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Dr. Ronald Rubin has donated five newspapers to the Rare Books Division with notices that depict American Judaica in late colonial British America and the early United States.

Dr. Rubin, with his frequent and diverse gifts to the Rare Books Division, helps add to the breadth and depth of our collections. Thank you, Dr. Rubin, for each of these important pieces of American history.

The Pennsylvania Journal and Weekly Advertiser
Saturday, April 26, 1783

Two Jewish brokers ran advertisements in this issue. Haym Solomon (1740-1784) informed readers that he arranged for Bills of Exchange with France. Isaac Franks (1759-1822), on George Washington’s staff during the American Revolution, invited the public to his office on Front Street where he bought and sold Bills of Exchange. Also advertised in this issue are a goldsmith, a bookstore, the sale of raisins and figs, and a reward for the return of a runaway apprentice. The lead story was the signing of a treaty between the King of Sweden and the United States, signed at Paris.

Haym Solomon immigrated to New York from Poland in 1772. In 1777, he married Rachel Franks, sister to Isaac. Solomon helped convert French loans into ready cash, aiding the Continental Army. Completely short of funds, George Washington is said to have made this direct order for help: “Send for Haym Solomon.” Solomon quickly raised $20,000 to help Washington conduct his Yorktown campaign, the final battle of the American Revolution.

Solomon’s obituary in the Philadelphia newspaper, Independent Gazetteer, described him as “an eminent broker of this city…a native of Poland, and of the Hebrew nation. He was remarkable for his skill and integrity in his profession, and for his generous and humane deportment.”

Although Isaac Franks was Jewish, he married into the Christian faith. At the age of 17, he joined the Continental Army and fought the British in the battles of Long Island. Captured in Manhattan, he escaped to New Jersey where he joined Washington. The Pennsylvania Journal and Weekly Advertiser was founded in 1767.

The Pennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiser
Tuesday, August 8, 1786

In an advertisement on the front page of this issue of The Pennsylvania Packet, broker Moses Cohen informed his readers that he had moved his office. Also advertised in this issue were voyages to Cork, Barbados, and other ports; the sale of a schooner; a lost and found notice; the lease of homes; the sale of a Negro; the services of a private tutor; the lease of a forge; the sale of sugar, rum, port wine and sherry; groceries such as molasses, tea, coffee, chocolate, ginger, vinegar, prunes and raisins; cotton cloths including chintzes, calicos, and jeans; and the burglary of a store.

Moses Cohen opened one of the first employment agencies in the newly formed United States. For 18 cents, Cohen would contact workers about job openings. Through his brokerage, Cohen also sold cloth.

The Pennsylvania Packet was founded in 1771 as a weekly. In 1784 the paper became a daily publication, adding “and Daily Advertiser”to its title. This was the first daily newspaper printed in the United States. On September 21, 1796, it was the first to publish George Washington’s “Farewell Address.”

The Pennsylvania Packet, 1786

The Pennsylvania Packet, 1786

United States Gazette for the Country
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
December 11, 1806

An article, in the form of a translated letter, enthusiastically reported what Jews in Europe felt about Napoleon’s recent triumph over Prussian troops, including a genealogy connecting Napoleon to King David: “From him is our emperor and king descended, of this doth he now make his boast, and called us together, to prove his high descent and restore Sion. And he has also vouchsafed to inform us that the great Talleyrand is no less a personage that the sage Ahitophel resuscitated, to regulate the world by his counsels; who hath in his turn made known unto us, that the emperour and king with his whole court will in grand gala, in presence of the empress, and queens, and all the princesses of his august House, submit to the operation enjoined by our holy law; and moreover he hath commanded the pope and cardinals in full conclave, together with all the kings of his creation, to submit to a curtailment, which will secure to us a complete triumph over the uncircumcised!”

The United States Gazette for the Country was published between 1823 and 1847.

Salem Gazette
Salem, Massachusetts
June 12, 1817

A front page report by an anonymous writer described an ancient battle to the death between six Jews traveling with loaded donkeys and a group of Moors in a place called, for this reason, “The Jews Leap.” “It is,” said the writer, “enough to produce dizziness, even in the head of a sailor, and if I had been told the story before getting on this frightful ridge, I am not certain but that my imagination might have disturbed my faculties, and rendered me incapable of proceeding with safety along this perilous path.”

The Salem Gazette was founded in 1790. Other front page news included a report on the European economy and an essay on courage.

Salem Gazette,1817

Salem Gazette,1817

Christian Mirror
Portland, Maine
November 28, 1828

The Christian Mirror was published between 1822 and 1829 on behalf of the Congregational Church in Maine. Its focus, as the name suggests, was Christianity. In this issue, a front page article, in the form of a letter written from Halle, discussed the problems facing the American Society for Meliorating of the Jews in Prussia and Poland.

Christian Mirror, 1828

Christian Mirror, 1828