Page 57 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 45

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success displayed by the publication societies of “other religious
denominations” in America — Methodists, Baptists, Presbyteri­
ans, and Congregationalists — suggested an appropriate finan­
cial goal: “more than $30 ,000 per year for publication purposes.”
The Society’s seven governing principles, set forth in the circular
and long influential in terms of policy, sought to ensure that both
of these goals, along with their attendant benefits, would be
effectively met by the books produced:
(1) All periods in the history of Israel, from the time of Abraham
to our own, are integral portions of the life of our community.
(2) Our career in the past and our activity in the present cannot
be adequately set forth either to our own community or to our
neighbors without a literature.
(3) Such a literature must be free from mere aggressiveness
against differing opinions, whether within or without our ranks. It
must combat error by presenting truth and not by assailing
(4) Such a literature must be in the main popular; that is,
adapted for general reading rather than for scholars in special
(5) It must aspire to excellence of style and tone, and, as a rule, it
must be in the English language.
(6) The mechanical execution of the work must be good, and the
publications should preserve such a uniformity of appearance,
that subscribers will be encouraged to keep them together and thus
make them a library of reference.
(7) Above all, the publication committee must have in view the
sole purpose of doing the most good, and to that end must be
entirely free from prejudices, for or against particular opinions or
persons; since all Jews of every shade of belief are equally con­
cerned in our work.
The new “Constitution of the Jewish Publication Society of
America,” published as an appendix to the circular, continued in
the same vein. It committed the Society “to publish works on the
religion, literature and history of the Jews; and . . to foster origi­
nal work by American scholars on these subjects.” It set up three
classes of membership: three dollar regular members, twenty
dollar patrons, and one hundred dollar life members. It fixed
benefits, assuring “every member of the Society. . . a copy of each