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In Memoriam Asher Lewis Shane (1911-1991)

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Asher Lewis Shane (1911-1991) Throughout the century of its existence, this Society has greatly benefited from the friendship of independent amateurs whose concern for us cover every level of involvement. In an earlier generation one thinks of Gustave Tuck, whose benefac? tions ranged from building an auditorium for our lectures to providing us with the second-largest collection of Jewish ceremonial art in this country. To Tuck's name we have now to add that of Lewis Shane. He too served as our Honorary Treasurer despite intermittent ill-health, and with him an interest in Anglo-Jewish history grew to marvellous proportions. Those who knew the library at his Hampstead home considered it perhaps the most important collection of Anglo Judaica in private hands. Even when it was installed in his New York apartment he was anxious to lend parts of it on our behalf to the centenary celebrations of the American Jewish Historical Society. No previous president had retained a librarian to conserve and extend his collections: his major preoccupation in his last months was that the advisers responsible for the library should come to a decision about its ultimate destination, and while they deliberated, nothing gave him more pleasure than to continue collecting. Born at Cwmfelinfach (then in Monmouthshire) Lewis Shane's voice stayed xvi</page><page sequence="2">In Memoriam true to the accents of his native hills and valleys. Later in life he would walk the slopes of Hampstead with a buoyancy scarcely diminished by age. He was the grandson of rabbis on both sides of his family; his father, a clothing wholesaler and general provider, once owned a small coalmine - possibly a unique instance of Jewish association with the pre-nationalized Welsh coal industry. After articles with a Cardiff firm of solicitors he practised in London, combining his scholarly interests and collection with the development of a highly successful property business. He became a member of the Council of this Society in 1979, Honorary Treasurer in 1981 and President from 1986 to 1988. He delivered his second presidential address, on the Dreyfus Affair, alongside an exhibition that was selected entirely from material in his collection and held under the auspices of the Jewish Exhibition Centre, to which he was equally generous. During his second term of office, he helped to sponsor the centenary symposium of the Edinburgh Jewish Literary Society and its publication of The Lit. at Home. He served on the committee set up by the Society to mark the Montefiore centenary and contributed items from his collection to the Society's Montefiore exhibition held at Forty Hall in 1984. He also served as Honorary Treasurer of Anglo-Jewish Archives and as a member of the Council of the Jewish Museum. Apart from his philanthropic activities Lewis Shane will be remembered as a man of modest bearing and refined personality. He greatly enjoyed good conversa? tion. It is much to be hoped that his most valuable legacy, his library, may be preserved intact for the benefit of future generations. xvii</page></plain_text>

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