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Rebecca J W Jefferson
A Genizah secret
The Count d'Hulst and letters revealing the race
to recover the lost leaves of the original Ecclesiasticus
Rebecca J. W. Jefferson
The discovery of the Cairo Genizah manuscripts (over 200,000 medieval Hebrew and Arabic
fragments) in the late nineteenth century is an enigmatic tale. The early collectors of this material,
unaware of its exact provenance or keen to safeguard their access to it, did not divulge their
sources. However, a selection of unpublished letters preserved in the Bodleian Library records, in
the archives of the Egypt Exploration Society, and in the National Archives help piece together
more of the story which will be revealed here for the first time. The letters concern the
unacknowledged role of the mysterious Count d'Hulst in the recovery of sections of the Oxford
Genizah collection; the race between the two eminent scholars, Adolf Neubauer and Solomon
Schechter, to discover the missing manuscript leaves of the original Hebrew Ecclesiasticus, and the
unspoken competition between the Libraries of Oxford and Cambridge to expand 11thi Oriental
Rebecca J W Jefferson
Some there are who have left a name behind them There are others who are unremembered
The discovery of the massive hoard of Hebrew and Arabic manuscripts (collectively known as the
Cairo Genizah) in the Ben Ezra synagogue, Fustat, in the late nineteenth century is not just the story
of a historically momentous find, it is also a multifaceted tale tinged with rivalry and intrigue. To a
large extent, it is the tale of two eminent scholars, Solomon Schechter' and Adolf Neubauer,"
initially united in their attempt to prove the theoretical claim that the apocryphal book of
Ecclesiasticus (Ben Sira) was originally written in Hebrew, but later divided as both separately
strove to recover the actual manuscript evidence that proved the theory. In part, it is the tale of their
two rival institutions-Oxford and Cambridge-and each man's attempt to make his own library
the richer in Oriental manuscripts. But it is also the account of another, less fortunate man: Count
Riamo d'Hulst, who helped some of history's great men to achieve their goals but for himself
gained only ignominy and, later, obscurity.
The Genizah was a sealed room in the Ben Ezra synagogue in Fustat, Old Cairo accessed only
by a hole in the wall which itself was positioned several feet above head height (previous to 1892
access was through an entrance in the roof)."' The room held a mass of written material in Hebrew
and Arabic, mostly dating from the tenth to the thirteenth century but with some as early as the
eighth century and some as late as the nineteenth. It is believed that manuscripts derived from the
Cairo Genizah began to arrive in Europe in the 1890s. Oxford and Cambridge were the first
institutions to receive them through collectors who purchased them either from the Ben Ezra
synagogue officials or from local dealers. One Oxford scholar, the Bodleian Library's sub-librarian
Dr Adolf Neubauer, catalogued and published a number of these 'Egyptian fragments' between the
years 1892 and 1895, but the exact origins of the manuscripts remained unknown. In 1896, the
scholar and collector, Elkan Nathan Adler, was allowed to remove a sack of manuscripts from the
Ben Ezra synagogue. The fame of 'discovering' the Cairo Genizah, however, was accorded to
Solomon Schechter who, with the necessary permissions, removed most of the manuscripts hidden
away in the synagogue (around 190,000 fragments) and brought them to Cambridge in 1897. Thus,
the basic story is recounted." However, a cache of letters held in the Bodleian, together with letters
held by the Egypt Exploration Society and in the National Archives in London, provide a clearer
account of this collection's history, revealed here for the first time.
In July 1910, a report in the London-based Jewish Chronicle entitled 'A Geniza secret' quoted a
recent addendum to the second volume of the Bodleian Library's Catalogue of Hebrew
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Manuscripts. The author of the addendum, the Bodleian Librarian, E. W. B. Nicholson (1849-
I grieve to find that I have failed to mention the great services of Count R. d'Hulst during the early part of
1898 in procuring Geniza fragments for the Bodleian. The Count's kind help had been enlisted by Professor
Sayce, and he devoted himself for some months to employing and directing workmen to excavate in the
neighbourhood of the ancient synagogue at Old Cairo.v
The Librarian added that the work of the Count d'Hulst was not recorded in the Library's Annual
...absolute secrecy as to the Cairo fragments was, for the time being, necessary to the interests of the
Library... Nothing but momentary forgetfulness can explain the fact that we did not testify to the obligations
of the Bodleian to Count d'Hulst, whose work on its behalf had been absolutely a labour of love, and without
D'Hulst had written to inform Nicholson that he had supplied Genizah material to the Bodleian in
1889 (through the Egypt Exploration Fund, hereafter: 'the Fund') and again in 1893 and 1895. But
Nicholson stated that he could not verify this claim:
Of these things I believe both Dr. Cowley and myself were unaware, and Dr. Neubauer, who might just
possibly have been able to inform us, was totally incapacitated by ill health in 1899, and died on April 6th,
Who was the Count d'Hulst and what then was his mysterious connection to the Cairo Genizah
manuscripts? The details of his life before he lived in Egypt are vague: the title 'Count d'Hulst' was
once so common amongst the nobility of Flanders and Belgium that it defies detection.vi" In two
separate documents, d'Hulst refers to himself as a German and as a subject of 'the Grand Duchy of
Luxembourg'."x The most informative source, however, is a letter from the Cairo 'Service des
Antiquities' in response to a query about d'Hulst from the British High Commission in Egypt. Its
author, Georges Daressey,x wrote that Count Riamo d'Hulst had been a German officer in the
Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71, and that he had deserted and sought Luxembourg citizenship."
However, d'Hulst's long-term associate, the Oxford scholar and collector, Archibald Henry Sayce
believed that the Count had gone to Cairo as the result of a war wound."
It is not known when the Count arrived in Egypt or, indeed, how he acquired enough knowledge
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of the Arabic language to superintend Arab workmen on major excavations."" Nevertheless,
d'Hulst makes his first appearance in a report in The Times where it is revealed that he was
involved in the discovery of an early Christian cemetery in Alexandria.x Two months later, another
report in The Times, announced that the Fund had sent him to assist the renowned Egyptologist,
Edouard Naville" with his famous excavations of the Great Temple of Bubastis in Lower Egypt."
An account written by Naville's wife confirms that d'Hulst was a welcome addition; his enthusiasm
for engaging in the (now controversial) process of taking wet paper squeezes was particularly
The work of taking paper impressions has become very heavy, and there was much rejoicing when Count
d'Hulst arrived the other day to the assistance ofM. Naville and Mr. Griffith. I watched him yesterday going
from block to block, clearing the sand and soil from the hollows of the hieroglyphs, washing the sculptured
surfaces, damping the paper, and taking the impressions.v'
The Fund employed d'Hulst as an excavator and site supervisor from 1886 to 1893,X" during
which time he played an important role in the recovery of large monuments for British institutions
and museums around the world (the Herishef column, excavated by Naville in 1891 and donated to
the British Museum, is one noteworthy example). Naville described how at Bubastis he and d'Hulst
even waded into a boggy pit, blindly waving their hands underneath to recover a near perfect
Hyksos head.xx D'Hulst's private letters to Amelia Edwards, dated between 1888 and 1889, depict
the debilitating work involved in moving and shipping these treasures to England: the scorching
Egyptian summers in a malarial region, the frustration of dealing with the local authorities, and the
lengths to which he went to protect the shipments from further damage, such as sleeping on top of
the boxes as they waited on board ship."
D'Hulst also pursued a personal interest in photography and, in his spare time, he wandered the
streets of Cairo taking photographs of the mosques, courtyard interiors and street views. The
resulting collection, reported the Athenceum of 2 June 1888, 'cannot fail to be of great value to
architects and archaeologists, and indeed, all interested in the art of Cairo'. X That same year,
D'Hulst exhibited his work and presented his findings on Arab houses to the Royal Institute of
British Architects."x Images of Arab subjects were also exhibited in Berlin, Munich and Dresden
and future exhibitions in the East were being planned."x In April 1889, aware of his interests, the
Fund presented d'Hulst with a camera worth 15 to thank him for his 'valuable and generous'
services."" Unfortunately, d'Hulst's collection of 'Mohammedan Art and its branches', which
purportedly amounted to several thousand photographs and 15,000 negatives, has since
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Two months later, in July 1889, the Fund decided to send d'Hulst to excavate the mounds round
Cairo for Coptic and Arabic antiquities.' These excavations were also funded by A. W. Franks"v
and directed by Henry Wallisxv" in the hope of recovering more Fatimid pottery for the British
Museum collection.xx Two letters sent from d'Hulst to the Fund refer to these activities. The first,
dated 6 January 1890, reads:
I received your letter & cheque & I am sure to have sufficient funds to carry out the work at Old Cairo. The
finds include besides pottery, coins, weights & Hebrew manuscripts, a small sphinx ... My attempt to
excavate the Roman gateway has been stopped under some pretended futile reason & I am afraid that we will
have to consider this work impossible, at least for the present.'
In the second letter, dated 16 February 1890, d'Hulst wrote:
I had brought the excavations at Old Cairo to a close at the beginning of this week expecting the arrival of
Mr. Naville, having however still funds in hand I shall take [up] the work again to finish what I could not do
for want of time. Nine boxes I have forwarded through Mr. Large, they contain 4 Kufic tombstones (No. 1)
& a number of fragments of some Hebrew manuscripts found at Fostat (No. 9) Fragments found outside Bab
el Nasr (No. 4) pottery fragments of Tinis (No. 6). The other boxes contain fragments from Old Cairo, coins,
glass-fragments, some small objects from Bubastis etc. ....
