Page 73 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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RICHLER/HEBREW MANUSCRIPT COLLECTIONS
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a c en tu ry un til th e Bod le ian L ib ra ry p u rch a sed the e n t ire col­
lection in 1829 fo r th e ba rg a in p rice o f 9 ,000 thalers.
T h e 19th c en tu ry was to m a rk a d is tinc t ch ang e o f cou rse
in the h is to ry o f th e Jew ish library . Jew ish collectors an d b ib ­
liophiles p u rch a sed fa r m o re H eb rew m anu sc r ip ts th an d id
th e ir C h r is tian co u n te rp a r ts an d m any o f these collections were
to f ind th e ir way in to public o r Jew ish in s titu tiona l libraries.
Fo r the first time large , pro fessiona lly m an ag ed Jew ish libraries
capab le o f c a r ing fo r r a re books were to em e rge . Until this cen ­
tu ry Jew ish lib raries were a p p e n d e d to small rabb in ical sem i­
na ries o r local s tudy houses, an d with the possible single ex ­
cep tion o f th e Ets Haim lib rary in Am s te rdam , which traces
its o rig in back to 1629, non e p rov id ed th e p ro fessiona l services
such as ca ta logu ing , p re se rva tion an d a systematic collection-
bu ild ing policy genera lly associated with “p r o p e r ” libraries. T h e
n in e te en th c en tu ry m a rk ed th e a p p e a ran c e o f the first tru ly
scholarly ca talogues o f H eb rew m anu sc r ip t collections, bo th
public a n d p riva te , as well as an eve r- inc reas ing n um b e r o f
bookse llers’ catalogues, many o f th em th e work o f g rea t bib­
liog raphe rs .
M ICHAEL COLLECTION
In th e f irs t p a r t o f the cen tu ry the p u rch a se rs rem a in ed the
C h ris tian o r g o v e rnm en t ins titu tions . O n e o f the la rges t collec­
tions sold be longed to the G erm an -Jew ish m e rch an t an d bib­
lio g rap h e r H e im ann Jo s e p h Michael (H am bu rg , 1792-1846)
whose collection o f ove r 5 ,000 p r in te d books an d 860 MSS was
sold to th e B ritish M useum (p r in ted books) an d the Bod leian
L ib rary (m anuscrip ts). In Italy, the lib rary o f Jo s e p h A lmanzi
(1801-1860) with over 300 MSS, many o f th em pu rch a sed by
his fa th e r from the lib rary o f th e late Rabbi H .J.D . Azulai, were
pu rch a sed by the B ritish M useum in 1865.
A n um b e r o f fam ous p riva te lib raries were d ispe rsed a f te r
th e ir ow ne rs ’ dea th s . Fo r tuna te ly , th e booksellers ch a rg ed with
the disposal o f these lib raries o f ten p r e p a r e d ca talogues o f th e ir
ho ld ings enab ling us to re co n s tru c t the o rig ina l libraries.
Am ong the libraries th a t were d isp e rsed we f ind those o f Wo lf
H e id e n h e im (G e rm a n y , 1757 -1832 ) , M o rd e c a i S am u e l
G h irond i (Italy, 1799-1852), Samuel David Luzzatto (Italy,
1800-1865), Eliakim Carm o ly (F rance , 1802-1875), N a th an N.