The Grandees: America's Sephardic Elite, by Stephen Birmingh

"Science," the Greek word for knowledge, when appended to the word "political," creates what seems like an oxymoron. For who could claim to know politics? More complicated than any game, most people who play it become addicts and die without understanding what they were addicted to. The rest of us suffer under their malpractice as our "leaders." A truer case of the blind leading the blind could not be found. Plumb the depths of confusion here.

Re: The Grandees: America's Sephardic Elite, by Stephen Birm

Postby admin » Wed Jul 25, 2018 6:59 pm


URIAH LEVY'S DEATH had been as well publicized as his life, and to the Jewish Old Guard it was all a little embarrassing. He had become the best-known Jew in America, with the word "Jew" emblazoned all over him, and his disputatious image -- combined with his wife's flamboyant one -- was not exactly the one the Jews wished to cultivate. Families such as the Nathans went to pains to explain that Commodore Levy was "not typical," and should therefore not be treated -- as he himself had obviously wanted to be treated -- as some sort of spokesman for the race.

The Sephardim neither needed nor wanted a spokesman. They had integrated quietly into urban American life, and had become gentlefolk. For these people, their Jewishness was something to be kept privately in the background, not to be noisily defended, or boasted or complained about, in the manner of a Uriah Levy. If they wished to be known publicly for anything, it was for their cultivation, breeding, good manners, and good works. It is perhaps ironic that, as the Jewish elite turned from mere moneymaking, almost with a disdainful dusting of their hands, to more elevated pursuits of the mind and spirit, they assured themselves of a less forceful role in America than the one they might have played.

There were, in fact, a number of Sephardic men who took pride in the fact that they did nothing at all. Mr. Alfred Tobias was one of these elegantly situated men. The Tobiases were a Sephardic family, originally from Liverpool, who had made a considerable fortune manufacturing chronometers. The first Tobias to emigrate to America, whose name was Tobias I. Tobias, secured himself rather thoroughly to the New York Sephardic elite when four of his children, Henry, Fanny, Harriet, and Alfred married four of Harmon Hendricks' children, Roselane, Uriah II, Henry, and Hermoine. Alfred Tobias' sole occupation was "handling his investments" -- a task he obviously performed quite well, for he increased his own considerable inheritance as well as those of his already wealthy Hendricks wife, and his wife's two orphaned nieces.

Cousin Florian Tobias was also proud to confess that he had never worked a day in his life at anything that could be called a job, and that he never intended to. Oh, he did a few things. He was an amateur billiard champion, and he practiced every day on his full-size Collender table in the billiard room. He had a small carpenter's shop in the house, where he turned out beautiful picture frames, taborets, screens, and delicate objets d'art. He was an admitted dilettante, and his only practical chore in life occurred when coal was being delivered for the furnaces of his father's house in Forty-eighth Street. Cousin Florian always posted himself outside the house, just beside the coal chute -- in his best clothes, of course, and in his top hat -- where he counted the number of truckloads that went into the cellar, to make sure that the proper tonnages were being delivered. It was not too taxing a job, or life, and Cousin Florian lived to the comfortable age of seventy-four.

The Hendrickses, meanwhile, were doing nicely. With their copper-rolling mills in New Jersey, their big country estate at Belleville, and their town house at 414 Fifth Avenue, they were among the richest of the Sephardic families. They also owned quite a bit of Manhattan real estate, including the blocks between Sixth and Seventh avenues from Twentieth to Twenty-second streets, and thirty acres along Broadway. (Had the family held on to this, the Hendrickses would be among the city's biggest landowners today.) Of course, there were some people who considered the Hendrickses to be a little on the dull side, a little stuffy.

There were also some odd Hendricks family characteristics, and an individual who was accused, in the group, of being a bit "Hendricksy" was someone who was fussy about dirt to the point of neurosis, was obsessive about cleanliness, or repeatedly washed his hands. Several Hendrickses were compulsive hand-washers, and would never touch a stranger for fear of contamination. Once, so a story went, someone said to one of the Hendrickses at the opera, "Aren't the acoustics in this opera house terrible?" Sniffing, Mr. Hendricks replied, "Really? I don't smell anything." But when the United States government needed money to pay for the War of 1812, the Hendrickses point out, President Madison sought loans from individuals. Henry C. de Rham, of the old New York de Rhams, offered $32,300. Harmon Hendricks topped him with $42,000.

By the latter part of the nineteenth century, the Sephardim of New York and other cities were leading lives of comfort and reassurance. If you lived on Fifth Avenue, and most "nice" families lived on or just off it -- it ran, after all, along the spine of Manhattan, and one had the nicest views from there -- your house probably had a small black box affixed to an inside wall, near the front door. You pulled the handle on the box, a pleasant whirring sound emerged, and presently a messenger boy in knickers and blue cap appeared at your doorstep to carry a letter uptown, or to fetch an order from the druggist's. You rang a servant's bell, it tinkled distantly from the panel in the downstairs kitchen, and within moments a servant appeared to do your bidding. Such were the amenities of those long-ago days. And yet the servants' rooms in the old brownstones were never supplied with baths. Maids, when they bathed at all, were required to use the basement laundry tubs. Wells, where fresh water was drawn, were right on Fifth Avenue.

At the same time, doorknobs were of plated silver, and satin draperies with heavy tassels hung over window curtains of thick lace. Furniture was of gilt rosewood, covered with tufted satin, and tables were of ebony, inlaid with marquetry. A card receiver stood near every entrance. It was the fashion to have, in every formal room, a certer table holding ornaments -- the Boyer statuettes or the Manet bronzes, or perhaps a Monte Verdi depiction of Benjamin Franklin chaining the lightning. Thanks to the magic of electricity, the houses of important downtown businessmen could be supplied with private tickers from the New York Stock Exchange. Mr. Jefferson Levy, Uriah's banker nephew, who later became a congressman, rather topped everyone in the Sephardic community. He also had a ticker from the London Stock Exchange.

In the dining rooms were red Turkish carpets and family portraits. After dinner, the families repaired to parlors, or to music rooms, where they stood about the rosewood piano for a little singing -- "Under the Daisies," "Listen to the Mockingbird," "Hidden in the Valley," or "The Last Rose of Summer." An aunt might round out the evening playing the "Anvil Chorus:' Music was considered a boon to the digestive juices. It was a cozy and sentimental era, the 1880's and 1890's, and it was hard to believe that it would ever be otherwise, or that the city was changing faster than anyone knew.

Etiquette was stressed more than what went on or appeared in the newspapers. "Always eat your ice cream with a fork," the little Nathan children were advised by the governess. "It's those Germans who use their spoons. Remember, while they were still peddling with packs on their backs, your family was having dinner with kings and queens." Of course, there were mesalliances. When Rosa Content (of a pre-Revolutionary Sephardic family) married James Seligman (German, of the then international banking house), she always referred to her in-laws as "the peddlers." As for the Jews of eastern Europe, they were elaborately ignored. Mrs. L. Napoleon Levy (wife of another of Uriah's nephews, and a Hendricks in her own right), embroidering her family tree on a sampler, put the words "from Europe" next to the name of one of her grandfathers because she could not bring herself to admit -- even in such a limited public way as stitchwork -- that he had come from Poland. Mrs. Levy liked to remind her children that, at her wedding in 1892, the list of guests had included not only Levys, Hendrickses, Lazaruses, Seixases, and Wollis, but also Roosevelts, Shackelfords, Rittenhouses, Van Rensselaers, and Kings. The Alfred Tobiases (cousins of Levys) were proud to list among their neighbors and friends the Livingstons, the Barclays, and the Auchinclosses.

There were other proofs of social acceptance by Christians. The Hendrickses belonged to and sailed at the Larchmont Yacht Club in Westchester (which Jews have difficulty joining today), and when the Sephardic families summered, they not only went to the Jersey shore -- which would later become known as a Jewish resort area -- but also to Newport, Saratoga, and Bar Harbor (which were not only non-Jewish but a bit anti-Jewish and becoming more so). A Hendricks granddaughter attended Miss Gayler's School in New York. Invited to a party on a Friday night, she replied that she was sorry, she couldn't attend, "Because that is our Sabbath." There was nothing further said, but from that point on it was noticed that parties for girls at Miss Gayler's School were no longer scheduled for Friday evenings, but were given on Saturday nights instead, out of courtesy to the elegant Sephardim.

Of course, there were scandals, and cases of people who refused to fit into the mold. There was the shocking case of Aunt Agnes Hendricks Wolff, who, in the 1890's, had a notorious affair with a non-Jewish gentleman named Townsend. They went off to Paris together and traveled flagrantly through Europe as man and wife, a state of affairs the family found intolerable. The two were written up in Town Topics, the leading scandal sheet of the day, and it all came to a tragic end (as anyone who had read the Maria Edgeworth stories could have predicted) when, one day riding with Mr. Townsend on Long Island, Aunt Agnes was thrown from her mount and killed.

Then there was cousin Annie Lazarus, sister of the poetess Emma, one of wealthy Moses Lazarus' six daughters, who was some sort of revolutionary. She was forever crusading for immigrants' rights, and she married a non-Jewish artist named Johnny Johnston. She favored America's intervention in World War I, and when the country remained isolationist she threw up her hands, declared herself disillusioned with the United States, and she and her husband sailed off to Italy, where they lived in a Venetian palazzo with a beautiful garden. She refused to communicate with or receive any of her American friends or relatives but, it was pointed out at the time, she seemed perfectly willing to go on receiving her considerable American income. Her picture was turned against the wall, and her name was permanently dropped from family conversations. How she and her husband fared during the Second World War, no one knows.

And of course there were quarrels. A schism involving a set of Sevres china of museum quality has long divided the Hendricks family. Years ago, when an estate was being divided, the Sevres was split between two cousins -- a cup here, a saucer there -- and its proper ownership has been in dispute ever since. Visiting Mrs. Henry Hendricks, a cousin once remarked, "Ah, I see you have the rest of the Sevres." "No," said Mrs. Hendricks frostily, "you have."

But in general the Sephardim of the late nineteenth century did as they were supposed to do. The men decorated the boards of directors of the proper corporations, and the correct hospitals, museums, and charities. Women engaged in daintier pastimes -- painting, reading, letter writing, going to concerts, operas, and ballets. Women were not given much in the way of formal education (the educated woman, little girls were told, had a hard time finding a husband). But they were cultivated, trained in the arts of charm and wit and small talk on a wide variety of subjects. A surprising number of women -- cousin Emma Lazarus is the most famous example -- wrote poetry, for their own enjoyment if not for publication.

One of this delicate breed of nineteenth-century woman was Great-Aunt Amelia Barnard Tobias Lazarus, who might have stepped out of the pages of an Edith Wharton novel. Indeed, the young Mrs. Wharton was among Aunt Amelia's circle of friends. Aunt Amelia was not only a Tobias, and therefore connected to the Hendrickses; she was also collaterally descended from Mordecai Gomez, Daniel's brother, and she was therefore connected as well to the Lopezes, Seixases,de Lucenas, and Levys, to say nothing of the Nathans and Cardozos. She was an encapsulation of the great Sephardic strains. In her house in East Ninth Street, just a few doors away from University Place, Aunt Amelia lived a life that had settled elegantly and comfortably into a pattern: congealed, precise, predictable. Her late husband, Jacob Hart Lazarus, who had died in 18g1, had been one of the most popular and respected society portraitists of his day -- "a nineteenth-century Copley," he had been called. Among other great subjects, he had painted four generations of the Astor family. He left Aunt Amelia amply fixed. The Ninth Street house was a large, three-story affair of red brick where Aunt Amelia was cared for by three maids and her maiden sister, Great-Aunt Sophia Tobias, who "kept house" for Aunt Amelia. On most afternoons, Aunt Amelia could be found reclining -- she suffered from angina, and did not move around much -- on her long red velvet and mahogany couch in the drawing room, where she conducted what amounted to a perpetual salon.

All the noted personages of the day were her callers: old Mrs. Drexel from Philadelphia, who dropped in on Aunt Amelia whenever she was in New York; Mrs. Delafield; Mrs. Potter; Mrs. Astor, of course. There were also those haughty and rather terrifyingly aristocratic Lazarus cousins known as "the Eleventh Street Lazaruses," who included the formidable and splendid Sarah, and Emma, the poetess, and Frank Lazarus, famous because for years he was to be seen, every day, seated in the same chair in one of the Fifth Avenue windows of the Union Club. For years after his death, the chair was known as "Mr. Lazarus' chair." Another of these Lazaruses was Annie, about whom there had been scandal, and whose name was never mentioned. These Lazaruses kept a summer "cottage" in Newport. Called "The Beeches," it was a huge, gabled affair on Bellevue Avenue, hard by "Belcourt," the Oliver H. P. Belmont mansion, and across the street from "Miramar," built for Mrs. George Widener.

Aunt Amelia was far from beautiful. In fact, though she was thin and always carried herself erectly -- a stem and autocratic bearingshe was actually quite homely, with large, imperiously blazing green eyes. (Her sister, by contrast, was a small, plump, gentle lady with wavy gray hair that was always a bit disarrayed.) Aunt Amelia, however, had learned a secret that has made many a nonbeautiful woman adored by both sexes: she had charm, she had wit, and she had style. Once, when she was shopping for some handkerchiefs, a salesgirl had said to her, "Mrs. Lazarus, those handkerchiefs you're looking at are very fine -- but these other ones might do for mornings around the house." Aunt Amelia shot her a lofty, amused look and replied, "My dear young woman, I would have you understand that my nose is just as delicate in the mornings as it is in the afternoons."

Her dinner parties, served in a dining room that had walls covered with gold brocade, were celebrated for the high quality of the conversation as well as for the high station of the guests. To encourage good talk, there were never more than six at table. Dinner began with sherry and ended with champagne and fresh fruit out of season -- which no one ate -- purchased at considerable expense from Hicks, the great Fifth Avenue fruiterer. Though eminently correct, Aunt Amelia was never totally unappreciative of the risque. Frank Lazarus often tried to shock her with some bit of mauvaise plaisanterie he had picked up in the smoking room at the Union, and, after listening to one of his tales she would cry out, "Frank! You dirty beast!" Then she would lean closer to him and, in a husky stage whisper, ask, "Now what was it you said again?"

The neighborhood around her was deteriorating. She knew it, but she refused to move or to change her mode of life in any way. The house on one side of her had become a laundry, and the one on the other side had become some sort of nightclub -- the less said of what probably went on there, the better. Raucous noises emerged from it night and day. Aunt Amelia let neither presence disturb her in the slightest. Inside, her house ran on noiseless machinery. Each morning, her lawyer, "Little Sam" Riker (his father, "Big Sam" Riker, had been the family lawyer before him), arrived punctually at eight and opened Aunt Amelia's mail, attending to whatever needed attention. It was then Little Sam's duty to go downstairs to the kitchen to see to it that the servants were at their posts, and to unsnarl the quarrels that were forever erupting between the Irish maid and the waitress so that Aunt Amelia's ears might be spared the unpleasant details. The family had repeatedly urged Aunt Amelia to have, in view of her illness, a servant sleep in the room next to hers, but Aunt Amelia would have none of it. That would be lowering the class barrier too far. Servants belonged on a Boor of their own. Her servants, nevertheless, were devoted to her. Her personal maid, Josephine, had for years been engaged to marry the coachman for the Alexandre family but, year after year, the wedding date was postponed. It was because Josephine could not bear the thought of leaving Aunt Amelia. Aunt Amelia's only concession to the shabbiness of her neighborhood was made for her maids' benefit. She kept a man's derby hat hung on a hat stand in the entrance vestibule, which was intended to suggest to intruders that there was a man on the premises, whereas in fact hers was a household of women. A man from Tiffany's came to Ninth Street once a week to wind all the clocks.

Great-Aunt Amelia was a stickler for etiquette and the Right Thing, not because she was afraid of making a mistake in public but because she believed the Right Thing was one of the obligations and heavy duties of the aristocrat. When writing a social note, she enjoined her nieces and grandnieces, a lady should never moisten the entire Hap of the envelope, but only the tip. Young ladies were told to sit quietly, with hands folded in laps, legs crossed at the ankles. They were not to fidget or play with their beads. Young men were instructed to sit with one leg crossed above the other, knee upon knee, never sprawled with knees apart, or with ankle on knee. Aunt Amelia was one of New York's great authorities on the intricacies of the calling-card ritual -- one that has been compared with the Japanese tea ceremony in terms of the years it took a lady of old New York to master it -- and even Mrs. Astor sometimes called upon Aunt Amelia, in those days before there was an Emily Post, for social advice and guidance. Though Aunt Amelia's illness caused her to be in great pain much of the time, she never complained. She believed that complaining indicated ill breeding. Once, before a dinner party, she said quietly to a niece, "If I have to leave the table during dinner, I expect you to carry on as hostess in my place. And of course you must make no point of my absence." Aunt Amelia also believed that it was one of the moral obligations of the privileged and well-placed to care for the fine things that privilege and high estate provided, that it was as wrong to mistreat a good china plate or piece of furniture as it was to abuse a human being. As a result, every item in her house, from the paintings and the rare books to the heavy linen sheets on the beds, was lovingly attended to.

Morality, propriety, and responsibility were instilled in children by the Maria Edgeworth stories. In these, two sisters, the wise Laura and the impulsive Rosalind, were contrasted, and the moral clearly drawn. In one tale, for example, Rosalind foolishly uses money given her to have a shoe repaired to buy, instead, a pretty purple vase that she has seen in a shop window. Alas, a hole appears in her shoe, a sharp stone enters the hole, and, after an agonizing limp home, when Rosalind puts water in her vase the pretty color washes off. Laura is helpfully there to say, "I told you so." For boys, there were stories about a bad youth named Frank who was always made to pay dearly for his naughtinesses. Children were also given copies of the Illustrated London News to read for edification and enlightenment. Anything British was considered uplifting.

Great-Aunt Amelia Lazarus exuded such an air of social security that one would have thought her incapable of being surprised or impressed by anything. But she was secretly delighted to have been invited to one of the great society "Weddings of the Age," that of Harry Lehr, the colorful playboy who once, dressed in full fig, waded into a Fifth Avenue fountain, and who had succeeded Ward McAllister as New York Society's arbiter and Mrs. Astor's pet. Aunt Amelia also believed that social occasions ought to be combined with a certain amount of self-improvement and, when a niece mentioned that she was going to a reception at the de Forests', Aunt Amelia reminded her to be sure to note the fine Indian carving that adorned the wall by the de Forests' staircase. "One must learn first to recognize, then appreciate, beautiful things," she used to say.

Perhaps such an extraordinary degree of refinement and high breeding among the Sephardim is an explanation for the fact that they took a far less active part in the Civil War than they had taken in the Revolution and the War of 1812. Nor did they join the band of aggressive, hungry fortune hunters that emerged after the War -- the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Guggenheims, Morgans, Mellons, Schiffs, et al. The Sephardim stood politely on the sidelines. The only Sephardic name of any importance to Civil War buffs is that of Judah P. Benjamin, and he had the misfortune to be on the wrong side. One of the great rows in the history of New York's Union Club was over Mr. Benjamin's proposed ouster. Those in the club who wanted him out did so not because Benjamin was Jewish but because he was pro-South. The club refused to expel him, and a group of irate members immediately departed and formed a club of their own, the Union League Club.

Judah Benjamin was a member of a West Indian Sephardic family, distantly connected to the branch of the Lopez family that had settled there, as well as to the Mendes family, and in 1818 his parents moved from the island of Saint Thomas, where he was born, to Charleston, South Carolina. Though he attended Yale (without receiving a degree), his youthful orientation was thoroughly southern. After Yale, he went to New Orleans, where he "read" law in a law office, and he was admitted to the Louisiana bar in 1832. In 1852, he was elected a senator from Louisiana, and here demonstrated that he had a Latin temper every bit as fiery as Uriah Levy's. In reply to a slur from another senator, Judah Benjamin rose and declaimed: 'The gentleman will please remember that when his half-civilized ancestors were hunting wild boar in the forests of Silesia, mine were the princes of the earth!" (Actually, he was paraphrasing Disraeli, who once, in answer to a similar taunt, said: ''Yes, I am a Jew, and when the ancestors of the right honourable gentleman were brutal savages in an unknown island, mine were priests in the temple of Solomon.")

