|In libraries and museums around the world the Rothschild family name is associated with literary works of great beauty and historical importance, including some of the most magnificent medieval and Renaissance manuscripts ever created. The Rothschild love affair with books is well known and well documented. What is less well known is that despite the association of the Rothschild name with great wealth, the Rothschild dynasty has its origins in the 18th century ghetto of Frankfurt am Main and even in those humble beginnings, the Rothschilds were enamored with the Hebrew book. In this talk about the manuscripts of the Rothschild family, our point of departure will be a precious manuscript in the YIVO Collection, a volume of the talmudic tractate Baba Kama written in 1722 by Anshel Moses Rothschild, the father of the founder of the great Jewish banking dynasty.
David Wachtel is currently Senior Consultant for Special Collections at the Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary where he was formerly Research Librarian for Special Collections. He holds advanced degrees in Medieval History and Jewish Studies from Columbia University. He teaches and lectures in the United States, Israel, and Europe on topics in Jewish history and Jewish art, to both general and academic audiences. As a Judaica consultant at Sotheby's since 2004, he has participated in the sales of several outstanding collections of Judaica and Hebraica, including the Montefiore Endowment, the Boesky Collection, the Delmonico Collection and most recently, the breathtaking and record-breaking exhibition of the Valmadonna Trust Library. He has curated numerous museum and library exhibitions focusing on aspects of Jewish material culture and literary treasures. His most recent exhibition was the widely acclaimed "Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam," at the New York Public Library. He is the author of From This World to the Next: Jewish Approaches to Illness, Death and the Afterlife as well as the manuscript section of the award-winning Yeshiva University exhibition catalogue Printing the Talmud: From Bomberg to Schottenstein. He is currently working on a book describing the formation of America's great Judaic and Hebraic book collections.