63. Cotton Mather.  Magnalia Christi Americana: or, the ecclesiastical history of New-England, from its first planting in the year 1620. unto the year of our Lord, 1698.  London : Thomas Parkhurst, 1702.

Cotton Mather, the great New England divine, expressed impatience that the Jews had not yet accepted religious conversion, but like other Puritan writers, he also identified profoundly with the Wandering Jews of the Old Testament. In the same vein, the green fields and forests of New England were often cast as “savage desarts” filled with dangers. In the Magnalia, his great history of Puritan New England, Mather often invoked the ancient Israelites, writing in one case of their mistaken arrival in Massachusetts rather than Virginia in 1620:  “But why at this Cape? Here was not the Port which they intended; this was not the land for which they had provided. There was indeed a most wonderful Providence of God, over a Pious and a Praying People, in this Disappointment! The most crooked Way that ever was gone, even that of Israel’s Peregrination thro’ the Wilderness, may be called a right Way, such was the way of this little Israel, now going into a Wilderness.”


64. Increase Mather.  A dissertation concerning the future conversion of the Jewish nation. Answering the objections of the Reverend and learned Mr. Baxter, Dr. Lightfoot, and others. London : R. Tookey for Nath. Hillier, 1709.

Increase Mather thought the future conversion of the Jews to be both possible and not far distant in time.  He opposed John Lightfoot’s argument that a general conversion of the Jews was impossible, and he also attacked Baxter’s thesis that the Jews were converted once and for all after Christ, and that those who did not convert at the time were condemned to remain in the Jewish faith for all time. According to Mather, the “national conversion” of the Jews was a “glorious truth.”


65. Judah Monis.  [Dickdook leshon gnebreet]. A grammar of the Hebrew tongue, being an essay to bring the Hebrew grammar into English … And published more especially for the use of the students of Harvard-College at Cambridge, in New-England.  Boston: Jonas Green, 1735.

An individual of complicated background, Judah Monis had a good command of Spanish and is thought to have been of Portuguese-Jewish heritage. He probably grew up in Venice, or elsewhere in Italy, and he received an education from the Hebrew academies of Livorno and Amsterdam. He served as a Jewish teacher, perhaps even as a rabbi, in Jamaica and New York, and was admitted as a freeman of New York City in 1716.  Monis began correspondence with the intellectual community of New England, and in 1720 showed his manuscript Hebrew grammar to the Harvard Corporation, seeking an appointment as a teacher of Hebrew. His essay “The Truth,” (the first of three defenses of Christian theology that he prepared in opposition to the rabbinical view that the Messiah was yet to arrive) was delivered on the occasion of his 1722 baptism into Christianity in College Hall in Cambridge. One month after this public event, although he continued to observe the Saturday Sabbath, Monis received an appointment as Harvard’s first Hebrew instructor. His Hebrew grammar was finally printed in 1735, the first to be published in America.

66. David Hirchel Franckel.  A thanksgiving sermon, for the important and astonishing victory obtain'd on the fifth of December, 1757, by the glorious King of Prussia, over the united, and far superior forces of the Austrians in Silesia .... Translated from the German original, printed at Berlin. The ninth edition.
Boston: Green and Russell, 1758.

The Seven Years’ War (the North American components of which are usually known as the French and Indian War) was a conflict embroiling two continents—Britain, Prussia, Hanover, and the British colonies against France and Austria.  In Berlin, the head rabbi David Franckel delivered this patriotic sermon of thanksgiving on the occasion of a signal victory by Prussia in Silesia. The shared sentiments issued from a German-Jewish pulpit had a resonance broad enough to initiate a translation into English and printed editions in both London and Boston.
67. Prayers for Shabbath, Rosh-Hashanah, and Kippur, or, The Sabbath, the beginning of the year, and the Day of Atonements... According to the order of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews. Translated by Isaac Pinto. [New York] : John Holt, A.M. 5526 [i.e., 1766].

