In 2017, the Hebraic Section acquired a miniature Hebrew prayer-book of exceptional beauty and detail, handwritten and illustrated by one Joseph ben Meir Schmalkalden in Mainz, Germany in or around 1745. With its brightly painted images and exquisite detail, this miniature is one of the loveliest examples of a genre which enjoyed something of a renaissance in 18th century Central Europe. This blog places special emphasis on the life of the largely unknown artist who created this beautiful piece, and examines the connection between his signature and the rainbow with which he illuminated one of its pages.
The Library of Congress African and Middle Eastern Division recently acquired a rare Gospel book printed in Rome in 1548 AD. It is the first printed edition of the New Testament in Geez, ግዕዝ (Ethiopic), the ancient liturgical language of Ethiopia.
In 1911, Jewish children in the Russian Empire woke up to find a Tom Thumb of their own, a Hebrew Tom Thumb of the greatest charm imaginable, and written, moreover, by that greatest of modern Hebrew poets, Chaim Nachman Bialik (1873-1934). Bialik's "Etsba'oni" first appeared in the pages of Ha-Shahar [The Dawn], one of a growing number of Hebrew periodicals created specifically for children in the early decades of the 20th century, especially in Eastern Europe and Russia. The Library of Congress has an almost complete run of the periodical from its seven months of existence, covers included.