Littauer Book Gift to Harvard Aids Jewish Theological Seminary

Harvard University will receive a collection of 2,283 rare works of Hebrew literature from the Jewish Theological Seminary and the Seminary will get $10,000 to purchase rare books and manuscripts under the terms of a special gift by Lucius N. Littauer, philanthropist, who two years ago gave $2,000,000 for a School of Public Administration at Harvard.

The volumes, taken from the Rabbi H.G. Enelow collection of the Seminary, are all duplicates of copies in the Seminary library. They were 5,000 Hebrew books and manuscripts which Mr. Littauer gave Harvard in 1929 and will establish the pre-eminence of Harvard’s library of post-Biblical literature.

They include an edition of the former prophets, one of the earliest works printed in Hebrew, produced in 1494 at Leiria, Portugal; volumes of the Psalms and Proverbs, the latter accompanied by a commentary, never reprinted, by Immanuel of Rome, foremost Jewish poet of Italy in Dante’s time, and a volume of the first printed edition of Maimonides’ code, published in Rome around 1480.

The collection also includes 17 incunabula (rare books printed before 1500), 368 folies and books of the 16th century, among them 38 volumes of early editions of the Talmud, published in Venice by a Hollander, Daniel Bomberg, with the Pope’s permission; also, 299 17th and 18th century folios and 1,600 rare editions of the 17th and later centuries.

With the $10,000 received from Mr. Littauer, the Seminary will add to the Enelow Collection early books and manuscripts it now lacks. The late Rabbi Enelow, a friend of Mr. Littauer, bequeathed his entire library to the Seminary. The gift to Harvard will increase the effectiveness of the Nathan Littauer Professorship of Jewish Literature and Philosophy, established by Mr. Littauer in 1925 as a memorial to his father.