This is the first complete Jewish prayer-book to be printed in the New World, and one of the most important printed books of Jewish Americana.  Isaac Pinto (1720-1791), the translator, was a merchant who moved from the British West Indies to New York in 1751, where he became a member of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, Congregation Shearith Israel.  Ezra Stiles, an accomplished Hebraist and president of Yale, recalled him as “a learned Jew from New York.” A fervent patriot, Pinto was one of the signers of the resolutions favoring the Nonimportation Agreement, and was vocal in support of the Revolution. The publication of this prayer-book in colonial New York with its meager community of a few hundred Jews, rather than in metropolitan London, which held a flourishing community of some 10,000, perhaps echoed an increasing expression of non-dependence and resentment of overseas domination. The prayer-book was a declaration to the Elders in London that their brethren in the “British Dominions in America” though small in number, were independent in will and possessed the means to satisfy their own religious requirements.
68. Mary (Sloop). Colony of Rhode Island [No. 709] In pursuance of an Act of Parliament ... Jurat, [Aaron Lopez of Newport in this colony merchant] That the [Sloop Mary] whereof [William English] is at present Master; being [a square] stern’d vessel,of the burthen of about [ten tons, was built in North Carolina in the year (1759) ... now delivered up ... and rebuilt in this colony, this present year (1770) and that he the Deponent, with Jacob Rod[rique]s. Rivera of the same Newport, merchant at present [are] owner[s] thereof; and that no foreigner ... hath any share or part, or interest therein. [Aaron Lopez].Newport, 28 May 1770.

This is a standard printed form used for recording sales and ownership, designed to be completed in pen and ink. Aaron Lopez was a prominent Newport merchant who worked closely with the Brown family of Providence.  Just a few years before the American Revolution, he acquired the sloop Mary in partnership with Jacob Rodrigues Rivera, another Jew of Portuguese heritage.  It was important to the authorities that foreign nationals not have ownership of such vessels.

Gift of Warren Sherman.
69. Publicacao.  Que fazem os senhores H. Hm. da Santa cidade de [Hebrew word], que Deos restaure.  [Amsterdam , 1772].

Emissarial letter concerning the plight of Jews in Hebron, addressed directly to the Jewish communities of America. The Sephardic community in Amsterdam gave Samuel Cohen, the emissary named in this letter, permission to print and circulate it in America. While the present work was composed in Portuguese, such letters were also printed in Hebrew.

Purchased with the assistance of the Horace A. and S. Ella Kimball Foundation and the Touro National Heritage Trust.
70. Haijm Isaac Kariga.  A sermon preached at the synagogue, in Newport, Rhode-Island, called "The salvation of Israel." Newport, Rhode Island: S. Southwick, 1773.

On the occasion of Shavu'ot, one of the three Jewish pilgrimage festivals, Newport’s synagogue welcomed Haijm Isaac Karigal, an emissary from the Holy Land. His sermon was delivered on May 28, 1773, in Spanish interspersed with Hebrew. It was the first American Jewish sermon to be published.The sermon was translated into English by Abraham Lopez. This copy belonged to Nicholas Brown, who signed it.
71. Isaac de Pinto.  Letters on the American troubles; translated from the French of M. de Pinto. London: John Boosey and John Forbes Hackney, 1776.

Not to be confused with Isaac Pinto the merchant (1720-1791), this Isaac de Pinto was a philosopher and economist of Portuguese-Jewish origin who was born in Bordeaux and lived most of his life in Holland. A deeply- cultured Jew of the Enlightenment, he used his combative writing style to defend Jewish—primarily Sephardic—honor.  A well-schooled political economist, his conservative positions led him to oppose popular democracies, like the American Revolution, and to defend the economic rights of the colonial powers, encouraging them to unite to maintain peace and social harmony.
72. Haym Salomon.  [Debt transfer instrument].

