Page 198 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 50

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Two copies of Emma Lazarus’s book of poetry on Jewish
themes are in the collection, one in a stiff buckram binding
with title and author embossed on the front cover, the other
in dark cardboard with a handwritten label pasted on. The writ­
ing, if not that of the author, is remarkably similar to it. O f
her first published work,
Poems and Translations .
. .
Written Be­
tween the Ages of Fourteen and Sixteen,
by Emma Lazarus, “Printed
for Private Circulation,” New York, 1866, and dedicated “To
My Father,” who financed its publication, there are two copies.
One contains no copyright statement; the other has it pasted
in on the verso of the title page. Other works by Emma Lazarus
are in the collection, the most important being some twenty
issues of contemporary periodicals containing first printings of
her poems and essays. But the most notable item in the Lazarus
section is a Lazarus family prayerbook,
Seder Tefillot
(Order of
Services for Festivals), Amsterdam, 1728. It was bound by
Emma’s grandfather, Eliezer S. Lazarus, in New York in 1828,
to include a number of blank pages at the end, on which he
(and then his son) recorded the births, marriages and deaths
of four generations of the Lazarus family. Among the last en­
tries is “Emma Lazarus was born Ab 3rd, 5609, July 22, 1849.”
Three clusters of documents illustrate how primary source
material is a collector’s delight and can be a student’s challenge.
Three indictments were issued by New York’s Court
General Sessions in February, 1711. In one, Abraham De
Lucena accuses Moses Hart of assault “on the tenth day of No­
vember, in the tenth year of her majesty’s reign,” i.e. Nov. 10,
1711, and brings as his witnesses Lewis Gomez and Valentine
Campagnal. In the second document, he accuses Solomon Etiel
Levy of the same. In the third, Solomon Etiel Levy is plaintiff
and Abraham De Lucena, defendant. The witnesses summoned
by the plaintiff are Moses Levy, Moses Hart and Jacob Franks.
Abraham De Lucena is the “minister of the Jewish Nation,”
i.e. the lay rabbinic functionary of Congregation Shearith Israel;
Valentine Campagnal is the first recorded American
Lewis Gomez, the head of the largest and wealthiest Sefardi
family in New York, is no doubt Parnas of the congregation.
His counterpart among New York’s Ashekazim is Moses Levy.