D'Hulst's letters prove that he unearthed Hebrew manuscripts in Fustat in 1889 and sent a box
of them on to the Fund early in 1890. Although, there is no mention of any manuscripts in the
Fund's distribution lists, the Neubauer and Cowley Catalogue of Hebrew Manuscripts does record
that 212 folios were given as a gift to the Bodleian from the Fund in 1890."xx Ten years later,
D'Hulst related to Nicholson that he had sent a request to the Fund for instructions concerning the
remaining manuscripts.x" D'Hulst recalled that 'all the papers could have been had at that time for
20.'x In later letters he repeated the observation that if anyone had responded to his call for
instructions, the entire Genizah (now estimated at over 200,000 manuscripts) could have ended up
in the possession of the Bodleian Library.x
It seems that most of d'Hulst's excavations were situated by the Roman fortress and gate, xx
not far from the Ben Ezra synagogue and its now famous Genizah chamber in which, it is
commonly believed, most of the Cairo Genizah manuscripts were stored for nearly two millenia. In
the course of his correspondence with Neubauer, d'Hulst explained that the synagogue had thrown
the papers out into a big rubbish-heap some months before he began his work there for the
Rebecca J W Jefferson
D'Hulst's activities coincided with the demolition of the synagogue in 1889, which was
precipitated by a collapsed roof. The Jewish community had deemed the building beyond repair and
decided to replace it entirely; the synagogue was rebuilt in 1892.""'xx It was a significant moment in
the history of the Cairo Genizah, for the demolition resulted in the emptying of the Genizah
chamber and the exposure of all its manuscripts in the synagogue grounds. It was at this stage that
the synagogue beadles first realized the value that these bundles of old papers held for the
enthusiastic dealers and collectors that began to arrive from around the world.,x""
The only testimony to d'Hulst's Genizah discoveries in 1889 survives in the two short missives
he dispatched to the Fund. Yet, d'Hulst and his wife, Laura, also sent letters to the Bodleian in
which they enclosed quotes and copied extracts of letters from the originals in their possession as
proof of their claims. One such extract copied by Laura d'Hulst in 1932 from a letter sent by
Neubauer in March 1898 reads:
The fragments which you sent to the British Museum in 1890 and of which you asked Mr. Nicholson what
became of them, I may tell you with pride that they are now in the Bodleian Library, bound in red to
distinguish them from later acquisitions. Indeed these valuable MSS stimulated further researches in which I
was very fortunate. Now they form the nucleus of our large collection of Egyptian fragments. In the preface
to the catalogue of them, your name will appear first. This catalogue is far advanced and will be concluded
with the description of the fragments about which you are now busy.i
D'Hulst was therefore one of the first people in the late nineteenth century to become aware of
the existence of, and to extract material from, the Cairo Genizah. His collection in the Bodleian
slightly predates the manuscripts supplied by the Revd Greville John Chester (1831-92)xl" who was
accorded the fame of being the first person to bring the contents of the Genizah to notice in
Oxford,""i and Rabbi Solomon Wertheimer'iv who, along with Chester, supplied Genizah material
to Cambridge in the early 1890s. v
In the same period, growing concern in England over the treatment of antiquities in Egypt
resulted in the establishment of the Society for the Protection of the Monuments and Antiquities of
Egypt. At the Society's second annual meeting it was decided that Lord Cromer'vi should press the
government of Egypt to appoint an effective inspector of antiquities: not a Frenchman 'who would
not command the confidence of the English public'.xvii Thus, with recommendations from leading
Egyptologists, d'Hulst was invited to be an inspector. D'Hulst considered himself a 'pronounced
anglophile';'viii his wife was English, and he even referred in one letter to The Times to 'our King
Alfred the Great'. iBut it was hoped that d'Hulst's German background might prove an acceptable
compromise to the French who felt that the Antiquities Department belonged under their sphere of
Rebecca J W Jefferson
influence. There was, however, an outcry and the French Consul pressed Naville to withdraw his
support. D'Hulst was not appointed to the post.'
By 1891, Naville and D'Hulst were beginning to elicit open disapproval from the leading
Egyptologist, Flinders Petrie.i Naville and Petrie belonged to different schools of archaeology.
Naville was an expert in hieroglyphics, an authority on Egyptian religion, and a discoverer and
excavator of large monuments. His work was lauded in the early days of Egyptology when the
recovery of large objects was considered exciting and paramount. But Petrie's notions of site
mapping, and his emphasis on the importance of recovering small finds became the standard for all
subsequent archaeological digs.'ii
In 1892, Petrie heard that Naville and d'Hulst were to excavate Deir el-Bahri on the west bank
of the Nile and he warned the Fund that they would damage the delicate reliefs for which the temple
was famed.lii His chief complaint was against Naville, but he also revealed that 'Count d'Hulst told
me, with superior wisdom, that in order to copy the graffiti at Meydum I ought to have put a wet
paper on the wall and beaten it so as to bring the ink away on the paper!!!'liv Petrie listed a set of
ideal criteria for the excavation of Deir el-Bahri, concluding that 'not one of these requirements will
be fulfilled by Messrs. Naville and D'Hulst.'iv In that same year, d'Hulst clashed with the new
director of the Antiquities Service in Egypt, Jacques de Morgan.lvi D'Hulst had approached him
over the question of site preferences for the coming archaeological season and de Morgan took
offence at his manner. The Fund promised to suspend d'Hulst's work until the matter was
D'Hulst wrote a long letter of defence to the co-founder of the Fund, Reginald Stuart Poole,viii
citing seven years of loyal service.ix But Poole was keen to establish good relations with de Morgan
in order to secure excavation sites. Finally, this clash, coupled with Petrie's criticisms of him, and
the expense of his recent supervision of the site at Behbeit el-Hagar, meant that by March 1893 the
Fund had decided to dispense with d'Hulst's services. At the bottom of their terse letter of
dismissal, a note in pencil (presumably by the guilt-ridden Poole) was added: 'I write with the
utmost regret knowing your loyalty & hard work.'1x
The Count had, prior to his dismissal, begun dealing in antiquities. Letters held in the British
Museum from d'Hulst to Francis Llewellyn Griffith,1i offering Arab weights and scales for sale,
bear witness to his activities in this area.xii The aforementioned Archibald Henry Sayce, in a quote
from a letter sent in 1923, described d'Hulst as someone 'in whom private collectors also found
always an instructive and helpful friend.''xii
At the same time, manuscripts emanating from the Cairo Genizah were steadily finding their
way into libraries and institutions around the world, primarily through collectors of antiquities who
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purchased them from dealers like d'Hulst or directly from the synagogue beadles.'xv Yet the exact
source of these so-called 'Egyptian fragments' continued to remain a secret to the outside world.'"
Indeed, not all of the manuscripts emanating from the East were greeted with universal enthusiasm
nor was their significance broadly appreciated.xvi
Following his appointment as a Bodleian sub-librarian in 1873, Neubauer had been
'indefatigable' in his attempts to expand the Library's Oriental holdings and to enrich its collections
with valuable manuscripts.'vii In 1894, comparing its material to that of the Imperial Library of St
Petersburg, he proudly announced that 'the collection of Hebrew and Arabic fragments, coming
from a Genizah in Egypt, and lately acquired by the Bodleian Library, rivals that of St. Petersburg,
if not in quantity, certainly in quality'."xviii Neubauer was steadily cataloguing and publishing these
fragments and, at that stage, did not hesitate to reveal that they emanated from Cairo.lxx He was
also willing to share his discoveries with Solomon Schechter, his friend and academic counterpart at
Cambridge University."x Schechter published a few of these fragments, including one of the oldest
dated copies of the Babylonian tractate Keritot.1x~
In addition, the two were united in their fight to prove that the apocryphal work Ecclesiasticus,
authored by the Jerusalemite Jeshua ben Eleazar ben Sira in 180-175 BCE, was originally written
in Hebrew. Ben Sira's grandson had transported the book to Alexandria where it was translated into
Greek (and later Syriac). The Hebrew version was quoted extensively in talmudic literature, since
the early rabbis considered it almost as important as the Book of Proverbs, but Hebrew editions
were no longer extant after the time of the great medieval polymath, Saadiah Gaon who had a copy
in the tenth century. 1ii For modem scholars of the nineteenth century, the Greek and Syriac
versions were considered the most reliable for the restoration of the original text. Much of the
debate surrounding this was sparked by the inaugural lecture of the Laudian Professor of Arabic,
David S. Margoliouth, who dismissed the evidence from the rabbinic literature out of hand. Leading
Hebraists disagreed with Margoliouth's reconstruction, and Neubauer and Schechter responded by
separately publishing the Hebrew quotations scattered in the rabbinic literature as proof of their
argument. For Schechter, however, the question was more than academic; it became a matter of
principle; a passionate defence of Jewish literary traditions.xxii
In that same period, Neubauer was nursing a secret. In his desire to secure a great collection of
Hebrew manuscripts for the Bodleian,xxv it appears that he had asked his colleague Archibald
Henry Sayce if, during one of his trips to Egypt, he could try to locate the exact source of the
Egyptian fragments. From 1890, on account of his health, Sayce had spent every winter living on a
houseboat on the Nile, visiting archaeological sites around Egypt and Palestine and recovering
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important manuscripts. In June each year he travelled home to resume his academic life in
Sayce's autobiography reveals nothing about the Cairo Genizah. Only in a letter sent in 1903 to
the historian and collector Elkan Nathan Adler (1861-1946), did he recall his connection to it:
'Some years later (I think in '92 or '93...)1xi I heard of the Geniza, paid a visit to it, and arranged to
purchase the whole of it for 50 for the Bodleian.'xxvii It was, in fact, in 1895 that Sayce reported
the following back to Neubauer:
I have just heard from my Cairo friend that he has succeeded in discovering & entering the old subterranean
place from which the Hebrew MSS have all come. It is still filled with MSS & books, the larger & more
accessible of which have been torn to pieces in order to sell the papers which have come to Europe. The Jews
in charge of the place have offered to sell the whole collection for 50 with 5 bakshish. But the difficulty is
how to get such a large quantity of things out of the country. Could the Bodleian get the government or
rather Lord Cromer to do it? I hope to reach Cairo by April 15th where a telegram would reach me.1'Xvl
Sayce's letter also discloses that he had the help of a 'friend' in Cairo to locate the Genizah. Proof
that d'Hulst was this 'friend' is confirmed in the aforementioned letters sent to d'Hulst from which
extracts were copied by his wife in 1932.xxix One such letter, purportedly sent from Sayce to
d'Hulst on the same day that he wrote to Neubauer, reads:
I think the Bodleian Library would agree to the terms, but how are the MSS to be got out of the country? If
that could be arranged I would telegraph to Oxford. Let me congratulate you upon your success.'"
Sayce is quoted again under the date of 2 April:
How many boxes do you think will be necessary. If there is no difficulty about sending them out of the
country, your plan will be the best to adopt. I hope to reach Cairo about the 15th and I should be much
obliged ... if you could come and have lunch with me, when we could settle everything about the Hebrew
These extracts repeat the same details that Sayce had discussed independently with Neubauer in his
letter of 26 March. Thus, it is possible that in 1895 d'Hulst was the first person to physically enter
the Genizah chamber since Jacob Saphir (and perhaps Abraham Firkovitch) in the 1860s,1xxii
although he would not have seen the same room as the Genizah chamber had been rebuilt in
1892.xxxiii The letters also prove d'Hulst's claim to have supplied Genizah material to the Bodleian
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in 1895. Sayce, he maintained in a later letter, was simply 'an intermediary' between the Bodleian
By November 1895, Sayce was able to inform Neubauer that he was sending 'a box on ahead so
that you & Cowley may have something to amuse yourselves with.''" The rest of the
consignment, another three boxes, should have arrived by 6 February 1896. xxxvi In January, the
aforementioned Adler, during one of his trips to the East, was shown the Genizah chamber and
allowed to remove a sack of manuscripts. xv" Sayce, on the other hand, was struggling to negotiate
the sale of all of the manuscripts. It was not a question of ownership rights that was delaying the
purchase of the Genizah, Sayce told Nicholson, but the difficulty was that 'as soon as any money is
paid to the old Rabbi and his colleagues they immediately get dead drunk upon it, & nothing can be
done with them until their funds are exhausted.'lxxxv"i
While Sayce and d'Hulst were busy trying to resolve the deadlock they had encountered, two
women were traveling around Palestine and Cairo. These women, the twin sisters, Mrs Agnes Smith
Lewis (1843-1926) and Mrs Margaret Dunlop Gibson (1843-1920) were both scholars of Syriac
and Arabic and already recognized for their explorations in the Near East and for their discovery of
the earliest known Syriac version of the gospels in St Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai.
