Early American Jewish books to be auctioned


SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) — Several rare early American Jewish books will be auctioned in New York.

Among the offerings at next month’s sale by Swann Auction Galleries is an early Jewish-American cookbook and the first Hebrew Bible printed on American soil.

A first edition of Esther Levy’s 1871 "Jewish Cookery Book" is estimated to fetch $10,000 to $15,000. This first Jewish cookbook published in North America offers a glimpse into late-19th-century Jewish life and food trends, when mutton was popular and husbands expected special Sunday dinners.

Also for sale is an extremely rare "Liber Psalmorum Hebraice" from 1809, the first Hebrew version of the Bible printed in the Americas. No other complete copy has been seen at auction since 1998, according to the auction catalogue. The book is valued at $9,000 to $12,000.

Other items of interest include 200 books, manuscripts and other papers from the family archives of  Abraham Moses Hershman, who became rabbi of Detroit’s Shaarey Zedek synagogue in 1907, and an early edition of Isaac Leeser’s "The Form of Prayers According to the Custom of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews," dating from about 1852.

The sale beginsat 1:30 p.m. March 18; online bids will be accepted.

Recommended from JTA