Vanderbilt Libraries welcome a new acquisition: The first edition of the Amsterdam Haggadah (1695)
A special exhibition at the Central Library titled “Why is this Book different from any other?” celebrates the recent acquisition of a rare guide to the Passover Seder. The Amsterdam Haggadah of 1695 is the first Haggadah illustrated with engravings instead of woodcuts and one of the first publications to feature a printed Hebrew map. Illustrated by Abraham ben Jacob (ca. 1669-1730), the Amsterdam Haggadah introduced an entirely new iconographic program that profoundly influenced the subsequent history of Passover Haggadot.
Vanderbilt’s Libraries acquired this first edition of the Amsterdam Haggadah with funds from the Provost’s Library Collection Initiative. David H. Price, Professor of Religious Studies, suggested the purchase and is the curator of this exhibit. The book was acquired at a recent auction in New York. It comes from the renowned Valmadonna Trust Library, assembled over a period of more than six decades by collector Jack Lunzer. We are proud to add it to Vanderbilt’s strong Jewish Studies holdings.
Vanderbilt’s copy also includes a rare map, one of the earliest printed in Hebrew, which traces the route of the Exodus and marks the city of Jerusalem, as well as the eventual territories of the twelve tribes of Israel.
Because Haggadot are used at table for the Passover Seder year after year, copies rarely survive in good condition, without food and wine stains. This copy is surprisingly fine.
The exhibit is on display from March 29 to April 8, 2018 in the 4th Floor Gallery of the Central Library, near the entrance off Library Lawn. It is free and open to the public.