Situated on the periphery of Cambridge academic life, the sisters became friends with other
'outsiders' like Schechter. In the spring of 1895, unable to resist the rumour that good finds were to
be made in Cairo, the twins set off on their travels again.'xxx On this occasion too, Schechter asked
them to purchase some Hebrew manuscripts for him.x Upon their return, one of the fragments they
showed him was to transform his life; for, as a result of his great familiarity with the rabbinic
quotations, Schechter quickly realized that he held in his hand a medieval copy of the original
Hebrew of Ecclesiasticus. It took him just a few hours to confirm his initial suspicions and to relate
his momentous discovery in 'haste and great excitement' to the twins. Aware of the manuscript's
tremendous value, he told the ladies 'do not speak yet about the matter' and to Mathilde, his wife,
he declared: 'Wife, as long as the Bible lives my name shall not die'.x'
Yet this great achievement, announced by Mrs Lewis in the Athenceum, on 16 May 1896,
brought the alliance between Neubauer and Schechter to an end."c Schechter subsequently told his
associate Alexander Marx that immediately upon its discovery, he sent a note about the
Ecclesiasticus leaf to Neubauer.ciii Neubauer, for his part, replied a fortnight later to tell him that he
couldn't read the note and that he had discovered nine leaves of Ben Sira at Oxford.xciv A notice
about Neubauer's discovery was placed in the Athenceum on 27 June, just forty-two days after Mrs
Lewis' announcement.xc When they came to publish the fragments in 1897, Neubauer and Cowley
further declared that: 'almost simultaneously the Bodleian Library acquired, through Professor
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Sayce a box of Hebrew and Arabic fragments, among which we recognized another portion of the
same text.'xc However, the abovementioned letter from Sayce to Nicholson in February 1896
indicates that the consignment should have reached the Bodleian before February and not 'almost
simultaneously' in April or May.xcvi It appears then that either Schechter's note or his
announcement in the Athenceum was the catalyst that induced Neubauer and his assistant Cowley to
search their manuscript collections for further leaves of Ecclesiasticus.cviii Schechter was outraged
by Neubauer's apparent game of one-upmanship and complained bitterly to his friends.cix
Thus, in the wake of the great discoveries made in the late spring of 1896, an undeclared race to
recover the remaining leaves of the Hebrew version of Ecclesiasticus was underway. Neubauer (and
no doubt Schechter too) had calculated that 'the whole according to the description ought to be 30-
36 leaves.'c While Neubauer had already tracked down the source of his 'Egyptian fragments',
Schechter had waited until the advent of Ben Sira fragment to start slotting the pieces of the puzzle
together. He now realized that this fragment and the manuscripts purchased lately by the Bodleian
and Cambridge University Library probably all derived from the same source: the genizah in Cairo
from which Adler had obtained a collection of manuscripts in January."i
As everything fell into place, Schechter grew ever more anxious to travel to find the source, so
much so, his wife recalled, that 'the wish to be able to carry out this ambitious plan and to recover if
possible the rest of the Hebrew original of Ben-Sirah incessantly occupied Dr. Schechter's mind
and gradually [sic] almost became an obsession.'"Ci Luckily, he found support and enthusiasm for his
ideas from the Cambridge dons, Professor Henry Sidgwick and Dr Donald Macalister, but it was the
Hebraist, mathematician, and Master of St John's College, Charles Taylor (1840-1908) who
insisted on providing private financial backing. With Taylor's help, Schechter did not have to resort
to the University's travelling fund and was thus able to keep his proposed mission to Cairo from
becoming public knowledge.ci"
Another extract sent by d'Hulst's widow reveals for the first time how extremely close this
surreptitious race between Oxford and Cambridge to recover the Genizah had been. In October
1896, knowing that the distinction of finding the remaining fragments of Ecclesiasticus was now at
stake, Sayce wrote to d'Hulst to inform him of their new plan to purchase the Genizah:
I have persuaded the University to send Dr. Neubauer out to Cairo, since being a Jew he may be better able
to get the MSS from the Jews than we were. He is therefore to depart as soon as his lectures for the Term
have been delivered. But I have heard a rumour that the brother of the Chief Rabbi has been at Cairo and has
bought certain of the MSS. Could you find out whether this is the case?cv
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In October or November of that year, Schechter responded to an invitation from Adler to his
brother's house in London to see the manuscripts he had brought back from the Ben Ezra
synagogue. Schechter (with his excitable habit of underscoring) wrote to Adler 'do expect me there
do but do not show your treasures till you see me'." Adler himself later recalled that:
... I showed my treasures to Dr. Neubauer and to Dr. Schechter. Neubauer was very angry with me for not
ransacking the whole Genizah. I told him that my conscience, which was tenderer then than now, reproached
me for having taken away what I did, but he said that science knows no law.cv
Another extract of a letter from Sayce, dated November 1896, reveals that, had it not been for
something d'Hulst wrote and for Neubauer's miscalculation, Schechter would not have been the
only one travelling to Cairo. Sayce told d'Hulst:
I have just heard from Dr. Neubauer that in consequence of what you told me he has postponed his visit to
Cairo. He says he will be entirely guided by the Count's advice. He further tells me that he has seen the
Chief Rabbi's brother, who has brought with him "a lot of worthless rubbish" for which he paid high prices. I
have told him that he had better leave the matter in your hands.cv
Thus, while Neubauer had decided against travelling that winter, Schechter, with strong
indications that a genizah in Cairo was the source of his manuscript, set off for Egypt in December
1896. He had several other advantages too, including a letter of recommendation to Aaron Raphael
Ben Shim'on, the Grand Rabbi of Cairo, from either Dr Herman Adler, England's Chief Rabbi, or
from his brother, the aforementioned Elkan Adler.cvii He also went armed with introductions to
leading members of the Cairene Jewish community (particularly the Cattaui family) again, it seems,
from Elkan Adler,cix and a letter of introduction to Lord Cromer from the University's Vice-
Chancellor.cx These contacts, combined with his erudition, knowledge of Hebrew, and engaging
personality,c" enabled Schechter not only to locate the Genizah, but also to remove most of its
contents and, crucially, with Lord Cromer's help, to ship them out of the country.
It was not all plain sailing, however, for while in Cairo, Schechter struggled with all the petty
negotiations necessary to secure the cooperation of the locals and to acquire every possible
manuscript for his collection. Afterwards he recalled that 'all this led to great deal of haggling and
bargaining for which I was sadly unprepared by my former course of life, and which involved a
great loss of money and time.'cxi Schechter also lost a number of fragments, which he now
considered as his, to local dealers in antiquities. One such dealer, who he declined to name, had
'some mysterious relations with the Genizah, which enabled him to offer me a fair number of
Rebecca J W Jefferson
fragments for sale.'cii Schechter complained about the 'plundering' to the Jewish authorities who
responded quickly and helped make sure that the sacks of fragments were protected, but not, he
wrote, 'before I had parted with certain guineas by way of payment to this worthy for a number of
selected fragments, which were mine by right and on which he put exorbitant prices.'cx Yet, to his
friend, Herbert Bentwich, Schechter conceded that, although the dealers were buying stolen
manuscripts, 'by buying from them I get what is most valuable'.c" Lewis and Gibson joined
Schechter in January and they too helped gather as much of the material as possible by buying back
manuscripts that had been 'lifted' by some 'light-fingered gentry' and sold in the Cairo shops.cxv
Schechter also visited other genizot in the area to purchase manuscripts, although he maintained that
most of his collection was derived from the Ben Ezra synagogue."ci Then, having made sure that
his estimated '40,000' fragments were securely packed in the offices of the British Consul, and that
the scholars in Cambridge would not open them before his return home, he left Egypt to visit his
family in Palestine.c"ii
In the meantime, Neubauer and Cowley had finished preparing their leaves of Ecclesiasticus for
publication and, in January 1897, the volume appeared in the bookshops.cxx But Schechter's
notable acquisition from Cairo meant that their acclaim was short-lived. D'Hulst had presumably
informed them that Schechter had left some of the contents of the Genizah behind, for in May of
that year, Sayce wrote to d'Hulst on behalf of Neubauer to urge him to 'keep an eye on the Hebrew
MSS and let him or me know whenever you think anything can be done in regard to them.'cx The
three arranged a meeting in Oxford to discuss their way forward and whether it would be advisable
for Neubauer to travel to Cairo the following winter. A plan was devised to excavate the area
surrounding the synagogue and the local rubbish mounds for more manuscripts.x" D'Hulst offered
his services to supervise the dig for free.c'i
In June, Neubauer instructed the Clarendon Press to send d'Hulst a copy of his edition of the
fragments of Ecclesiasticus to help him identify what he was looking for.cxii D'Hulst noticed that
his help in locating the Genizah, and the help that he had given to Sayce in dispatching manuscripts
to the Bodleian (including the Ecclesiasticus MSS), had not been acknowledged in the Preface.
Sayce explained to him that he and Neubauer feared that such a disclosure might impede his
pending work in the rubbish mounds. The Count did not object, particularly as he was encouraged
by the promise of being named the finder of any further leaves that he might recover.cxx
Back in Cambridge, Schechter announced in a letter to The Times published in July 1897 that he
had discovered further fragments of Ecclesiasticus in his recent hoard from Cairo. "V He added that
only a small proportion of that vast collection had been examined and he that hoped further
searches would yield more.c"' Francis Jenkinson (1853-1923), the University Librarian, recorded
Rebecca J W Jefferson
in his diary how Schechter did everything that year to ensure that every item of Ben Sira had been
found and dealt with, to the extent that it even caused some discord with the usually mild
The following month, The Times published Schechter's detailed account of his recent exploits in
Cairo.cxxv But someone clearly disagreed with his version of events for just one day later a letter to
the editor of The Times stated that:
Mr. Schechter omits to mention that the honour of the discovery of this treasure belongs truly to the learned
librarian of the Bodleian, Dr. A. Neubauer who was the first to light upon it ... The other who went to that
"hiding-place" of the ancient synagogue in Cairo was Mr. Elkan N. Adler, who ... practically gave the key to
it to Mr. Schechter."'C
The letter was sent anonymously and signed 'Suum Cuique' (a phrase derived from Roman law
Jus suum cuique tribuere 'to give every man his right').cx Adler, it seems, wrote immediately to
Schechter to reassure him that he was not the author of the letter, for a day later Schechter replied
that he had suspected him at first but realized that the English was not consistent with Adler's style
and that he was 'too kindhearted for such mean tricks'.cxx In a second letter to Adler, a week later,
Schechter wrote that he did not think that 'N. wrote it'.cxxx11
Further indication of Schechter's determination to find more fragments of Ecclesiasticus is
found in letters to and from Elkan Adler in the final months of 1897. Both disputed the other's
claim to first refusal on a collection of manuscripts brought from Cairo to England by the dealer W.
