Richard Gottheil bought many manuscripts for the university, and by the end of the 1890s, more than 200 Hebrew manuscripts were added to the original Temple Emanuel collection. In 1896, after a donation of manuscripts from one “L. Stern,” the New York Times claimed that the Columbia Judaica collection was “the largest in the country.” In 1900, the famed Reform leader Stephen Wise, a Columbia alumnus, donated a collection of 600-700 printed volumes from the collection of his father, Aaron Wise, to the university. In 1906, Gottheil went to France, where he purchased dozens of manuscripts related to southern French Jewry, including 32 mahzorim and thousands of communal and private documents.
Professor Gottheil’s widow donated his personal library to Columbia in 1939 after his death. This consisted of 10,000 volumes, about one third of which were in Hebrew.