Page 169 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 45

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tory of Printing in America.
The primary collecting interest of the
AAS is American history, culture and life, including newspapers,
through 1876. With more than 628,000 volumes, this very special
library is still true to Douglas C. McMurtrie’s characterization of it
in 1943 as “one of the most important sources for the study of
American history anywhere to be found. Unlike many historical
societies, it is operated on enlightened principles, the aim being
to render to students all assistance within its power and to make
its collection not a morgue for mummies but a laboratory for cre­
ative work.”4 Among its many rarities are almanacs, including
The South Carolina and Georgia Almanac, for the Year of Our Lord
(Charleston, 1800?), containing the French Revolutionary
calendar and a Hebrew calendar. Researchers will also find an
extensive array of volumes by non-Jewish authors treating of
Jewish themes, an altogether familiar genre of Judaica through­
out the centuries be they conversionist, historical, philo-Semitic
or anti-Semitic works. To givejust a few examples, the AAS holds
a little fourteen-page sermon by David Higgins,
The Gathering of
theJews and Gentiles into the Church of God
(Auburn, N.Y., 1811?),
an ephemeral item overlooked by Rosenbach and all other bibli­
ographers of American imprints. Another class of literature is the
domestic reissue of British editions, eg.
The YoungJewess: A Narra­
tive illustrative of the Polish and English Jews of the Present Century;
Exhibiting the SuperiorMoral Influence ofChristianity
(Boston, 1827).
While the AAS has very few books or pamphlets published under
Jewish auspices, investigators can often find a few surprises such
as the
Constitution, By-laws and Rules of Order
of Boston’s Congre­
gation Ohabei Shalom (Boston, 1855), one of perhaps only three
known copies.
The collection at Harvard University’s Widener Library is
weak in early English-language American Judaica, though a few
relevant titles are protected in the Houghton Library, Harvard’s
world famous treasure room. Early Hebrew and Yiddish
imprints, however, are found in abundance in the Judaica collec­
tion housed in Widener owing, in part, to the fortuitous acquisi­
4 Douglas C. McMurtrie,
The Book: The Story ofPrinting & Bookmaking,
3d rev. ed.
(New York, 1943), p. 433.