S. Raffalovitch. One particular letter from Adler reveals the extent to which the promise of
discovery had reduced them to quibbling over every fragment:
I accept your explanation but it does not alter the fact that I knew the man first, ordered the MSS. first, sorted
these particular fragments first ... Probably the fairest thing will be for each party to pay 10 & to choose
fragment by fragment in succession. xxx
In the meantime, Neubauer, knowing that Schechter had still not managed to find the whole
copy of Ecclesiasticus, continued to obsess about finding it himself. In December, while Schechter
and Adler were bickering over manuscripts, Neubauer's excavation plans were confirmed and even
the Vice-Chancellor's help was enlisted in writing to Sir William Garstin for permission to dig.Cxxiv
In January 1898, Neubauer wrote again to d'Hulst:
Rebecca J W Jefferson
Mr. Schechter has begun in the Jewish Quarterly the continuation of my text of Ecclesiasticus, but does not
say expressly how much he has. It is certain at least that he has not the whole of the remainder and so we
may hope that you will be the fortunate discoverer of some part of it in your excavations."cx
In February 1898, D'Hulst informed Neubauer that the fragments remaining in the Ben Ezra
synagogue were mostly printed matter. He also advised him that the price for them was too high:
'Since Schechter has been here the people have very much increased their pretensions; for a lot like
that forwarded they expect as much as 8 shillings.'cxv" A decision was made to leave the
synagogue material and concentrate on the excavations. On 4 March, Nicholson wrote to d'Hulst:
It has taken Dr Neubauer and Mr Cowley some days to go over the fragments, and estimate the value of
them. Now that we know what is likely to be the contents of the rest of the rubbish heaps, we shall be very
thankful if you will kindly incur a further expenditure. But as regards the synagogue itself, after the
important information contained in your letter, I don't propose to take any steps."".
Thirteen days later, d'Hulst told the Bodleian Librarian that he was relieved not to have to deal
further with the locals, for:
... it is quite possible that they would no longer adhere to their offer. I am sorry to say that with Egyptians it
is rather a rule not to adhere to agreements; they do not consider it dishonorably [sic] but only clever to do
so, when they see an advantage. And in our case they had an advantage, having had hundreds of pounds from
At the end of that month, Sayce wrote to the Bodleian Librarian: 'D'Hulst tells me that the
Hebrew MSS you have already received from him are unfortunately not "earth-shaking".'
Furthermore, the excavations were also beginning to get more expensive than planned: 'am I right
in telling him to go on?' he asked Nicholson.cxxxix
Yet, writing to Neubauer a week later on 8 April, 1898, d'Hulst announced:
I shall with my present work more than double the quantity of Egyptian fragments at the Bodleian. I have
already recovered more than two big grain sacks full & an unusual large quantity of these papers are
manuscripts; there is also a larger amount of parchment amongst them.cx'
But the excavations caused difficulties too:
Rebecca J W Jefferson
The dust is ... a fine, sharp, black dust which severely dries the eyes & respiratory organs; many workmen I
had to replace, they leaving on account of the dust. But the worst trial are [sic] the carcasses of dead animals
which are thrown in the neighbourhood. Last Saturday, after the prayer in the synagogue, we were attacked
by a number of Jews armed with sticks. They pretended that the ground upon which we worked belonged to
the synagogue. Sir William Garstin was kind enough to give me on Monday an introduction to Mr Cattaui,
the chief of the synagogue ...cxh
The silent race between Oxford and Cambridge was even being conducted behind the scenes. A
letter from a Mr Reginald Henriques""' in Cairo to Schechter reads:
I have been having a most exciting time lately re your Genizah ... but for my timely intervention everything
that is left would now have been carried off to the Bodleian ... I was out there last Saturday, and found a
gentleman who introduced himself as the 'Comte de Hulst' digging outside the enclosed space of the
synagogue ... on my asking on what authority he was digging in private ground, he produced letters, etc.,
from the Ministry of Public Works and Finances ... He seems an interesting sort of man ... He went yesterday
to Cattaui and got ... a full permit to take away whatever he could find within and without the precincts of the
synagogue. I ... got Cattaui to rewrite the same, giving authority only to dig outside the precincts where there
is probably nothing of value ... cxl"1
Later that month, d'Hulst told Nicholson that 'I am working every day, Sundays & holidays
included; it would not be wise to stop even for one single day, because the caretaking people at the
synagogue are a troublesome & illwilled set of neighbours.' "iv Sayce also reported to the Librarian
I have settled all Count d'Hulst's difficulties ... Mr Cattaui tells him that he will be able in the course of the
summer to excavate in the garden of the synagogue itself where, it seems, no end of MSS are buried ...
There are more MSS under the ground than we had anticipated.""xv
In May 1898, d'Hulst reported to the Librarian that he had finished his work of fifty-five days
costing 26 16s, 8d. The result, he announced, was 'sixteen big grain sacs [sic] full of fragments'
sent in 'four big wooden packing cases'.`x'vi That same month, Nicholson is quoted as writing:
I shall take an early opportunity of asking the Curators to express their sense of your most unusual services
to the Bodleian, and I am only sorry that I can't let the University know of them without risk of hindering
our future design on the rubbish heaps ... cxl
Rebecca J W Jefferson 17
In June, d'Hulst received an official vote of thanks from the Bodleian curators.cxlviii
Unfortunately for the Count, no further leaves of Ecclesiasticus were recovered from his hoard and,
as Neubauer's health was rapidly deteriorating, the notion of conducting future searches was
abandoned. The manuscripts still buried underground would have to wait until the Cairene
businessman and collector, Jacques Mosseri began his excavations in 1909.xlix
Schechter and Taylor found another eleven leaves of Ben Sira in their Genizah collection and
published them in an edition of the Hebrew Ecclesiasticus in 1899. Another edition, Facsimiles of
the Fragments hitherto recovered of the Book ofEcclesiasticus in Hebrew, was published jointly by
Oxford and Cambridge in 1901. That same year, Neubauer left Oxford to be cared for by his
nephew in Vienna. During his tenure as a Bodleian sub-librarian, he had increased the Bodleian's
original Hebrew holdings almost tenfold." Suffering, it seems, from some form of dementia,
Neubauer died in 1907.ci When Schechter left Cambridge in 1902 to direct the Jewish Theological
Seminary in New York, he could confidently boast that he had made its Library 'as important for
Hebrew literature as Oxford at least'.lii
But of the Count d'Hulst, nothing more was heard until 1904cliii when, it seems, he contacted
Cowley, now sub-Librarian, to ask for the Bodleian's influence to help secure him an unnamed
position. Cowley replied that the Bodleian was unable to exert such influence but hoped that, given
the Count's services to learning, he would gain the position he desired.civ
The next time the Count appears is in 1909, three years after the publication of the Neubauer-
Cowley Catalogue of Hebrew Manuscripts and two years after Neubauer's death. The Count first
contacted Sayce then Nicholson to complain that the catalogue did not, as Neubauer had promised it
would, mention his work for the Bodleian:
I ask myself what may possibly have been the objection to passing over my services but mentioning two
Oxford men [Chester and Sayce] whose services in the matter have been comparatively slender ... Your
proposition of redress whenever there will be issued a new catalogue sounds somewhat like a moquery [sic];
knowing as you do that by that time all of us shall long have been dead and gone.clv
D'Hulst threatened to go to the press with the details and to publish all of his correspondence,
I feel sorry that you & Mr Cowley should be so overworked in your position, but at any rate you have not to
look back as I have upon a life mined and embittered by ingratitude & disgraceful behaviour in return for
services rendered to the E.E.F and others.
Rebecca J W Jefferson
Nicholson responded by offering to publish an addendum to be attached to all the copies of the
catalogue; a solution, he stressed, that 'would involve a great deal of trouble'.cvi But the idea
satisfied D'Hulst who replied, 'if you had gone through the experiences which unhappily have
fallen to my share, you would quite understand my writing the last letter.'cvii When d'Hulst
received his proof copy of the addendum, however, he noticed that his work in 1889, 1893 and
1895 was still unacknowledged and he wrote again to insist upon its inclusion.cviii Nicholson
maintained that he was unaware of the Count's work in those periods and simply reported it as an
Five years elapsed before d'Hulst was heard from again. On this occasion, a Revd James Egan
wrote on his behalf to the Curators of the Bodleian asking for financial help. 'The Count', he
reports, 'is in a state of indigence ... and left to suffer extreme poverty in his declining years.'clx
Sayce also sent a letter to the Librarian, Falconer Madan (1851-1935), reporting that:
I have lost sight of him for the last three or four years, but when I last saw him he was in considerable
financial trouble as the Bank in which he had invested all of his savings had just failed ... I know that he has
had to sell his house ... for the sake of his creditors." cx
Sir John Grenfell Maxwell (1859-1929), Commander of the British forces in Egypt, also told
I know all about Count d'Hulst. He is very nearly destitute & has several times been denounced as a spy-if
it were not for his age & poverty he could have been sent to the Fatherland long ago ... He is now, to all
intents and purposes, an unfortunate beggar.ci11
Madan wrote to various institutions including the British Museum, Cambridge University
Library, and the Fund to find out more about d'Hulst's work. The response was negative, they
either did not know of the Count or, like the Fund, felt that he had already been sufficiently paid for
In February 1915, a committee led by Percy Stafford Allen, curator of the Bodleian from 1913,
was set-up to consider the case of Count d'Hulst.cliv The committee addressed his work only in
1898 and concluded that even though d'Hulst had offered his services free of charge, he deserved
more now that he was asking for it than a 'handsome vote of thanks'. They regretted the omission
from the 1906 catalogue and proposed that, in spite of previous efforts to make amends, the Count
should now be offered 25.clx
Rebecca J W Jefferson
But the matter did not end there. D'Hulst was dissatisfied with the committee's decision and he
continued to write to Madan to complain that his years of service previous to 1898 had been
ignored. Again he was informed that he would not receive any further funds. Letters of protest were
also sent from Laura d'Hulst in 1915 and in 1916, but without result.cxvi
Laura d'Hulst reappears in 1921 in a series of forty-two letters to and from the British High
Commission in Egypt.xvii The Count had been interned as an enemy alien during the First World
War and during this time their possessions were sold at public auction. The sale included some
antiquities, their vast collection of negatives and photographs, and some cameras. D'Hulst had died
of malaria shortly after his release and his wife was left destitute.
