Skip to main content

I.O. Lehman Papers

Identifier: MS 100

Description of Papers

The Lehman Papers are a compilation of books, correspondence, research, and memorabilia from his career as rabbi, lecturer, scholar and writer. His hobbies were book collecting, stamp collecting, and music. Some of these items are included in his papers.


  • Creation: 1926-2003 (inclusive)
  • Creation: Majority of material found in 1963-1975


Terms Governing Use

Collection is open for research. Copyright has been transferred to Texas Christian University.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Israel Otto Lehman was born in Berlin in 1912. He was ordained a rabbi in Berlin in 1939 at the Hochschule fur die Wissenchaft des Judentums and then fled Germany as the Nazi’s were rising to power. Dr. Lehman came from a long line of rabbis and bibliophiles. He received his doctorate in Oxford, England in 1960. He worked and studied at both Oxford University and Leo Baeck College in England. He had been a rabbi in Oxford and Plymouth, Massachusetts. He specialized in Hebrew manuscript research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, and the British Academy of Sciences, London. He lectured for ten years in Biblical exegesis and medieval Hebrew literature and philosophy. He was widely published in journals examining Semitic civilizations and texts. He was fluent in multiple languages, including French and Farsi. He also deciphered ancient manuscripts written in Sumerian and Aramaic. Lehman wrote many articles in his career and among his noteable books are: Miniatures of God, the Handbook of Hebrew and Aramaic Manuscripts and his translation of Auerbach’s Moses. His jobs were various. He served as a hospital chaplain in England during World War II. In the 1950s he became a founding member of the local B’nai B’rith Lodge. During the 1960s, his research brought him to the U.S. with a fellowship at Chicago’s Spertus Institute. When his grant for a proposed encyclopedia of Hebrew and Aramaic manuscripts expired, he found a position as a rabbi of a small Plymouth, Mass congregation. He was at the pulpit for scarcely a year. He was appointed curator of manuscripts and special collections at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati in 1968. He traveled extensively during this time period, amassing rare books for his personal collection. He also worked at Miami University of Ohio in 1982. His collection of 10,000 books and manuscripts became the core of the Judaica collection at Texas Christian University’s Brite Divinity School Library. Among the rare holdings are first and second printed editions of the Babylonian Talmud, produced around 1520. Also of note is a Persian Torah scroll container and Torah used by Sephardic Jewish communities. The complete list of his rare books is located in the donor file of Special Collections, Texas Christian University.


4.25 linear feet

Language of Materials



Arranged in three series: I. Personal, 1926-2003; II. Correspondence, 1956-1992; III. Writings, 1951-1981.

Physical Location

Vault AC 2-3. Slides from 2019 Accession are in the vault on WD26 waiting to be processed.


Transferred from the Brite Divinity School Program in Jewish Studies, by Dr. David Nelson. Received in 2004.

Lisa Pena
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, Mary Couts Burnett Library Repository

TCU Box 298400
2800 S. University Drive
Fort Worth, Texas 76129-0001
Fort Worth Texas 76129
(817) 257-4566
(817) 257-7282 (Fax)