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The Rare Books of the Shimeon Brisman Collection in Jewish Studies

TorahThe Shimeon Brisman Collection in Jewish Studies was purchased by Washington University in 1972 from Shimeon Brisman, a Judaica bibliographer at the UCLA library and an expert in Hebrew bibliography. Approximately one fourth of the Brisman Collection is bibliography, including hundreds of catalogues from nineteenth and early twentieth century European bookshops. The collection also includes a large number of rabbinical commentaries, responsa, and liturgical literature—many of which came from the libraries of prominent rabbis—as well as a substantial number of nineteenth century sermons from England and Germany. In addition, the collection includes an impressive array of early printed works and rare books.  All of these items capture Jewish history, culture, and thought and serve as a valuable resource for modern day scholars.

Featured here are some of the highlights of the approximately 750 rare books of the Shimeon Brisman collection.

We’d love to know if you have additional information about any of the entries on this website.  If so, please contact us to share your story.

Special Collections Department
Washington University in St. Louis


Above: Hamishah Humshe Torah (Pentateuch). Printed in Amsterdam by David de Kastro Tartas in 1666.



The majority of the digital photographs in this collection were taken by Rivka Feinberg (BA13) who also researched the entries, wrote the descriptions, and developed the Omeka digital exhibit under the direction of Shelli Kastin, Head of Technical Services. Additional research was contributed by Will Soll, Judaica Cataloger for Special Projects, Masha Sapp, Special Collections Catalog Librarian, and Yael Toren (BA15). Technical assistance for the digital exhibit and design of the website was provided by Digital Library Services.