Page 83 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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RICHLER/HEBREW MANUSCRIPT COLLECTIONS
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AMER ICAN HOLDINGS
P e rh ap s th e largest, an d certa in ly one o f th e most im p o r ta n t
collections in the w orld is fo u n d in th e Jew ish Theo log ica l Sem ­
ina ry L ib ra ry in New York. T h e m an u sc r ip t collection o f close
to 10,000 volumes was a lready desc ribed in de ta il in a prev ious
issue o f this A nnua l.
T h e Sem inary was no t th e only ins titu tion in the U n ited States
to acqu ire a Ju d a ic a library . T h e r e a re a t least ten collections
o f m anu sc r ip ts in th e USA with ho ld ings o f ove r a h u n d r e d
MSS each . Some ya rds down th e s tree t from th e JT S L ib rary ,
over 800 H eb rew MSS a re s to red in Co lum b ia Un iversity ’s B u t­
ler L ibrary . T h e o rig in o f Co lum b ia ’s m an u sc r ip t collection was
the gift o f fo r ty - th re e MSS p u rch a sed by T em p le Em anu -e l
from the Am s te rd am bookse ller F. M ue ller an d p re s en ted to
the Un iversity in 1892. D u r in g th e years 1930-32 the lib rary
p u rch a sed abou t 600 MSS from the bookseller David F raenke l
an d a t p re s e n t its H eb rew m an u sc r ip t ho ld ings n um b e r abou t
850. C o lum b ia ’s collection is pa r ticu la r ly s trong in the fields
o f Jew ish liturgy , especially o f the C a rp en tra s and Avignon rites,
an d th e h istory an d cu l tu re o f th e Jew ish comm un ity o f G reece
in th e 18th an d 19th cen tu r ies . Am ong its r a r e tre a su re s a re
a few volumes o f th e T a lm u d w ritten in Yemen.
O th e r libraries in New York with substan tial m anu sc r ip t h o ld ­
ings a re th e New York Public L ib rary whose various d e p a r t ­
m en ts hou se over 200 MSS, inc lud ing a Bible d a ted 1294, an d
an im p o r ta n t collection o f 19th- an d 20 th -cen tu ry Y iddish d r a ­
ma. T h e lib rary o f th e New York b ran ch o f the H eb rew U n ion
Co llege-Jew ish In s titu te o f Religion owns abou t 150 MSS, m ost­
ly from th e beques t o f G eo rge A. Kohu t. Yeshiva Un iversity
L ib rary has d ed ica ted most o f its ene rgy an d resou rces to d e ­
ve lop ing its collections o f p r in te d books bu t neverthe less ac­
qu ired a few m edieval m anu sc r ip ts an d a collection b equ ea th ed
by Louis Lewin. I t inc ludes ove r 100 MSS, mostly works by
18th- an d 19 th -cen tu ry G e rm an Rabbis, an d Pinkasim o f
Germ an -Jew ish comm un ities from the same pe r iod . Am ong the
large arch ival ho ld ings o f th e Y IVO lib rary th e re a re a few
dozen MSS from the V ilna an d G. Eps te in collections, mostly
from C en tra l E u ro p e in th e 19th cen tu ry . Similarly, the Leo
Baeck In s t i tu te inc ludes in its arch ives a few dozen MSS, mostly
o f G e rm an orig in . T h e p r iva te collection o f the M an fred and