Benjamin resigned from the Senate in order to assist his friend Jefferson Davis in forming his provisional government. He worked in Davis' cabinet, first as attorney general and later as Davis' chief secretary of state, a post he held from 1862 to 1865.

After the Confederacy's surrender at Appomattox, there was a price on Judah Benjamin's head. He managed to make an escape by boat from the coast of Florida and, many months later, after much hardship and bouncing about on troubled Atlantic waters, Benjamin was able to make his way to England, where he lived in exile. He died in Paris in 1884, a lonely and disenchanted man, a long way from the crackling fires and comfortable chairs of the Union Club.
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Re: The Grandees: America's Sephardic Elite, by Stephen Birm

Postby admin » Wed Jul 25, 2018 7:21 pm


THE NATHANS were such a proper family, and could nearly always be counted on to do the correct thing, to rise to the occasion in the right manner, to make the suitable gesture. Young Frederick Nathan was barely more than a boy when he was traveling in the South with Griffith, the family's Negro chauffeur. The two were about to board a steamer when Frederick was told, "He can't ride with you." "Very well," Frederick Nathan said, "I'll ride with him" -- and he did, he rode with Griffith in the ship's Jim Crow quarters rather than accept the segregation the South imposed. Nathans were always doing things like that. It was no wonder that, for generations, a Nathan had been president of New York's Shearith Israel congregation.

The great Nathan family patriarch was Isaac Mendes Seixas Nathan. His uncle had been Gershom Mendes Seixas, called "the patriot rabbi" for refusing to let his congregation pray for George III. Isaac M. S. Nathan's grandmother had been one of the old New York Levys, and he himself had married another Seixas and, by her, sired a dynastic brood of fifteen children. He ruled his household with a series of bells -- a different bell summoned each child into his father's presence. He also had bells to indicate the various punishments that were to be meted out for whatever misdeed was at hand; one bell meant a birching, another bed without supper, and so on. The combination of children bells and punishment bells made the Nathan house chime like a carillon most of the day. He was a tyrant and a terror, and his children adored him. They all made properly dynastic marriages -- one to a Solis, one to a Cardozo, two to Hendrickses, one to a Gomez, a great-grandniece of Daniel's -- and were otherwise a tribute to their father.

When the little Nathan children were strolled by their nannies in Central Park during those pleasant decades after the Civil War, they used to hear passersby whisper, "Look -- the Nathans," and "Here come the Nathans!" The children assumed, naturally enough, that this attention was due to their celebrated birthright and social superiority. But the real reason had nothing to do with this. Scandal in the family, after all, was so rare as to be unknown, and naturally the dreadful details of it had to be kept from the Nathan children. It was a scandal that was rocking the entire Sephardic community.

New York in 1870 was entering its most elegant phase, soon to be christened by Edith Wharton as "the Age of Innocence." West Twenty-third Street at Madison Square was considered "uptown," and the New York Herald referred to this neighborhood as one of the city's "aristocratic purlieus." Here, on broad, tree-lined streets, facing a leafy park, in tall private brownstone houses, lived the city's rich, including Mr. Benjamin Seixas Nathan, the banker, grandson of the founding American patriarch, and one of New York's wealthiest and most prominent men. The Nathans -- Benjamin Nathan was married to the former Emily Hendricks -- and their nine children lived at number 12 West Twenty-third. On an opposite corner, the old Fifth Avenue Hotel had gone up a few years earlier -- up to the astonishing height of six stories, and equipped with something called an elevator, which was said actually to lift persons with courage to try it to the topmost level. The Nathans, good parents that they were, had severely cautioned their children never to enter this unlikely contraption.

New Yorkers that summer, when not discussing the elevator, were talking about the weather. It was hot. New York summers were no less stifling and humid a hundred years ago than they are today. New Yorkers also talked about a new war in Europe, which the Prussians had maneuvered France into declaring against them. American sentiment favored the Germans, due to the unhelpful behavior of Napoleon III during the Civil War. There was talk, too, of Jefferson Davis, now a private citizen from Mississippi, who passed through New York -- surely feeling very much amid alien corn -- on his way to board a Cunarder to England. It had been a slow season for the theater. Fritz, Our Cousin German, was playing at Wallack's, and the Booth was preparing to open with its first offering, Rip Van Winkle, with Joseph Jefferson in the title role. At the Grand Opera House, three blocks west of Madison Square, something called the "Viennoise Ballet and Pantomime Troupe" was being offered. It was an age of flounces and ruffles on women's dresses, when men wore bowler hats and braid-trimmed overcoats, and every gentleman of fashion had whiskers. People complained of an infestation of "measuring worms" in the city; they dropped from trees on to women's hats and parasols, and there was a plan afoot to import the English sparrow to consume the worms. By late July, all the "best" people had left the city for lake shores or sea breezes, including the Nathans, who had removed to their summer place in Morristown, New Jersey -- or so everyone thought. Then, all at once, at the end of July, all of New York's attention -- and much of the country's -- was riveted on Benjamin Nathan and his family.

Benjamin Nathan was a quiet, kindly-faced man with mutton chop sideburns and thick spectacles without which he could barely see. Despite this handicap, Ben Nathan had had a distinguished career and, in 1870, he was a vice-president of the New York Stock Exchange, president of Mount Sinai Hospital, a member of the Union Club, the Union League Club, and the Saint Nicholas Society, and a colonel on the governor's honorary staff. He was, in short, the model of a proper nineteenth-century New York gentleman, and there were even some in the family who had the temerity to call Ben a "Jewish Episcopalian."

On Thursday, July 28, Mr. Nathan and two of his sons -- Frederick, twenty-six, and Washington, twenty-one -- had come unexpectedly to New York from Morristown on business, and had arrived at 12 West Twenty-third Street to spend the night. The men's arrival was quite a surprise to the housekeeper, a Mrs. Kelly, and her son William, who worked for the Nathans as a general chore boy. The house was being redecorated, and most of the furniture had gone out to the upholsterer's. But Mr. Nathan explained that he wanted to stay in New York because he planned, the next day, to go to the synagogue to say prayers in memory of his mother, the former Sarah Seixas, the anniversary of whose death it was. Mrs. Kelly improvised a bed for her employer by placing several mattresses on top of each other on the floor in a second-floor room, and she did the same for the two boys in rooms above. Mr. Nathan spent the early part of the evening with his sons. Then both young men dressed and left, in separate directions, for gayer surroundings than the half-empty brownstone. Both returned -- again separately, young Wash Nathan much the later -- well after midnight. Each son looked in on his father, saw him sleeping peacefully in his makeshift bed, then mounted the stairs to his own room.

A word should be injected here about Washington Nathan. He was considered one of New York's most dashing young men. Tall, thin, always exquisitely groomed, he possessed good looks that were described by one lady as "agonizing beauty," and it was said that the touch of his slender, perfectly manicured hand caused the strongest-hearted woman to swoon. Women fussed over him wherever he went, exclaiming over his "large candid blue eyes," and by the time he had reached his twenties he was thoroughly spoiled. It was widely said in the family -- and out of it, for that matter -- that the reason why Wash's cousin Emma Lazarus, the poetess, never married was that all her life she harbored a "violent passion" for him while he paid not the slightest attention to her. Poor Emma. She doubtless possessed intellectual charms and vociferous opinions (on Zionism, for instance) which attracted to her male friends like Emerson and Browning, but she was at best a plain-looking woman, with features that always seemed too large for her face, and unfortunate skin. It was also said that Washington Nathan spent thirty thousand dollars a year -- a huge sum in 1870 -- Pursuing the pleasures of his rakish life. And it was known that his father disapproved of his "habits," and that the two had quarreled often about the young man's spending.

After his sons left the house, Benjamin Nathan had rung for his housekeeper and asked for a glass of ice water. This was around ten o'clock. Mrs. Kelly then locked and bolted both front and back doors of the house, closed and locked all the windows, as was her nightly custom, said good night to her employer, and proceeded to her own room. Around eleven she was awakened by a brief thunderstorm, which subsided well before midnight. This is all that is known for sure of events that night at 12 West Twenty-third Street. Early the following morning, a guest at the Fifth Avenue Hotel looked out his window and saw two young men come running down the steps of the house shouting for help -- the Nathan boys, one half dressed, the other dripping with blood.

Upstairs, Benjamin Nathan lay dead, murdered in the most deliberate and brutal fashion. This kindly and gentle man, who no one could believe had a single enemy, had been repeatedly beaten by a heavy weapon and clearly by someone intent upon his total destruction. Ghastly wounds covered the body, bones had been broken, and there was a particularly savage wound in the center of the forehead. He had apparently been dragged from the room where he had been sleeping, and his body lay in a doorway between that and an adjacent room, used as a study, in a pool of blood. There were clear signs of a terrible struggle. Furniture was overturned, and blood was spattered on the floor, walls, and frame of the door. In the study, a small safe had been forced open and on top of the pile of mattresses was an open cashbox. A large and heavy object, covered with blood, was found in another room -- a "carpenter's dog," a J-shaped instrument used for gripping and hooking -- clearly the murder weapon. Since the family had been away, and the house was being redecorated, nothing of value had been in the safe. A quick inventory of the items stolen was pitifully small: three diamond shirt studs, two watches, and a gold medal. Of course no one could say what might have been removed from the cashbox, but Mr. Nathan surely would not have kept much cash in his empty house. Immediately a telegram was dispatched to Morristown: FATHER IN AN ACCIDENT. COME AT ONCE.

There ensued one of the most bizarre murder cases in the history of New York crime, and before it was over it had received worldwide attention, even in Russia, where the Jewish press commented on "the murder of a wealthy and influential New York Jew." It was a traumatic experience for a family that had always studiously avoided publicity of any sort whatever.

Immediately -- awful though it sounded -- the prime suspect became Washington Nathan, with his dissolute nature, who was suspected of having murdered, in Lizzie Borden fashion (though that case was still more than twenty years away), his own father. Frederick, the "good son," known to have worshiped his father, was never for a moment under suspicion. What must have happened, it was argued, was this: Wash Nathan had come home from his evening on the town, had stepped into his father's room to ask for money, and had been refused. The two had argued. Finally, in a rage, Wash had grabbed the odd instrument -- carpenters working in the house might have left it lying about -- and attacked his father. He had then rifled the safe and cashbox. New York newspapers were soon hinting that "someone from inside" must be the guilty party. How could a murderer have entered a locked and bolted house? Wash Nathan's guilt seemed terribly likely.

At the inquest that followed, a long series of contradictory and confusing facts began to emerge. The doctor who first examined the body testified that he did so at 6:05 A.M., and that in his opinion Mr. Nathan had been dead for three to four hours, no longer. This would place the time of death at between 2 and 3 A.M. The policeman on the block, John Mangam, testified that he checked the front door of the Nathan house at 1:30 and 4:30 A.M., as a matter of routine, and on both occasions found the door securely locked, and saw no signs of any disturbances within the house. Other residents of the neighborhood, however, stepped forth to say that Officer Mangam was not as diligent as he claimed to be, and that they had never known him to check the door of any house.

Then there was the testimony of the guest at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, and the matter of which Nathan brother had been partly dressed and which had been covered with blood. This was important because the brothers had told the police that Washington had been the first to come downstairs that morning, dressed and ready for the early visit to the synagogue. He had seen his father and immediately cried out to Frederick, who then came running down the stairs, partly dressed. Frederick told the police that he knelt briefly beside his father, and touched him, thus becoming covered with blood, and then both brothers had run shouting down another flight of stairs to the street -- through a front door that, both claimed, was standing wide open. At first, the hotel guest -- a Major General Blair -- identified Frederick as the bloodied and undressed one, and Washington as the clothed one, thus corroborating both brothers' story. But then he changed his mind, and insisted that it was the other way around, making liars out of both Mr. Nathan's sons. Frederick Nathan had a heavy beard. Washington Nathan had a small moustache. There was little family resemblance, and it would be difficult to mix them up. On the other hand, General Blair had viewed the scene from diagonally across the street, through trees and from an upper story, in the early morning light and through sleepy eyes. His testimony could not be weighted too heavily.

Then there was the altogether baffling fact that although four other people were sleeping in the house at the time, no one had heard a sound of what must have been a terrible and screaming ordeal -- furniture overturned, a body bludgeoned again and again, dragged across a room. The two sons, just one floor above, claimed to have heard nothing. Mrs. Kelly had heard the storm earlier, but nothing after that. Her son William had heard nothing. The Walton Peckhams, who owned the house nearest to the Nathans' -- separated from it by eighty feet -- said yes, they thought they had heard noises, thumping, a bang or two, a door slammed. At first, they thought it was the storm, then perhaps a burglar in their own house, and finally conjectured that it might be coming from next door. Mr. Peckham said he was positive the hour of the noises was 2:30 A.M., though he had not consulted his watch. He knew because he had had "a good sound sleep" before being awakened, and that meant it had to be two-thirty. His bumps and slams had to be discounted.

Though it was a stifling city night, all windows in the Nathans' neighborhood appeared to have been firmly shut against the slightest breeze. This seemed strange to some people, but of course there had been that storm and there was also, in 1870, a belief some householders shared that night air was injurious to health, even deadly. From across the street, meanwhile, General Blair's hotel window had been open all night long, but he had heard nothing until the brothers came running into the street.

Then there was the problem of the murder weapon. Where had it come from? One of the workmen at the Nathan house said yes, he thought he had seen something of the sort lying about in the days previous to the murder. But another said no, there had definitely never been a "dog" of that sort in the house. Though it was described as a carpenter's dog, the Nathan carpenters said it was not theirs; it was not, in fact, a tool used in their sort of work but was used primarily in logging operations. Logging operations! The killer had carried his weapon a long way to a fashionable address in Manhattan. It was also not a tool customarily employed by safecrackers, although it was quite possible that it could be used that way. Another expert on "dogs" came forth to say that this was not a logging implement at all, but was used "to lay the flooring of yachts and other small vessels." The inquiry appeared to be leading nowhere.

All sorts of unlikely people came forth now to contribute evidence leading to an explanation of what might, or might not, have happened that night at 12 West Twenty-third. A young newsboy, James Nies, said he had been delivering his papers on that street at around 5 A.M. and, when passing the Nathan mansion, saw a man "dressed like a mason" walk up the steps of the house, stoop, and pick up a strange piece of yellow paper which "looked like a check." The alleged mason studied the piece of paper, pocketed it, and departed. Who was the mason? The murderer returned to the scene of his crime when he discovered he had dropped some incriminating document? A mere passerby curious to see what scrap of paper might be lying outside the front door of a rich man's house? And what had the piece of paper been -- something dropped from the burglar's haul? Neither the piece of paper nor the mason ever turned up, and the investigation struck another blind alley.

Next came a report of mysterious midnight goings-on outside the mansion of Samuel F. B. Morse, the inventor of the telegraph. The Morse house, on West Twenty-second Street, backed up to the Nathan house and, according to the Morses' caretaker, a Mr. Devoy, he had returned home about twelve-thirty on the night in question and had seen a strange coach and pair standing in front of the Morse stables. A man was lying inside the coach, and Mr. Devoy asked him to move on. Mr. Devoy said he believed a second man was inside the coach, and that he had heard at least two men "whispering" within -- but he could not be sure. Later, his wife told him that the coach had been there since at least ten-thirty, and that it remained there for at least another hour after Devoy told the occupant to go, and that around two o'clock a heavily cloaked driver mounted the box and drove rapidly away.

Perhaps the oddest testimony of all came from a Miss Annie Keenan, a music teacher from New Jersey. Miss Keenan had been walking along Twenty-third Street on the evening of the twenty-eighth, at around 8:30 P.M., and had seen a man with "a crazy look" in his eye poking furtively about the front stoop of the Nathan house. He appeared to have "some rigid object" stuffed up the sleeve of his coat -- the "dog," of course. While Miss Keenan watched, the man entered the Nathan house through a basement window and, as he did so, there was a loud "clank" as his arm struck the window frame -- proving that it was the dog. A letter, signed" A.K.H.," arrived at police headquarters under a Washington postmark and, in return for eight hundred dollars, "to be left inside the railing of Grace Church," the writer offered to return "the papers" that would solve the case. An attempt was made to draw some connection between "A.K.H." and Annie Keenan's initials, but this proved fruitless, as did an effort to connect these "papers" with the newsboy's yellow slip.

At around the same time, a lawyer named Thomas Dunphy got himself sorrily entangled with an already hopelessly entangled case. Mr. Dunphy, who had a theory of how the murder had been committed, was acting out his theory for the benefit of some women friends in Brooklyn. Unfortunately, he chose to demonstrate the murder method using the first person pronoun -- "I lunged toward him," etc. -- and must have given a convincing performance, because an eavesdropping neighbor overheard the scene, was certain she was listening to a firsthand account of the Nathan murder, and called the police. Mr. Dunphy spent an uncomfortable night in jail before it was demonstrated that he could have had nothing to do with it.

Naturally, the person the press and public were most eager to hear testify was Washington Nathan. He arrived on the witness stand looking cool, composed, and well-tailored, carrying a gold-handled stick, gray gloves, and a tall silk hat. He described himself as "commission merchant," with offices at 25 Water Street downtown, but his account of the evening of July 28 was nowhere near so simple. After leaving his father, he said, he spent "an hour or two" simply strolling around New York. First he walked up Fifth Avenue to the Saint James Hotel, then over to Twenty-fourth and Broadway, then into Madison Square Park -- very near his home -- where he listened for a while to a band concert. Meeting a friend there, he walked back to the Saint James, where each had a glass of sherry. Next he walked down Broadway to the point at which it met Fifth Avenue, where he met "these two girls" -- and he waved his hand, indicating that the young ladies were in the courtroom. The three then walked to Delmonico's, and he said good-bye to them there, going into the coffee room to read the papers. For a celebrated bon vivant, he was having a singularly dull evening.

He then went back to the Saint James again -- but no sherry this time -- and then toward home, popping into the Fifth Avenue Hotel on the way. He met a friend there and stayed for a chat. At about nine, he left the hotel and headed for a crosstown bus. He rode down to East Fourteenth Street, near the Academy of Music, and entered a house at number 104. He stayed until around midnight -- delayed slightly by the storm -- and then went back uptown to Broadway and Twenty-first Street, entering Brown & Kingsley's restaurant, where he had supper: Welsh rarebit. From there he went straight home, let himself in with a key, locked the door behind him, and went upstairs. He looked in on his father, saw him sleeping peacefully, and continued upstairs to his own room. He heard nothing during the night, saw nothing more of his father until the following morning, when he found him lying on the floor in a pool of blood -- with the front door standing wide open.

He testified that it was not true that he and his father had ever had any serious quarrels. He insisted there was no foundation for reports that he spent thirty thousand dollars annually on pleasurable pursuits, and doubted that he spent more than three thousand dollars. His father, he said, had given him a five-thousand-dollar stake to start him in business, and any arguments about Wash's spending had been minor. He painted a picture of a warm relationship between father and son, and on the whole gave a confident, poised performance.

For some reason it was deemed necessary to verify Wash's account of his whereabouts between nine and twelve. The reason may have been the sheer delectation of the courtroom audience, because it was soon entertainingly clear just what sort of house it was that the young man had visited at 104 East Fourteenth Street during those three hours. A lady called Clara Dale was summoned to the stand, and a great deal of space in the press was devoted to her costume and appearance. The Herald reported:

Miss Dale was very gaily attired in a costly dress of green striped silk, embellished with all the usual paraphernalia of panier, flounces and trimmings. She wore light colored lavender kid gloves and over a jaunty round hat of the latest pattern was spread a green veil which hung down over her face almost completely hiding it from view. Beneath this she wore a black lace "masked battery" which totally covered the upper portion of her face.

The reporter from the World, meanwhile, despite the veils and masks, found that "her face was full and fair, with large blue eyes, and her physique and carriage were stately." It also noted her hair, in "waterfall and puffs," and her shoes, "with preposterous high brass heels and white pearl buttons and tassels." Miss Dale testified that Mr. Washington Nathan had been with her during the hours of nine and twelve on the fatal night -- which, of course, did nothing to establish his whereabouts at the time of the murder, two hours later.

