Skip to main content
Article |
Article
| Booksellers

The Life of Bernard M. Rosenthal

"In order to prepare the descriptions, we have committed the cardinal sin of the bookseller: we have READ most of these books, or at least we have read in them, an unpardonable and economically quite ridiculous procedure which has, however, brought some surprising results."

Published on 24 Feb. 2018

222_image1_rosenthal_bernard_m.jpg

Bernard M. Rosenthal: "Autobiography and Autobibliography"


Bernard M. Rosenthal was born in Munich on May 5, 1920, into a family of antiquarian booksellers. Erwin Joseph Rosenthal was his father, Jacques Rosenthal his grandfather, and Ludwig Rosenthal his uncle. Jacques and Ludwig were the famous brothers, founders of the “Rosenthal Dynasty” of well-known antiquarian book dealers in Germany, the Netherlands, Great Britain and the United States. Their history is documented by Elisabeth Angermair and others in “Die Rosenthals. Der Aufstieg einer jüdischen Familie zu Weltruhm” (2002, preface by Bernard Rosenthal).

During the Nazi regime Bernard Rosenthal emigrated to Italy and France. “Erwin Rosenthal saw the writing on the wall with absolute clarity”, Bernard wrote about his father, who was married to Leo Olschki’s daughter Margherita and took care that all his children could leave Germany and found new businesses in other countries.

In 1939 Bernard M. Rosenthal came to the United States where he established his own antiquarian bookshop in New York during the 50s. Catalogue No.1 was published in 1958. According to the family tradition his special interests were incunabula, manuscripts and early printing. In one his catalogues (with over 70 incunabula) he described his philosophy:

“In order to prepare the descriptions, we have committed the cardinal sin of the bookseller: we have READ most of these books, or at least we have read in them, an unpardonable and economically quite ridiculous procedure which has, however, brought some surprising results.”

Bernard M. Rosenthal’s autobiography (60 pages, with many photographs) is published on the occasion of his 90th birthday and can be ordered ($ 15) through Ian Jackson, Berkeley (P. O. Box 9075, Berkeley, California 94709 USA, Fax 510 548 5766).

The pictures show Bernard M. Rosenthal, his grandfather Jacques Rosenthal and Leo Olschki.

222_image2_rosenthal_olschki.jpg
  • share