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Jewish Publishers, Printers, and Book Dealers

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This project covers Jewish people in the book trades from all eras. It begins with Jewish incunabula in Hebrew and extends to the present day, listing the profiles of Jews in the book trades, regardless of the language in which they work or the topics which they present.

It is a companion to the project "Printers and Publishers of Hebrew Books" which begins with early printers and publishers -- both Jewish and Christian -- of Hebraica and Jewish liturgical and theological books, and continues to the present with contemporary publishers in the Hebrew language. For more information on Hebrew Incunabula, see the "Printers and Publishers of Hebrew Books" project.


Davin de Caderousse is considered to be the first Jewish printer. He worked in Avignon c. 1444 (before Gutenberg) The first Hebrew books were printed within 35 years after the invention of printing – the first dated ones being Rashi's commentary on the Pentateuch and Jacob b. Asher's Arba'ah Turim of 1475. . . . Source

Through the second half of the fifteenth century, Hebrew printing was restricted mainly to the Italian and Iberian peninsulas, where some 180 Hebrew titles were issued. Hebrew printing ceased in Spain and Portugal after the expulsion of the Jews in 1492, it quickly spread to the Ottoman Empire, North Africa, and Central and Eastern Europe. By the end of the sixteenth century, Hebrew printed books were being produced throughout most of the Jewish world. Source

The early Jewish printers and publishers concentrated on theological texts in Hebrew, for which they had to obtain permits from local royal sponsors. Some of the best known were:

  • The Soncino Family of Italy (1484 - c. 1557)
  • Gershom ben Solomon Kohen of Prague (1514 - 1544)
  • The Parenzo Family of Venice (c, 1520 - 1629)
  • David Yehiel Drucker (Luria), "The Printer of Vienna" (1520 - c. 1600)
  • The Jaffe-Schwartz Family of Lublin (1557 - c. 1700)
  • Isaac Aaronowich, Joshua Bar Israel, and Bar Abraham Kalonymus of Poland (1603 - 1683)
  • The Bloch-Frankl-Arnstein Family of Sulzbach (c. 1667 - 1851)
  • Isak Kohen Juedels and Israel ben Meir of Wilhermsdorf (1669 - c. 1720)
  • The Proops Family of Amsterdam (1704 - 1849)
  • The Szapira Family of Slavuta (1791 - 1835)

Read more about them, their extended families, and their works in the project "Printers and Publishers of Hebrew Books."