But who killed good Benjamin Nathan? As the months dragged on, the answer seemed to grow increasingly elusive. For all the suspicion that surrounded young Wash, there was not a shred of evidence. Where was he at the time? Home in bed, he said, and there was no one to prove otherwise. The New York Stock Exchange -- which had lowered its Hag to half staff to mourn the passing of a member -- had offered a ten-thousand-dollar reward for the apprehension of the killer. The Nathan family had added to this, and presently the Nathan murder reward had mounted to over thirty thousand dollars. This led to the usual number of crank letters with offers to provide information, which proved unfounded, and to a series of false "confessions." Several suspects were arrested, then released for lack of evidence. The months turned into years.

At one point a convict at Sing Sing named George Ellis -- who could have obtained a pardon for bringing a murderer to justice, and therefore had much to gain -- came forward and announced that if he could see the murder weapon he could identify the murderer. In great secrecy, Ellis was brought down to New York from prison and taken into a room where Police Chief Jourdan had assembled some twenty-five carpenters' dogs, of assorted shapes and sizes, collected from hardware stores across the city. Without hesitation, Ellis walked to the murder weapon and pointed: "This is the one." It belonged, he said, to a burglar he knew named Billy Forrester, who had once told him of a plan he had to rob the Nathan house. Forrester was traced to Texas, brought to New York, and subjected to intensive interrogation. One of the "witnesses" brought to confront him was Annie Keenan, the New Jersey music teacher, who immediately identified him as the man with the "crazy look" she had seen that night -- despite the fact that over two years had passed, and the woman was demonstrated to be extremely nearsighted. In the end it was decided that despite Ellis' astonishing identification of the weapon -- which could, of course, have been a coincidence -- and Miss Keenan's testimony, these two facts did not add up to a case against Billy Forrester, and he was released. Because there never was a solid suspect, there never was a trial. Today, a hundred years later, the case remains unsolved.

A number of people have taken up the Benjamin Nathan murder, and reexamined all the confusing, contradictory evidence. One of the stranger accounts is in a book called Recollections of a New York Chief of Police, written seventeen years after the event by ex-Chief George Walling. Walling builds up a damaging case against Washington Nathan, and speaks of the young man "clinking glasses with the demi-monde" on the night of the killing. He also claims that, in the weeks following his father's death, Wash Nathan wore "a handkerchief like a bandage" around his neck, despite the fact that this was not mentioned in any of the contemporary newspaper reports, nor at the inquest. Walling implies, of course, that Wash Nathan wore the bandage to cover wounds earned in a mortal struggle with his father. But then, after all but accusing Wash -- who was still living at the time, and presumably could have sued -- Walling reverses himself and points to William Kelly, the housekeeper's son, who, Walling claims, admitted burglars to the house that night. Walling's final claim is equally illogical. He says that Police Chief Jourdan, the chief at the time of the crime, failed to solve the murder because "the full horror of it was too much for him to bear."

Most theorists on the case end up with burglary as the motive, and a number believe that Kelly -- who, at the time of the inquest, was shown to have a number of unsavory friends -- may have been an accomplice. They speculate that a burglar, or burglars, entered the house that night, and were in the process of opening the safe, using the carpenter's dog as a prying tool, when they were overheard by Mr. Nathan, who rose from his bed and went into the study, surprising them at their work. But it was a clumsy tool for a burglary, and a foolish time to do it, with five people in a house that was empty of furniture and rugs, where the safe had been emptied of all important valuables. Was the open safe just the killer's way to make burglary seem to be the motive?

One tiny fact may be significant. Benjamin Nathan, we know, suffered from extreme myopia, and was virtually blind without his thick, steel-rimmed spectacles. The first thing he did on rising each morning was to clamp his glasses across his nose. He did this before he put his feet on the floor. Would he, if he had heard strange sounds in the night from the room next door, have risen to investigate a possible burglary without putting on his glasses? The glasses were found, carefully folded, on the table beside his makeshift bed of mattresses a long way from that bloodied scene, as though their owner had been dragged out of bed with intent to kill.

In the Nathan family, there has never been a moment's suspicion that Washington Nathan could have murdered his father. To a Nathan, it would be something "not done." And newspaper reports at the time of the tragedy, despite the grisly sensationalism attached to such a possibility, always pointed out that "Parricide is extremely rare among Jews."

Several private facts about the case have long been available within the family. For one thing, Wash Nathan was, at the time, having a love affair with a New York society woman somewhat older than he, who happened to be married. His honor as a gentleman, and as a Nathan, would not permit him to tell his exact whereabouts that night, for that would have disgraced the lady's name. Hence his incongruous account of wandering up and down New York streets and in and out of restaurants. "Clara Dale," in her green and purple flounces and spiky shoes, had merely been a bit of window dressing suggested -- and hired -- by family lawyers. The Nathans also feel that the murderer would have been found if the case had not been mishandled from the start -- and by a relative, at that. Judge Albert Cardozo, Benjamin Nathan's brother-in-law (and the father of the future Supreme Court justice), had been running for political office at the time. He had immediately taken charge of things, paying great attention to what was "seemly," and thus good for his political career. Whenever an unseemly fact turned up, the judge took pains to bury it.

The Nathans never moved back to 12 West Twenty-third. Its associations were too painful. The family used to recall, a little sadly, how proud Ben had been of his new house when he built it; he was particularly proud of the massive thickness of its walls. He wanted his house to be soundproof. If he had not been so successful, someone might have heard his cries for help.

Like so many beautiful young men of golden promise, Washington Nathan came to a sad end. He received $75,000 under his father's will, another $25,000 from a grandmother, and $10,000 from an aunt. But his life continued to be dissolute and wasteful, and in a few years he had gone through it all. He was seldom seen as a "commission merchant" down on Water Street, but more often at Delmonico's, or the Fifth Avenue Hotel, or at Brown & Kingsley's. These lounges were his favorite haunts, and he could usually be found there, with this or that young lady "of fashion" or of the Clara Dale variety, and people commented that he was not aging well. By thirty, he looked haggard and old.

In 1879 his mother died, leaving an estate -- huge for its day -- of over a million Hendricks dollars, $100,000 in a trust fund for Wash. This money was tightly controlled by family lawyers and the bank, and was designed to give Wash a fixed income of a hundred dollars a week. On this skinflint sum he apparently did poorly, and the year of his mother's death his name appeared again -- and unpleasantly -- in the newspapers. While calling on an actress named Alice Harrison in a hotel suite, he was shot and wounded in the neck by a woman named Fanny Barrett. The bullet lodged in his jaw, and was never removed. At the time, though, one New York physician offered a unique plan. He would operate on Wash's jaw and, when he got his patient drowsy and talkative under morphine, he would dredge the truth out of him about the Nathan murder. No one took him up on his offer.

In 1884 Wash married a non-Jewish widow named Nina Mapleson Arnott, and left the United States. For a while the couple lived in London, then they went to Paris. As he moved into the Mauve Decade, Wash Nathan was often seen in the bar at the Hotel Chatham, alone and looking bewildered, and it was noted that he had grown quite fat.

In 1891, he was sued by French creditors for $1,590 and an attempt was made to break the trust in order to collect the debt. But at home in New York the courts ruled that his mother's trust could not be violated for this purpose, and the French debt went uncollected.

By the late 1880's Washington Nathan had been reported to be in poor health. In the summer of 1892, he went to Boulogne for some sea air. On July 25 -- the anniversary, very nearly, of the death of his father, who, on the night of his own death, had remained in New York to commemorate the anniversary of yet another Nathan's death -- he collapsed and died after a walk alone on the beach. He was forty-four years old. His hair, they said, had turned completely white.
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Re: The Grandees: America's Sephardic Elite, by Stephen Birm

Postby admin » Wed Jul 25, 2018 7:56 pm


UNCLE ALBERT CARDOZO, the judge, continued to exert a baleful influence on the House of Nathan. He had been elected justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York -- a post his father, Michael Hart Cardozo, had been nominated for, though the senior Cardozo died before the election -- and the Cardozos took themselves very seriously and lived every bit as grandly as their Nathan cousins (Albert was married to Benjamin Nathan's sister Rebecca). The Cardozo house stood as 12 West Forty-seventh Street, diagonally opposite the Jay Gould mansion, which was always bustling with the arrival and departure of carriages, footmen, and liveried servants; from their earliest days the Cardozo children were made to feel part of a world of wealth and consequence. Cardozos were said to come by their lofty position naturally. During the Inquisition, a Cardozo had actually claimed that he was the Messiah. Refusing tc convert, he was marched to the stake boldly proclaiming: "Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One!"

Albert Cardozo's children -- there were seven -- were all carefully taught to be able to recite, upon command from any of their elders, the words from the prophet Micah: "To do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with thy God." They were taught to "treat the rich and the poor alike, be kind and civil to those in thy employ." They were instructed to "avoid not the society of your brethren but be firm in faith. Be good citizens and seek the welfare of the community in which you dwell." Unfortunately, Judge Albert Cardozo, from his high position on the New York State bench, had difficulty adhering to the letter of these worthy mottoes, particularly the latter.

"Boss" William Tweed and his infamous Ring ruled New York in those days, and Tweed was finding the friendship of prominent judges most useful in his operations. Tweed seemed to find Albert Cardozo -- with his distinguished facade, his gift of oratory, his air of complete incorruptibility -- a particularly helpful man to have on his side. Tweed was interested in naturalization: not the slower legal kind, but the instant and illegal kind, whereby thousands of new immigrants were daily made into American citizens, who naturally were eager to vote for Boss Tweed. Justice Albert Cardozo was one of a trio of judges -- the others were George G. Barnard and John H. McCann -- who countenanced this activity.

Another ally of Boss Tweed's was Albert Cardozo's neighbor Jay Gould, the railroad manipulator, for whose machinations -- he bought and ruined railroads to the right and left of him -- it is said that American railroading has been paying to this day. Jay Gould -- for financial support -- could be very useful to Boss Tweed, and Boss Tweed -- for political support -- could be useful to Jay Gould. Soon it appeared that at another point of the triangle, within the state judiciary, Justice Albert Cardozo was also being helpful. When a railroad went bankrupt, it was up to the courts to appoint a supposedly impartial referee to help it put its affairs in order and settle its debts. Certainly Cardozo was uncommonly partial in his appointments of refereeships whenever Gould-wrecked railroad companies were in need of financial reorganization. Out of almost six hundred refereeships that Cardozo was authorized to bestow, over three hundred were given to one of Boss Tweed's nephews, and more than a hundred went to Boss Tweed's son. Jay Gould's most notorious adventure, of course, was the one by which he enormously inflated, then utterly destroyed, the stock of the Erie Railroad, a feat that made millions for Gould and rocked the American economy for months thereafter. In the financial carnage that followed, it was necessary to appoint a receiver for the railroad. At the suggestion of Boss Tweed, Albert Cardozo appointed another Tweed henchman. This was too much for the New York State Bar Association, which ordered an investigation into Mr. Justice Cardozo and his activities.

In the Sephardic community as well as within the family, it was assumed that Uncle Albert would do the manly thing: stand up to the investigation, lay his cards on the table, and demonstrate that he had been guilty of no wrongdoing. But Uncle Albert failed them utterly. Instead of submitting to the inquiry, he resigned his post on the bench, leaving a distinct impression of guilt behind him, and an odor of malfeasance surrounding the Cardozo name. Had Tweed and Gould paid off their good friend? Uncle Albert always insisted that they had not, but no one quite believed him, since, by resigning, he had sidestepped the inquiry. Also, it had appeared to many people that the Cardozos lived awfully well -- far better than would seem possible on a state justice's salary. After stepping down from the bench, Uncle Albert resumed a quiet practice of law, and the Cardozos lived less well.

All this was in 1873, when Albert's youngest son, Benjamin Nathan Cardozo, was just three years old. (Benjamin had been just a few months old when the uncle after whom he was named had been so brutally murdered.) Six years later, when he was only nine, his mother died, and an even darker atmosphere fell upon the Cardozos' house. Mr. Gould and Boss Tweed were no longer friends of the family. More and more the ostentatious style of life across Fifth Avenue at the Gould mansion was in painful contrast with that at 12 West Forty-seventh. Albert Cardozo used to complain in his twilight years that he was "the victim of politics." "I was a victim of politics, a victim of politics," he would insist again and again, and his family, out of loyalty and love, took this sympathetic line. But everywhere the bitter truth was well known: Albert was a weakling.

Within the tight little world of the Sephardim, Albert's plight was the cause of deep embarrassment. After all, if such disgrace could befall a member of one of the oldest, one of the leading families, what did it say about all the others who considered themselves the "few" elite, buttressed against the ruffian horde that stood outside the gate? This, on top of all the leering publicity the Nathan murder trial had generated, seemed almost too much to bear. What was the point of being able to say (as some of the Gomez descendents liked to say, rather slyly, apropos of the new-rich Germans), "We made OUT money in wampum," when a member of the family of Albert Cardozo's stature could prove himself to be so easily corruptible? If anything, Albert Cardozo's misfortunes had the effect upon the Sephardim of making them draw together into an even tighter knot of privacy and privilege. Now the Sephardim seemed to want to pull a shell around themselves, a chrysalis that would be impervious to prying from outside.

Within these contours of Sephardic life, Benjamin Nathan Cardozo grew up. His was a notably unhappy childhood. And yet, if it had not been for the family misfortunes, in paIticular his father's disgrace, it is quite unlikely that Benjamin Cardozo would have become the man he came to be. Because, from his earliest boyhood, he set out upon a life plan designed to exonerate, or at least vindicate, his father, and bring back honor to the Cardozo name.

His growing up was not particularly helped by his father's choice of tutor for him. Albert Cardozo was a snob -- which may have been at the root of many of his troubles -- and keeping up with the Joneses was one of his preoccupations. In the 1880's the family to keep up with was, of all people, that of Joseph Seligman, the German Jew who had arrived in New York in the 1830's with one hundred dollars sewn in the seat of his pants, had started off as a foot peddler in Pennsylvania, and had succeeded to the extent that he now headed an international banking house that did business with the Rothschilds. To the older Sephardic group, it seemed that the Seligmans and their ilk had taken on preposterous airs, and they were actually getting into select clubs such as the Union. A few years earlier, Joseph Seligman had startled New York's Jewish community, and the rest of the city as well, by hiring Horatio Alger to tutor his children. Not to be outdone by an upstart immigrant German, Albert Cardozo decided to do the same for his son Ben, and Mr. Alger joined the Cardozo household.

Small and roly-poly, with a round bald head and squinting, nearsighted eyes, Mr. Alger was described by one of the family as "a dear, absurd little man." He was certainly a far cry from his rags-to-riches newsboy heroes in such then-popular romances as Ragged Dick and Tattered Tom. He was flutily effeminate, with mincing ways and a fondness for practicing ballet positions in his spare time, crying out such exclamations as "Oh, lawsy me!" or bursting into wild tears when things went wrong. Yet he once seriously announced his candidacy for President of the United States after a friend, as a joke, told him he could defeat Garfield.

The immense popularity of his books had made Alger a rich man, but he always considered his true forte to be poetry, which he wrote very badly. He once wrote a poem -- of which the kindest critical word was "interminable" -- explaining American life. And because he had created boy folk heroes, he saw himself as a kind of missionary to youth. This was why he accepted tutoring posts, and why he gave so generously to causes for the betterment of orphaned boys, shoeshine boys, hoboes, and derelicts on the Bowery. As a teacher he was hopelessly ineffective in both the Seligman and the Cardozo households, where healthy growing boys kept him perpetually cowed. They locked him in closets and tied him to chairs, and played all manner of cruel tricks on their tiny tutor. Benjamin Cardozo once said, in a remarkable example of understatement, "He did not do as successful a job for me as he did with the careers of his newsboy heroes." And yet one thing may have rubbed off on young Ben Cardozo: Alger's love of poetry. All his life, Benjamin Cardozo was an avid reader of poems -- he occasionally tried his hand at poetry himself -- and had a fascination, and tremendous respect, for the English language.

At the same time, there was no doubt that, despite any deficiencies in his education, young Ben possessed a brilliant mind -- a mind that would carry him into Columbia as a freshman at the age or fifteen (he graduated at nineteen) and, with what he described as "an almost ecstatic consecration to the law," into a career that has hardly been equaled in the history of American jurisprudence. With only two years of law school, instead of the usual three, and without even an LLB degree, he became a member of the bar, moved on to become chief judge of the court of appeals of New York State, and at last achieved the highest judicial post in the country, justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. But was it his brilliant mind alone that pushed him to these accomplishments? A great deal is known and has been written about Benjamin N. Cardozo, the great jurist, humanitarian, and towering public figure. Somewhat less is understood of the man, who was lonely, tortured, obsessed.

Despite moments of inadvertent hilarity provided by Horatio Alger, the Cardozo household grew increasingly gloomy during the years of Ben Cardozo's youth, and a pervading air of melancholy and dissent settled upon the place. Though the Cardozo children were bound together by natural ties of love and family, the strongest bond between them seemed to be sadness. There were endless quarrels with relatives, sometimes over money or business matters, but more often over real or imagined social slights. As Ben Cardozo's cousin Annie Nathan wrote:

As a child, I was always trying to tread a path warily through the maze of family feuds. "Was it Aunt Becky or Aunt Rachel," I would ask myself, "who didn't speak to Uncle John?" "Which aunt was it with whom Mama had quarreled?" These perplexing feuds always had their start in the failure of some relative to "ask after" one of the family. There were fourteen aunts and uncles -- almost all with numerous progeny -- so some slight, quite unintentional lapse might easily have been pardoned. But not in our family. It was the crime of crimes. It was with us as the laws of the Medes and the Persians that on meeting a relative (particularly an "in-law") however fortuitously, however pressed for time, one must inquire meticulously into the state of health of each and every member of that particular family. Any deviation, any temporary forgetfulness, was set down as a deliberate slight, to be resented as such.

At times, it must have seemed to young Benjamin Cardozo that a terrible curse hung over his branch of the Nathan family, rather like that which afflicted the Greek House of Atreus: somehow, before he was finished, each member of the Cardozo family must be ,made to pay for the father's sins. Not long after his mother's death, an older sister, Grace, died at the age of twenty-five. That same year, Ben's father died. That was the autumn Ben started at Columbia. Next year, Ben's twin sister, Emily -- described as "the one high-spirited member of the family" -- was married, but in the family this was treated as another tragedy. The man she married, Frank Bent, was a Christian and, though Emily was the only one of the seven Cardozo children to marry, she was thereafter treated as dead. The family actually "cut kriah" for her -- that is, they held a service for the dead for her. (To cut kriah is to cut a tiny snippet of one's clothing -- always in an inconspicuous place, or one easily mended -- symbolic of the Biblical practice of mourners rending their garments over the deceased.) This particular family service, Benjamin Cardozo once recalled, "disgusted" him. Emily Cardozo's name was dropped from family conversation, and her portrait, literally, was turned against the wall.

A few years later, Ben's only brother (another had died in childhood), Allie, whom he idolized, died, also at an early age. That left Ben and two older spinster sisters, Ellen and Elizabeth -- plain, shy Nell and beautiful, excitable Lizzie. Lizzie wanted to be a painter, and she studied art under Kenneth Hayes Miller, who described her as "the end of a long line of aristocrats. She looked like a feminine edition of Dante. Eyes so dark and intense, the aquiline, aristocratic nose." For all her beauty and the intensity of her personality, Lizzie Cardozo had very little artistic talent, which few people -- including Mr. Miller -- could bring themselves to tell her. She painted incessantly nonetheless, and also wrote fervid, morbid poetry full of death and loss and desolation. She suffered from a recurring back ailment which, by the time she reached maturity, kept her in almost perpetual pain. But it was clear to many that more than this was wrong with Lizzie. She had visions, hallucinatory fantasies which may have been heightened by drugs prescribed for pain, but which certainly sprang from some deeper psychosis, and when Lizzie's "bad periods" became impossible for Nell and Ben to manage, a trained nurse, Kate Tracy, had to be hired to handle her. Miss Tracy remained Lizzie's companion for life, and the two women retired to a little cottage in Connecticut. Was Lizzie Cardozo perhaps too highly bred? She was descended on both sides from people who had married their close relatives. Both sets of grandparents had been marriages of cousins, as had at least two sets of her great-grandparents. Was some weak and fatal strain coming to the surface, threatening to fling apart permanently the closely knit fabric of Spanish Jewish families? Was Lizzie indeed "the end of the line"? Such thoughts must have darkened the mind of Ben Cardozo as he set out with "ecstatic consecration" to be a great lawyer and jurist.

