Page 174 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 45

Basic HTML Version

1 6 6
in America and predates the mass immigration of East European
Jews that began in the 1880s.
Somewhat off the beaten track is the Union Theological Semi­
nary Library, overshadowed by the well-known collections at the
nearby Jewish Theological Seminary of America and Columbia
University libraries. Incorporating the Missionary Research
Library collection, this seminary library houses over half a million
titles and a modest amount of Judaica. While obviously strong in
works by Christian authors on Jewish themes, including treatises
on millenarianism and reports of missions to the Jews, there are
also pleasant surprises to be found here including a unique (?)
copy of the
Order of Service at the Consecration of the New Synagogue
of the Congregation Bnai Jeshurun . . . September 14th, 1865
York, 1865), in English and Hebrew.
Needless to say, there is Jewish Americana in libraries from
coast to coast, with the Western Jewish History Center and the
Bancroft Library at the University of California at Berkeley in
possession of dozens of pamphlets originating in California’s col­
orful post-Gold Rush Jewish communities.9As for mid-America,
there are no obvious centers of library strength with reputations
for early Judaica. Historical societies should always be
approached for those elusive locally produced materials that sel­
dom, if ever, gravitated to the major Judaica libraries in the East.
How is one to know that the Illinois Historical Society holds the
tiny, seven-page
Constitution and By-laws
of the Young Men’s
Hebrew Literary Association of Davenport and Rock Island,
published in Cincinnati by Bloch, a Jewish firm, in 1857? Or,
upstate at the Chicago Historical Society, who could guess that it
holds Henry Gersoni’s
Jew againstJew
(Chicago, 1881), a rare and
fascinating pamphlet decrying animosities between immigrant
Jews of varying national origins? Yet another example ofJudaica
in unexpected repositories is
The Wandering Jew; or, Why
Ahazuerus is the Type of His Race
(Waco, 1891), a nasty anti-Jewish
diatribe by one William Edmonds held by the Eugene C. Barker
Texas History Center at the University of Texas in Austin.
This bibliographer’s checklist of early American Judaica,
Hebraica and Yiddica, now nearing completion, is supported by
9 The majority o f this literature is recorded by Sara G. Cogan,
The Jews o f San
The Greater Bay Area, 1849 -1919 : An Annotated Bibliography
(Berkeley, 1973).