Page 74 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
C o r o n e l (A m s te r d am - J e r u s a lem , 1810 -1 8 9 0 ) a n d M a rco
M o r ta ra (Italy, 1815-1894).
C o n c u r re n t with the 19th c en tu ry tend en cy to d ispose o f book
collections by selling each item sepa ra te ly , th e sale o r d o n a t io n
o f en t i re lib raries to pub lic o r Jew ish in s titu tion s becam e in c re a s ­
ingly comm onp lace . Some o f the m a jo r collections in th e world
today owe th e i r d istinc tion to these acquisitions. T h e L e n in g rad
Public L ib rary , fo rm e r ly the Im p e r ia l Public L ib ra ry , has one
o f th e m ost im p o r ta n t collections in E u ro p e d u e to its p u rch a se
o f several th o u s a n d MSS from th e K a ra ite scho la r A b rah am
F irkovich in th e 1860’s an d in 1870. T h e Asiatic M useum , also
in L en in g rad , a cqu ired 300 MSS as a g ift from th e Russian
p h i la n th ro p is t Moses A.L. F r ied land . T h e co llection o f A b ra ­
ham M erzbacher, a wealthy bus inessm an an d b ib lioph ile , in ­
c lud ed 156 MSS desc ribed in a po s th um o u s ca ta logue (M un ich ,
1888) an d fo rm s th e nuc leus o f th e F r a n k fu r t M un ic ipa l an d
University L ibrary . O n e h u n d r e d an d seventy-seven MSS from
the collection o f H .B . Levy w ere p u rch a s ed by th e H am b u rg
S tate L ib rary . T h e widow o f David K au fm an n (1852-1899), a
scho lar an d bibliophile, p re s e n te d his collection o f close to 600
MSS — mostly acqu ired in Italy — an d several h u n d r e d G en izah
f ragm en ts to the H u n g a r ia n Academ y o f Sciences w h e re she
felt they would be best p re se rv ed . No Jew ish in s titu tion in
H u n g a ry a t th e time , no t even th e newly fo u n d e d Rabbinical
Sem inary w he re K au fm an n ta u g h t a t th e en d o f his life, cou ld
be e n t ru s te d with the ca re o f such valuab le tre a su re s . N eed less
to say, she p rev iously eng ag ed a b ib l io g rap h e r to com p ile a c a t­
a logue o f h e r late h u sb a n d ’s collection (F ra n k fu r t , 1906). Fi­
nally, th e h u g e collection o f close to 2 ,000 m anu sc r ip ts b e lo n g ­
ing to B a ron David G u en zb u rg was con fisca ted by th e rev o lu ­
tiona ry g o v e rnm e n t fo r th e Moscow Public L ib rary . T h is oc­
c u r r e d a f te r e ffo r ts by th e G u en zb u rg fam ily to sell th e lib ra ry
to th e Jew ish T heo log ica l Sem ina ry o f Am e rica in 1914 and ,
in 1917, to th e Russian Zionists on b e h a l f o f th e Jew ish N a tiona l
L ib ra ry w ere thw a r ted by th e o u tb re ak o f the W a r an d th e O c ­
tob e r Revolution .