The Count's widow protested that the sale of her husband's property was illegal and that many
valuable items had been sold for much less than their true worth.clxvi A subsequent investigation
concluded that the sale was legal and that public auctions during wartime and for rent arrears
usually brought low returns. Laura d'Hulst responded that the amount needed to cover the rent was
far less than the value of the goods taken from them. In the end, she was advised to seek help from
the British institutions that had supposedly benefited from her husband's work.
Thus, in 1925 she wrote to the Bodleian again but with no success.cx x Seven years passed and
the Countess d'Hulst sent another letter. In the intervening years, she had managed to lift herself out
of poverty by teaching but, following accidental poisoning by strychnine, she was disabled and, at
the age of seventy-four, unable to help herself. She pleaded again for help and sent with her letter the
six pages of extracts mentioned above.ci The final page contains a copy of a letter written by Sayce
in 1923. Praising d'Hulst's work, Sayce wrote:
It was in fact, to the Count's knowledge of the language and manners of Egypt that the discovery of the MSS
was originally due. Among the MSS was the lost original of the book of Ecclesiasticus... Both Oxford and
the Egypt Exploration Fund are much indebted to him, as well as Egyptology in general.c1'
In a final letter to Laura d'Hulst, the Curators concluded that were unable to do anything further in
In sum, nearly 100 years after his initial call for redress, this paper has attempted to accord to
the Count d'Hulst his rightful place in Genizah history. As Schechter observed in his veiled retort to
the unidentified Suum Cuique: 'The honour of discovering the Genizah belongs to the "nameless"
dealers in antiquities of Cairo.'cxxiii
Rebecca J W Jefferson 20
Address for correspondence
Rebecca J. W. Jefferson, Research Associate, The Taylor-Schechter Genizah Research Unit,
Cambridge University Library, West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DR
Rebecca J W Jefferson
I am greatly indebted to Patricia Spencer, Head of the Egypt Exploration Society Archives; Virginia Smithson, Department of
Prehistory and Europe at the British Museum; Ellen Kastel at the Jewish Theological Seminary, and Linda Needham, Lesley Forbes,
and Piet Van Boxel at the Bodleian Library for all their kind help in finding and accessing the relevant archives. I am similarly
grateful to my husband, Robert Jefferson; to Peter Cole and Adina Hoffman, and to Stefan Reif for reading this article in its early
stages and for their insightful comments and suggestions. Special thanks are also due to my husband for facilitating my many trips to
London and Oxford and to my children, Lily and Isaac, for tolerating them. A shorter version of this paper was read at the
Conference in Honour of Professor Stefan C. Reif, at Westminster College, Cambridge, July 2007. I dedicate this, its offspring, to
Stefan and his wife, Shulie who have both been a great inspiration to me.
Notes and references
1 Solomon Schechter (c. 1847-1915), Reader in Talmudic and Rabbinic Literature at Cambridge University (1890-1902) and curator
of the Oriental Department of Cambridge University Library (1900-1902). For more biographical details see S. C. Reif, 'Solomon
Schechter', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004) [online edition] (Hereafter ODNB).
n Adolf Neubauer (1832-1907), Reader in Rabbinic Hebrew at Oxford University (1886-1900) and a Bodleian sub-librarian (1873-
99). A thorough assessment of Neubauer's life appears in the unpublished lecture by S. C. Reif, 'A fresh look at Adolf Neubauer as
scholar, librarian and Jewish personality' which he delivered to the Jewish Historical Society of England (soon to be published).
SA first description of the Genizah chamber was provided by Jacob Saphir in Even Sapir (Lyck, 1866). The chamber was rebuilt in
1892 and described by Solomon Schechter in 'A hoard of Hebrew MSS.', The Times, 3 August 1897, p. 13.
v Good accounts of the discovery of the Genizah can be found in A. M. Habermann, The Cairo Genizah and other genizoth: their
character, contents and development (Jerusalem, 1971) [in Hebrew], and in S. Hopkins, 'The discovery of the Cairo Geniza',
Bibliophilia Africana IV: being the Proceedings of the Fourth South African Conference ofBibliophiles ... (Cape Town, 1981), pp.
137-79. Further important details about the 'cast' of characters involved in the discovery are provided by S. C. Reif, A Jewish
Archive from Old Cairo: the history of Cambridge University's Genizah Collection (Richmond, 2000).
v'A Geniza secret', Jewish Chronicle (1 July 1910), p. 22. Archibald Henry Sayce (1845-1933): Assyriologist and collector (for
biographical details, especially his connection to Egypt, see M. L. Bierbrier, Who was Who in Egyptology, 3rd rev. ed. (London,
1995), p. 375.
l Op. cit. (note 5)
w Ibid., Sir Arthur Ernest Cowley (1861-1931): Semitist, assistant sub-librarian and co-editor of the second volume of the
Bodleian's catalogue of Hebrew manuscripts (for further biographical details, see Steven Tomlinson, 'Cowley, Sir Arthur Ernest
" See 'Notice historique sur les concessions de titres suivie d'une liste des marquis, comes, vicomtes et barons r6guliement cr6es
avant le 4 aoit 1789', Annuaire de la Noblesse de France (Paris, 1857; trans. T. F. Boettger, 2000), pp. 340-9.
x University of Oxford, Bodleian Library Records (hereafter Oxford BLR) d. 1084, document 18 (Cairo, 16 November 1909), and
document 48 (Cairo, 1 April 1915). This set of records is not paginated, so I have given each letter or document a number from 1-73
corresponding to their order in the record book.
x Georges Daressy (1864-1938): French Egyptologist, Chevalier de la Legion d'honneur, Commander of the Order of the Nile (see
Bierbrier, op. cit. (note 5), p. 116). Daressy worked at the Egyptian Museum in 1887 which is probably how he knew d'Hulst.
' The National Archives (hereafter NA), FO 141/671 (Cairo, 10 October 1921). It is not clear to what extent Daressy's unflattering
portrait of d'Hulst can be vouchsafed given that d'Hulst had clashed with the French Egyptologists (see the letters cited in note 58
' See Oxford BLR d.1084, document 33: A. H. Sayce to the Bodleian Librarian, Falconer Madan (Edinburgh, 27 October 1914).
Again, this testimony may be unreliable given that Sayce erroneously describes the Count as 'Austrian'.
' Information about d'Hulst's role appears in a disparaging note written by the Fund's co-founder, Amelia Edwards, to the
archaeologist, Flinders Petrie (see M. S. Drower, Flinders Petrie: A Life in Archaeology (London, 1985), pp. 281-2). Sayce also
confirmed that d'Hulst was very familiar with the Egyptian language and culture (see Oxford BLR d. 1084, document 68: extract
dated 26 May 1923, p. 6). D'Hulst, writing about his attempts to draw architectural plans of Arab houses, divulged that: '[I] have had
access to many an interior but only so by a never measured patience ... & not little assisted by my knowledge of the people and their
ways' (Egypt Exploration Society archives (hereafter EES), Box III, j, 66: Count d'Hulst to R. S. Poole, Cairo, January 6 1890).
v See 'Discovery of an early Christian cemetery near Alexandria', The Times (4 May 1887), p. 15.
" Edouard Naville (1844-1926): Swiss Egyptologist and biblical scholar (for biographical details, see Bierbrier, op. cit. (note 5), pp.
" See 'The discovery of the Great Temple of Bubastis', The Times (1 July 1887), p. 3.
" The letter is transcribed in A. Edwards, 'Bubastis: an historical sketch', The Century Magazine 39/3 (1890), p. 334.
v The Egypt Exploration Fund (today: the Egypt Exploration Society) was a London society established in 1882 to sponsor
professional excavations sanctioned by the Egyptian authorities. The dates of the archaeological seasons during which d'Hulst was
employed are listed by the Fund in a letter to the Bodleian Librarian (Oxford BLR d.1084, document 41; 9 November 1915). The
minutes of the Fund's committee meetings show that d'Hulst was given a basic salary of 10/- (raised to 1 per diem for two set
periods (13 April 1888 and 15 April 1891).
x Edwards, op. cit. (note 17), pp. 335-7.
x See the correspondence in EES Box III, k.69-123. A report of the EEF from 1886-7 preserved in BLR d.1084, document 70 also
describes d'Hulst's "onerous and ungrateful task", and adds that "the Egypt Exploration Fund does not possess a more able and
Rebecca J W Jefferson
" A. L. Frothingham, Jr., 'Archaeological news', The American Journal ofArchaeology and of the History of the Fine Arts 4/3
(1888), p. 336.
" See R. d'Hulst, 'The Arab house of Egypt', The Royal Institute ofBritish Architects: Transactions 6 (New Series; London, 1890),
" F. B. Goddard, 'Report on recent excavations and explorations in Egypt during the season of 1888-89', The American Journal of
Archaeology and i.ilw History of the Fine Arts 5/1 (1889), p. 76.
" See the Fund's Committee minutes of 11 April 1889 (EES archives). Fifteen pounds in 1889 would be worth around 898 today
(for a currency converter, see the website: hliiip' nii i.liii..I I!!,!ives.gov.uk/currency/)
' D'Hulst's widow, Laura, reported that the photographs were the result of their joint work and that they were once offered 1,000
for them. The photographs were seized by the d'Hulsts' Egyptian landlord and sold at public auction (see NA FO 141/671: Countess
Laura d'Hulst to the Oriental Secretary of the British High Commission, dated 30 July 1921).
" See the Fund's committee meeting minutes of 25 July 1889.
v Augustus Wollaston Franks (1826-97): Keeper of the British and Medieval Antiquities Department from 1866-96 at the British
Museum (See David M. Wilson, 'Franks, Sir (Augustus) Wollaston (1826-1897)', ODNB.
v Henry Wallis (1830-1916): painter and collector of Italian and Islamic ceramics (see Bierbrier, op. cit. (note 5), p. 431. From
1888, Wallis tried to encourage the British Museum to develop its collections of Islamic pottery (See T. Wilson, 'A Victorian artist
as ceramic-collector: the letters of Henry Wallis, part 2', Journal of the History of Collections 14/2 (2002), p. 231.
" Writing to Franks on 8 December 1890, Wallis reported that: 'Count d'Hulst did not expend last winter the whole of the fund we
raised for the digging in the Cairo mounds... D'Hulst thinks he has found a new place that promises well, and I certainly think it
would be worth while to continue the work as far as funds permit it.' (Letters to A. W. Franks, Department of Prehistory and Europe
archives, British Museum).
SEES Box III, j.66: Count d'Hulst to R. S. Poole (6 January 1890).
SEES Box III, j.73: Count d'Hulst to R. S. Poole (16 February 1890).
