Page 192 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 48

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184
JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
communities. While o u r collection o f books is naturally a modest
one, it can already boast o f the fact that it contains much scarcely
to be found elsewhere.” T h e accession books o f the B rann col­
lection list a p reponderance o f German texts with a smaller
number o f Hebrew volumes.2
A call was issued to the friends o f J IR to donate books. Es­
pecially sought were ephemera , such as pamphlets, reports, and
periodicals which would be h a rd e r to obtain the more time pass­
ed after their publication.
The main concern at this time was building a basic collection.
O f the options o f purchasing books from a dealer, soliciting
donations, o r buying an extant library, the quickest was to buy
the library o f a scholar. A committee was appo in ted to make
a list o f suggested titles. Dr. Wise was willing to send Bloch
to Germany to shop for an available library. At the same time,
Dr. Nathan Porges offered his library to the Jewish Institute
o f Religion. Dr. Porges (1848-1924) was a rabbi o rda ined at
the Breslau seminary who became an expe rt in Hebrew bibli­
ography and amassed a famous library o f incunabula and ra re
books. Consideration o f the purchase o f this library caused the
faculty to formulate its policy o f collection development. The
faculty decided that the Porges library “contained museum ma­
terial, ra the r than material for a working library,” and reluc­
tantly tu rned it down. Finally, it was decided to buy the
Maybaum Library for $200 and let the students buy the d u ­
plicates it contained.
In April 1923, the Board o f T rustees formalized a rrang e ­
ments for library staff. Dr. Bloch, who worked part-time at
Bloch Publishing Co., would continue in the library half-time
at $2,500 annually, and a part-time library assistant, Ralph
Marcus, was to begin on September 1 for the academic year
1923-24 at approximately $1,000.
At this same meeting, it was decided to send Dr. Bloch to
Europe to purchase $2,000 worth o f books. I f he found any
real bargains, he could cable for permission to spend more.
Meanwhile, Dr. George A lexander Kohut (1874-1933), who was
active on the library committee, investigated collections in Eu­
rope on beha lf o f the JIR , including the Porges library. T h e
2. Klau Library, New York, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute o f Re­
ligion,
Katalog der Prof. M. Brann schen Bibliotek,
n.d.