Page 110 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 7 (1948-1949)

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JEWISH BOOK ANNUAL
98
leader, and the balance secured by Mr. Miller from among other
friends of The Society. For the first time in the history of
American Jewish scholarship it was not longer necessary to go to
Europe to set Hebrew texts with vowels, by machine, instead of
by hand. The growth of the Press from its humble beginnings to
the finest foreign language press in the country, with the largest
assortment of Hebrew type faces in the world, is one of the out-
standing achievements of The Publication Society. During the
war the Press also produced a tremendous number of Prayer Books
and Haggadahs for the National Jewish Welfare Board, totaling
approximately 2,500,000 volumes.
While the Press was originally designed for the printing of the
Schiff Library of Jewish Classics, it has used machinery and proc-
esses which revolutionized the art of Hebrew printing. For the
first time in the history of Hebrew printing, vowel-points as well
as biblical texts with musical accents, were set by machine. The
original Hebrew type used was designed by Joseph B. Abrahams,
then Secretary of the Jewish Theological Seminary, under the
guidance of Dr. Cyrus Adler. I t was designed after the 17th-cen-
tury type from the presses of Menasseh ben Israel. I t has been
much admired by scholars in Europe, Palestine and America.
Gradually other types in Semitic languages, as well as five beau-
tiful English faces, were added. Today the Press does composition
in Hebrew, Syriac, Greek, Arabic, Yiddish, Judeo-Arabic, Baby-
Ionian, Latin, Spanish, German, French, Russian and other Slavic
languages, as well as English. Grown to ten keyboard machines
and five casting machines, The Society’s equipment has a present
value of 3250,000.00. The present staff includes twenty high-
grade craftsmen, many of them trained during the past ten years.
In addition to setting the type for the J. P. S. publications, as
well as various scientific magazines, such as
The Jewish Quarterly
Review
, and the
Journal of Biblical Literature
, the Press now has
for customers almost every educational institution and learned
society in the country publishing books or articles in Semitic
languages. The list is impressive and includes Yale, Harvard,
Pennsylvania, Columbia, Princeton, and Johns Hopkins univer-
sities, the Jewish Theological Seminary, American Oriental So-
ciety, American Academy for Jewish Research, the Central
Conference of American Rabbis, the Rabbinical Assembly, Hebrew
Union College and Dropsie College. For the American Bible So-
ciety, the
Bible
in the Russian language and other works in Serbian
were completed. Almost all of the new Jewish Prayer Books in
America were set by the J. P. S. The Press now owns a complete
composition plant, which will soon move to the new J. P. S.
building.