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The extensive Hebraica holdings of the Library of Congress are based on a core collection of nearly 10,000 books and pamphlets that was acquired circa 1912. The “nation’s library” purchased that collection—which included 19 incunabula—from the prolific Hebrew author and bibliographer Ephraim Deinard, with financial support from the businessman and philanthropist Jacob Schiff. It was the first of three Deinard collections acquired by the Library of Congress. This article outlines the negotiations and vividly describes the personalities who made that signal acquisition possible.
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