Leo Baeck Institute works to preserve and promote the history and culture of German-speaking Jews.
Prince of the Press: David Oppenheim and His Library
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In 2016, the LBI received the entire library of the designer and typesetter Henry (Heinz ) Wachs, who was born in 1916 in the Prussian province of Posen. Remarkably, along with the library, the collection includes a copy of a document listing most of the books, which was created to satisfy the emigration requirements of the Nazis. Henry Wachs came to the US from Berlin in 1938, and soon thereafter received some family belongings and the family library, which were shipped to him in Oakland, California. Wachs had a friend in Berlin who made a list of all of the books prior to their being crated and shipped. Wachs and his wife settled in Mill Valley, California, in 1951. Wachs embarked on a distinguished career as a graphic designer in San Francisco and won a number of awards. In 1978 he designed the logo of UCSF, the University of California at San Francisco. He chose a unique logotype which clearly reflect its Bauhaus roots. Wachs continued to collect books throughout his life. His library collection is comprised of classical and contemporary works of literature by Austrian, German, French, American, and Russian writers such as Friedrich Hölderlin, Stefan Zweig, Alfred Döblin, Joseph Roth, Hermann Hesse, Oscar Wilde, Romain Rolland, Fedor Dostoevsky, Lev Tolstoy, Alexander Pushkin, and Mark Twain, as well as philosophical, educational, political, and economic works. The library also contains works about Jewish history, Zionism, and Palestine. Wachs’ professional interests are represented by books about art and design, printing, typefaces, and the Bauhaus movement.