Page 103 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 7 (1948-1949)

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JACOBS — JEWISH LITERARY LABOR
91
Hour,” in which he urged the establishment of a publication
society.
Soon thereafter, in January 1888, the Society of Knowledge
Seekers, a group organized by Krauskopf, issued a call to the
presidents of the Jewish congregations and to the Young Men’s
Hebrew Association, asking them to appoint delegates to meet
them at the rooms of the Association for the purpose of effecting
the organization of a Jewish publication society. The meeting
took place, and a special committee was appointed, subject to the
call of the chairman, to draft the constitution and by-laws. After
several meetings of this committee, the general committee, on
March 29th, took a vote and reached a decision, by a majority of
one, to proceed with the immediate organization of a publication
society on a national instead of a local basis. A call for a national
convention was to be issued.
In 1888, therefore, Doctor Krauskopf and Dr. Solomon Solis-
Cohen issued the call “ to the Jewish community of America.”
On June 3, 1888, the organization meeting took place. One hun-
dred people attended and Mr. Morris Newburger, a member of the
Society of Knowledge Seekers, was elected President, and served
for four years. Doctor Krauskopf was elected Secretary and served
in that capacity for ten years, bringing to the new venture his
great organizing genius. The other officers were: Jacob H. Schiff,
the Rev. Dr. Gustav Gottheil, both of New York City, Bernhard
Bettman of Cincinnati, and Leo N. Levi, of Galveston, Texas,
Vice-Presidents; Herman S. Friedman, of Philadelphia, Treasurer;
Miss Mary M. Cohen of Philadelphia, Corresponding Secretary;
Ephraim Lederer of Philadelphia, Assistant Secretary; and an
Executive Committee of twenty, and a Publication Committee of
nine. The Society met in convention biennially; its second meeting
was held at Mercantile Hall (on Franklin Street above Parrish
Street) on Sunday afternoon, June 8, 1890; the third at the same
hall on Sunday afternoon, June 5, 1892; and the fourth, also at
the same hall, on Sunday afternoon, May 15, 1894.
The purpose of The Jewish Publication Society of America was
declared definitely at the first meeting to be: “The publication
and dissemination of literature, scientific and religious works, and
also the giving of instruction in practices of the Jewish religion,
history and literature.” The first pledge of funds to this new
Jewish Publication Society of America was a subscription of one
hundred dollars from the “Knowledge Seekers.” Mr. Jacob H.
Schiff, who was abroad at the time of the organization meeting,
cabled his greetings and five thousand dollars. Mr. Meyer Guggen-
heim subsequently gave the Society five thousand dollars. These
two large gifts made it possible for the Jewish Publication Society