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Samuel Orgelbrand

Born in 1810 in Warsaw, where he died in 1868. He came from a family of merchants.

During the years 1826-1830, he attended the State Rabbinical School, whose program was influenced by assimilationist trends.
In 1836, he opened a used bookshop, which quickly developed into a bookshop and lending library. His activities as a bookseller were not limited only to Warsaw: from 1841 to 1857, he was the co-owner of a bookshop in Suwalki. His publishing activities began in 1829, which by 1840 were in full swing. To begin with, Orgelbrand published translations of popular French novels, and over time he became one of the most important publishers in Warsaw.

In 1842, he founded the first magazine for rural audiences, titled Kmiotek (The Peasant), which was edited by Pawel Lesniewski. An illustrated weekly for rural audiences was published during the years 1860-1866 under that same title, also in Warsaw by M. Glucksberg, edited originally by J. K. Gregorowicz, and later by W. L. Anczyc. Poles respected Orgelbrand's publishing activities very highly because of his choice of works and the technical quality of the editions. In 1861, he opened a printing shop-the largest and most modern in all the Polish lands at that time. It included a printing shop, font casting shop, bindery and stereotyping shop.
In 1858, he began his pioneering work on the publication of the monumental Encyklopedia Powszechna (Universal Encyclopedia), in which he engaged leading Polish scientists and writers. The project lasted ten years, and in the end totalled 28 volumes. The success of this publication encouraged him to publish abbreviated versions in 1872-1876 and 1879. He undertook other similar large-scale publications of scholarly works, such as Starozytna Polska (Ancient Poland), by M. Balinski and T. Lipinski (4 volumes); Pomnik do historii obyczajow w Polsce (Memorial to the History of Customs in Poland), by J. I. Kraszewski, Pismiennictwo Polski (Polish Writing), by W. A. Maciejowski (3 volumes), and the six-volume Biblioteka starozytnych pisarzy polskich (Library of Ancient Polish Authors), by K. W. Woycicki. Orgelbrand also published literature and literary translations.

Samuel Orgelbrand published a total of approximately 600 titles, of which 100 were in Hebrew. Those included the books of the Mishna and Gemara, and also a monumental twenty-volume edition of the Talmud babilonski (Babylonian Talmud), of which 5,000 copies were produced-a high print-run at that time. He is buried at the Jewish Cemetery in Warsaw.

After Orgelbrand's death, his sons Hipolit (1843-1920) and Mieczyslaw (1847-1903) ran the family business. In 1896-1897, it became the Towarzystwo Akcyjne S. Orgelbranda Synow (Joint Stock Company of S. Orgelbrand's Sons), which existed until 1919, when it was sold to the Kozianski printers in Krakow.
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