SA. Neubauer & A. E. Cowley, Catalogue (.rirlC Hebrew Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library and in the College Libraries of
Oxford ..., vol. 2 (Oxford,1906), pp. xii-xvi. According to d'Hulst, Sir Edward Maunde Thompson, Director of the British Museum
and committee member of the Fund, was responsible for re-distributing the manuscripts to the Bodleian (see Oxford BLR d. 1084,
document 18; 16 November 1909).
S To date, no document to prove that d'Hulst had asked the Fund for such instructions has been found.
v Oxford BLR d.1084, document 5 (Cairo, 17 March 1898).
SOxford BLR d.1084, document 18 (Cairo, 16 November 1909), and document 47: a postcard from d'Hulst to the Librarian
Madan in 1915.
X D'Hulst mentions the Roman fortress and gateway in the aforementioned letters in EES Box III, j.66 and j.73, op. cit. (notes 30-
1). The Eastern section of the Roman wall was just 10 meters away from the synagogue (See P. Sheehan 'The Roman fortifications'
in P. Lambert ed., Forritic action % and the Synagogue: The Fortress ofBabylon and the Ben Ezra Synagogue, Cairo (Montreal, 1994),
v Oxford BLR d.1084, document 4 (Cairo, 17 February 1898).
xv For further details, see C. Le Quesne, 'The synagogue' in P. Lambert ed., Forritication and the Synagogue: The Fortress of
Babylon and the Ben Ezra Synagogue, Cairo (Montreal, 1994), p. 89.
' The American scholar Cyrus Adler was one of the first collectors to benefit from the exposure of the material. In a letter to the
Hebrew poetry scholar Israel Davidson, he wrote: 'I got this [poetry] manuscript in Cairo in March or April 1891 along with a
considerable number of other fragments which were probably among the earliest pieces from the Cairo Genizah to be brought to the
Western World' (see the letter dated 10 October 1911 in I. Robinson ed., Cyrus Adler. Selected Letters I (Philadelphia, 1985), p.
xl See Oxford BLR d.1084, document 52 (20 May 1915) & document 68 (16 October 1932).
x Oxford BLR d. 1084, document 68 (extract dated 31 March 1898), p. 3.
x Chester, who had seen the original Ben Ezra synagogue in 1872, complained about its destruction: 'The Jews have razed the
ancient church and synagogue to the ground, and in its place have erected a hideous square abomination (See A. L. Frothingham, Jr.,
'Archaeological news', The American Journal ofArchaeology and ,rirl, History of the Fine Arts 8/1 (1893), p. 99. Some
biographical details of Chester's life are provided in Bierbrier, op. cit. (note 5), pp. 96-7, and a short, charismatic portrait is also
provided by E. A. Wallis Budge in his memoir By Nile and Tigris: A Narrative ofJourneys in Egypt andMesopotamia on behallfof
the British Museum between the years 1886 and 1913, vol. I (London, 1920), pp. 84-5. Yet, despite filling various British institutions
with treasures, little has been written about Chester to-date; the lacuna is now being filled by Gertrude Seidmann's doctoral thesis
(Wolfson College, Oxford).
x See the preface in Neubauer & Cowley, op. cit. (note 32), p. iv. When Cowley wrote the introduction to the catalogue, he did not
know the provenance of the manuscripts acquired in 1889, only that they came from the EEF. He knew that Chester had supplied
them with material in 1890 which was derived from the Cairo Genizah. It appears, however, that Chester had bought them from a
dealer and probably did not know where his manuscripts came from. D'Hulst, for example, claimed that Chester had told him
personally that he had "none of the Old Cairo MSS" (BLR d.1084, document 38: 24 December 1914) and that he had "nothing to do
with it" (document 52: 20 May 1915). The idea that Chester got his manuscripts directly from a dealer is evinced from the fact that
he supplied the Bodleian with good quality, choice, early biblical and rabbinic material unlike the papers excavated by d'Hulst which
were great in bulk but, according to Nicholson, "of very little value" (see BLR d.1084, document 19: 25 November 1909). This
aspect of Genizah history is discussed in greater depth in a forthcoming paper 'The Cairo Genizah Unearthed'.
xhv Rabbi Solomon Wertheimer (1866-1935): Rabbinic scholar and Jerusalem based bookseller. Wertheimer published Genizah
manuscripts in 1890 and sold fragments to Cambridge University Library between 1893 and 1896. The original postcards and letters
sent from Wertheimer to the Librarian are stored with Genizah manuscripts in the Or. collection. In one such manuscript, preserved
Rebecca J W Jefferson
in Box Or.1080 13, Wertheimer writes that he has a 'Sepher Tora' for sale that was found 'in one of the Genizas of Old Egypt'
(Jerusalem, 8 June 1893).
lv For details of Chester's contribution to Cambridge University Library, see S. C. Reif, Hebrew Manuscripts at Cambridge
University Library: a description and introduction (Cambridge, 1997).
xlv Evelyn Baring (1841-1917) was the first Earl of Cromer and Consul-general to Egypt (see R. Owen, Lord Cromer, Victorian
Imperialist, Edwardian Proconsul (Oxford, 2004) for further biographical details).
l Drower, op. cit. (note 13), p. 170.
xvm Oxford BLR d.1084, document 18: d'Hulst to Nicholson (Cairo, 16 November 1909).
xx R. d'Hulst, 'The Arab monuments of Egypt', The Times (15 October 1889), p. 3.
1Drower, op. cit. (note 13), p. 179.
h Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie (1853-1942): Egyptologist and father of modern archaeological methods (for biographical
details, see Bierbrier, op. cit. (note 5), pp. 329-32).
" M. S. Drower, 'The early years' in T. G. H. James (ed. i F-,.i'.i.. in Egypt: The Egypt Exploration Society 1882-1982 (London,
1982), pp. 18-19.
h W. V. Davies, 'Thebes' in T. G. H. James (ed.) / .,...1 ..i in Egypt: The Egypt Exploration Society 1882-1982 (London, 1982),
hv Drower, op. cit. (note 13), pp. 283-5.
lv Davies, op. cit. (note 53), p. 52.
lv Jacques de Morgan (1857-1924): French geologist, archaeologist and prehistorian (see Bierbrier, op. cit. (note 5), p. 297). His
efficiency commended him to Flinders Petrie and, by extension, to the Fund (J. Tyldesley, Egypt: How a Lost Civilization was
Rediscovered (London, 2006), pp. 159-60).
iv See the letters in the Fund's record of outgoing correspondence: Reginald Stuart Poole to Monsieur de Morgan (London, 15
November 1892) and to Count d'Hulst (London, 17 November 1892).
vm Dr Reginald Stuart Poole (1832-95): Keeper of the Department of Coins and Medals at the British Museum; co-established the
Fund with Amelia Edwards (1831-92) in 1882.
hx EES archives Box XV (Cairo, 25 November 1892). D'Hulst concluded his letter: 'I should think that nearly seven years service for
the EEF in whatever capacity it may have been, during which I have shown that my devotion to the Fund's work & interest is
unlimited, during which I have sacrificed my health without expectation of thanks & without complaint, would place me above
suspicion of doing anything harmful to the Fund's interest. Instead I find that the accusation of a man, who has just stepped into
office, the holder of which has always been the opponent of the EEF is considered of such weight that all my proved devotion cannot
prevent me from being condemned unheard.'
See the Fund's records of outgoing correspondence: a form letter from the Fund to d'Hulst (30 March 1893). Poole wrote to
Naville asking him for an opinion of the Count's outlay, for the matter had 'vexed' him greatly (2 March 1893). Informing Naville of
the committee's decision to dismiss d'Hulst, Poole subsequently wrote: 'Pray say all that is kind to him from me. The Count has been
very loyal to the Fund.' (Poole to Naville, March 1893).
l" Francis Llewellyn Griffith (1862-1934): Egyptologist and Director of the Department of British and Medieval Antiquities at the
British Museum (see Bierbrier, op. cit. (note 5), pp. 179-81.
xn British Museum, Department of Prehistory and Europe Archives: d'Hulst to Griffith (Behbeit el-Hagar, December 17 1892 &
Cairo, 24 October 1895).
a Oxford BLR d. 1084, document 68 (extract dated 26 May 1923), p. 6.
nv One of the known dealers was W. S. Raffalovitch who supplied Oxford, Cambridge and London (see D. Rowland Smith 'Genizah
collections in the British Library' in D. Rowland Smith and P, S. Salinger eds, Hebrew Studies; Papers Presented at a Colloquium
on Resources for Hebraica in Europe ... London, September 1989 (London, 1991), pp. 20-5
lxv Unfortunately those involved never revealed exactly how they had procured their collections, only that they were from 'Egypt' or
'Cairo' or 'from a Genizah', and the manuscripts themselves were only referred to as the 'Egyptian fragments'. There may have been
a deliberate attempt to maintain exclusive access or perhaps it was because the Genizah's significance was still unknown. Some
Genizah stories remain a complete secret; for example, the Russian Archimandrite Antonin Kapustin, who resided in Jerusalem
between 1865 and 1894, acquired a collection of Genizah fragments: of their provenance, however, nothing is known.
lx For example, a list of manuscripts acquired from Wertheimer in 1894 (Or. 1080 13) is accompanied by occasional comments like
'worthless' or 'not wanted'!
lv See Neubauer's obituary in The Times (8 April 1907), p. 8.
lxvm A. Neubauer, 'Review: grammatical and lexicographical literature', The Jewish Quarterly Review 6/3 (1894), p. 567.
ax See A. Neubauer, 'Miscellanea liturgica: the Etz Chayim', The Jewish Quarterly Review 6/2 (1894), p. 348.
x See the JTS Schechter archives (I thank the Librarian of the Jewish Theological Seminary for permission to quote from the
Solomon Schechter papers), Series IV, Box 28 [microfilm reel 7]: Mathilde Schechter Papers (JTS MSP) Writings, The
Library/The University. Mathilde recalls that 'whenever the Bodleian acquired new MSS he [Neubauer] sent for Schechter.' The
invitation extended both ways and Neubauer, she records, was made very welcome by the Schechters when he visited them 'for
, See Neubauer, op. cit. (note 68), p. 568. Several months earlier, Israel Abrahams, reported in the Jewish Chronicle that: 'The
Bodleian, thanks to Dr Neubauer's keen watchfulness, has again acquired from Egypt a number of very valuable fragments of
Hebrew manuscripts. Among these, Mr. S. Schechter has found a fragment of the [Sifre Zuta] (transliteration mine) and the discovery
is an important one.' ('Books and bookmen', Jewish Chronicle, 3 November 1893, p. 19).
'n M. Segal & B. Bayer, 'Ben Sira, wisdom of in M. Berenbaum and F. Skolnik (eds), Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 3; 2nd ed.
(Detroit, 2007), pp. 376-8 [online ed. from Gale Virtual Reference Library].
