Page 196 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 48

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
to gain prom inence. Baron found tha t the library committee
headed by George Kohut exerted no real influence over his
purchases, and tha t he had a “completely free h and .” T h e li­
brary comm ittee’s main activity was a “ra th e r modest” effo rt
at “securing donations.”
U nde r the influence o f Baron, the library gradually took on
a new character. T h e working library for class use “grew into
a research library automatically.” While manuscripts came only
by donation since they were too expensive to purchase, prices
o f books started d ropp ing in the 1920s so tha t more could be
bought. Baron saw an opportun ity to get more scholarly books
not immediately needed for the working collection. This situ­
ation continued until he left in 1930.
The New York Public Library Jewish Division had been using
a catalog created especially for Judaica by Abraham S. Freidus,
and the J IR catalog was created along those lines. While Baron
supervised the library, the actual cataloging was done by his
assistants.
Isaac Kiev had by this time completed th ree years in residence
as a special studen t and requested fou r th year status. It was
g ran ted contingent upon his completing his academic degree.
Yet this problem did not h inde r Kiev from being recommended
to the position o f Assistant Librarian for the term beginning
Janua ry 16, 1929.
Early in 1930, Prof. Baron was appo in ted to the Miller Chair
o f Jewish Civilization at Columbia University. This necessitated
the appo in tm en t o f Dr. Shalom Spiegel (1899-1984), the J IR ’s
expe rt in Hebrew literature (later to teach at the Jewish T h e ­
ological Seminary), as Associate Professor and Acting Librarian.
“T h e post o f librarian is not to be permanently filled in the
hope tha t Mr. Kiev within the next few years may give evidence
tha t he is qualified to hold tha t position by his contributions
to Jewish learning in bibliography and o ther fields.”7
This assumption, tha t the librarian would be primarily a schol­
ar, was not unique to the J IR board. Adolph Oko o f Cincinnati
was co n s id e red an e x p e r t on Sp inoza . A lex a n d e r M arx
(1878-1953), who headed the library o f the Jewish Theological
Seminary o f America from 1903 until his death , was a historian,
au tho r, editor, bibliographer, translator, and b iographer.
7. Faculty meeting, April 30, 1930, p. 1.