Page 173 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 45

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scores of alumni all over the world, HUC has been in the enviable
position of having obtained in years past, often through dona­
tion, materials that are today for all intent and purposes
unobtainable except through the photoduplication or micro­
filming of copies held elsewhere. The Dalsheimer Rare Book
Room at HUC houses a distinct section of Jewish Americana
which contains innumerable precious rarities. Space does not
allow for any lengthy enumeration of examples; an especially
fascinating item is a copy of the exceedingly rare Thanksgiving
Day sermon by Gershom Mendes Seixas entitled
A Religious Dis­
. . . (New York, 1789), occasioned by President George
Washington’s proclamation of the first national Thanksgiving
Day in 1789. The only other known copy of this sixteen-page
rarity is at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
The American Jewish Periodical Center on the HUC campus
has preserved the bulk of this country’s surviving nineteenth-
century Jewish press on microfilm, though serials such as the
Pacific Messenger
(San Francisco, 1860-61) edited by Herman
Bien or his earlier journalistic endeavor, the
Voice of Israel
Francisco, 1856-57) did not survive the rigors of time and they
are simply not to be found in any repository. Completing the tri­
angle of research facilities at HUC is the American Jewish
Archives where printed texts such as early constitutions and
by-laws are sprinkled throughout this repository’s holdings of
manuscripts and papers.
Jewish Americana in New York is scattered throughout Man­
hattan. Sooner or later, every researcher will visit the New York
Public Library’sJewish Division for materials not readily available
at other institutions. Just as the Hebrew Union College has taken
the lead with preservation microfilming of serials, the NYPL has
microfilmed a large percentage of its smaller pamphlets and
other fragile materials, including the deteriorating Yiddish
books and pamphlets which may also be held at the Yivo Institute
for Jewish Research or at Harvard. If one had to identify an espe­
cially noteworthy jewel in the Jewish Division’s crown, this bibli­
ographer might nominate Jacob Zevi Sobel’s
Shir zahav li-khevod
Yisrael ha-zaken
(New York, 1877), with Hebrew and Yiddish on
facing pages; this text is apparently the first Yiddish book printed