Page 75 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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67
SEM INARY DEPOSITORIES
T h e 19th c en tu ry w itnessed th e rise o f m o d e rn Jew ish
libraries mostly associated with th e new rabb in ical sem inaries.
T h e se ins titu tions becam e e ag e r cus tom e rs o f th e Jew ish bib­
liophiles, som etim es rece iv ing bequests d irectly from th e source ,
sometimes conv inc ing ph i lan th ro p is ts to pu rch a se im p o r ta n t
collections an d d o n a te them to th e i r libraries. T h e o ldes t Jew ish
library , th e Ets H aim lib rary o f Am s te rdam , received a g ift o f
98 MSS f rom its lib ra r ian David Montezinos in 1899. In 1854
the lib rary o f th e B reslau Rabbinical Sem inary received 69 MSS
from th e collection o f th e late Leon Saraval (Italy, 1771-1851).
T h e Berlin H ochschu le acqu ired the MSS o f A b raham Geiger.
T h e Israe litisch -Theo log ische L eh ren s ta lt in V ienna received
MSS from th e collections o f A b rah am Epste in an d A. Je llinek .
In 1926 th e lib rary o f this theological sem inary was in co rp o ­
ra ted in to th e lib ra ry o f the Jew ish comm un ity o f V ienna which
was la te r loo ted by the Nazis. T h e Jew ish in s titu tion th a t r e ­
ceived th e la rges t an d most valuable collection o f MSS was the
M on te fio re College L ib rary o f Ram sgate, E ng land (presen tly
housed in th e Jew s ’ College L ib rary in London ) . H ah am Moses
G aste r pu rch a sed 412 m anu sc r ip ts from the Polish m e rchan t-
scho lar Solomon H a lbe rs tamm (1832-1900) an d 27 MSS from
the collection o f th e scho lar Leopo ld Zunz to ad d to the 100
m anusc r ip ts prev iously collected fo r the college by M on te f io re ’s
secre tary Louis Loewe. Ironically , G a s te r’s own p riva te collec­
tion o f m anu sc r ip ts was to be sold decades la te r to two non -
Jew ish ins titu tions , th e B ritish L ib ra ry an d the J o h n Rylands
L ib rary in M anches ter , an d Loewe’s p riva te collection was to
be sold to various collectors.
N one o f the Jew ish owned libraries, with the possible excep ­
tion o f th e M on te f io re library , cou ld com p a re in size an d im ­
po r tan ce to th e o ld e r public an d in stitu tiona l libraries. T h e
g re a t collections o f Ju d a ic a were to be es tab lished on o th e r con ­
tinen ts in a n o th e r cen tu ry . T h e fo u n d in g o f th e Jew ish T h e ­
ological Sem inary o f Am erica an d the H eb rew U n ion College
in the U n ited States an d the fo r e ru n n e r s o f th e Jew ish N a tional
L ibrary in Israe l tow ards th e en d o f th e 19th c en tu ry p rov ided
new im pe tu s fo r th e d ev e lopm en t o f tru ly g re a t Jew ish libraries.
At the en d o f the c en tu ry a new b reed o f bookseller em e rg ed .
He was no long e r co n ten t to buy only local collections, b u t m ade