Constitution of The Jewish Theological Seminary and Scientific Institution of New York

AUCTION 14 | Tuesday, November 13th, 2001 at 1:00
Important Hebrew Printed Books and Manuscripts From the Library of the London Beth Din

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Lot 23

Constitution of The Jewish Theological Seminary and Scientific Institution of New York

A Very Fine Copy pp.17. Original printed wrappers. 16mo Unrecorded by Singerman

New York: Adolphus S. Solomon 1854

Est: $4,000 - $5,000
The First Publication of an American Rabbinical School. The Jewish Theological Seminary and Scientific Institution was founded by Sampson Simson (1781-1857). A third generation American, Simson was born in Danbury, Conn. He graduated from Columbia College in 1800 and at the commencement exercise, delivered an oration in Hebrew on the history of America’s Jews. After studying law under the tutelage of Aaron Burr, he was admitted to the Bar in 1802, becaming one of New York’s first Jewish lawyers. After only a few years practice, Simson retired to Yonkers, NY, from where he became fully active on behalf of many Jewish causes - helping to found the Jews’ Hospital of New York (Mount Sinai Hospital) and the North American Relief Society for the Indigent Jews of Palestine. In 1852 Simson incorporated “The Jewish Theological Seminary and Scientific Institution,” a school designed to train Jewish teachers and rabbis for America’s growing number of Congregations. In addition to Jewish studies, the proposed curriculum (p.3) included the sciences, language and literature, philosophy and mathematics, as well as music. Although Simson gifted several acres of land near Yonkers to erect the School, it was never built. “It is not improbable that the later Jewish Theological Seminary Association of 1886 adopted the name in order to share in Simson’s estate.” (Marcus). Indeed, the land in Yonkers was later transferred to New York’s Jewish Theological Seminary. See H. Grinstein, The Rise of the Jewish Community of New York (index); J.R. Marcus, United States Jewry, 3:95; PAJHS vol.X pp.109-17 and XXXVII pp.430-4