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Adolph S. Oko

OKO, ADOLPH S. (1883–1944), librarian and expert on Spinoza. Born near Kharkov, Russia, Oko received his education in Germany and went to the United States (1902), where he worked in the Astor Library, New York. In 1906 he was appointed librarian of Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, retaining the position until 1933 when he resigned. Under his administration the college library was transformed. A new building, designed to hold 40,000 volumes, was opened in 1913, but so great was the rate of expansion that a second building was needed in 1931. In 1911 he began a collection of Spinozana, which he brought to unusual completeness. He also began the development of the college museum. Shortly after World War I Oko visited Europe and purchased 18,000 items, including the Edward Birnbaum music collection as well as manuscripts and printed books. Throughout his life Oko was a devoted student of Spinoza. He was a trustee of the Domus Spinozana at The Hague and a founder and U.S. secretary of the Societas Spinoza. From 1933 to 1938 he devoted himself to research on Spinoza in England, resulting in The Spinoza Bibliography (1964). In addition he wrote several bibliographies, among them: Solomon Schechter, a Bibliography (1938) and Bibliography of… Kaufman Kohler (1913). He also wrote many articles in Menorah-Journal, of which he was associate editor for many years. After returning to the United States he joined the staff of the American Jewish Committee and was associate editor of the Contemporary Jewish Record in 1943/44.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.