Rebecca J W Jefferson
L,' For a full and detailed account of the Ben Sira controversy, see S. C. Reif, 'The discovery of the Cambridge Genizah fragments
of Ben Sira: scholars and texts' in P. C. Beentjes ed., The Book ofBen Sira in Modem Research: Proceedings of the First
International Ben Sira Conference, 28-31 July 1996, Soesterberg, Netherlands (Berlin & New York, 1997), pp. 3-6.
Lxv Sir Edmund Craster reveals how Neubauer had, at a very early stage in his career, 'drawn the University's attention to a source
from which Bodley's store of manuscripts might be increased, to the "treasures which Rabbanitic synagogues might offer from their
Genizoth in the East".' (See E. Craster, History of the Bodleian Library 1845-1945 (Oxford, 1952), pp. 210-11.
xA. H. Sayce, Reminiscences (London, 1923), pp. 282-3.
bVl D'Hulst claims to have supplied the Bodleian with Genizah material in 1893. The only evidence remaining to support this is a
note in a document summarising the Bodleian's dealings with d'Hulst. Under the heading "1893-96" the following summary is
written: "Payments to Professor Sayce, amounting to 27, remitted by him to the Jewish community in Cairo as the price of Hebrew
fragments acquired through Count d'Hulst." But the Bodleian catalogue itself does not list any material given through Sayce in 1893.
There are several entries in the Bodleian's catalogue of Hebrew manuscripts which simply describe the provenance as 'From the
Geniza, 1892' (see the entry for MS. Heb. d.54-55 on p. xiii, for example), as well as one enigmatic entry for MS. Georg. c. I
described as 'From the Geniza (1894?)'. In fact, only Wertheimer is credited with supplying material in 1893 (see MS. Heb. b. 5 on
vXi, for example). This discrepancy is explored in greater depth in a forthcoming paper, op. cit. (note 44).
'The Cairo Geniza: how it was found', Jewish Chronicle (5 May 1933), p. 34.
,v Oxford BLR d.1084, document 1 (26 March 1895). Sayce's depiction of the Genizah chamber as 'subterranean' is unexpected
given that the Genizah in the Ben Ezra synagogue was not underground but, rather, on the second storey of the building. One has to
assume that the word 'subterranean' was the only way to describe the strange sensation of standing inside the deep, dark, airless
Genizah chamber (it was probably about 3 metres in depth if one makes a rough judgement using Jacob Shapir's estimation that the
medieval synagogue was 20 cubits in height (see Le Quesne, op. cit. (note 38), p. 87. Indeed, Solomon Schechter used similar
language to describe his experience: writing to Jenkinson in January 1897, Schechter reported that 'I feel fairly well and am rather
thankful that it is cold. Otherwise it would be unbearable to live in this dus[t] & underground' (Cambridge University Library MS
l Oxford BLR d.1084, document 68
x Ibid., extract dated 26 March 1895, p. 1.
,, Ibid., extract dated 2 April 1895), p. 1.
ln Jacob Saphir was the first and only person to describe the Genizah chamber as it appeared before the rebuild in 1892 (see Even
Sapir, fol. 21, a-b). Firkovitch visited numerous Genizot in the East and extracted material from them, but it is still not clear whether
any of the material in the Firkovitch Collections emanated from the Ben Ezra synagogue (see the discussion in M. Ben-Sasson, 'On
the question of the origin of the Second Firkovitch collection: remarks on the historical and traditional sources' [in Hebrew], World
Union ofJewish Studies, 31 (1991), pp. 46-67). It is also something of a mystery as to who else may have gained entry to the
Genizah in that early period. The publications of scholars such as Moses b. Abraham, A. E. Harkavy and, perhaps, R. N. Rabbinovicz
provide hints about the source of their work which suggest they may have seen the Genizah (see Hopkins, op. cit. (note 4), pp. 156-
8). Agnes Smith Lewis names Dr. Lansing (presumably Rev. Gulian Lansing (1859-92: an American missionary in Cairo whose
collection of papyri is in the British Museum) as the first person to bring fragments from the Genizah to Europe, but provides no
evidence for this statement (see A. S. Lewis, 'Zu H. Duensing, Christlich-palastinisch-aramaiische texte und fragmente', Zeitschrift
der Deutschen Morgenlandischen Ge 'ellR haft. Vol. LXI (Leipzig, 1907), p. 631. Elkan Adler visited the Ben Ezra synagogue in
1888 but was not shown the Genizah, a circumstance he later attributed to the fact that the chamber and its contents were only
rediscovered during the rebuilding of the synagogue in the 1890s (see 'Ecclesiasticus', Jewish Chronicle (11 March 1904), p. 29.
bxx See Le Quesne, op. cit. (note 38)
1-xv Oxford BLR d.1084, document 38 (Cairo, 24 December 1914).
bxxv Oxford BLR d.1084, document 2 (Cairo, 29 November 1895).
b Bodleian Libary MS Eng. Misc.d.69, f70 (Luxor, 6 February 1896). Sayce wrote to Nicholson: 'I hope he [Neubauer] has
received the Hebrew MSS by this time.'
b xv See Adler's account in 1904, op. cit. (note 82).
xxvm See the letter from Sayce, op. cit. (note 86).
x A. S. Lewis & M. D. Gibson, In the N/.,/i..- ofSinai: Stories of Travel and Biblical Research (Great Britain, 1999), p. 142. See
also S. C. Reif, 'Giblews, Jews and Genizah views', Journal ofJewish Studies, 55/2, 332-46 for a fuller account, including
quotations not published in the twins' own book.
xC Mathilde Schechter relates that 'In 1895, when we went to Castle Brae to say goodby [sic] to them on the eve of one of their trips,
they asked us if there was anything which they might bring back as a gift to us. Dr Schechter replied that if they could buy Hebrew
MSS. from the little antiquity shops, they should do so.' (JTS MSP-Writings, Discovery of Jesus Ben Sira).
xl The quote is from Schechter's note to the Giblews dated 13.5.96 (preserved with CUL MS Or. 1102). The comment to his wife is
quoted in JTS MSP-Writings, Discovery of Jesus Ben Sira.
xoC See The Athenaeum (London, 16 May 1896, No. 3577), p. 652. Observing Neubauer's reaction to Schechter's discovery, Mathilde
Schechter wrote that 'for a long time [Neubauer] could not forgive Dr. Schechter. He was -esy bitter about many things.' (JTS
MSP-Writings, The Library/The University).
xc" A. Marx, 'The importance of the Geniza for Jewish history', Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research 16
(1946-7), p. 184. Marx records that Schechter told him this information in 1898.
xc"V Neubauer's eyesight and memory had deteriorated greatly by the spring of 1895, so much so that the other librarians complained
about him and Arthur Cowley was appointed as assistant sub-librarian to help him with his work. Neubauer's decline is detailed in
Reif, op. cit. (note 2), p. 14.
xc' See The Athenaeum (London, 27 June 1896, No. 3583), p. 846.
XC" A. E. Cowley & A. Neubauer, The Original Hebrew ofa Portion ofEcclesiasticus (XXXIX. 15 to XLIX. 11) Together with the
Early Versions and an English Translation ... (Oxford, 1897), p. xii.
Rebecca J W Jefferson
xcv. See the letter from Sayce, op. cit. (note 86).
xcvm In her memoirs (JTS MSP-Writings, The Library/The University), Mathilde Schechter speculated that: 'he [Neubauer]
overhauled the Bodleian MSS. and found there some leaves of the same. So he maintained that he had found them "simultaneously".
xc"x A letter from Schechter's friend, the scholar Israel Abrahams (1858-1925), dated 2 September 1896, reveals the extent of
Schechter's displeasure at the time: 'Why worry about Neubauer? Do try to keep calm about this pirate ... He has indeed treated you
[scurvily], but you cannot afford to waste you mind on anger against him.' (JTS Solomon Schechter Papers (SSP), Box 1/6
[microfilm reel 1] correspondence: Abrahams, Israel).
c Oxford BLR d.1084, document 68 (extract dated 29 December 1897), p. 3.
'c Schechter had been given a number of other clues too. For example, both he and Neubauer had seen Cyrus Adler's collection of
Genizah manuscripts in 1891 (see the letter from Adler, op. cit. (note 39). Elkan Adler believed that when Schechter examined his
fragments, he 'used his eyes and nose to very good purpose, for it was its characteristic odour and appearance that enabled him to
recognize the Gibson fragment as one of the family.' (See Adler, op. cit. (note 82), p. 29). Mrs Gibson herself attributed Schechter's
realization to the fact that the name 'Fostat' appeared on a number of their manuscripts (Lewis & Gibson, op. cit. (note 89), p. 156).
`C JTS MSP-Writings, Discovery of Jesus Ben Sira.
civ Oxford BLR d. 1084, document 68 (extract dated 26 October 1896), p. 1.
cv JTS SSP, Box 1/15-correspondence: Adler, Elkan. The date is smudged and it is not clear whether Schechter has written the
Roman numeral X or XI for the month.
""Alder, op. cit. (note 82). Later, in 1914, he recounted that 'I got official entry into the Geniza, took away the first sackful, and
announced my discovery to Neubauer and Schechter. The first rated me soundly for not carrying the whole lot away, the second
admired my continence but was not foolish enough to follow my example.' (E. N. Adler, 'The Hebrew treasures of England',
Presidential address delivered on 9 February 1914, The Jewish Historical Society ofEngland 8-9 (1915-7), p. 16.
`C Oxford BLR d. 1084, document 68 (extract dated 29 November 1896), p. 1. Ironically, Adler's collection did contain a fragment of
Ecclesiasticus (see E. N. Adler, 'Some missing chapters of Ben Sira', Jewish Quarterly Review 12/3 (1900), p. 466.
cm Schechter acknowledged the Chief Rabbi's help in his article for The Times, op. cit. (note 3), p. 13. But in a letter to Elkan Adler,
Schechter wrote: 'Many, many thanks for your kind letter to the [rav] in Cairo. I did not know that I am either a [lamdan] or a
[tsadiq]' (transliteration mine) (JTS SSP, Box 1/15-correspondence: Adler, Elkan, dated 1896). The Genizah scholar, Paul Kahle,
also claimed that Adler told him that it was he and not his brother Herman who had given Schechter the recommendation.
Astonishingly, Adler also claims to possess a letter from Schechter 'in which he undertook, quite voluntarily ... not to take anything
away with him from Egypt' (Alder, op. cit. (note 82).
c` Following his visit to Cairo in 1888, Elkan Adler provided a lively description of his hosts, the Cattauis (see 'Notes of a journey to
the East', Jewish Chronicle, 7 December 1888, p. 6). It was perhaps due to Adler's acquaintance with this influential family that
prompted Schechter to write 'I should like to have an introduction to Catui (or some such name) in Cairo ... Can you give me one or
get one for me from a friend[?]' (Letter dated 14 December 1896 in JTS SSP, Box 1/15-correspondence: Adler, Elkan).
ex See JTS MSP-writings, Discovery of Jesus Ben Sira.
cl Agnes Lewis reports in a letter to Mathilde Schechter that 'Dean Butcher the English chaplain at Cairo, is quite delighted with
your husband, and calls him "a delightful fellow". Lord Cromer's secretaries speak in the same strain' (Cairo, 7 February 1897, JTS
SSP, Series IV, Box 27 [microfilm reel 3]-correspondence: Lewis, Agnes.
ex" Schechter, op. cit. (note 3), p. 13.