And so, at 803 Madison Avenue, where the family had moved after Albert Cardozo's downfall, it was now just Miss Nell, eleven years older than her brother, and Ben. Their father had left a depleted estate of less than $100,000,and much of this was required to care for the afflicted Lizzie. Young Ben, working furiously in law offices downtown, became the breadwinner. Nell kept house for him. Darkly handsome, but small and frail of physique -- he was described by one of his Columbia professors as "desperately serious" -- Ben buried himself in study and work from early in the morning until late at night. At Columbia he had been too young for the social life -- he was a sophomore before his voice began to change -- and by the time he began to practice law he had lost all taste for it. He usually brought work home with him from the office and, after a quiet dinner with Nell, he would be back at his desk until after midnight. His girl cousins used to try to persuade him to accompany them to dances or to concerts or the theater. He always refused, using the press of work to do as an excuse. Sometimes he would break his routine with a bit of four-handed piano with Nellie of an evening, but that was all. He had, he once admitted, hesitated before deciding to go into law. He had considered studying art. But he hadn't hesitated for long, because forces from the past stronger than he were driving him to expiate his father's guilt.

Benjamin Cardozo brought a particular and individualistic "style" with him to American justice. Though he was often called a "lawyer's lawyer," with a photographic memory that could cite cases, chapter and verse, without looking them up in the lawbooks, he was also an early champion of the little man against what often seemed the giant and uncaring mechanism of urban or corporate society. For instance, in an early-1916 automobile-safety case that came before the New York State court of appeals, a man named McPherson was suing an automobile company for injuries incurred when a new car he had bought turned out to have a defective wheel. The manufacturer had argued that it was not responsible, since it had not sold the car directly to McPherson, but to a dealer. There was no proof, the company argued, that it had known of the defect -- though the car had collapsed when being driven at eight miles an hour. This defense had been upheld by the lower court.

Not so, replied Judge Cardozo in his reversing opinion. He wrote: "Beyond all question, the nature of an automobile gives warning of probable danger if its construction is defective. This automobile was designed to go fifty miles an hour. Unless its wheels were sound and strong, injury was almost certain. It was as much a thing of danger as a defective engine for a railroad. The defendant knew the danger." Cardozo also pointed out that the company obviously knew, when it supplied its dealers with cars, that they were for the ultimate sale to motorists, and that any claim to the contrary was silly and "inconsequential." He added: "Precedents drawn from the days of travel by stagecoach do not fit the conditions of travel today. The principle that the danger must be imminent does not change, but the things subject to the principle do change. They are whatever the needs of life in a developing civilization require them to be."

Cardozo was also one of the first American jurists to spell out clearly that what is a legal wrong is not necessarily a moral wrong, and that this fact must be considered in, for example, judging the crimes of the criminally insane. Cardozo was the kind of jurist who always looked for ways in which the laws, as written, were either too vague or too universal. There was the case of a cigar packer named Grieb who, under the instructions of his employer, was delivering a crate of cigars to a customer and stumbled on a staircase and fell. The accident proved fatal but, since the man had been delivering the crate after regular working hours, his employer had argued that his widow and children were not entitled to the customary death benefits under the Workmen's Compensation Act. The man was not, his employer insisted, legally employed at nighttime. This position had been upheld in the lower court.

But, said Judge Cardozo in his reversal:

Grieb's service, if it had been rendered during working hours, would have been incidental to his employment. To overturn this award, it is necessary to hold that the service ceased to be incidental because rendered after hours. That will never do. The law does not insist that an employee shall work with his eye upon the clock. Services rendered in a spirit of helpful loyalty, after closing time has come, have the same protection as the services of the drone or the laggard. . . . What Grieb then undertook to do with his employer's approval was just as much a part of the business as if it had been done in the noonday sun. . . . If such a service is not incidental to the employment within the meaning of this statute, loyalty and helpfulness have earned a poor reward.

For all the clarity of his thinking and the lucidity of his judgment, he remained an exceedingly modest man and often expressed a low opinion of himself. Once, accepting an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from a university, he described himself as "a mere plodding mediocrity." When asked what he meant by this, he said: "I say plodding mediocrity, for a mere mediocrity cannot go far, but a plodding one can go quite a distance." This was about as generous with himself as he permitted himself to be, though he once went so far as to describe himself as a "judicial evolutionist." And he remained a solitary, moody man who entertained -- with sister Nell acting as his hostess -- only when it seemed to him an absolutely inescapable necessity, and who spent his leisure time reading poetry, studying law, or -- for a rare diversion -- studying Italian and playing a bit of gentlemanly golf.

He spent a great deal of time answering letters. Each letter he received -- even as a Supreme Court justice -- was personally answered by him, and in longhand. He wrote a beautifully flowing script. One of his lifelong friends was Mrs. Lafayette Goldstone and, throughout his long correspondence with her over a period of more than twenty years, the wistful, self-deprecatory spirit of melancholy pervades. When he was appointed to the New York State court of appeals, in 1914, a certain amount of time spent in Albany was required, and he always treated these "exiles," as he called them, as though Albany were Devil's Island. Years later, after his appointment to the United States Supreme Court, he took an apartment in Washington, and his view of life in the capital was equally dismal. From his apartment at 2101 Connecticut Avenue he wrote in a characteristic vein to Mrs. Goldstone: "The letterhead tells the story. Alas! I am homesick for the old scenes and the old faces. The apartment is beautiful, but my heart is far away." The following year, he wrote: "I feel more than ever an exile.... [New York], the great city-election is on, and I am condemned to take no part in it 'Hang yourself, brave Crillon,' said Henry IV after a great victory had been gained. 'Hang yourself, brave Crillon, we fought at Argeres, and you were not there.'''

Of life in Washington, he wrote: "I call myself Gandhi, an ugly old saint -- or at least a putative saint -- to whom the faithful pay obeisance. They come here in great numbers, young and old, stupid and clever, some to stare and some to talk. Among the clever was Irwin Edman. . . . What a delightful youth he is!"

His great idol was Oliver Wendell Holmes, whom he replaced on the Supreme Court bench, and after a visit with Holmes at Beverly, Massachusetts, Cardozo wrote: "Holmes is a genius and a saint, enough of the mischievous devil in him not to make the sainthood burdensome, but still, I think, a saint, and surely a genius." Yet Cardozo's own reticence and shyness hampered him during the visit and, writing again to Mrs. Goldstone, he said: "I wish I could talk freely like you. I'm fairly paralyzed when I visit strangers whom I admire and revere. But the old man sent word to me that he entreated me to visit him, so what could I do? My friend, Felix Frankfurter, who knows him well, drove me there from Boston, and back to my hotel. What an egocentric letter I I'm ashamed of it. . . ."

When Holmes died, Cardozo wrote: "Holmes was great. His life work had been finished, but he remained a magnificent symbol. The world is poorer without him. I was the last person to visit him before he took to his bed."

Cardozo was capable of a certain gentle humor. Once, after a visit to New York's Metropolitan Museum, he wrote: "Almost as one enters, one is greeted by two gigantic effigies of the Pharaoh of the Exodus, a gift of the Egyptian government, brought from the Temple at Luxor and wrought by some Egyptian sculptor about 1250 B.C. If the effigies could see, they would probably surmise that New York was the place to which the Jews, driven forth from the land of Egypt, had been guided by the wise old Moses."

But the note of sadness was forever creeping in. "May all happiness be yours in your bright and sunlit dwelling," he wrote to Mrs. Goldstone. "I cling to you, says an Italian (I am airing my new learning) 'come l'edera il muro,' as the ivy to the wall. That is the way I feel about my friends as I watch the devastating years." And, a little later, from his summer home in Rye: "I am glad you like me for myself and not for my supposed greatness which, alas, is nonexistent. . . . Whatever greatness I have is the greatness of a drudge."

As he grew older, and more celebrated, people -- particularly his female relatives -- kept trying to make matches for him, but to no avail. He remained steadfastly a bachelor, and increasingly devoted to and dependent upon his sister Nell. They were like mother and son, she reminding him to take his umbrella if it looked like rain, telling him to bundle up warm in case of snow. It is likely that if he had ever wanted to marry, strong-willed Nell would not have let him. Her entire life revolved around him, and she was jealous every moment they were apart. His biographer George Hellman wrote: "He knew all that he meant to her -- the jealousy as well as the depth of her affection. He made allowances for the jealousy; he was grateful for the affection." To a cousin who once asked him why he denied himself the pleasures of a wife and children, Cardozo replied quickly, "I can never put Nell in second place!" And once, at a New York dinner party, a young woman seated next to the great jurist had the temerity to say to him, "Won't you tell me, Judge Cardozo, whether you were ever in love?"

He looked briefly startled, and said, "Once." Then, adroitly, he changed the subject. He never revealed any more than that.

It is possible that Cardozo saw himself as a kind of missionary, not only to redeem the Cardozo name but also to restore prestige and authority to Sephardic Jewry in general -- to help this tiny band ("We few," he used to say) retain its place in history. Because certainly the spunk and individuality that characterized the earlier generations in America seemed to be disappearing as the world moved into the twentieth century. After two hundred fifty years, the fabric of Sephardic life seemed to be shredding, flying apart, no longer a knit thing and all of a piece. Cardozo had always been fiercely proud of his forebears, the ancestors who had fought as officers in the Revolution, who had founded banks and captained vessels, who had sat at the right hand of Presidents from Washington on down. And yet the tragic fact was that the importance -- economic, political, and social -- of the oldest Jewish families was diminishing. They were being eclipsed by Jews from other lands and, at the same time, the old standards were disappearing. Suddenly, in the finest and oldest families, there were suicides, divorces (his cousin, the writer Robert Nathan, had already been divorced three times), alcoholics, wastrels, and people who had to be locked away with custodians. Did Cardozo see his father's troubles as symptomatic of a larger trouble -- a trouble reflected also in his sister Emily's marriage to a Christian, and his sister Lizzie's unhappy state? Was the end of the line at hand for "we few"? He may have sensed this, and spent much of his life attempting to reverse the trend.

The year 1868 was a shattering one for all the Sephardim. It was the year that the splendid new Reform Temple Emanu-El opened its doors, with a cluster of the wealthiest German Jews in New York on its committees and board of directors. Not only was the new edifice splendid, and obviously expensive, and not only was it right on Fifth Avenue at Forty-third Street, far north of Nineteenth Street, where Shearith Israel then more modestly reposed (inherent in Emanu-El's choice of site was the statement that the forties were now more fashionable than the area around Thirty-third Street), but it represented -- on a national scale -- a triumph for the Reform movement, which the Sephardim had so long opposed. When the temple was dedicated, the New York Times editorialized that Emanu-El's congregation was "the first to stand forward before the world and proclaim the dominion of reason over blind and bigoted faith." The Judaism of Emanu-El was praised as "the Judaism of the heart, the Judaism which proclaims the spirit of religion as being of more importance than the letter." The farsighted Germans behind Emanu-El were extolled for having "become one with progress."

Immediately there was a great deal of grumbling within the Shearith Israel congregation, and it wasn't long before a faction had formed that talked of the need for a new building and of "modernization" and "improvements" in the service. One group wanted to introduce family pews -- eliminating segregated seating -- and to install an organ. Another urged that the fixed prayers should be fewer in number, with less repetition, so that "in these modem, busy times," the service would be shorter. Still another group thought that the ancient Spanish music had outlived its usefulness and meaning. By 1895, the debate had reached such a point of ill feeling and crossed purposes that a meeting of the elders of the synagogue was held.

The meeting started off stormily. Then Ben Cardozo, still a young lawyer, got to his feet. Nothing, he said, must be allowed to change the Sephardic ritual of the synagogue, the oldest in America. Its very name, meaning "Remnant of Israel," indicated that there were values here worth clinging to at all costs. Perhaps the weight of his Nathan-Seixas-Levy-Hart ancestors added strength to his words, for he was certainly effective. After his speech, a vote was taken, and the proposed changes and updatings were defeated by a count of seventy-three to seven. Thus Sephardic tradition stepped into another century of imperturbability.

He may not consciously have meant to, but as Mr. Justice Cardozo he became Sephardic Jewry's proudest figure, restoring the old families' oldest pride, a pride of history, of heritage, of race -- which was the way he felt it.

Cardozo watched with dismay as his beloved Nell grew old and frail. They continued their old routine: winters in Albany, then home to New York, then to the house at Allenhurst, on the Jersey shore, for summers, and the quiet evenings of cards and fourhanded piano. Then Nell became paralyzed and could no longer play. He wrote: "Our rides along Ocean Avenue have lost the point and tang that they had in former years. Sea Bright has lost its brightness." As the summer drew to a close: "I have been worried again about Nell. She hasn't been so well for the last week -- a slight temperature in the afternoon, a quicker pulse at times, and speech more incoherent. Dr. Woolley has visited her daily.... So the summer creeps its weary length along."

Then an improvement: "There has been no recurrence of the alarming seizure of a fortnight ago, but I cannot tell when one may come." And, a few weeks later: "I am sending you some snapshots of Nell that were taken a few weeks ago while she was sitting on the porch. I think she looks sweet, and remarkably well, all things considered." But by the following summer he was despondent again. "She seems to have lost strength," he wrote in August, 1928, "and her power of speech has not at all improved. The effect of these long silences, when once she was so full of animation, is something that I do not need to describe. . . ." A few months later, Nell died. This woman who had been so possessive of him and ambitious for him did not live to see the capstone of his career, his elevation to the United States Supreme Court three years later. And without her the achievement seemed empty to him.

He was even reluctant to accept the appointment. To a cousin he wrote: "Indeed I don't want to go to Washington. Please telegraph the President not to name me." Two days later, he wrote: ''I'm trying to stave off the appointment. . . . Most of all, I don't want to live in utter loneliness . . . away from all my relatives and friends here whom I love." At last, he accepted the post, but with a deep sigh. And he hated Washington.

A few days after Nell's funeral, Judge Cardozo paid a call on a cousin, Sarah Lyons, who lived in a large and somewhat disheveled apartment not far from his own now-empty house on West Seventy-fifth Street. Miss Lyons, a peppery spinster in her eighties, never at a loss for a quick opinion, admonition, or piece of her mind, and whose bombazine was always stiff with family pride (her mother was a Nathan), poured tea for them both. As they talked, some mention was inevitably made of Nell, and Judge Cardozo's eyes misted over. "Now, Ben Cardozo," said Miss Sarah sternly, "you're not to cry!"

The judge answered quickly, like the dutiful little boy he had always been, ''I'm not crying, Aunt Sally."

A few years later, at his funeral, someone said, "If only his father had been strong enough, had had the grit enough, to resist Boss Tweed, Ben would have had a happy life."

True, but then we might not have had the Supreme Court justice.
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Re: The Grandees: America's Sephardic Elite, by Stephen Birm

Postby admin » Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:03 pm


IF THE SEPHARDIM of New York needed more Nathans to gossip about, there were suddenly the two fighting Nathan sisters, Annie and Maud. Everyone knew that the two girls did not "get on," and that there had been "troubles" within that branch of the Nathan family -- the girls were daughters of Robert Weeks Nathan, Benjamin Nathan's brother -- but nothing had ever erupted in any sort of public way. Then, in 1933, Maud Nathan wrote and had published an autobiography called Once Upon a Time and Today, which, among other careful glossings-over, painted an idyllic picture of a happy girlhood in New York and, later, in Green Bay, Wisconsin. When, several years later, her sister Annie countered with her own book, called It's Been Fun, her version of the Nathan story sounded like no fun at all.

Robert Weeks Nathan was a handsome and cheerful man with a fondness, in the phrase of his day, for a well-turned ankle. In her book, Annie told of how, as a little girl, she was out walking in New York one afternoon with her nurse when who should she see coming from the opposite direction but her father, with an elegantly turned-out young lady on his arm. Annie rushed up and hugged her father, who did not seem particularly pleased to see her. In fact, he actually pushed her off, and back into the nurse's clutches. As she and the nurse proceeded, the nurse explained that the man they had met was not Annie's father, though there was "some slight resemblance." Annie Nathan was bewildered. Certainly she knew her own father. But tlle nurse was very firm, and for years Annie believed that the man she had encountered on the street that afternoon was not her parent but his exact double.

Then she told of the beautiful and mysterious Lazarus cousin whom no one in the family was supposed to "receive." Annie's mother, though, did secretly receive the lady, and the two whispered together over teacups. What was the scandal? Annie could never get to the bottom of it because no one would ever tell her. But it all had to do, she gathered, from "the way of life" the beautiful cousin had chosen to live.

Annie's mother had been a Florance, an old Sephardic family from the South. Florances had first come to Charleston, South Carolina, in the eighteenth century, and from there had migrated to New Orleans and Philadelphia. The Florance men, Annie Nathan revealed in her memoir, were said to have a weakness for hard liquor. That was said to be Uncle Ted's problem. Nonetheless, some Florances were very grand. One of Philadelphia's noted hostesses in the nineteenth century was "Mrs. William Florance of Rittenhouse Square" -- she was always so identified except at such times when she was simply "Mrs. Florance," as though there could not be two of her elevated rank. Mrs. Florance was a formidable woman. Looking down her Rittenhouse Square dinner table one evening, she noticed a guest whose gown revealed somewhat more decolletage than Mrs. Florance thought proper. Without a word, she rose from the table, left the room, and returned a moment later with a shawl, which she draped carefully around her guest's shoulders. "Youlook chilly, my dear," she murmured, and the dinner party proceeded.

Uncle Ted was something else again, and his reputation in Philadelphia left something to be desired. He, too, had married a Nathan -- Benjamin Nathan's daughter Rosalie -- but he had left her to live openly with another woman. By this woman he had gone so far as to have a daughter -- or so "everybody" said. He insisted that his lady friend had been a widow, with a daughter, and that the daughter was not his. Naturally, nobody believed Ted Florance's trumped-up explanation. When the lady friend died, the daughter -- quite naturally, it seemed -- went to live with her father. It can be imagined what consternation greeted the news that Ted Florance was going to marry this young woman. He was going to marry his own daughter. Tea tables in New York rocked with the news for weeks. Whether or not she really was his daughter will, of course, never be known, but the feathers flew so high in the Nathan and Florance families that the marriage was called off.

His wife, meanwhile, Aunt Rosalie, was not to be outdone by her husband's flamboyant ways. In the 1880'S, a "mature" woman with grown children, she suddenly took off for an extended tour of Europe with another man. She was accused of "flying in the face of decency," but despite the criticism she continued on her travels, explaining that a man made a more useful and entertaining travel companion than another woman. It saved her no end of trouble and being "put upon," she said. The man was an occulist -- he and Aunt Rosalie had first met "on a professional basis" -- and, she explained, he also tended to her eye needs while they traveled. (Like Ben Nathan, she was extremely nearsighted.) It seemed, at best, a little incongruous; they were both well past middle age -- "Old enough to know better," the Nathans muttered -- but the arrangement continued pleasurably for both. Aunt Rosalie's oculist was with her when she died in Switzerland. She was cremated, which was a scandal in itself.

Annie Nathan's father had been a prosperous stockbroker, but he had got caught in the stock market crash of 1875 and had lost everything. It was the beginning of another tragic episode in the Nathan family. A friend, David KelIy -- "a devoted admirer of my mother," Annie wrote obliquely in her book -- offered Mr. Nathan the unlikely job of general passenger agent for the Green Bay and Minnesota Railroad in Green Bay, Wisconsin. It was a moment of great upheaval for the family, and its impact was not helped by the fact that when the Nathans had established themselves in a house in Green Bay, Mr. Kelly moved in with them. It was an odd menage -- Mr. Nathan seldom spoke to Mr. Kelly, and made no secret of his dislike for him, though both he and an older son worked for Kelly's railroad -- and it grew even odder when Mr. Nathan began entertaining his own group of lady friends in the house. Before long, however, Mr. Nathan grew tired of the Middle West and returned to his old Wall Street haunts, leaving his wife, children, and Mr. Kelly in Green Bay.

