Page 209 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 51

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JULIUS /ANTON VON SCHMID — ROYAL PRINTER AND NOBLEMAN
201
considered during his time a poet of note and was among the
most productive authors of the Haskalah period. For some years
beginning with 1835 he earned his living as a proofreader for
Schmid and this accounts for his intimate knowledge of his ac­
tivities and the development of his press.
SKILLFUL H ELPERS
These individuals who served as proofreaders were maskilim
in every sense of the word. They were well versed in the Hebrew
sources, for they had received intensive schooling. A number
of them had ventured into the world of general culture and
had lived in the centers of Berlin, Vienna and London. Some
had received university training or were self-taught in foreign
languages. They were well-versed in the sciences and were well-
acquainted with the writers, thinkers and artists of their time.
Letteris informs us that Schmid was not always motivated by
financial considerations alone: “He did more than print books
which he knew would sell well; often he published valuable sci­
entific works even though he realized that their market was
limited and that it would take a long time to dispose of them.”7
Thus he printed Azariah de Rossi’s
Meor Eynaim,
whose views
on Jewish history had already aroused considerable controversy,
Jonathan Eybeshutz’s homiletic work
Ya’arot Devash,
Naphtali
Herz Weisel’s work on biblical synonyms
Gan N a ’ul,
the poetry
of Ephraim Luzzatto, and Maimonides’
Mishneh Torah
and
Moreh
Nevukhim.
Letteris also provided us with a description of the personality
and character of Schmid. On the job he was a hard-nosed “boss”
who demanded a great deal from his workers and dealt with
them strictly if they produced work that was not up to his stand­
ards. He was not easy-going when confronted with demands
for pay raises. But if ever a worker needed special help he would
listen sympathetically. He could reach into his purse and come
up with a large sum either as an outright gift or a longterm
loan.8 In business dealings he was scrupulously honest and he
made sure that the “merchandise” which he offered was of the
finest quality.
7.
Ibid.,
p . 33 .
8.
Ibid.,
p. 32 .