Cxv N. Bentwich, Solomon Schechter: A Biography (Cambridge, 1938), p. 130.
"l Lewis & Gibson, op. cit. (note 89), p. 161.
cxv See Reif, op. cit. (note 4), p. 80.
"m Ibid., p. 82, and Bentwich, op. cit. (note 115), p. 131. Schechter also brought home manuscripts from Palestine. A correspondent
writing from Jerusalem in March 1897, reported that 'Mr. Schechter has been rather successful in his search for Hebrew manuscripts
not only in Egypt, but also in Palestine. His keen eye has not only discovered but also obtained in Hebron a few of these MSS., to
acquire which, many other scholars before him have tried in vain' (Jewish Chronicle, 9 April 1897, p. 22).
Cx See Neubauer & Cowley, op. cit. (note 96).
Cx Oxford BLR d. 1084, document 68 (extract dated 10 May 1897), p. 2.
exx" These plans are discussed in the quoted letters from Sayce and Neubauer (dated between June and December 1897) in Oxford
BLR d.1084, document 68, pp. 2-3. The idea of searching the surrounding area and rubbish mounds was no doubt based on d'Hulst's
earlier experience of finding manuscripts in 1889.
cX' See Oxford BLR d.1084, document 42 (26 February 1915).
m Oxford BLR d. 1084, document 68 (extract dated 21 June 1897), p. 2.
Cxv See Oxford BLR d.1084, document 38: d'Hulst's letter to Madan (Cairo, 24 December 1914), and document 65, p. 2.
cXv S. Schechter, 'The original of Ecclesiasticus', The Times (5 July 1897), p. 9.
cXv In August, Schechter wrote: 'My most glorious Genizah day was last Friday when I discovered in one afternoon a piece of
Greek, a Syriac palimpsest and the most important portion of Sirach [Ecclesiasticus]. Hoodoo L'Adonai! (quoted in F. I. Schechter,
'Schechteriana', The Jewish Chronicle (10 November 1922), p. 21).
cxv See Reif, op. cit. (note 73), p. 12. The relationship between Jenkinson and Schechter is explored in full by Reif in 'Jenkinson
and Schechter at Cambridge: an expanded and updated assessment', Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society ofEngland 32
CxxV"I Schechter, op. cit. (note 3), p. 13
cx Suum Cuique, 'Hoard of Hebrew MSS.', The Times (4 August 1897), p. 6.
Rebecca J W Jefferson
CXx See the forthcoming book 'On the Cairo Genizah' (Nextbook/Schocken Book Series) by Peter Cole and Adina Hoffman for
more about the identity of 'Suum Cuique'.
cx JTS SSP, Box 1/15-correspondence: Adler, Elkan (letter from Schechter dated 5 August 1897).
m Ibid., (letter from Schechter dated 12 August 1897).
c Ibid., (letter from Adler dated 20 December 1897). A letter from Raffalovitch to Adler confirms that, in fact, he was invited to
see the manuscripts first (see JTS SSP, Box 1/15-correspondence: Adler, Elkan (letter dated 9 December 1897). The dispute was
not taken very seriously: Adler signs his letter with 'all Maccabean greetings'!
cv Sir William Garstin (1849-1925): under-secretary in the department for public works and responsible for buildings and
antiquities in Cairo (see E. Baigent, 'Garstin, Sir William Edmund (1849-1925)', ODNB.
C~v Oxford BLR d.1084, document 68 (extract dated 18 January 1897 the year was copied in error as Schechter's publication was
out in January 1898 and d'Hulst began his excavations at that time too), p. 2.
cX Oxford BLR d.1084, document 3 (Cairo, 6 January 1898).
C~xv Oxford BLR d.1084, document 68 (extract dated 4 March 1898), p. 3.
c xOxford BLR d.1084, document 5 (Cairo, 17 March 1898). In April of that year, Sayce also informed Nicholson that:
'Schechter's expenditure amounted to 300' (Oxford BLR d.1084, document 10; Cairo, 22 April 1898). This is roughly 17,000 in
today's money (according to the currency converter mentioned in note 22).
` Oxford BLR d.1084, document 7 (31 March 1898).
"C Oxford BLR d.1084, document 8 (8 April 1898).
cxi Oxford BLR d. 1084, document 8 (8 April 1898).
C Reginald Henrique: an Anglo-Jewish businessman who had befriended Schechter in Cairo (see Bentwich, op. cit. (note 115), p.
cx Schechter, op. cit. (note 126), pp. 20-1. It seems that Henrique also seized the opportunity to collect some of the manuscripts
himself. His collection was given to Cambridge University Library in 1898 and is now catalogued as CUL MSS T-S NS 172.1-170.
cxhv Oxford BLR. d.1084, document 9 (Cairo, 21 April 1898).
cxlv Oxford BLR d.1084, document 10 (Cairo, 22 April 1898).
xlvl Oxford BLR d.1084, document 11 (12 May 1898).
cxiv Oxford BLR d. 1084, document 68 (extract dated 20 May 1898), p. 4.
cxiv Oxford BLR d.1084, document 14: handwritten draft or copy of an unsigned letter from the Bodleian (17 June 1898).
exlix See Mosseri's account of his activities and a description of the contents of his Collection in 'A new hoard of Jewish MSS. in
Cairo', The Jewish Review 4/19-24 (May 1913-March 1914), pp. 208-16. As to the location of some of the manuscripts, Mosseri
wrote: 'we were able to unearth those fragments which had been thrown out and buried in the ground when the synagogue was pulled
down.' (p. 211). Mosseri also removed the remainder of the manuscripts in the Ben Ezra synagogue during his first search in 1909.
cl This amount was assessed by Craster op. cit. (note 74), pp. 210-11. Neubauer's obituary op. cit. (note 68), also concluded that he
had 'carried on a vast correspondence with dealers and scholars on the Continent and in the East, and was thus enable to secure some
priceless and unique MSS. for the Bodleian Library, which is now the greatest Hebrew library in the world.' and that 'the Bodleian
possesses the first and not the least valuable portion of the Genizah which has since become so famous.'
ch This information is based on Mathilde Schechter's description of Neubauer in her memoirs (see JTS MSP-Writings, The
Library/The University). She wrote 'he suffered for many years before his death, when his mind failed him; it was tragic that a man
of such wide knowledge forgot even his own identity.'
cl See the letter quoted in Reif, op. cit. (note 73), p. 13.
cli In the meantime, it appears that d'Hulst may have been involved in another grand scheme: a posting on an ancestry website about
Esch Castle in Luxembourg reads: 'the Luxembourg Government sold the estate on the 11th November 1902 to Mr. Martin Riamo
d'Hulzt for the sum of 1,000 francs ... Martin Riamo d'Hultz, living in Egypt, planned to rebuild the castle. In 1906, the castle
chapel was almost completed, However, now Count d'Hulzt seems either to have lost interest in the reconstruction or he was short of
money, for he did not pay the workers at Esch-Sure. The Luxembourg Government settled the outstanding salaries and seized the
estate (see http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestrv.com/th/read/ESCH/2000-03/).
chv Oxford BLR d.1084, document 68 (extract dated 17 May 1904), p. 5.
clv Oxford BLR d.1084, document 18 (Cairo, 16 November 1909).
Cl" Oxford BLR d.1084, document 19 (Oxford, 25 November 1909). In this draft copy, Nicholson wrote, but then deleted, the
following: 'if you knew the contents of the many parcels we had received from Mr. Chester ... you would know that the fragments
dug up for us, under your kind supervision turned out to be of very little value indeed by comparison; in fact, had they been offered
to us for the same money they cost to recover ... I don't think we should ever have dreamt of giving it.' Furthermore, not all the
copies of the catalogue were amended. There is no record of d'Hulst's contribution in the edition held by Cambridge University
Library, for example.
clv Oxford BLR d.1084, document 21 (Cairo, 14 December 1909). D'Hulst adds: 'For me, it is not a question of mere vanity but of
justice and having been repeatedly treated unjustly it has become a question of principle.'
clv Oxford BLR d.1084, document 23 (Cairo, 27 April 1910). Of his work in 1893, he writes rather confusingly that 'In 1893, I
procured, through Prof Sayce, a small lot of MSS'.
chx See the Jewish Chronicle, op. cit. (note 5), and the addendum pasted into the Oxford copy of the Catalogue of Hebrew
Manuscripts (Z. Cat. 4/2) to which Nicholson added a handwritten note: 'The catalogue of the next vol. should consult the vol. of
library papers relating to the purchase of Hebrew MSS. and should remedy the accidental omission (in the present volume) of the
mention of the services rendered by Count R. d'Hulst in obtaining Geniza fragments in 1898.'
clx Oxford BLR d.1084, document 32 (Cairo, 20 July 1914).
cbl Oxford BLR d.1084, document 33 (Edinburgh, 27 October 1914).
clxi Oxford BLR d.1084, document 51 (15 May 1915).
clx' See Oxford BLR d. 1084, documents 35, 37 & 39-41. As far as the EEF knew, d'Hulst 'never had anything to do with MSS'.
Rebecca J W Jefferson 27
Cov Percy Stafford Allen (1869-1933): Erasmian scholar and President of Corpus Christi College (See J. B. Trapp, 'Allen, Percy
Stafford (1869-1933)', ODNB.
clxv Oxford BLR d.1084, document 42 (26 February 1915). According to the National Archives currency converter, 25 in 1915 is
equivalent to 1,075 in today's money. D'Hulst believed that the Genizah manuscripts at Oxford were worth 40,000 (approximately
2,250,000 today) (See document NA FO 141/671 from Laura d'Hulst to G. W. Bennett Esq. Oriental Secretary at the British High
Commission, dated 30 July 1921).
cX" See Oxford BLR d. 1084, documents 46-47, 56 & 58.
co These documents are part of the general correspondence of the Foreign Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Embassy
and Consulates in Egypt that are held in the UK National Archives at Kew under the shelfmark FO 141/671.
clv See the letter from Laura d'Hulst to G.W. Bennett Esq. Oriental Secretary at The High Commission (20 July 1921) [Document
NA FO 141/671].
c lx Oxford BLR d.1084, document 62 (Cairo, 22 March 1925).
oC Oxford BLR d.1084, document 65 (Cairo, 22 August 1932).
coxl Oxford BLR d. 1084, document 68 (extract dated 26 May 1923), p. 6.
cI~ Oxford BLR d.1084, document 73.
cbx S. Schechter, op. cit. (note 3), p. 11.