Fonds BC1378 - Beinkinstadt Records

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Beinkinstadt Records


  • 1904-1952 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

The archival collection consists of 100 leather bound letter books (1904-1942), one ledger (1947-1952), and a miscellany of exemplars of the shop’s stationery and letterheads.

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Administrative history

In July 2008, M. Beinkinstadt (established 1903), the earliest and longest single family owned Jewish bookstore in South Africa, closed down. T
Until the mid 1920s M. Beinkinstadt Bookseller was located at number 76 Caledon Street. Some time between 1922 and 1927 they moved to 38 Canterbury Street. Besides Jewish liturgical and legal works, M. Beinkinstadt imported all the basic religious requirements, such as taleysim (prayer shawls), tsitsit (prayer vest), tefilin (phylacteries), and mezuzas, that were imported originally from M. Katzenellenbogen in Vilna. From the outset Beinkinstadt also imported secular books in Yiddish, both for purchase and for circulation. The earliest property stamp found in the letter books, describes the business as:
M. Beinkinstadt
Hebrew Books, Stationery
Circulating Library
Street Box Cape Town
Found among the stationery are advertisements or flyers for the first Yiddish book ever published in South Africa: Nehemiah Dov Baer Hoffman’s Sefer ha-Zikhroynes (1916); the Hebrew Encyclopedia, Otsar Yisrael; Heinrich Graetz’ History of the Jews and Nahum Sokolov’s History of Zionism. Beinkinstadt also produced catalogues of the Six-Penny Library of English and World Famous Classics, that included a Yiddish section that listed 271 titles from the Groshn Bibliotek series that was published in Warsaw in the 1930s.
In 1910 Beinkinstadt took over the City Printing Works, of 117 Bree Street, and were offering services “for all kinds of Printing, Bookbinding and Kindred Lines”. At about this time they also started importing kosher foodstuffs, and advertised themselves as “Beinkinstadt’s Cape Town Kosher, Matzos & Grocery Store.”

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

This collection was acquired in July 2008, when M. Beinkinstadt (established 1903), the earliest and longest single family owned Jewish bookstore in South Africa, closed down.

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