Page 133 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 37

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Ephraim Deinard: A Portrait
phr a im
e in a r d
the 50th anniversary of whose death will be
marked in June 1980, was primarily a bookman. He loved books
and he had a keen eye for bibliographic rarities. He travelled
widely and collected tens of thousands of books covering a wide
range of Jewish subjects. Many of these books and manuscripts
formed the nuclei of several great Jewish libraries in America.
Judge Mayer Sulzberger of Philadelphia, a distinguished jurist,
had been interested, for some time, in establishing a Jewish schol­
arly library. Among his own non-legal interests were the study of
Hebrew and the collecting of Hebrew books. Deinard was his
principal agent. When the Jewish Theological Seminary of
America was reorganized, at the turn of the century, it needed
increased library facilities. Sulzberger, who was very active in this
reorganization, presented the Seminary with over ten thousand
volumes and hundreds of manuscripts. The bulk of this great
repository of Jewish learning bore the Deinard stamp.
Another benefactor of the Seminary library was the noted
philanthropist Jacob H. Schiff. Convinced that the nation’s
capitol also should have an outstanding Jewish library, Schiff
purchased from Deinard a 10,000 volume collection which he
presented to the Library of Congress in 1912. Two years later, he
added another 4,000 books which he also had purchased from
Deinard. During World War I and immediately thereafter, the
Library of Congress purchased another five thousand books
from Deinard. All aspects of Judaica were represented in these
collections. There were bdoks from three hundred different Jew­
ish presses out of the then known 358 seats of Hebrew publica­
tions. There were also many incunabula, books published before
But a few months before his death at the age of eighty-four,
Deinard completed another major book sale. His final collection,
consisting of about 12,000 printed volumes, several incunabula
and almost thirty manuscripts was purchased by Professor Harry