Category Archives: Foyle-Montefiore Collection

Curiosities from the Foyle-Montefiore collection

While clearing out our library stacks, we came across an interesting pamphlet/dissertation focusing on the anatomy of monstri vitulini (picture below).


We thought it a good idea to share the publication with our readers, you may download the entire pamphlet by clicking Enjoy!

German-Jewish Gossipman illustrated


“Der Gevattersmann” (Gossipman), edited by Berthold (Baruch) Auerbach (1812-1882), a German-Jewish historian, writer and a Spinozist, was published between 1845 and 1848 in Braunschweig. It was aimed especially at country people. According to Hurst, the calendar became the household treasure of every rural hearth in Middle and South Germany. This particular issue (1848) boasts 33 beautiful woodcut print illustrations, depicting a variety of scenes of every-day life. A selection of images is shown below.

To learn more about Berthold Auerbach, his German patriotism, idealism, attitudes to Judaism and emancipation, as well as his disappointment at German anti-Semitism, click here. Our copy of “Der Gevattersmann” for year 1848 comes as part of the private library of Leopold Zunz [Foyle-Montefiore Collection, shelfmark: Mont 69c40].

Highlights: Bartolocci’s Bibliotheca Magna Rabbinica (1675-1693)


Title page of the first volume (1675)

Today’s highlight is Leopold Zunz’s own copy of Bartolocci’s Bibliotheca Magna Rabbinica The first edition four-volume set was published between 1675-1693 in Rome, ex Typographia Sacrae Congregationis de Propaganda Fide. The work is considered one of the first comprehensive non-critical Hebrew bibliographies and is one of the earliest products of Italian Christian Hebraism.  Leopold Zunz used and quoted it extensively in his first critical scholarly works on Hebrew bibliography.

Don Iulio Bartoloccio (Giulio Bartolocci), born in 1613 in Celleno, was a Cistercian monk and a student of a converted Jew – Giovanni Battista Jonah Galileo (formerly Judah Jonah of Safed). Bartolocci was appointed Professor of Hebrew and Rabbinics at the Collegium Neophytorum in Rome (1651), institution created to re-educate Jewish converts. He was also a Hebrew Scribe at the Vatican Library.

We hold 3 volumes of the work as part of the Foyle-Montefiore Collection, formerly the library of Sir Moses Montefiore [shelfmark: Mont 63cd18]. The Foyle-Montefiore Collection is abundant in works by other famous Christian Hebraists and bibliographers such as Johannes Buxtorf (1564-1629), Johann Leusden (1624-99), John Selden (1584-1654), John Lightfoot (1602-75), Giovanni Bernardo De’Rossi (1742-1831) and Moritz Steinschneider (1816-1907).


Autograph of Leopold Zunz


Front cover: tan calf, tooled in blind.

Tracing the provenance of Montefiore’s Sefer ha-Zohar (Amsterdam 5475)

nov 6 also

The highlight of the week is a two-volume 5475 (1714 or 1715) Amsterdam edition of Sefer ha-Zohar, pre-owned and signed by D. L. Pereira (David Haim Pereira).  Notice the date in the chronogram converted and transcribed by hand “Año 5475”, very likely the same that signed the title page. The book is heavily annotated. Below is an image of the title page verso containing notes on festivals. Marginal notes are interspersed throughout the rest of both volumes.

nov 6 felso

The books are part of Sir Moses Montefiore’s library, previously held at Ramsgate in Kent and Jews’ College in London, now with us as part of the Foyle-Montefiore Collection acquired in 2006.  Both volumes were rebound at some point in the 19th century, and their front boards adorned with an oval gold-stamp decoration of Yeshivat Ohel Mosheh ve-Yehudit Ramsget.  It is not clear how this early 18th century edition of Zohar found its way into the library of Sir Moses Montefiore.

The previous owner of Sefer ha-Zohar, D. L. Pereira, David Lopez Pereira, otherwise known as David Haim Pereira, spent the later years of his life in Saint Mary Whitechapel, Middlesex. If identified correctly, he was the son of Manuel (known also as Isaac) Lopes Pereira and a grandson of David Lopes Pereira (Duarte Lopes Pereira) of Almendra, Portugal. The history of the Pereira family is fascinating. In 1629, D. L.’s grandmother Francisca was prosecuted by the Spanish Inquisition at Avila, and survived the ordeal. The family then subsequently moved several times to and within Holland (Rouen, Antwerp, Middleburg), lived at some point also in Bordeaux, France. In 1655, they arrived in London, where Manuel (Isaac) Lopes Pereira has become a treasurer and then also a warden of the London Congregation, gradually acquiring stock in sea trade companies and local banks. D. L. Pereira, it seems, inherited parts if not all of this, and is mentioned in Farber as one of the Jewish investors in the Royal African Company (engaged in transatlantic slave trade), and the Bank of England, 1702-12.[1] To some, it might be of interest to know that his Will (17 March 1756) is held at the National Archives in Kew, and available for download at a small fee.

[1] Eli Farber’s Jews, Slaves, and the Slave Trade: Setting the Record Straight (NYU Press, 1998), p. . On the Jewish involvement in transatlantic slave trade focusing on the British empire.