Annette Florance Nathan was, as they said, "delicate." Feminine and woundable, she had been born in the South and raised by attentive nurses and servants, and she knew nothing of housekeeping before her marriage. (After she was married, her first maid asked her how she wished her potatoes cooked for dinner and she knew so little of cooking that she couldn't answer.) She would have inherited a share of a large fortune, but her father, an unreconstructed Southerner, cut her off without a penny for marrying a Yankee. Though she had no business experience whatever, she hit on the idea, in Green Bay, of trying singlehandedly to recoup the family fortunes. "She had been told wonderful tales of profitable returns from running rooming houses in Chicago," her daughter wrote, and so she set off for Chicago to acquire such an establishment. Several days later, she returned to Green Bay, ecstatic. She had met "a kindly and lovely blue-eyed woman" who had helped her find a house -- a place somewhat larger than she had originally thought of buying -- and her new friend had helped her spend a great deal of money on furniture and redecoration.

The Chicago venture was a disaster from the beginning. The charming blue-eyed friend had helped Mrs. Nathan buy far too large a house for far too much money, in a neighborhood unsuited for rooming houses, and the friend had also required a sizable cut of the cost of the proceedings. It wasn't long before the house and Mrs. Nathan's investment in it were lost, and the family staggered under another heavy blow.

It was one from which the poor lady never recovered. Her "nervousness" had already become pronounced, and now there were terrible temper tantrums followed by tears and long periods of depression. She had trouble sleeping, and doctors had prescribed both morphine and chloral for her -- which she took alternately, or together, and in increasing doses -- and by the time the family realized her addiction it was too late. There followed awful scenes, with the children struggling to keep the "medicine" out of their mother's hands, with the arrival of relatives who tried to help, with -- ultimately -- the tortured woman's confinement in a hospital, her children shipped back East to grandparents, and Mrs. Nathan's death. Robert Weeks Nathan returned to his wife's side for that. Mr. Kelly had, in the meantime, vanished.

All this -- her father's philanderings, his financial ineptitude, her mother's relationship to Mr. Kelly -- was in Annie's book. She even pointed out the "Florance family drinking habit." What was not explained in the book was how, out of these shambles of unhappy lives, two women as effective and successful as Annie Nathan and her sister Maud could have emerged. Strong-minded and opinionated, they were too much alike, and too competitive, to get along. But between them they managed to lift the Nathan name out of its Victorian doldrums into twentieth-century prominence.

Maud Nathan, the older of the two, became a double Nathan when, at the age of sixteen, she married a first cousin, Frederick Nathan. She was a great crusader for women's rights. She became a leading suffragist, and marched alongside such doughty women as Harriet May Mills, Mary Garrett Hay, Mrs. Clarence Mackay, and Carrie Chapman Catt. Her name is engraved on a plaque in the New York State Capitol at Albany as one of those responsible for women receiving the vote. She was also a founder of the New York Consumers' League, a welfare group devoted to improving working conditions for women in shops and factories. Though small and soft-spoken, with large dark eyes, she loved nothing better than a fight. Once she became so incensed about what she considered rude treatment by a Manhattan taxicab driver, and the subsequent handling of the matter by the police, that she wrote a stinging letter about it to Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt. Her letter so impressed Mr. Roosevelt that he sent for her, and she converted him to the cause of the Consumers' League by taking him on a tour of sweatshops. The future President remained an admirer for life. Once, when foot traffic was being diverted from a street where a luncheon was being given for Prince Henry of Prussia, Mrs. Nathan -- on her way to a social welfare meeting -- refused to be diverted, and challenged police officers to arrest her. They didn't dare, and she passed through. At one point, the list of organizations on whose boards she sat, international conferences she had attended, and delegations before which she had spoken gave her the longest biographical sketch of any woman listed in Who's Who in America.

Longer, even, than her sister Annie's, which was a painful thorn in Annie's side. The sisters' first important falling out was over the issue of women's suffrage. Annie Nathan, who had been the first woman in New York to ride a bicycle -- in a day when that sort of thing shocked society and made the newspapers -- and who seemed to stand for everything connected with progress and enlightenment for her sex, took the astonishing step of joining the anti-suffragists. "She did it mostly to spite Maud," one of her cousins wrote, but whatever the reason, it was the end of peace in the family. On the occasion of one of their rare confrontations, Annie said to Maud, "How would you like your cook to vote?" Maud replied coolly, "He does!" Needless to say, the girls' two brothers took Annie's side, as did most men (Judge Cardozo was an important exception; he favored women's voting). And Annie Nathan, meanwhile, had undertaken a separate battle: education for women.

"As far back as I can remember, I was filled with a passionate desire to go to college," she wrote in her memoir. Her father took her on his knee and told her, sadly, that if she pursued this ambition she would never marry, because "Men hate intelligent wives." Nevertheless, she enrolled in what Columbia College then called its "Collegiate Course for Women," and, before she was twenty, was happily married to a successful doctor, Alfred Meyer. She found the "Collegiate Course" dismayingly restricted, however, devoted as it was largely to teaching women to roll hems and balance teacups, and she dropped out in 1886 without a degree, only to discover that the only other institution of higher learning for women within a reasonable distance was the Harvard Annex (a forerunner of Radcliffe), but even that did not offer a degree. There was literally no college for women in New York City, nor anywhere nearby.

So Annie Nathan Meyer set out to start her own college. She set out, on her bicycle, to solicit funds and support from people all over the city who were either indifferent or unalterably opposed to women's colleges. She pedaled hundreds of miles up and down New York City streets, storming the fortresses of the rich and influential, demanding to be seen and listened to. Her friends and family -- except her husband -- immediately gave up on her, and decided that Annie and her crazy crusade were both hopeless. One of the women on whom she called was a Mrs. Wendell, the mother of a Harvard professor, who "actually wept" -- so she said -- "thinking of that sweet young girl wasting her life in the impossible attempt to found a woman's college connected with Columbia."

And yet, little by little, she began to get support for her project. One of the earliest to back her was Ella Weed, headmistress of the then fashionable Miss Annie Brown's School on Fifth Avenue, where proper young ladies of New York society attended classes. Another enthusiastic supporter was Chauncey Depew, the wealthy clubman, and he was joined by such luminaries of the day as Richard Watson Gilder, the former editor of Century magazine, and Josephine Shaw Lowell. Suddenly it began to seem as though Annie Nathan Meyer on her bicycle really was going to start a college. Barnard College, named after a former president of Columbia (a tactic by which Annie Nathan got the support of Dr. Barnard's widow), received its charter in 1889, and its founder had wasted astonishingly little of her life in the effort. She was just twenty-two years old.

Though Barnard flourished and grew, it remained for years New York's only women's college, and it took New York an uncommonly long time to realize what Barnard was and what New York had. In the 1890'S, Mrs. William Astor -- the Mrs. Astor of the famous ballroom -- met her friend Mrs. Duer at a party and asked after Mrs. Duer's daughter, Alice, who later would become the poet Alice Duer Miller. "I haven't seen Alice at any of the dances all winter," said Mrs. Astor. On being told that Alice was attending Barnard College, Mrs. Astor cried out, "What! That sweet young thing?" Several years later, a Barnard fund-raising group was speaking before a wealthy chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Because of the prominence of the women in the group, and the size of their pocketbooks, the Barnard ladies were certain that large contributions would be forthcoming. But, after several weeks had passed, and no gifts arrived, a call was paid on one of the Daughters. Had she been interested in Barnard's financial needs? she was asked. "Ah, yes," the lady replied, "it was so interesting. I wish I could do something, but you see there is so much to do right here in New York. I can't give to anything so far away."

Fund raising for Barnard continued to occupy much of Annie Nathan Meyer's life, and she lived to be nearly ninety. Obviously she was successful, for Barnard has grown from a handful of girls educated on a first-year budget of just over ten thousand dollars to an enrollment today of nearly two thousand women and an endowment in the tens of millions. Annie Meyer wrote:

A successful beggar must possess many conflicting qualities. She must possess a shrewd knowledge of human nature. And yet not too shrewd. It must be a shrewdness tempered and warmed by a magnificent confidence, a glorious awareness of the heights to which human nature may rise, as well as the depths to which it may fall. Obviously, the slightest tinge of cynicism plays havoc with the faith which is to move mountains. Never did I press the bell of a millionaire's home with a finger that did not tremble. Never did I stand upon the top step before a millionaire's mansion without a fervent prayer that the one I had come to see would prove to be "not at home."

Annie Nathan Meyer's only persistent failing was that she grew hysterical at funerals. When this happened, the wig she wore in later years would come flying off. Her husband would cry out, "Give her a thump! Give her a thump!" It all made Nathan family funerals something of an ordeal.

For all their separate successes, relations between the two Nathan sisters remained stormy. There were moments of good feeling between them, but those were few and of brief duration.

It seemed incongruous that these two small, compact, effective women -- who happened to be sisters but who also had done so much for the common cause of women -- should remain enemies, and yet they did. Toward the end of their lives, at a large reception for a welfare cause in which they both happened to be interested, the Nathan sisters showed up -- separately, as usual. The two remained at the party for more than an hour before they left, separately. During the whole time, the founder of Barnard College and the great crusader for women's rights remained on opposite sides of the room, elaborately ignoring one another.
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Re: The Grandees: America's Sephardic Elite, by Stephen Birm

Postby admin » Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:18 pm


IN 1928, one of the last attempts was made -- publicly, at least -- to have ancient Sephardic lineage stand for something: probity, dignity, authority. It involved, appropriately enough, the ancient family of de Fonseca-Brandon, and the American public was reminded -- fleetingly -- of the grandeur that this family could look back upon.

James de Fonseca-Brandon (1764-1843) of London was a shipping magnate of considerable proportions who owned several fleets of India merchantmen. His mansion in town contained so many "taxable lights" (a man's house was taxed according to how many windows it had) that it became something of an eighteenth-century landmark, and an advertisement of its owner's great wealth. On the de Fonseca side of his hyphenated family, James de Fonseca-Brandon traced his descent directly back to the illustrious de Fonsecas of Madrid, one of whom, Cardinal de Fonseca (a Converso, obviously) was Grand Almoner to Ferdinand and Isabella at the time of Columbus' voyage.

The Brandon side of his genealogy was equally, if not more, illustrious. The Brandons were English, and included Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, who had been consort to Mary, Queen of France, and related to various English monarchs, including Henry VIII, "Bloody" Mary, Elizabeth I, Edward VI, and Mary, Queen of Scots. James de Fonseca-Brandon married Sarah Mendes-da Costa, an heiress whose family fortune came from West Indian plantations; she traced herself back to the first Jewish settlers in the New World, who established a colony on the island of Curacao. When Sarah Mendes-da Costa de Fonseca-Brandon died, the family pointed out proudly, if somewhat sorrowfully, she left her huge fortune -- all of it -- to "the poor of London of all denominations."

One of her ancestors had, at one point, been considered the richest woman in England: Caterina Mendes-da Costa Villa-Real Mellish, called "the Belle of Bath" and celebrated in court circles as "Kitty" Mellish. Kitty Mellish was the mother of Elizabeth, Lady Galway, and a sister of Lady Suasso d'Auvergne Le Grand, and her father had been Antonio Mendes-da Costa, seventeenth-century governor of the Bank of England. Her mother, a cousin of her father's, Dona Caterina Mendes, had been the godchild of Queen Caterina of England, the childless consort of Charles the Second. This lady, Dona Caterina, had actually been born in Britain's royal palace, where her family lived with the prince and his consort; Dona Caterina's father, Don Fernando Mendes, a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, had been the most famous surgeon of the seventeenth century, physician to three monarchs -- King John IV of Portugal, Queen Caterina of England, and King Charles II of England. His portrait in court robes hangs -- somewhat inappropriately, since he was a Marrano -- in Westminster Abbey.

But by 1928 the de Fonseca-Brandon family -- a number of whom had dropped the cumbersome Spanish part of the double name -- despite the fact that it had become connected, in various ways, to the Hendricks family (a Brandon brother and sister married Hendricks counterparts), as well as to a number of Da Costa and de Fonseca cousins, had diminished to the point where the family consisted largely of a handful of spinster aunts and a young man named Lyman Brandon, who married and then divorced his wife, a New York lady lawyer who practiced under the name Frances Marion Brandon. It was she who put the Brandon name back under public scrutiny of a certain sort. In a lawsuit, Mrs. Brandon was claiming that she had been made the victim of a huge and nefarious swindle, one that involved not only herself but a number of her legal clients. This was what she claimed happened:

Mrs. Brandon, like some of her Nathan and Hendricks connections, had been an ardent feminist and, early in the twenties, she had been introduced to a Miss Annie Mathews, a Harlem dressmaker, who was running on a feminist platform for the office of New York county registrar. Mrs. Brandon gave liberal amounts of time and money to the Mathews campaign, which was successful, and in the process she became acquainted with one George J. Gillespie, a religious zealot who claimed to be a saint. Mrs. Brandon soon fell under Gillespie's charismatic spell, and before long Gillespie was a regular visitor at her house. The poor woman had just lost her mother, to whom she had been devoted. Thus she claimed that "While stricken in mourning, and completely under the influence of his astounding 'saintliness,' something I had never expected to find on earth, this rare bird-of-paradise by enslaving my mind, through his religious grip on me, and by his evil council, gradually got into entire control of my every thought and act, of my gilt-edged law practice, and, what is more to the point, of my amplitudious fees!"

For months on end, Mr. Gillespie and Mrs. Brandon had met at her house, where they chanted quotations from the Bible, sang hymns -- he sang "Nearer My God to Thee" in a high soprano -- and prayed. He brought along others of his flock, called "angels," and she invited her friends -- "Society folk," as she described them -- and mass conversions to the Gillespie sect took place. In the process, Mrs. Brandon and her friends were frequently called upon to contribute cash and gifts to Gillespie and his angels, as well as to Gillespie's wife, a "wretched paralytic," who never presented herself. The Gillespians were so devoted to holiness and purity that they would not drink, smoke, swear, or even eat an egg "unless assured the hen that laid it was married." Mr. Gillespie also claimed himself to be "one of Cardinal Hayes's personal attorneys," representing himself to be "a religious man of deep piety, an exemplary Catholic living the life of a holy man of high principle, virtually a saint, withdrawn from the world and worldly interests and affairs." Mrs. Brandon began to believe that Gillespie was her "second but superior self."

Gillespie was particularly interested in one of Mrs. Brandon's clients, Miss Alice A. De Lamar, a maiden lady who had inherited a multimillion-dollar fortune from her father, Captain Raphael De Lamar, a mining magnate, whose estate Mrs. Brandon's law office managed. Presently, in his role as Frances Brandon's alter ego, Gillespie had a new "life plan" to offer her. He asked her, "What is your object in life?" And she answered, "To devote myself ultimately to the poor and helpless." Solemnly he intoned, "God sent me to you." What she needed, he said, was a seat on the children's court bench, where "Your great heart, great mind, irreproachable character, all are needed right there. There you must work as I do for the honor and glory of God. But first you must serve a brief apprenticeship doing court work for the city, to learn the ropes." When Frances Brandon demurred, saying that she had a law practice to tend to, Gillespie said that was simply taken care of; he would take over her law practice and run it for her. Delighted, Frances Brandon agreed, and applied for the office of assistant corporation counsel for New York City, a post she was promptly given.

Not surprisingly, it wasn't too long before certain "irregularities" began to turn up in the accounts of some of the Brandon clients, particularly that of the biggest Brandon clien, Alice De Lamar. Presently the irregularities seemed to amount to more than half a million dollars. When the new assistant corporation counsel attempted to get information from Gillespie, he put her off soothingly, assuring her that all was well. He, meanwhile, seemed to have made off with all her clients' files, records, and accounts, but Mrs. Brandon, still under his spell, could not believe that her "angel from Heaven" could be guilty of any wrongdoing. When her clients expressed anxiety, Mrs. Brandon attempted to put more pressure on her friend. She found him suddenly strangely hostile. In fact, when she suggested that she might have to go to higher authorities about the situation, the holy man threatened her life, saying -- as she remembered it -- "You're a squealer, are you? Well, one squeal and I'll have you bumped. I'll have you jobbed!"

The situation continued to worsen. After more than one meeting, over tea and sandwiches, at Gillespie's office, Frances Brandon got the distinct impression that Gillespie was trying to poison her. Some discreet research revealed that George Gillespie had been known elsewhere, and at other times, by such names as Ginger-Ale George, Brother Gillespie, and Slippery George. He nonetheless continued to exercise "complete control and mastery" over her. And so, when he offered her a final and grotesque "deal," she immediately accepted it. He said he would return her law practice to her if she would marry him. His "paralytic" wife, he explained, had conveniently died in the meantime.

On March 15, 1925, Frances Marion Brandon formally announced her impending marriage to George Gillespie. She was, to be sure, somewhat apprehensive about the future of the union. She approached it in "fear and trembling, amid nameless premonitions." Mrs. Brandon did not lack for a sense of the dramatic, and she actually went so far as to purchase a black wedding gown. It was, as she saw it, "A marriage I had agreed to as the only way of recovering quiet possession of my records from this Gillespie, and unraveling those financial irregularities, without painful notoriety."

But her public announcement had the inadvertent effect not only of creating notoriety but also of catching Gillespie off his guard and trapping him. Obviously he had had no intention of marrying Frances Brandon, and was simply offering marriage as a way of putting her off and keeping her out of his account books. When the announcement appeared, it created a certain stir. For one thing, he was more than twenty years her senior; he was a self-proclaimed celibate, for another. When Gillespie was approached by a newspaper reporter for a statement about the upcoming nuptials, he protested, "I am a holy man!" And then, "I do not even know the woman. What is she? Some sort of city employee? Then how would 1 know her? The thought of marrying her never entered my mind I If a million other women had made that announcement, 1 could not have been more surprised."

Needless to say, to Frances Brandon this statement "came like a thunderclap, or rather, a roar of thunder that tore at the very core of my life." There followed a period where she "remained as one dead for two years or more." Then she instigated the swindle suit against Gillespie, asking $575,000 in damages.

It was, of course, a classic and pathetic case of a susceptible and perhaps foolish woman who had been successfully duped by a confidence man. And Frances Brandon might easily have won wide popular sympathy for her predicament, if she had not chosen to inject the issue of social "class" -- and alleged Sephardic superiority -- into the case. While it was still pending trial, she wrote and published a pamphlet intended to place her name above reproach, and thus disassociate herself from the shady doings of the nefarious Gillespie. Titled "The Truth at Last!!" it consisted of sixteen tightly packed pages filled with shrill vituperations and fulminations, besprinkled with quotations from the Old and New Testaments, Shakespeare, and Saint Thomas a Kempis, hectic with italics and spiky with picket fences of exclamation points. But at the heart of her exercise, alas, was the assertion that, in terms of background and breeding, George Gillespie was Frances Brandon's social inferior.

"Gillespie is Scotch," she wrote, "judging by his name, and of sordid, squalid origin, a street gamin, a ruffian; salesman of children's dresses, etc.; then a dockhand at the New York Customs House; married a creature, her father a stablehand, her aunt a cook; menials; illiterates. In line therewith, his daughter married the son of a Bronx veterinary." For all that, she wrote, "He palmed himself off as a 'Society man and philanthropist,' and then was always concealing his family connections and their record as habitual petty jobholders, this ingrate. . . identified me . . . as a despicable 'some sort of city employee.' ... Why should I, a recognized executive, with a phenomenal record of achievement, and a priceless law practice, exchange cake for crumbs, retrogress into the political rank and me, into a nominal public office, regardless of remuneration? For bread and butter? Hardly. My financial circumstances preclude that possibility. Then how? Through Gillespie!"

As for herself, she pointed out in her manifesto:

My sister, years ago, married the cousin of a beloved First Lady of the Land, our American equivalent for the bluest blood of Royalty. No fuss; no feathers; just unpretentiously. We are like that ... though my own blood and kin traces back through America's proudest aristocracy, those PIONEERS, who tamed the wilderness with their bare and bleeding hands; sturdy stock; backbone of America. . . . First Settlers back beyond the Revolution, tracing ancestry not to the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers, but even back of that, to AMERICA'S FIRST SETTLER, The Founder, Sir Walter Raleigh.

