Category Archives: Copenhagen Collection

Call for Paleo-Hebrew transliteration help [now solved]

We have recently been working on our digital Jewish ex libris exhibition, based on a collection of over 1,000 items, and came across an ex libris in Paleo-Hebrew that we can only partially transliterate. In the picture below you can see what we have so far (in Hebrew characters as I do not have Paleo-Hebrew font on this PC). We are not sure about the surname. If you know how to transliterate the surname properly, or know who this ex libris might have belonged to, let us know!




Thanks to the help of our readers, we now know that this ex libris belonged to Wladyslaw Harposta / Chrapusta (born 1890 or 1896, died 1982), a Polish literary translator of Haim Nahman Bialik and Uri Zvi Greenberg, self-taught Hebraist and scholar of stenography. He was a collector of Hebrew books (5000), and of ex libris. His collection of over 600 ex libris is at the National Library in Warsaw.

Similar ex libris features in the Bezalel Narkiss Index of Jewish Art.

A brief biographical entry on Harposta / Chrapusta can be found here, although there are some discrepancies regarding the date and place of birth.

Many thanks to all who helped!

Hermann Kallenbach (1871 –1945)

The ex libris belonging to Hermann Kallenbach (1871 –1945) a German-Jewish architect designing hotels and departmental stores in South Africa. He became one of Mahatma Gandhi’s closest friends and supporters while both were working in South Africa. He was a devoted Zionist and was a member of the Executive Board of the South African Zionist Federation.Kallenbach_Hermann

In the Coppenhagen Collection of Dutch Jewish material we have a large collection of ex libris. Some of which will be on display from Monday in the Clarendon Institute.

Marrano Poet: Miguel de Barrios/ Daniel Ha-Levi de Barrios

Currently there is an advance seminar in Jewish studies taking place at the Oxford Center for Jewish Studies on ‘Jewish Books in Amsterdam 1600-1850: Authors, Producers. Readers and the Construction of Jewish Worlds’ title page titel page enlarge

This project has meant that we have had an opportunity to explore our Dutch material, of which many items are part of the Coppenhagen Collection. The book, title page pictured above,  Flor de Apolo, : dirigida al illustrissimo señor D. Antonio Fernandez de Cordoua, &c.(Shelfmark: CRB HW1 Bar27F)  is part of a collection of material given by the Coppenhagen family, which is about Dutch Jewish life and includes archive material, papers, a book collection as well as rare books.

 Flor de Apolo

This book is in Spanish and was made by a man who travelled between Amsterdam and Brussels. In Brussels he was known as Captain Miguel de Barrios and in Amsterdam, by his Jewish name Daniel Ha-Levi de Barrios. This collection of poems and a play by Barrios himself are written in Spanish and was printed in 1665 in Brussels.

Ivipter y calistoNarcisso y eco







The engravings are by Peeter Clouwet , Adrian Melaer and After Abraham van Diepenbeeck. These illustrate poems which were often secular in nature, but Barrios also included biblical figures and imagery in his work. The two engravings directly above include myhtological figures from the ancient world including Eco and Narcissus, Jupiter and Callisto. The volume includes: . Pedir favor al contrario,  El canto junto al encanto, El español de Oran, which were Barrios three comedies.  In his first work Flor De Apolo (Engraving above) which features in this book, Barrios makes little reference to his Jewish history and appealed to nobility and members of the Christian European elite.


Barrios, Miguel de, 1635-1701, was born in Spain to converso (Jews who converted to Christianity) parents. He left Spain to escape the Inquisition and after moving around Europe and attempting to travel to the West Indies he settled in Brussels as a member of the Spanish Military service, and became a Captain. During his time in Brussels as a Captain he lived as a Christian but retained his connections with the Jewish community of Amsterdam. He was also a keen and popular poet and wrote Flor de Apolo, his most famous work along with other plays and dramas. He moved to Amsterdam in 1674 having left the military and joined others following Sabbatai Zevi, who claimed to be the Messiah.  From 1673-1701 he lived as Jew in Amsterdam.

This book was printed by Balthasar Vivien



Jewish Books in Amsterdam 1600-1850, Modern Hebrew Literature and archives

The term is now in full swing and we have enjoyed welcoming many new faces to the library. It has been a busy time in the Library, alongside the inductions, and our on-going projects we have also started an intensive process of cataloguing rare books so that they become searchable on SOLO.  This enables researchers to search our rare book collection remotely and request books in advance of their visit. The project is in preparation for the 2015 Advanced Seminar to be held in Yarnton: Jewish Books in Amsterdam 1600–1850: Authors, Producers, Readers and the Construction of Jewish Worlds January to June 2015. Applications for fellowships close on 8th January 2014.

Highlight from the Copenhagen Rare Books Collection: Epitome thesavri lingvæ sanctæ

Highlight from the Copenhagen Rare Books Collection: Epitome thesavri lingvæ sanctæ

Epitome thesavri lingvæ sanctæ (Pagnini, Sante, 1470-, Raphelengius, Franciscus, 1539-1597 ; Moretus, Balthasar, 1574-1641 ; Moretus, Jan, 1576-1618 . ( Antwerp? : Ex Officina Plantiniana Raffelengij: M. D. CXVI [1616])

The Epitome thesavri lingvæ sanctæ was previously owned by Copenhagen (see Ex Libris), but prior to his ownership it was held at Ely Cathedral (See Library Stamp).

Provenance: Copenhagen Ex librisProvenance: Ely Cathedral Stamp

The records that are being produced for SOLO contain provenance detail as well as information about binding and the publishing houses that produced it. See this book on SOLO month Zsofi and Jane have also spent many hours in the stacks rearranging and moving our archival collections including the Gryn collection, the Copenhagen archive and the Kressel archive. This will improve the time it takes from requesting these materials to them being delivered to the reading Room. For more on these collections:

Meanwhile Jane has been cataloguing new acquisitions, and donations including: Alan Mintz, Sanctuary in the Wilderness: A critical Introduction to American Hebrew Poetry (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2012). This book is on one of the class reading lists for the Hilary Term taught by Dr Adriana Jacobs, who is the new fellow in Modern Hebrew Literature at the Centre To see the rest of the books on her course search ‘Jacobs Reserve’ on SOLO (select Oxford Center for Hebrew and Jewish Studies first).

Alan Mintz, Sanctuary in the Wilderness

Alan Mintz, Sanctuary in the Wilderness