Page 134 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 37

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126
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
A. Wolfson on behalf of Harvard University. In his eighties, he
was, according to Professor Wolfson, “a Johnsonian figure in
massivity and character, half-blind, but knowing his books by
touch, keen of mind and memory, and a picturesque raconteur.”
Though Deinard sold and donated books to other institutions,
including the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, these three re­
positories were the largest and most important. Considering the
major upheavals in the Jewish communities in Eastern Europe
between the two World Wars, the tragic dimensions of the
Holocaust period, the exodus of Oriental and North African
Jewry in the years following the creation of the State of Israel,
many o f the invaluable books, manuscripts and pamphlets
Deinard obtained would have been destroyed andd lost forever.
This aspect of Deinard’s active life is undoubtedly its most positive
feature.1
BIBLIOGRAPHIC AIDS
In the course of his antiquarian work, Deinard prepared
numerous catalogues of books. Many of them were prepared for
prospective buyers. But several are bibliographic works worthy of
mention. Perhaps the first Hebrew catalogue published in
America was Deinard’s
Or Meir
(1896). This bibliography listed
the Hebrew manuscripts and books in Mayer Sulzberger’s library.
In 1926, Deinard published his most important bibliographic
work,
Kohelet America.
Unlike Abraham S.W. Rosenbach’s bibliog­
raphical study
An American Jewish Bibliography
which appeared in
the same year, this was a listing only of Hebrew books published in
America between 1735 and 1926. It contains 989 individual en­
tries. His search for Hebrew books printed in America had re­
mained unabated since his arrival and culminated in this anno­
tated book. Item no. 4 is
Avne Joshua,
a commentary on the
tractate
PirkeAvot
byJoshua Falk of New York. Deinard notes that
this book, published in 1860, is the first of its kind to be printed in
America. He means that, other than prayer books and Bibles, this
is the first substantive, original work to appear in Hebrew in
America.
1 For a fuller treatment, see Simcha Berkowitz; “Ephraim Deinard: Bibliophile
and Bookman,”
Studies in Bibliography andBooklore,
vol. IX, (Spring, 1971), no. 4,
pp. 137-152.