Remember the Days: A bibliophile mystery from the collection of Ester Buchholz?

By Melvyn Kohn
April 4, 2011

Walking on West 16th Street yesterday, a number of Hebrew prayer books were out on the street, and with them a copy of Remember the Days: Essays on Honour of Cecil Roth, edited by John M. Shaftesley (1966); a nice find, it will be added to my library, but I am wondering whose it was; some clues are a card addressed to a Ms Ester Buchholz, from the Messorah Heritage Foundation and some letterhead from Queens College.

Of course the book mentions the Jewish Chronicle many times, especially in articles by Norman Bentwich and the editor, A. Schischa, and Israel Finestein.

Roth was president for eight terms at the Jewish Historical Society of England, whose motto, from Deuteronomy, serves as the main title of the tome. He also taught at Oxford, and also corresponded in the JC.

As to the possible previous owner, I found she passed away in 2004, which happens to be the latest date on any of the papers found in this collection. A bio I found on her says this:

"When listening to patients talk about their partners or students about their lovers, family, or friends, Steinhardt Associate Professor Ester Buchholz was always struck by the gratitude people felt for getting time off from relationships to engage their own pursuits. “Like prisoners who are granted parole before they deserve it,” Buchholz wrote, “They feel their freedom is a gracious gift.”

In The Call of Solitude (Simon and Schuster, 1997), a book she called her “biography of need,” Buchholz urged readers to spend more time on their own and asserted that 'alonetime' is a developmental and biological need for both children and adults.

'Both needs — to be alone and to engage — are essential to human happiness and survival,' Buchholz wrote. “Alonetime is a great protector of the self and the human spirit.”

A former director of the school psychology program, Buchholz mentored hundreds of students who went on to become school psychologists, researchers, and scholars. She is remembered for her optimism, for bringing passion, energy, and caring into her classroom and into the lives of those with whom she worked. 'Her students were devoted to her because she was an exceptionally generous person,' said her colleague, Lawrence Balter. 'She took them under her wing and nurtured them.'

Buchholz was the co-editor of Ego and Self Psychology: Group Interventions with Children, Adolescents, and Parents (Aronson,1983) and the editor of Child Analytic Work: A Special Issue of Psychoanalytic Psychology (Erlbaum, 1994)."

She taught at New York University, which is near where these were found. What will puzzle me perhaps for ages is the inscription: "For Manny and the Many with kindest thoughts for the days we remember." This is signed Cecil...Cecil Roth? Given that it is written on the title page that would make sense.


Melvyn Kohn

Tue, 04/05/2011 - 14:28

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Just to add to the puzzle, a few pieces found include the fact that Roth did in fact teach at Queens College, hence the letterhead; there have been members of the Buchholz family there; and in one of the books found along with this one, a Pessach Haggadah, there is the signature of a Philip Buchholz. Thus it seems that the lot may have passed to him before being unceremoniously tossed on to the street with some Chanuka candles...
One never knows what one will find in New York.


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