tuition which Columbia had been o ffe r­
ing a num be r o f Jewish students. T he T rus tees o f the University
accepted the gift the same year and Professor Gottheil was re ­
quested to catalog the Tem p le Emanu-El Library o f Biblical and
Rabbinical L itera ture fo r the University Library.
In add ition to cataloging Hebrew and o the r Semitic books and
manuscripts, Professor Gottheil was active in purchasing add i­
tions fo r the collection and was as well an indefatigable le tter
writer soliciting both gifts o f books and manuscripts and funds to
aid Columbia in building its Semitic holdings. By the end o f the
1890s more than 200 Hebrew manuscripts were added to the
original 50 given by Tem p le Emanu-El. Major donors included
Ambassador Oscar Solomon Straus, Charles A. Dana, and Ben­
jam in and Charles A. Stern. In 1906 Gottheil went on a buying
trip to Sou thern France where he acquired a large g roup o f
manuscripts dealing with the history o f the Jews at Avignon and
T he appo in tm en t o f Salo Wittmayer Baron as Professor of
Jewish History, L itera ture and Institutions in 1930, signaled the
beginning o f ano ther active decade o f acquiring books and m anu ­
scripts to suppo r t the teaching and research o f Hebraic and
Juda ic studies at Columbia. U nder Baron’s influence Columbia
purchased 600 manuscripts from the Viennese dealer Rabbi
David Frankel and several thousand books from the Am torg
Corporation , a Soviet trad ing company in New York City. In
1939, th ree years af te r the dea th o f Richard Gottheil, his widow,
Emma, p resen ted the University with he r late husband ’s 10,000
volume library, one-th ird o f which were Hebrew books.
T hu s by 1939 Columbia had acquired more than 1,000 Hebrew
manuscripts making it the second largest collection in New York
City af te r tha t at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Since Colum­
bia’s manuscripts are so heterogeneous it is difficult to cha r­
acterize them as a group . They range from a ten th century frag­
ment o f Genesis written on vellum to a collection o f n ineteenth
century Responsa and judicial decisions o f the Jewish community
in Morocco. T he manuscripts were written in all parts o f the