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ROMM , family of printers and publishers in Vilna. In 1789 baruch b. joseph (d. 1803) received permission to establish a press in Grodno. He opened a second plant in Vilna in 1799. After his death, his son menahem mannes (d. 1841), directed the operation and between 1835 and 1854 published an edition of the Babylonian Talmud. This caused a dispute with a press operated by the Shapiro family of Ḥasidic rabbis in Slavuta and more than a hundred rabbis were involved in the resulting litigation. In 1836 the Russian government closed all but two Jewish printing houses, the Romm plant being the only one left in all of Lithuania and Belorussia. In 1841 the plant burned down. joseph reuben and his son david headed the company from 1841 to 1862. After their deaths, David Romm's widow deborah (d. 1903) headed the company, together with her two brothers-in-law. This is the origin of the name of the company, which came to be known as "Defus ha-Almanah ve-ha-Aḥim Romm" (The Press of the Widow and Romm Brothers). The firm prospered from 1867 to 1888 under the leadership of its literary director, the Hebrew writer Samuel Shraga Feiginsohn (known as שפ״ן הסופר). Modern presses were installed, rights to various manuscripts purchased, many reprints were published, and painstaking editorship prevailed. Most of the firm's income came from the publication of religious works in editions of tens of thousands of copies. Among the more important publications was the Babylonian Talmud with over a hundred commentaries and addenda ("The Vilna Shas," first ed., 1880–86). Romm also published popular works in Yiddish, such as the books of I.M. *Dick, *Shomer, and Haskalah works.

After the death of Deborah Romm, the firm declined. The heirs were not interested in running it and Feiginsohn was reinstated as director. He remained with the firm even after it was sold to Baron D. *Guenzburg in 1910 and resold several years later to the firm of Noah Gordon and Ḥaim Cohen. During this period, a complete edition of the Jerusalem Talmud was published. The Romm Press continued in Vilna until 1940. With the Soviet conquest, the plant was confiscated and turned into a Russian-Lithuanian printing house.


Feiginsohn, in: Yahadut Lita, 1 (1959), 268–302; Kon, in: ks, 12 (1935/36), 109–15; Katz, in: Davar (Feb. 8, 1957).

[Yehuda Slutsky]