As if that were not enough, she crowed: "I wear the crimson of nobility by right of that proud name [Brandon], and wear that peerless name as a diadem of stars upon my brow: When we were very young, I married Lyman da Fonseca Brandon!" She then proceeded to recite all her ex-husband's genealogical credentials -- the Duke of Suffolk, Mary, Queen of Scots, Kitty Mellish, and all the rest.

Her pamphlet went on to quote a lengthy testimonial in her behalf from Lyman Brandon. "I know Frances Marion Brandon," her former husband wrote somewhat elliptically. "She is an Ace ... A phenomenon, a paragon among women; one in a thousand thousand, to know her is to love, respect, honor, and cherish all womanhood as epitomized in her. Cast in heroic mold, modest, self-sacrificing . . . of invincible courage . . . gladly go to the scaffold for principle, for THE TRUTH ... inspiration to women . . . her great soul ... glorious womanhood... ." Lyman Brandon's prose sounded suspiciously like his former wife's, and he was every bit as prolix.

Finally, after a detailed recitation of Mr. Gillespie's "foul deeds," Mrs. Brandon's paper terminated with these words:

Duped? Humbugged? Hoaxed? I was. We all were! But CREDIT ME ALWAYS WITH THIS, THE HIGHEST FEATHER OF MY CAP: It was I, who called Gillespie's bluff; smoked him out; treed him! I who rendered that supreme service to my fellow citizens. The Artful Dodger caught at last! Another prize captured by me; or rather, a prize capture. But those of you who do not yet know me may ask, have I any proofs? Have I? Have I? My turn to thunder now!

What was it Crockett said? "Come on down, Gillespie; you're a gone coon!"

And as the date for the trial approached, these words turned out to be prophetic. Mr. Gillespie was indeed gone. He had vanished without a trace.

And as for Frances Brandon, poor woman, her pompous and windy pamphlet had made her a laughingstock. While she attitudinized, New York giggled. While she fumed and ranted and exhumed fifteenth-century ancestors, readers of New York newspapers hugged their sides. She had made being related to the Grand Almoner of Ferdinand and Isabella seem -- simply -- funny.

To the Sephardic community of New York, Mrs. Brandon's behavior was a deep affront. She was, after all, using a Sephardic connection by marriage in order to establish her integrity; a pedigree she had merely married was being tossed around and advertised for all to see. Furthermore, Brandon was now no longer her husband but only her ex-husband. It was all just another reminder of how thin the fabric of Sephardic life had grown to be. As one of the Nathans wrote to a Philadelphia cousin: "In case it isn't obvious by her behavior, this Brandon woman is not one of us."

But of course the feeling that there is some sort of mystical advantage in being a Sephardic Jew, or even in bearing the traces of Sephardic "blood," has persisted, persists. In the opening paragraphs of his autobiography, the late Bernard Baruch, whose father had been a German immigrant, wrote: "My grandfather, Bernhard Baruch, whose name I bear, had an old family relic, a skull, on which was recorded the family genealogy. It appeared that the Baruchs were of a rabbinical family and of Portuguese-Spanish origin. . . . Grandfather also claimed descent from Baruch the Scribe, who edited the prophecies of Jeremiah and whose name is given to one of the books of the Apocrypha."

At the same time, the great financier admitted in a sheepish tone that was quite unlike him: "Somewhere along the line there must have been an admixture of Polish or Russian stock."

And John L. Loeb, the present head of the banking firm Loeb, Rhoades & Company, is more ancestrally proud of his mother, the former Adeline Moses, than of his father, who founded the giant banking house. The Moseses were an old Sephardic family from the South who, though somewhat depleted from the days when they had maintained a vast plantation with slaves and cotton fields, were nonetheless disapproving when their daughter married Mr. Loeb, "an ordinary German immigrant."

Both Messrs. Baruch and Loeb are dutifully listed in Dr. Stern's registry of the Old Guard.
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Re: The Grandees: America's Sephardic Elite, by Stephen Birm

Postby admin » Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:36 pm


SEPHARDIM in the New World might dream of titled ancestors in plumes and crests and jeweled swords, who had been the poets, philosophers, physicians, judges, astronomers, and courtiers during Spain's most glorious moments. But there were hundreds of thousands of other Jews, also Sephardic but with less elaborate claims, who descended from Spain's Jewish tailors, cobblers, blacksmiths, and knife grinders. At the time of the Expulsion Edict, these families had not been able to afford the enormous bribes demanded by Inquisitional officers that would get them sent, along with their property, to lucrative northern ports in Holland, Belgium, and England. Being poor, they could not afford to become Marranos, who had to live by paying bribes. Being poor, they also lacked the sophistication and poise it took to lead the Marrano's double life. Finally, being poor and unsophisticated, they lacked the adaptability that would have allowed them to accept conversion.

There was nothing for these Jews but to surrender their money and their houses and escape. Some had fled to northern Africa. Others went eastward, across the Mediterranean, to Turkey, where they accepted the sultan's invitation, or to the islands of Rhodes and Marmara, or to Salonica and the Gallipoli Peninsula, areas where the Jews knew they would be well treated because these lands were still ruled by the Moslems.

There, in backwaters of history, it was as though a giant door had swung closed on these Sephardim, leaving them frozen in time. They were poor, uneducated, living in tight little communities of their coreligionists, proud, mystical, working by day as farmers or fishermen or small tradespeople, returning at night to their fires and their prayer books, and their evenings of singing cantos and romanzas, in the pure medieval tongue. As "guests" of the Moslems, they were considered a separate and autonomous people, permitted to preserve their religious and cultural habits, as well as their strange language. For they did not, as the upper-class Spanish Jews did, speak Castilian. They spoke Ladino, a Judeo-Spanish mixture which sounded like Spanish but contained many Hebrew words and expressions, and was written in Hebrew characters. In Spain, Ladino had helped them preserve the privacy of some of their business dealings. Now it simply served to isolate and insulate them further as the world passed them by.

While Reform Judaism was remaking the pattern of Jewish life, threatening to topple the traditional orthodoxy, these Jews knew nothing of it. Word of the European pogroms never reached them, nor did any kind of anti-Semitism. At the same time, they remained fiercely and proudly Spanish, and were convinced that one day they would be asked to return to Spain again. When they left Spain, the heads of families had taken the keys to their houses with them. Now the key to la casa vieja -- the old house -- was passed on from father to son, while decades turned into generations, and generations into centuries. These Jews had developed a rationale to explain why they had been expelled from Spain. It was, they decided, the Lord's punishment. Like the Jews in the Old Testament, they were being made to suffer because they had failed to cleave sufficiently to Judaic precepts. They had been insufficiently pious, and had failed to obey every letter of every Talmudic law. And so, while Jews elsewhere were modernizing and liberalizing their attitudes, practices, and rituals, these Sephardim were moving in the opposite direction, not only toward a greater piety and a more intense mysticism, but also becoming hyper-ritualistic, more orthodox than the Orthodox, their ways all but incomprehensible to others.

In the synagogues, the women were not only seated separately from the men, but behind heavy curtains, so that they would not distract the men from their prayers. Sephardic home life in such outposts as Rhodes and Salonica became heavily centered around the dinner table, where the preparation and serving of food was a formalized adjunct of religion; indeed, the Meal, the Bath, and the Prayer were a kind of trinity of Old World Sephardic life. Much of a mother's day was spent in her cochina, working at her stove preparing such traditional Spanish dishes as paella, pastelitos con carne, and spinata con arroz for her family. If callers dropped in, the woman of the house, no matter how poor she was, was required to urge food on them -- wine and nut cookies, perhaps, or sesame seed pretzels, or eggs baked in their shells for days and days until the whites had turned honey-colored. And to refuse food when it was offered was regarded as the highest form of insult.

In these Sephardic households, it was very much a man's world. The man of the house was known as el rey, the king, and his sons were 70s hijos del rey, and were treated accordingly. In skullcaps and shawls, the men of the house were served their meals first, with the women waiting upon them, bringing them saucers of warm water and towels between courses so that the men and boys could wash and wipe their hands at the table. The woman might stuff the grape leaves -- plucked from the inevitable grape arbor planted outside each door -- but it was the man's job to go into the market to shop for meat, to find the best eggplants, tomatoes, spinach, and rice. It was also considered proper for a husband to supervise his wife's cooking procedure, to stand at her shoulder with suggestions and criticism, and periodically to sample and taste, perhaps even picking up the spoon himself to stir in a bit of grated clove or oregano if he felt it was needed. A wife would never resent this sort of treatment from a husband because every good Sephardic woman knew that the worst punishment a man could inflict upon a woman was to reject -- by pushing aside his plate -- food that she had prepared.

Sabbath meals particularly were surrounded by rules and rituals. All generations of a family gathered about a patriarchal table on which was spread a stiff white cloth reserved specifically for Sabbath use, and the meal proceeded with strictest formality. Everything used at the Sabbath was kept in special storage. Even Sabbath clothing was stored separately from the clothes of every day. Each item of food must be cooked in its traditional pot, served on its appointed platter, and eaten from its assigned plate. Onion could not mix with garlic, nor could meat dishes be served with fish, milk, or eggs. Even threads of different origins -- linen, cotton, and silk -- could not be used in the same fabrics if these were to be brought forth, or worn, on the Sabbath. To carry anything on one's person -- so much as a handkerchief -- was a violation of Sabbath rules.

The Sephardic women were the custodians of the secrets of endurcos, the ancient folk magic the Jews had carried with them out of Spain. Endurcos was supposed to be white magic -- used exclusively to cure the sick -- and so it worked hand in hand, rather than at odds, with both orthodox medicine and orthodox religion. The ingredients of endurcos were, for the most part, herbs and spices -- salt, garlic, clove, oregano, marjoram, honey, almonds, halvah -- and its forms (chants, prayers, songs in Ladino, spells, and gestures) were traditionally in the hands of women past the age of menopause, called tias or "aunties."

In an old world Sephardic community, a tia is a woman of considerable importance. Sometimes she is summoned to help a doctor and to coordinate her work with his. Or she may be called in when the doctor has done all he can for his patient and ordinary medicine will no longer suffice. When this happens, the tia must be given complete authority, and often the first thing she will do is to shoo everyone else out of the house so that she can work single-mindedly with her patient. She may begin her treatment by brewing a stiff tea of mint or marjoram, according to recipes known only to her, and there will follow a strict regimen based on diet, regular bathings of the patient, and recitals of the tia's ancient incantations. A cure may take days or even months before the assorted demons, devils, and evil spirits (or buena gente, "good people," as they are guardedly called) are cast out of the patient's body and the tia's work is done. There is never a charge for the services of a tia, for hers is both an art and a gift, and she must therefore give it away.

A tia also may be consulted on matters less crucial than life or death. For instance, Turkish candy may be prescribed by a tia for an infected finger. Sugar from the table of a Rosh Hashanah festival is considered a cure for sterility in childless women. Marjoram or oregano tea will cure, according to the tia, both insomnia and fright. Sugar in water is the simple remedy for "crying children." For severe cases of insomnia, tea should be placed outside the window of the victim and left there for three days, during which the victim must not touch fire. After the three days, she should rise early in the morning and drink the tea quickly before breakfast. Old people in these Sephardic communities follow this routine regularly, once a month, and therefore have no trouble sleeping -- as long as they are careful to remember that it must never be practiced when a baby who has not yet teethed is in the house. Otherwise, the evil eye will fall upon the baby. If it does, of course, it can often be dispelled by hurling cloves into the fire or tossing salt into the wind while chanting exhortations in the names of Jacob, Isaac, Abraham, and Moses.

To ward off the evil eye, bedrooms of children are strung with garlands of garlic cloves, and young people are instructed to carry garlic with them for luck. Older women carry blue and amber beads from the Holy Land, strung together on silk threads, for the same reason. For a little boy's first visit to a new household, it is important that he carry with him something sweet -- an almond cookie, perhaps -- along with something silver in his pocket, if the visit is to be a success. And so it has gone, for centuries, in an endlessly complex pattern of ritual, tradition, mystery, and magic.
In the 1960's, for example, the State of Israel inaugurated "Operation Magic Carpet," which was designed to fly Sephardic Jews to Israel out of Yemen and North Africa. But the Jews refused to fly. The situation had reached an impasse until someone recalled the words from Isaiah: "I will bear you on the wings of eagles." Thus reassured, the Jews consented to board the aircraft.

At the same time, these Sephardic Jews were fiercely independent, proud to the point of crustiness, disdainful of Christians and the "fairy tales" of Christianity, filled with a sense of heightened religiosity and superior purpose.

In the semifeudal world of the Ottoman Empire, this "lost" Sephardic life could continue uninterrupted, unchanged, its tribalistic injunctions and habits passed on from generation to generation. The home was a kind of shrine, and for a son to leave his parents and venture out into the world beyond was the worst sort of transgression. It was possible to believe that nothing could disrupt these changeless ways. In the early 1900's a handful of adventurous youths from Greece and Turkey came to the United States, and wrote home to friends and relatives with tales that were scarcely to be credited -- of Jewish millionaires with automobiles and yachts and mansions, who headed banks and corporations. A trickle of emigration began. With the outbreak of World War I, the trickle increased to a stream of considerable proportions. Then, at the end of the war, the revolution in Turkey marked the end of an era. Jews swarmed out of the Near East and the Levant by the tens of thousands, and these were presently joined by Jews from northern Africa. In New York, they looked for Sephardic synagogues and found elegant establishments that were the oldest synagogues in America, still controlled by an aristocratic if somewhat diminished Jewish Establishment. Because they felt entitled to, these Jews curled up on blankets and bedrolls in the corners of the synagogues until they could find shelter, and the effect upon the existing community was cataclysmic. It was a confrontation, some 450 years later, of two streams -- two social classes, really -- of Sephardim, and the two groups encountered each other with the impact of a collision. Here were these Greek- and Turkish-looking people (with skins darkened from generations in the Mediterranean sun, plus a certain amount of intermarriage) claiming to be cousins of the Lazaruses, Cardozos, Nathans, Seixases, and Levys. These were people who were poor, ignorant, superstitious, who practiced an exotic form of Judaism no one comprehended, who spoke a language that sounded "worse than Yiddish," some of whom -- the Jews of North Africa, for instance -- had actually lived in caves.

To the old American Sephardim -- Boston Brahmin-like, entertaining their little circles of friends and relatives at tea parties, over teacups of fragile porcelain, with antique silver spoons, under darkening family portraits of Revolutionary ancestors in powdered wigs and lacy collars -- the newcomers were like primitives from another planet. No one knew what to make of them. They were, plainly and simply, an embarrassment to families grown accustomed to thinking of themselves as the grandest people in America.

Vainly the rabbis of the community at large tried to explain these Oriental strangers to their congregations, as well as to explain the existing congregation -- its mood and texture -- to the strangers. It was no use. One sermon of the period even went so far as to point out that food cooked in oil is no less nourishing than food cooked in butter or vegetable shortening -- for the newly arrived Sephardim continued to cook in olive oil, even to spread it on their bread, a practice which to other Jews seemed barbarous. The Sephardic communities were split even further as the old-timers pointed out -- with certain accuracy -- that they were descended from Spain's Jewish gentry, while the newcomers descended from the riffraff.

The Levantine emigration of the twentieth century also changed the traditional locations of Sephardic communities. Up to then, Sephardic congregations existed primarily in the older eastern cities -- Newport, New York, Philadelphia, Charleston, Savannah. Many of the new arrivals settled in New York, giving New York today the largest Sephardic population of any American city. But many others headed westward. Many Greek Jews were fishermen, and they were attracted to the fish markets of cities such as Portland and Seattle. Others headed for southern California. Today, the second-largest Sephardic congregation is in Los Angeles. Seattle, where the Jewish community of Rhodes has transplanted itself almost intact, is third.

In the United States, the Near Eastern Sephardim made a determined effort to keep to their old cloistered ways, to cling to the comforts of ritual and the mysteries of endurcos, and the tight family structures they had enjoyed for centuries. But their removal from New York's Lower East Side soon after their arrival, the prevailing laws of compulsory education, and their children's association in schools and on playgrounds not only with other Jews but with people of other ethnic backgrounds had an inevitable effect, and a familiar process of Americanization began rather rapidly. The edges of old distinctions began to fade and blur. The Sephardim have staunchly retained their special ritual, songs, and prayers, but old world embellishments have been steadily disappearing. Only a few old people understand the rites of endurcos now, and even the treasured key to la casa vieja has become a charming anachronism. These Jews no longer seriously consider returning to a golden age of Spain.

Probably the greatest loss has been the Ladino. It was always an amorphous, uncodified tongue, written -- like Hebrew -- from right to left, and in characters similar to (but not exactly like) Hebrew, and learning to speak it was always like learning to playa musical instrument by ear. Spoken Ladino ignores all rules of grammar and of spelling, and written Ladino simply overlooks them. A writer in Ladino can employ the grammatical rules, or conventions, of any Western language he chooses -- French, Spanish, Italian, or even English. Ladino words even pop up oddly in Hebrew texts, as happened when an American professor of Hebrew at the University of California found the word empanada, written in Hebrew characters, when reading the Shulhan Aruk of Karo. He could find empanada in no Hebrew dictionary. He eventually discovered that an empanada is a dish prepared by the Sephardic Jews of Salonica, a casserole of chopped meat and fish baked with a layer of pie crust on the top. In Spanish dictionaries, empanada is defined as a meat pie.

The new settlers from the Near East quickly began introducing English words and American expressions into the Ladino, thus making the language even harder to decode. One of the strangest examples of this sort of thing is the Ladino verb abetchar, meaning "to bet," which came directly from the Americanism '1 betcha." Expressions came into being such as Quieres abetchar? meaning "You want to bet?" and Yo te abetcho, meaning "I bet you." The verb "to park" became, in new Ladino, parkcar, and verb "to drive" was drivear. Therefore, Esta driveandro el caro translated as "He is driving the car," and "He is parking the car" was Esta parkeando el caro.

Thus undermined by grotesque intrusions from the prevailing language, and gradually forgotten by children when they entered English-speaking schools, Ladino, lacking any newspapers or even a dictionary, has become an exotic language as rare as the whooping crane, preserved only in the memories of a few rabbis and teachers. No doubt in a few more generations it will all but have disappeared.

The Levantine Sephardim who came to America in important numbers in the 1920's and 1930's may have been poor and uneducated and believers in the evil eye. But, like other immigrants of other eras, they have largely succeeded in pulling themselves out of poverty and educating themselves out of ignorance and parochialism, and on the whole they can claim as good a record in the United States as any other group. In Los Angeles, several dark-skinned Sephardim became shoeshine men. In a few years, a shoeshine man had a shoe repair shop and, a few years later, he had a chain. In Seattle, a fisherman from Greece became a canner of fish, and by the second generation his cannery became a large factory. By the time these Sephardim had begun sending their sons and daughters to American colleges and universities, whole new sets of American middle-class values had been accepted. Although it was still considered anathema to marry a Christian, it was no longer a disgrace for one's daughter to marry a tedesco -- a German -- particularly if he was rich. When this happened not long ago a Sephardic mother commented tellingly, "Well, at least he's an American, and at least he's not black."

The impact on the old congregations in the older cities -- Shearith Israel in New York, Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia -- was, in the meantime, lasting. The two Sephardic strains enjoyed a truce that was, at best, uneasy. Annie Nathan Meyer was somewhat ruffled when a New York society woman suddenly said to her, "You speak such beautiful English! How long is it since your parents came to America?" She immediately brought out miniature portraits of the Colonial ancestors on both sides of the family. Of one lace-capped great-grandmother, Mrs. Meyer said impishly, "She looks rather like Martha Washington, doesn't she?" When her visitor, confused, said, "Oh, but I thought you were Jewish," Mrs. Meyer waved her hand and said, "These people are an altogether different sort."

And when Shearith Israel's great rabbi David de Sola Pool approached a lady of his congregation and asked her why, when for years he had seen her at Friday evening services, he now saw her no more than twice a year, at the high holy days, the woman looked wistful and said, "It isn't the same. I look around in the synagogue now, and I see nothing but strangers."
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Re: The Grandees: America's Sephardic Elite, by Stephen Birm

Postby admin » Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:53 pm


ON DECEMBER 17, 1968, readers of the New York Times may have encountered a small item which could have struck them as ironic, or mystifying. The story was datelined Madrid, and began:

Four hundred and seventy-six years after King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella ordered the Jews expelled from Spain, the Spanish Government declared tonight that the order was void.

