Page 194 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 42

Basic HTML Version

1 8 6
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
Special mention should be made o f such major manuscript acqui­
sitions as the gift to the Library o f the Rothschild Manuscript,
which is a beautifully illuminated Hebrew codex, written in
Florence, Italy, in 1492; a Spanish Haggadah, written and illumi­
nated around the year 1300; and a richly illum inated
prayerbook, written in Pforchheim, Germany in 1720. Selected
pages o f the magnificent Rothschild Manuscript were repro­
duced and published in 1983, with an introduction and essays in
honor o f the dedication o f the new Library building.
During its attempts to modernize its collections, and bring the
richness o f its holdings under bibliographical control, the Library
initiated a number o f projects. It received funding for two such
projects from the National Endowment for the Humanities:
Re­
cording and Microfilming of Newspaper and Periodical Collections
and
the
Support fo r the Archival Activities at the Library o f theJewish Theo­
logical Seminary o f America.
As a result o f these projects the Semi­
nary’s archival holdings and periodicals collection became more
easily accessible to the scholarly public. The latter grant also pro­
vided funds for the preservation on microfilm o f some runs o f
rare titles. A recent grant from the Perlow Foundation will make
it possible for the Library to catalog and preserve its old Yiddish
and hasidic books from Eastern Europe. The publication o f a cat­
alog is planned upon the successful completion o f the project.
For a period o f seventeen years most o f these activities took
place in a temporary prefabricated structure that was erected in
the courtyard o f the Seminary for the reconstruction effort. The
erection o f this structure became imperative as a result o f the to­
tal internal damage that the Library tower suffered at the time o f
the fire. Soon after 1966 planning began for a new Library build­
ing. In fact, plans for such a building were made even before the
fire, and Nahum Sarna’s above-mentioned article concludes with
the following words: “It is hoped that the greatest Jewish Library
o f all time, and one o f the great cultural assets o f the United
States, will, in the not too distant future, be housed in a building
worthy o f its importance and fully equipped to fulfill its role as
the mecca o f Jewish scholars.” Still it was not until the year 1980
that ground was broken for the erection o f a new Library struc­
ture. In 1983 the building was completed and the Library’s hold­
ings were moved into the new quarters. At the dedication the Li­
brary was named the Ivan F. & Seema Boesky Family Library.