In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • From the Collections of the American Jewish Historical Society
  1. 1. Items Relating to the Rebellion of the Southerners

  2. 2. Jewish Ladies Assisting the Defenders of the Union

Part of the Jacques Judah Lyons Papers (*P–15)

The Finding Aid prepared by the AJHS for this important collection tells us that “Jacques Judah Lyons (1813–1877), hazan, rabbi, and community leader, was born in Surinam; his parents, Judah Eleazar and Mary Asser Lyons, had emigrated there from Philadelphia in the early 1800s. Jacques’ education was limited to the institutions the Dutch colony could afford, however, he spoke several languages in addition to Dutch, including Hebrew, English, German, and French, and possessed a strong understanding of Spanish.

Lyons began his career in Surinam in Congregation Nevie Shalom, a synagogue founded by Spanish-Portuguese Jews. In 1836 he left for Philadelphia, his parents’ home state, and was hired within a few months by Congregation Beth Shalome in Richmond, Virginia. He served Beth Shalome for two years, winning the high esteem of the congregation. In 1839, following the death of Rev. Isaac B. Mendez Seixes, he was elected Seixas’ successor as minister of Congregation Shearith Israel of New York. He married Grace Nathan, daughter of Seixas Nathan and Sarah Mendez Seixas, in 1842. Jacques and Grace had three children, Julius J., Sarah, and Alfred.

During his thirty eight years of ministry, he became highly active in Jewish welfare and in advocating orthodox Judaism. He served as superintendent for Shearith Israel’s school, Polonies Talmud Torah; president of its benevolent society; director of the Sampson Simson Jewish Seminary and Scientific Institute; and was a founder of the Jews’ Hospital, now The Mount Sinai Hospital. Lyons possessed a deep interest in Jewish history and published historical information on Jewish communities in the United States, Canada, and the West Indies in his 1854 compilation, A Jewish Calendar for Fifty Years.

During his time in New York City, he gathered extensive materials on early Jewish history in the United States, Canada, and the West Indies. His papers include manuscripts, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, notebooks, photographs, and a sansom ship’s log book. It also contains material relating to Jews in North and South America generally and [End Page 65] more specifically to Congregation Shearith Israel and the Jews of New York, the Touro Synagogue and cemetery and the Jews in Newport, Rhode Island, Philadelphia, and the West Indies. It also contains material relating to Jews in the wars of the United States, correspondence of the Jews with George Washington, and items relating to Haym Salomon.” The collection consists of manuscript materials and five notebooks along with three scrapbooks of Lyons’.

The two items featured in the following pages are from the period of the American Civil War. The originals can be found in Box 6 folder 341 of Lyons’ large collection. [End Page 66]


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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3141
Print ISSN
0164-0178
Pages
pp. 65-73
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-20
Open Access
No
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