In other words, that fateful edict beginning with the words "It seems that much harm is done to Christians by the community or conversation they have held and hold with Jews ... " which had had such a shattering effect on Spanish Jewry, and on the history of Spain itself, was at last nullified. Judaism was legal in Spain once more. In practice, the Spanish Constitution of 1869, which had proclaimed religious tolerance in general terms, was considered to have superseded the Catholic monarchs' order. But Spain's Jewish community, numbering about eight thousand people, had long been seeking an explicit revocation of the Expulsion Edict itself. It had taken the government of Generalissimo Francisco Franco to bring this about.

Generalissimo Franco himself has always been friendly in his treatment of Spain's Jews. In the 1930's, he issued an "invitation" to Jews, advertising in the Jewish press, asking the Jews to return to Spain. A few families actually did come back. During World War II, Franco embarked on an emphatic campaign to rescue Jews from Hitler's pogroms, and he has been personally credited with saving as many as sixty thousand Jewish lives. One little-known incident of that war is that on January 8, 1944, Franco made a personal telephone call to Adolf Hitler concerning the fate of Jewish prisoners at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Franco demanded that the prisoners, many of whom were Sephardim from Greece, be released. Hitler complied, and 1,242 Jews were sent to safety in Spain. Franco went to the Spanish border personally to meet and escort these refugees into his country. When informed that the Germans had confiscated all the Jews' money and possessions, Franco placed a second call to Hitler. The result was that the Jews' property was sent after them.

Why was the Spanish leader -- in so many other ways sympathetic to Nazi policies -- so opposed to Hitler in the matter of anti-Semitism? Historians of the war have never been sure, and Franco has, typically, never explained. But it may have had something to do with the strong possibility that Franco himself is of Marrano descent, as so many other Spaniards are. Franco is a common Sephardic name, particularly among Sephardim from the island of Rhodes, and it all may mean that EI Caudillo is a distant connection of the beautiful Tory Franks sisters of Philadelphia. It may also explain Franco's refusal to accede to Hitler's attempts to come into Spain: perhaps he feared that he himself could become a victim of the Fuhrer's policies.

During the years of Arab-Israeli warfare, Franco's government has continued to help Jews in Arab countries to escape persecution. It has taken such steps as to issue them Spanish passports, thereby making them honorary Sephardic Jews, as it were.

When the announcement that the Expulsion Edict was at last void was made to the Jewish congregation of Madrid, the Times report continued, it caused "a profound stir," and it came simultaneously with another event of vast symbolic importance -- the opening of the first synagogue to be built in Spain in six hundred years. Ever since Inquisitional days, Jews had been meeting for worship in the secrecy of apartments and private houses, behind closed shutters and drawn curtains. Even under the relatively benevolent Franco regime, Jews had been too unsure of their position to risk erecting a permanent public building. At the opening ceremonies, nineteen men in top hats and prayer shawls lied into the new synagogue bearing velvet-encased sacred scrolls topped by silver bells. Dr. Solomon Gaon, grand rabbi of the Sephardic communities of Great Britain, who is considered the world's leading Sephardic figure, Hew to Madrid for the occasion; he stood in the white marble and wood hall and declared: "We witness a historic moment, when past and present meet. The most brilliant history of our people in the Diaspora was written in Spain. May this mean the beginning of a new time of moral and spiritual progress for all the people of this land."

In the United States, where some 100,000 Spanish and Portuguese Jews have now settled like so many birds after a long flight, the news of a new synagogue in Madrid was of less significance. Though the occasion was officially celebrated with prayers of thanksgiving, word that Ferdinand and Isabella's Expulsion Edict had finally been invalidated met privately with a kind of grim amusement. The reaction was: "It's about time."

In New York's Shearith Israel congregation, a strong feeling continues that here is something precious that must, at all costs, be preserved. Though the congregation is splintered and factionalized, split down the middle between the Old Guard and Levantine newcomers, and further cast into disagreement over the choice of an Ashkenazy (of all things), Dr. Louis C. Gerstein, as head rabbi (a tradition-minded faction wanted London's Dr. Gaon, a Spaniard), and what is felt to be a continuing Germanization of American Jewish life,[ i] today's members of the Jewish First Families see themselves as keepers of a flame, preservers of something that was once of great importance -- to history and to the human spirit -- and is still worth remembering.

Most members of the Old Guard families today are not particularly pious, and make merely token observances of the Sabbath and the other holy days. Hendrickses, Lazaruses, Cardozos, and Nathans of the 1970's do not, for the most part, keep kosher households, nor have they for several generations. What they have undergone, over the long centuries, has been a peculiarly American phenomenon. In an aura of religious tolerance and, in the case of the Old Guard, social acceptance, their early need for their religion seems to have diminished considerably. Perhaps religion flourishes strongest, and its forms have more fierce importance, when it is prohibited or proscribed. One effect of the Inquisition was the opposite of its intent: it made Spain's Jews more determined to be Jews. In the new world, with pressures against Jews gradually diminishing, this determination has diminished also.

What has happened is that reverence for the past has replaced religious conviction. The old Sephardic families today often appear to worship history more than a Judaic God. The old portraits and the lacy family trees, the escutcheons and coats of arms, have become their testaments and prayer books. The lists of great-grandparents' birthdays in the frontispiece of the family Bible seem to have more meaning than the text within. Even the insistence of the Sephardim on retaining the orthodox form of worship -- against the trend toward modernization and Americanization that has been marked among Jewry all over the country -- seems a gesture of nostalgic sentiment, a gesture in deference to the past, more than one of pure religiosity. After all, the past has placed these "few of us" -- now all so thoroughly interrelated -- in a position in America that is particular, peculiar, unique.

In 1897, when Shearith Israel finally got around to moving its congregation uptown into a handsome new building, there was no possibility that the move would be hailed as an attempt "to become one with progress." Instead, the building was an attempt to become one with the past. Within the walls of the larger synagogue there stands a second, much smaller synagogue -- an exact replica of the first synagogue in America as it stood on New York's Mill Street three hundred and more years ago. Step into the "little synagogue," and you step not only into old New York but further back, into medieval Spain. On the wall, an old Spanish calendar marks off the hour, day, and week with the letters H, D, and S -- for hora, dia, semana. The heavy brass candlesticks may have come from Spain also. The Sabbath lamp was the gift of the family of Haym Salomon. The tin bells were made by the colonists around 1694, before they had silver. The scrolls within the Ark are tattered and stained from water and blood. During the Revolution, a drunken British soldier fired on the reader in the synagogue; they are his bloodstains. Later, a second drunken soldier threw the scrolls in the mud. (Both offenders, it is recorded, were court-martialed by the British.)

Outside, in the synagogue proper, the seating is of course segregated. The beautiful music of the Sephardic service -- another strong emotional bulwark of the congregation -- traces back to old Spanish folk songs. Only a few changes have occurred over the centuries. Three hundred years ago, the official language of the synagogue was Portuguese. In 1728, however, the congregation revised its "wholesome Rules and Restrictions," and resolved that "the Parnaz shall be obliged twice a year to cause these articles to be read in the Sinagog both in Portugues [sic] and English."

A prayer for the government, then part of the ritual, also had to undergo revision, for obvious reasons. The original prayer blessed:

Sua Real Magestade nosso Senhor Rey Jorge o Segundo, as suas Reales Atezas Jorge Principe de Veles, a Princesa Douger de Veles, o Duque & as Princesas & toda a Real Familha, a sua Excellencia o Honrado Senhor Governor y todos os Senhores de sea Concelbo, o Magistrado desta Cidade de New York e todos os seos Deredores ...

Blessings are no longer offered to "His Royal Majesty, our Sovereign George the Second, their Royal Highnesses George Prince of Wales, the Dowager Princess of Wales, the Duke and Princesses and all the Royal Family, his Excellency the Governor and all the gentlemen of his Council, the Mayor of the City of New York and all its environs." Otherwise, nothing has changed.

Shearith Israel stands sedately at the corner of Seventieth Street and Central Park West. Rather pointedly, Shearith Israel appears to have chosen an address on the older, homier West Side, rather than on grander, flashier Fifth Avenue. Shearith Israel faces almost directly across the park toward the new Temple Emanu-El in an attitude of reproach.

Once a year, on Memorial Day, members of Shearith Israel meet at the synagogue for breakfast, and then proceed downtown to pay commemorative visits to the graves of early American ancestors in the oldest Jewish cemeteries in America. In all, three cemeteries are visited: the tiny one at Chatham Square, the even tinier triangular cemetery on West Eleventh Street in Greenwich Village, and the somewhat larger one on West Twenty-third Street, not far from the site of Benjamin Nathan's murder. All are Spanish and Portuguese cemeteries, though the Twenty-first Street enclosure contains the grave of one of New York's Presbyterian Cadwaladers, who must have done something very scandalous indeed to have been placed there in alien corn.

The most important of the three is the Chatham Square Cemetery, for it is the oldest. The earliest grave there dates 1683,just one year after the land was purchased. Chatham Square Cemetery is a hushed and peaceful place, just a bit removed from the dither of Chinatown nearby, and the ground is covered with sturdy green ivy, graveled walks between the old stones, shaded by the lacy branches of three ailanthus trees. Not all the inscriptions are legible now. The cemetery was once six times as large, but the city has intruded upon it, pressed in on it, squeezed it and narrowed it to such an extent that the distinct impression is left that here remain only the doughtiest of that early, doughty breed. There are Gomezes, Lopezes, Seixases, de Lucenas, Harts, Peixottos, Lazaruses -- a number of them slain Revolutionary soldiers -- and a young doctor who had worked during one of New York's periodic yellow fever epidemics, and whose inscription reads:



At the Memorial Day ceremonies, a brief tribute is read over each grave, and then a small American flag is placed on it by one of the deceased's living descendants. For all the simplicity of this service, a distinct understanding is generated of the Jews' belief that a cemetery is a beth hayyim, a house of the living, that these Americans are not dead but with us still, that a man's ancestors are arrayed behind him in the past, each generation looking over the shoulders of the generation that follows, in endless continuity.

At a recent service, thirty-four persons were counted.

The Jewish First Families honor the past in other ways, large and small. Several years ago, the family of Harold L. Lewis, who are collateral descendants of Commodore Uriah Phillips Levy, became concerned about the way their ancestor and his relationship with Monticello were being represented in history books. The "official" text, for instance, which is on sale at the gift shop at Monticello, makes this typical reference to Uriah: "Within the year [of Jefferson's death] Monticello was sold to liquidate the debts of the estate. Later the property was purchased by Uriah Levy for $2,500! ... Almost one hundred years has passed since the death of Thomas Jefferson, and the mansion has suffered from the neglect of the many occupants who had neither the funds nor the interest to preserve the historic building." No mention is made of the extensive restorations that Uriah Levy made during the many years when he was the mansion's only occupant. Another text, "Monticello," by Gene and Clare Gurney, contains the following reference:

Mr. Levy did not live at Monticello. Instead he leased it to a succession of farmers who brought Jefferson's beautiful house close to ruin. They used the once-lovely drawing room to store grain. Refuse was allowed to collect on the portico steps until a horse and wagon could be driven up to the drawing room door. Unused outbuildings were torn down and no repairs were made anywhere on the estate.

Belatedly realizing that something should be done to save Monticello, Mr. Levy willed it to the government when he died in 1862. His heirs successfully contested the will, and one of them, Jefferson M. Levy, did make an effort to repair some of the damage that had been done to the historic house, but he lacked the resources to carry out such a tremendous task.

Over the years a number of prominent people recommended that the government buy and restore Monticello as a memorial to the third President. Nothing was done, however, and Monticello continued to deteriorate.

This account does a great disservice to both Uriah and his nephew. Jefferson Levy had no lack of "resources," and was an extremely rich man who spent enormous sums restoring and refurbishing Monticello. He made repeated trips to Europe in search of the mansion's original furniture, wallpapers, and rugs, and when the originals were unobtainable he had costly copies made from whatever sketches could be found. Under Jefferson Levy's stewardship, Monticello became one of the great showplaces of the early twentieth century -- it attained, in fact, the sort of elegance and grandeur that Thomas Jefferson had conceived for it, but had never lived to see. The house was the scene of many lavish parties and entertainments. Jeff Levy's sister, Mrs. Amelia Von Mayhoff, acted as his hostess, a role she clearly relished, and a long list of dignitaries from official and diplomatic Washington, as well as titled folk from Europe, were frequent guests at Monticello. Levy nieces alive today remember being ushered into the great drawing room, where a typically opulent reception was going on, the guest list including the President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt. And yet, for some reason, no history book has yet taken note of any of this.

Today, most of the guides at Monticello look blank when any mention is made of Uriah Phillips Levy, and only a few have the vaguest knowledge of Monticello's associations with the Levy name. None of the guides, on a recent visit, was aware that Uriah's mother, Rachel Levy, is buried on the grounds. Her grave is in a small enclosed plot not far from the gift shop.

Several years ago, Harold Lewis, whose wife was one of Jefferson Levy's nieces, was astonished and outraged on a visit to Monticello to discover a bronze plaque which stated simply that a certain Uriah Levy had at one point bought the estate for $2,500 and later sold it for $500,000. The implications of Jewish greed and sharp practice seemed quite clear. After a great deal of difficulty and much correspondence with Monticello's trustees, Mr. Lewis was successful in having the plaque reworded.

Others have been equally dutiful to the past. In Manhattan in the late 1960'S, one of the historic areas threatened by real estate developers was a triangular piece of land between East Ninth and Eleventh streets and Second and Third avenues, through which narrow Stuyvesant Street passes diagonally. Within this area are the old Church of Saint Mark's in-the-Bowery, dating from 1799, and thirty-three neighboring houses from the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This is the site of the bouwerie -- or farm -- of Governor Peter Stuyvesant, and in the churchyard of Saint Mark's are buried eight generations of Stuyvesants, along with the Dutch governor himself. Early in 1969, New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission announced that it had succeeded in having the district declared a historic one, meaning that no exterior changes to the church, the churchyard, or any of the buildings can be made without the approval of the commission. (There has since been a controversial decision to let the old graveyard, which was being desecrated by vandals, double as a children's playground.)

The announcement of the designation of the area, which should in any case preserve it for some time to come, was made by Harmon Hendricks Goldstone, a New York architect, and chairman of the Landmarks Commission. The announcement made much of Peter Stuyvesant's grave, but overlooked the fact that Mr. Goldstone is himself a direct descendant of Abraham de Lucena, one of the first Jews to arrive in Manhattan in the year of the Twenty-Three.

It gives Mr. Goldstone a certain amount of quiet pleasure, and a feeling of the right thing done, to know that he has been at least partly responsible for protecting the final resting place of the choleric little governor who gave his ancestors such a shabby welcome all those hundreds of years ago.

Mr. Goldstone's mother, Mrs. Lafayette Goldstone, is, of course, as bewilderingly connected as her son to all the old families -- Hendricks, Tobias, Levy, Seixas, Hart, Nathan, and the rest. It is she who was such a faithful correspondent, through the years, of Mr. Justice Cardozo, and she achieved considerable acclaim as a poet, writing under the name May Lewis, a combination of her middle and maiden names. (She is a sister of the above-mentioned Harold Lewis.) She became, at one point, an ardent Zionist, at a time when that was not a popular stance among upper-class Jews.

During the Hitler era, at the point when the Third Reich decreed that Jews must wear the badge of the yellow star, as their Inquisitional predecessors had done, Rabbi David de Sola Pool of Shearith Israel had a yellow star stitched to his vestments to symbolize what his people in Europe were suffering. The sight of the New York rabbi wearing the star stirred Mrs. Goldstone deeply, and moved her to write what she considers her most important poem:

O earliest morning stars that sang together,
And choruses of night that answered them,
The ancient stars, the sacred, the resplendent,
The shepherds' star
That rose on Bethlehem;

And even those small emblems that men make,
The stars of knighthood, bright for honor's sake;
The little service stars that shall burn through
Their hours of grief and pride,
And liberty's white spangled stars that ride
Valiant forever on their field of blue.

Is this the symbol that the brutal hand,
The blundering will to harm, the vicious hate,
Has wrought into a badge, a mark to brand?
Wear it, O Jew, upon your helpless arm;
Your race is worthy such insignia;
Be proud, be grateful it is not your fate
To bear a swastika.

Mrs. Goldstone has already celebrated her ninety-second birthday. She lives comfortably in a large Park Avenue apartment with a view of Central Park, surrounded by fine old furniture, silver, china, and some splendid family portraits, several by her ancestor Jacob Hart Lazarus, the Astor family portraitist. She doesn't get out as often as she used to but still entertains regularly at little teas, with a merry fire going in the fireplace, and she goes regularly to the synagogue. She has watched many of her relatives drift away from their ancient faith, and takes it philosophically, but was saddened that a relative who had married a non-Jew now considers herself -- from a religious standpoint -- "nothing." In the family, both Jewish and Christian holidays are celebrated.

She is still an energetic lady. Not long ago, walking in the park, she avoided ruining a new pair of shoes by taking them off and running barefoot to the nearest exit to escape a downpour. A favorite taxi driver, who serves as a kind of chauffeur, taking her on errands and visits around the city, asked her the other day the secret of her good health, spirits, and great age. Stepping out of the cab, she answered, "I believe in God."



i. Despite all sorts of socially discriminatory measures, snubs and countersnubs.  In New York, for instance, the elite German-Jewish men's club, the Harmonie,  would not admit Sephardic members. In retaliation, the Sephardic Beach Point  Club in suburban Westchester would take no Germans. This condition persisted  well into the twentieth century.
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Re: The Grandees: America's Sephardic Elite, by Stephen Birm

Postby admin » Wed Jul 25, 2018 8:56 pm


Abrahams, Israel. Jewish Life in the Middle Ages. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1896.

Barrett, Walter. Old Merchants of New York City. New York: Carleton, 1870.

Baruch, Bernard M. Baruch: My Own Story. New York: Holt, 1957.

Byars, William Vincent. B. and M. Gratz, Merchants in Philadelphia, 1754-1798. Jefferson City, Mo.: Hugh Stephens Printing Co., 1916.

Dimont, Max I. Jews, God, and History. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1962.

Dubin, Maxwell H. Jews in American History. Los Angeles: privately printed and circulated, 1930.

Elzas, Barnett A. The Jews of South Carolina. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1905.

Fein, Isaac M. "Baltimore Jews During the Civil War." American Jewish Historical Quarterly. Vol. LI No.2, December 1961.

Fitzpatrick, Donovan, and Saphire, Saul. Navy Maverick: Uriah Phillips Levy. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1963.

Friedman, Lee M. Early American Jews. Cambridge: Harvard, 1934.

--. "Boston in American Jewish History." Publication of the American Jewish Historical Society. Vol. XLII No.4, June 1953.

Handlin, Oscar. Adventure in Freedom. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1954.

Hellman, Geoffrey T. "Collection." The New Yorker, June 12, 1965.

Hellman, George S. Benjamin N. Cardozo. New York: Whittlesey House, 1940.

Hershkowitz, Leo, and Meyer, Isidore S., eds. The Lee Max Friedman Collection of American Jewish Colonial Correspondence. Waltham, Mass.: American Jewish Historical Society, 1968.

HUbner, Leon. Jews in America after the American Revolution. New York: Gertz Brothers, 1959.

---. The Life of Judah Touro. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1946.

Kayserling, Meyer. Christopher Columbus and the Participation of the Jews in the Spanish and Portuguese Discoveries. New York: Longmans, Green, 1894.

Korn, Bertram Wallace. The Early Jews of New Orleans. Waltham, Mass.: American Jewish Historical Society, 1969.

Kraus, Walter Max. "The Arrival of the Saint Charles." The Saint Charles. Vol. I No.1, January 1935.

Langdon-Davies, John. Carlos: The King Who Would Not Die. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1963.

London, Hannah R. Portraits of Jews. New York: William Edwin Rudge, 1927.

--. Shades of My Forefathers. Springfield, Mass.: Pond-Ekberg, 1941.

Madariaga, Salvador De. Christopher Columbus. New York: Macmillan, 1940.

Maduro, J. M. L. "A Genealogical Note on the Pimentel, Lopez, Sasportas and Rivera Families." Publication of the American Jewish Historical Society. Vol. XLII No.3, March 1953.

