The Hebrew collection was transformed into a significant scholarly resource in 1865, when 322 manuscripts were acquired from the library of the Italian bibliophile Giuseppe Almanzi (1801-1860). These extended from the 13th to the 16th centuries, and embraced all branches of Hebrew literature.
The Israelites leaving Egypt. The Golden Haggadah,Catalonia, ca.1300. [Add MS 27210, f.14v, detail] © The British Library.
From this remarkable legacy came:
- the Mahzor Vitry, in 2 volumes
- a Festival prayerbook, copied in France around the middle of the 13th century (Add 27200)
- the Lexicon of Menahem ben Saruk dated 1091 (Add 27214) (probably the oldest extant copy known), and
- the elegant Golden Haggadah (Add 27210), created in Catalonia at the beginning of the 14th century.