Schmid, Anton von°

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SCHMID, ANTON VON ° (1765–1855), Christian publisher of Hebrew books in Vienna and patron of Hebrew literature. Apprenticed to the court printer Kurzbeck, Schmid was sent to the Oriental academy to study Hebrew. In accord with the policy of Joseph ii to eliminate foreign competition in Hebrew publishing, he was sent to Lvov (Lemberg) to learn typesetting. Schmid showed efficiency and rapidly rose to be manager of the Hebrew department. Thereafter, he established himself as an independent printer of Hebrew books, greatly benefiting from an 1800 ordinance prohibiting the import of Hebrew books by Jews who were themselves excluded from the publishing business. His books, which gained a deservedly high reputation, were bought in the Jewish centers of Galicia and Hungary, as well as abroad. Schmid later began publishing books in other Oriental languages and in 1823 was ennobled. He published the standard works, the Babylonian Talmud and Shulḥan Arukh, as well as halakhic works and Jewish philosophy.

He employed Jewish typesetters and proofreaders, mainly from Galicia, who were granted special residence permits in Vienna. Among them were many luminaries of Haskalah literature: Salomon *Loewensohn, Samson *Bloch, Samuel *Romanelli, Judah Leib ben Ze'ev, Meir Obernik, and others. In 1820 Schmid encouraged Shalom ha-Cohen to publish the first volume of a yearbook, *Bikkurei ha-Ittim ("First Fruit of the Times"), an important element in the development of the Haskalah movement in Austria. Schmid was also the first to print *Kerem Ḥemed, the most important scholarly journal of the time. He donated a collection of all the Hebrew books he had published to the Vienna Jewish community (1814), which became the nucleus of the communal library. The firm was continued by his son Franz, who eventually sold it to the father of Isidor *Bush.


M. Grunwald, Vienna (1936), index; Ḥ.D. Friedberg, Toledot ha-Defus ha-Ivri (1937), 94–101; K. von Wurzbach, Biographisches Lexikon des Kaiserthums Oesterreich, 30 (1875), 209–12; A. Yaari, Diglei ha-Madpisim ha-Ivriyyim (1944), 97, 174–5; A.F. Pribram, Urkunden und Akten zur Geschichte der Juden in Wien, 2 (1918), 380; B. Wachstein, in: Die hebraeische Publizistik in Wien (1930), xvff. (first pagin.); R.N.N. Rabinowitz, Ma'amar al Hadpasat ha-Talmud, ed. by A.M. Habermann (1952), 128–9, 133, 140. add. bibliography: R. Julius, in: Jewish Book Annual, 51 (1993–94), 195–202.

[Henry Wasserman]