Page 112 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 47

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Additional publications were a poster, an
Educator's Guide,
a brochure, the latter distributed free of charge to visitors to
the exhibition.
Response to the first round of loan requests was encouraging.
Naturally, there were some refusals, and a share of the letters
failed to elicit any response at all. But about two thirds of the
replies expressed interest in principle in participating. Late in
the spring of 1986 Dr. Gregorian decided to nominate me The
Library’s third Astor Fellow. This fellowship was created by The
Vincent Astor Foundation under the distinguished leadership
of Mrs. Vincent Astor, honorary chairman of The Library’s
Board of Trustees, in order to enable a senior member of The
Research Libraries staff to spend a year pursuing a special pro­
ject of interest to The Library. In my case the Astor Fellowship
did not mean that I could be relieved entirely of my respon­
sibilities as Chief of the Jewish Division, but it did provide the
funds I needed to make curatorial visits abroad. And on Jan ­
uary 3, 1987 I set off on a five-week trip that was to take me
into some of the worst weather Europe had to offer. I visited
England, Scotland, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Is­
rael, and Egypt, studying manuscripts, measuring them, taking
copious notes and, along the way, making friends for The Li­
brary and the project. Everywhere, I was impressed by others’
enthusiasm. Nobody reproached me for my temerity, though
I, myself, had moments of self-doubt.
The first visit was followed by a two-week trip in May of the
same year to Berlin, Paris, Budapest and Lisbon. Later on it
turned out that the measurements and notes I had taken were
very important. First of all, the layout of books in their cases,
accomplished under the guidance of Lou Storey, the exhibition
designer and installation specialist, and his staff, was done by
placing little pieces of mylar, cut to scale, onto blueprints of
the cases. Book cradles and sometimes whole cases had to be
designed from measurements and executed months before the
actual books would arrive. And to Jeanne Bornstein, research
coordinator, who deserves credit for keeping the whole project
on target, fell the unenviable task of applying to the appropriate
federal agencies for Federal Indemnity, which is actually insur­