Born in Poland and skilled in the major European languages, Salomon seems to have arrived in New York around 1773. He established himself as a commission merchant in the city and soon threw in his lot with the Revolutionary cause, becoming a provisioner to the American troops in upstate New York. He was arrested as a spy after his return to New York City, but was released into the supervision of the Hessian commander, General Heister, who required a German-speaking account manager for his commissary. While continuing to serve the British under a kind of parole arrangement, Salomon assumed a hazardous double life as an agent for American interests. He encouraged disaffected Hessians to desert, and assisted in the escape of French and American prisoners. It is suspected that he may have passed on intelligence to General Washington as well. Facing arrest in 1778, he escaped from New York, leaving behind his wife and infant son. Starting over in Philadelphia, Salomon succeeded in getting his family to safety and was by 1781 the leading dealer there in foreign exchange. Robert Morris, finance minister for the Continental Congress, enlisted Salomon as the principal broker for bills of exchange needed for the war effort, especially the Yorktown campaign, and subsequent debts. Morris identified Solomon as the shrewdest and most market-sensitive of his brokers. In addition to his service to the Congress, numerous individual delegates turned to him for loans in the difficult war years. The present document is the product of one of those loans.

Gift from the estate of Maury A. Bromsen.
73. Joshua Hezekiah DeCordova. [Emet ve-emugah, i.e., emunah]. Reason and faith, or, Philosophical absurdities, and the necessity of revelation. Philadelphia: F. Bailey, 1791.

First published anonymously in Jamaica in 1788, Joshua DeCordova wrote this book in opposition to “Modern Philosophers, who destroy all principles of faith and virtue,” defending his faith and traditional religious views against the claims of an abstract rationalism: “A philosopher, now-a-days, is he who declares that a man ought to believe nothing but what he sees, and has a certain and positive knowledge of; who denies providence, and laughs at faith and revelation; who is bound by no other than civil laws….”  In opposing the views of Voltaire and Hume, he argued that the Jews were the only ancient people to have been preserved by their traditional laws, while the Assyrian, Babylonian, Greek, and Roman systems collapsed. He posits that it is the command to love others above oneself that distinguishes Judaism, Christianity, and Islam from former, failed systems of belief and social organization and, further, that divine wisdom was similarly accorded to Zoroaster, Confucius, and others.   
74. Gershom Mendes Seixas.  A discourse, delivered in the synagogue in New-York,  on the ninth of May, 1798. New York: William A. Davis & Co. for Naphtali Judah, 1798. 

Seixas was the first native-born American rabbi, and the leader of the New York Congregation She’arith Israel. Under his leadership, the congregation left the city in 1776 when it was threatened by British forces, in order to be able to live and pray only where “American freedom reigned.” The Torah scrolls and other artifacts were safely removed to Stratford, Connecticut, and later to Philadelphia.
This discourse was delivered at a time of tension between Federalists and Republicans, and Seixas took the opportunity to defend continued good relations with France, pleading for internal harmony as well. The New York synagogue’s order of service for May 9 appears opposite the beginning of the address.
75. Moses Lopez.  A lunar calendar, of the festivals, and other days in the year, observed by the Israelites, commencing Anno Mundi 5566, and ending in 5619. [Newport:] Printed at the office of the Newport Mercury, 1806.

This was the first Jewish calendar printed in the United States, and only the second printed for American Jews.  It provides a calendar of Jewish observances for the years 1805 through 1858.  Lopez was born in Portugal and was the half-brother of the prominent Newport merchant Aaron Lopez.  The book belonged to Levy Phillips of Philadelphia and Lancaster, and later to Jacob Ezekiel, who recorded his own birth at Philadelphia under the year 1811 (5572).  He wrote in 1897 that “This calendar must be kept as a memento on account of its rarity and usefulness in a[s]certaining back dates in Lunar calculations.” Open to Ezekiel’s birth notation in 1811.

Gift of Henry Englander.

   Exhibition prepared by Dennis Landis, Curator of European Books.