Marcus, Jacob Rader. Early American Jewry. 2 Vol. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1953.

Mars, David. "Justice Benjamin Nathan Cardozo: His Life and Character." Publication of the American Jewish Historical Society. Vol. XLIX No.1, September 1959.

Meyer, Annie Nathan. Barnard Beginnings. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1935.

--. It's Been Fun. New York: Henry Schuman, 1951.

Michener, James A. Iberia. New York: Random House, 1968.

Nathan, Maud. Once Upon a Time and Today. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1933.

Pearson, Edmund L. Studies in Murder. New York: Macmillan, 1924.

Pool, David de Sola. An Old Faith in the New World: Portrait of Shearith Israel. New York: Columbia University Press, 1955.

--. Portraits Etched in Stone. New York: Columbia University Press, 1952.

Pritchett, V. S. The Spanish Temper. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1954.

Roth, Cecil. A History of the Marranos. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1932.

---. "On Sephardic Jewry." In the Dispersion. Spring 1966.

Sachar, Abram Leon. A History of the Jews. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1930.

Stem, Malcolm H. Americans of Jewish Descent. Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1960.

Van Doren, Carl. Secret History of the American Revolution. New York: Viking, 1941.

Wiznitzer, Arnold. "The Exodus from Brazil and Arrival in New Amsterdam of the Jewish Pilgrim Fathers, 1654." Publication of the Jewish Historical Society. Vol. XLIV No.2, December 1954.

Wouk, Herman. This Is My God. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1959.
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Re: The Grandees: America's Sephardic Elite, by Stephen Birm

Postby admin » Wed Jul 25, 2018 9:09 pm


Aaron (family), 13
Abdulrahman III, Caliph, 36
Abdy, Sir Robert Edward Henry, 158
Aberdare, Henry Campbell Bruce,
Lord, 158
Abravanel (family), 50
Abravanel, Don Isaac, 48, 50
Adams, H. P., 48
Adams, Samuel, 133
Africa, northern: Sephardim, 52, 53,
284, 287, 288
Alexander VI, Pope, 79
Alfonso X (Alfonso the Wise; Alfonso
the Learned), King, 36
Alger, Horatio, 255-56
Algonquin Indians, 89-90
Alpert (family), 31
Alport (family), 31
Amador de los Rios, Jose Fernandez,
American Jewish Historical Society,
Amsterdam: Sephardim, 27, 52, 53
Andalusia: Moors, 37
Sephardim, 37, 46, 83
Andre, Maj. John, 151-52
Andrews, Charles, 184
anti-Semitism, see Jews, anti-Semitism
Amott, Nina Mapleson, see Nathan,
Mrs. Washington
Ashkenazim, 19, 500, 120, 202, 203
and Sephardim, 19, 120-21, 123-
24, 125-26, 147, 201-4, 229,
255, 291, 294-95
see also Germany, Jews; Jews and
Astor, John Jacob, 88, 92
Astor, Mrs. William, 60, 232, 234,
235, 273
Auchincloss (family), 230
Audler, Solomon, 124, 125
Baiz, Decadie, 123
Bajazet II, Sultan, 47, 50
Balmain, Count Alexander, 150
Barbados: Sephardim, 65
slave trade, 97
Barclay (family), 230
Barclay, Cornelia, see De Lancey,
Mrs. Stephen
Barclay, James, 208, 209
Bar Harbor: Sephardim, 230
Barnard, George S., 253
Barreto, Gen., 53-54
Baruch, Bernard, 282
Baruch, Bernhard, 282
Beekman (family), 95
Belgium: Sephardim, 28, 283
Belknap, Jeremy, 98
Belper, Algernon Henry Strutt, Baron,
Benjamin, Judah P., 235-36
Bent, Frank, 258
Bent, Mrs. Frank (Emily Cardozo),
257-58, 264
Black Plague, 39
Blair, Maj. Gen., 243, 244
Blake, James H., 219
"blue blood, " origin of term, 37
Boabdil, King, 46
Bogardus (family), 95
Bond, Lt., 188
Boston: Touro bequest, 130
Bourdeaux, Rose, 123
Bradford, Orlando Bridgeman, Earl
of, 158
Brandon (family), 276; see also de
Fonseca-Brandon (family)
Brandon, Frances Marion, 276-82
Brandon, Lyman, 276-77, 281, 282
Brazil: as Dutch colony, 52-53, 54,
62, 64, 65
as Portuguese colony, 53, 54
Sephardim, 53-54, 62, 64
Brewster (family), 162
Burden, Mrs. William A. M., 16
Bush, Mathias, 201
Butler, Benjamin, 216-19 passim
Cabral, Pedro Alvarez, 53
Capon, Ruy, 45
Cardozo (family), 60, 252, 257-58,
288, 295
Cardozo, Albert, 250, 252-56 passim,
Cardozo, Albert (Allie), 255
Cardozo, Mrs. Albert (Rebecca Nathan),
252, 257
Cardozo, Benjamin Nathan, 21, 22,
254-66 passim, 272, 301
Cardozo, Elizabeth, 258-59, 264
Cardozo, Ellen, 258, 259, 261, 263,
Cardozo, Emily, see Bent, Mrs. Frank
Cardozo, Grace, 257
Cardozo, Michael Hart, 252
Cardozo & Nathan, 22
Carlos II, King, 85
Castro, Archdeacon de, 81
Castro, Americo, 37
Catholicism, see Christianity
Catt, Carrie Chapman, 271
Cazenove, Pierre Andre Destrac, 131
Cedarhurst (L.I.): Sephardim, 14
Charleston: Sephardim, 95, 289
Christianity: conversions to, by Jews,
19, 31-32, 204
conversions to, by Jews and Moors,
see Conversos
conversions to Judaism, 19
Crusades, 35-36, 39, 41
Inquisition, 53, 72-74
see also Spain, Inquisition
Churchill, Mrs. Randolph, 158
Clinton (family), 149
Clinton, Gov. George, 88, 149
Clinton, Sir Henry, 154
Cochrane, Sir Alexander, 181
Cohen, Abraham, 171-72
Cohen, Myer David, 168
Cohen, Mrs. Myer David (Judith
Solis), 168
Columbus, Christopher, 36, 48-49, 50
Conrad, Barnaby, 16
Content, Rosa, see Seligman, Mrs.
Conversos (Catholic converts; New
Christians): Moors, 40-41,
42-43, 76
Sephardim, 40-41, 42, 44, 45, 46,
49, 74-76, 80, 82-83
reconversion to Judaism, 53
see also Marranos
Cordoba: Moors, 34, 42
Sephardim, 33, 42, 46
Coronel (family), 49
Cotton, John, 133
Crane, Capt. William, 19o-g1, 192,
Crawford, William H., 183
Cresques, Judah, 48
Curacao: Sephardic cemetery, 53
Da Costa (family), 276; see also
Mendes-da Costa (family)
Da Costa, Benjamin, 175
Da Costa, Moses, 175
d'Acosta, Joseph, 68
Dale, Clara, 247, 250
Dandrada, Salvador, 67
d'Angers, Pierre Jean David, 207
da Silva (family), 19, 21, 166-67,
169 Da Silva, Duarte, 166
da Silva, Miguel Pacheco, see Seixas,
Abraham Mendes
Da Silva Solis (Da Silva y Solis;
family), see Solis (family)
Daughters of the American Revolution,
Davis, Jefferson, 236, 239
de Fonseca (family), 8, 275, 276
de Fonseca, Cardinal, 275
de Fonseca, Dona Isabel, 167
de Fonseca-Brandon (family), 275-
76 de Fonseca-Brandon, James, 275-76
De Lamar, Alice A., 278
De Lamar, Raphael, 278
de la Motthe, Jacques, 54-59 passim,
61, 62
De Lancey (family), 16, 148
De Lancey, Charlotte, see Dundas,
Lady David
De Lancey, Oliver, 148-49
De Lancey, Mrs. Oliver (Phila
Franks), 148-49
De Lancey, Oliver, Jr., 151, 152
De Lancey, Phila, see Payne-Gallwey,
Mrs. Stephen
De Lancey, Stephen, 150
De Lancey, Mrs. Stephen (Cornelia
Barclay), 150
De Lancey, Susannah, see Draper,
Lady William
De Lancey, Sir William Howe, 150
de Leon (family), 71
de Leon, Jacob, 175, 176
de Lucena (family), 69, 96, 297
de Lucena, Abraham, 18, 21, 66-67,
68, 69, 71, 300
de Lucena, Abraham Haim, 70-71
de Lucena, Rebecca, 71
Denmark: slave trade, 97, 99
Depew, Chauncey, 273
de Peyster (family), 95
De Piza (Dias ), Abraham Israel, 57
de Rham, Henry C., 228
de Sola (family), 19, 27-28
de Sola, Aaron, 27
de Sola, Don Bartolome, 27
de Sola, Baruch ben Isaac Ibn Daud,
27 de Sola, David Aaron, 27
de Sola, Eliza, see Mendes, Mrs.
Abraham Pereira
de Sola, Isaac, 27
de Sola, Michael Ibn Daud, 27
de Torres, Luis, 49
de Torres, Rebecca, see Gomez, Mrs.
de Vera, Don Lope, 80
Deza, Diego, 81
Digby, Edward Kenelm Digby, Baron,
Disraeli, Benjamin, 236
Draper, Lady William (Susannah De
Lancey), 149
Dreyfous (family), 18
Dundas, Lady David (Charlotte De
Lancey), 149
Dunphy, Thomas, 245
Dutch West India Company, 53, 61,
63-64, 67, 68
Dutch West Indies: Sephardim, 29, 53
Edgeworth, Maria, 230, 234-35
Edict of Nantes, 86
Edman, Irwin, 262
Einglish, William, 101-6 passim
Ellery, Lt. Frank, 198-99
Ellis, George, 248
Ely, Nathan, 219
England, 52
Sephardim, 24, 27, 283
anti-Semitism, 95
in colonies, 65
expulsion, 73-74
England (cont' d)
slave trade, 97, 99
see also New York (English colony)
Etting (family), 144, 146, 158
Etting, Emlen, 144
Etting, Esther, see Hays, Mrs. David
Etting, Reuben, 145
Etting, Reuben II, 158
Evans, Margaret, see Franks, Mrs.
Ewing, Samuel, 161
Faro, David Israel, 57, 58
Federation of Polish Jews of America,
140, 141
Ferdinand, King of Aragon, 43-47,
48, 49, 79
Ferdinand III, King, 36
Fita, Fidel, 77-78
Florance (family), 268
Florance, Annette, see Nathan, Mrs.
Robert Weeks
Florance, Ted, 268, 269
Florance, Mrs. Ted (Rosalie Nathan),
Florance, Mrs. William, 268
Forrester, Billy, 248
France: Edict of Nantes, 83
Jews, 38
Sephardim, in colonies, 64-65
slave trade, 97, 99
Franco (family), 293; see also Franks
Franco, Gen. Francisco, 293
Franco, Nicolao, 46
Frankfurter, Felix, 262
Franklin, Benjamin, 133, 163
Franks (family), 17, 134, 140, 145-
46, 158-59
Franks, Aaron, 146
Franks, Abigail, see Hamilton, Mrs.
Franks, David, 146, 150, 154-55, 157,
159, 201
Franks, Mrs. David (Margaret
Evans), 150
Franks, Col. David Salisbury, 163
Franks, Isaac, 137, 149
Franks, Jacob, 146
Franks, Mrs. Jacob (Abigail Levy),
146, 147-49, 150
Franks, Moses, 134
Franks, Naphtali ( "Heartsey"), 147,
Franks, Mrs. Naphtali (Phila
Franks), 151
Franks, Phila, see De Lancey, Mrs.
Oliver; Franks, Mrs. Naphtali
Franks, Rachel, see Salomon, Mrs.
Franks, Rebecca, see Johnson, Lady
Franks, Richa, 148
Fulton, Robert, 174
Gansevoort, Leonard, 134
Gaon, Dr. Solomon, 294
Garrison, Washington, 181
Germany: Jews, 15, 31, 33, 38; see
also Ashkenazim
Gerstein, Dr. Louis C., 294
Gilder, Richard Watson, 273
Gillespie, George J., 277-81 passim
Gillette (family), 162
Ginillo (family), see Santangel (family)
Gir6n, Don Pedro, 45
Goldstone, Harmon Hendricks, 300
Goldstone, Lafayette, 18-19
Goldstone, Mrs. Lafayette, 261, 262,
Gomez (family), 18, 21, 29, 7Q-71,
72, 92-93, 96, 108, 127, 134,
255, 297
in Spain, 84, 85, 86
Gomez, Alfonso, 84
Gomez, Daniel, 87-92 passim, 85,
108-10, 117
Gomez, Mrs. Daniel (Rebecca de
Torres), 87
Gomez, Mrs. Daniel (Esther Levy),
87 Gomez, David, 148
Gomez, Esther, see Gomez, Mrs.
Gomez, Eve Esther, see Hendricks,
Mrs. Uriah
Gomez, Isaac (b. 1620), 84, 85-86
Gomez, Isaac, Jr. (18th cent.), III
Gomez, Isaac (18th cent.), 171
Gomez, Joseph Edwin, Jr., 93
Gomez, Lewis (Louis) Moses, 84, 85,
86-87 Gomez, Mrs. Lewis (Esther Marques),
86 Gomez, Mathias, 121
Gomez, Mordecai, 231
Gomez, Moses, 92, 110, 117
Gomez, Mrs. Moses (Esther Gomez),
Gomez, Violante de Santangel, 84
Gonzalez de Mendoza, Cardinal Pedro,
Goodwin (family), 16
Goodwin, Dr. Lyde, 16
Gorme, Eydie, 31
Gould, Jay, 252, 253-54
Granada: Alhambra, 34
Cathedral, tomb of Ferdinand and
Isabella, 43-44
Moors, 34, 38, 46
Sephardim, 33, 84
Gratz (family), 146, 158, 159, 162-
Gratz, Benjamin III, 162
Gratz, Helen, see Rockefeller, Mrs.
Godfrey S.
Gratz, Henry Howard, 162
Gratz, Joseph, 159
Gratz, Michael, 157, 159
Gratz, Rachel, see Moses, Rachel Gratz
Gratz, Rebecca, 158-63 passim, 202
Gratz, Simon, 167
Great Seal (U.S.), 133
Greece: Sephardim, 52, 288, 289; see
also Sephardim, Levantine
Guggenheim (family), 15
Guiana: Sephardim, 53
Gurney, Gene and Clare, 298
Hale, John P., 215
Hamilton, Andrew, 158
Hamilton, Mrs. Andrew (Abigail
Franks), 150-51, 156, 158
Hart (family), 18, 29, 115, 297
Hart, Isaac, 115
Hart, Jacob, 201
Hassan, Suley, 167
Hay, Mary Garrett, 271
Hays (family), 29, 127, 144, 146,
158, 170
Hays, Catherine, 127-28
Hays, Caty, see Sarzedas, Mrs. Abraham
Hays, Charity, see Solis, Mrs. Jacob
da Silva
Hays, David, 144-45, 150
Hays, Mrs. David (Esther Etting),
144, 145, 150
Hays, Judah, 16g-70
Hays, Moses, 127
Hays, Rachel, 170
Hays, Rebecca, 127
Hays, Mrs. Samuel, 158
Hebrew language, 202, 290
Hellman, George, 263
Hendricks (family), 18, 21, 25, 29,
50, 67, 71, 108, 170, 227, 228,
229, 277, 295
Hendricks, Emily, see Nathan, Mrs.
Benjamin Seixas
Hendricks, Harmon, 18, 171-'77, 227,
Hendricks, Henry, 177, 219, 227
Hendricks, Mrs. Henry (Harriet Tobias),
Hendricks, Mrs. Henry S. (Rosalie
Nathan), 25-26, 231
Hendricks, Hermoine, see Tobias, Mrs.
Hendricks, Montague, 177
Hendricks, Roselane, see Tobias, Mrs.
Hendricks, Sally, 176
Hendricks, Uriah, 18, 170-71
Hendricks, Uriah II, 227
Hendricks, Mrs. Uriah (Eve Esther
Gomez), 170, 171
Hendricks, Mrs. Uriah (Rebecca Lopez),
Hendricks, Mrs. Uriah II (Fanny
Tobias), 227
Hendricks, Uriah II, 177
Hendricks, Ziporah Levy, 17
Henriques (family), 25; see also Hendricks
Henriques, Jacob, 68
Henry (family), 174
Hitler, Adolf, 293, 301
Hoffman, Matilda, 160
Hoffman, Ogden, 160
Holland: Brazil as colony, 53-54, 62,
64, 65
Dutch West India Company, 53,
61, 63-64, 67, 68
Dutch West Indies, 29, 53
New Amsterdam, see New York
(New Amsterdam)
Sephardim, 24, 27, 28, 29, 52, 53,
54, 62, 66, 67-68, 283
slave trade, 97, 99
Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 262
Hopkins (family), 16
Hopkins, Samuel, 97
Howe, Gen. Sir William, 150
Indians, 62, 88-90
Jews, identification with, 89-90
Ingersoll (family), 16, 147
Innocent III, Pope, 38
Inquisition, 53, 72-74; see also Spain,
Irving, Washington, 160
Isaacs, Solomon, 174
Isabella, Queen, 43-48 passim, 73, 79
Italy: Jews, 38
Jackson, Andrew, 209
Jacobs, Samuel, 125-26
Jacobs, Mrs. Samuel (Rosette), 125-
26 James I, King of Aragon, 36
Jefferson, Thomas, 133, 138, 179, 207,
208, 209, 299
Jews and Judaism: anti-Semitism, 61-
69 passim, 73-74, 95, 195-g6,
200, 213, 219, 220-21
see also Spain, Sephardim, anti-
conversions to Christianity, 19, 31-
32, 203-4
see also Conversos, Sephardim
ghettos, 33
Hebrew language, 202, 290
identification badge and dress, 38-
39, 42, 78-79, 301
Indians, identification with, 89-90
Jewishness descendant from distaff
side, 17
Mosaic Code, 133
Reform movement, 203, 264, 284
slave trade, 96, 100-1
taxation, 33
Yiddish language, 202
zekhut avot (ancestral merit), 20
see also Ashkenazim; Sephardim
John II, King of Castile, 40
John II, King of Portugal, 37
Johnson, Lady Henry ( Rebecca
Franks), 17, 150-59 passim,
Johnson, Sir Henry, 17, 157
Johnston, Johnny, 230-31
Johnston, Mrs. Johnny (Annie Lazarus),
230-31, 232
Jones, Thomas Catesby, 193
Joy, Levi, 182
Juana la Loca (Joan the Mad), 81,
Judah, DeWitt Clinton, 17
Judah, Walter J., 297-g8
Judaism, see Jews and Judaism
Kamen, Henry, 78
Keenan, Annie, 245, 248
Kelly, Mrs., 240, 241, 243
Kelly, David, 26g-70, 271
Kelly, William, 240, 243, 249
Kierstede (family), 95
King (family), 229
Kohler, Max J., 141
Kosciusko, Thaddeus, 139
Kuhn (family), 15
Kuhn, Loeb & Company, 15
La Caballerla (family), 45
Ladino language (Judeo-Spanish),
37, 284, 290
Lane, Amos, 208
Langdon, Rev. Samuel, 133
Lazarus (family), 16, 229, 231-32,
288, 295, 297
Lazarus, Annie, see Johnson, Mrs.
Lazarus, Emma, 16, 22, 231, 232, 240
Lazarus, Frank, 232-33
Lazarus, Jacob Hart, 231-32, 302
Lazarus, Mrs. Jacob Hart (Amelia
Barnard Tobias), 18, 231-34,
Lazarus, Sarah, 232
Lee, Gen. Charles, 153
Lehman (family), 15
Lehr, Harry, 235
Levy (family), 16, 69, 71, 87, 115,
124, 134, 146, 179, 229, 288
Levy, Abigail, see Franks, Mrs. Jacob
Levy, Amelia, see Von Mayhoff, Mrs.
Amelia Levy
Levy, Asser, 57, 70
Levy, Benjamin, 178
Levy, Esther, see Gomez, Mrs. Daniel
Levy, Fanny, see Lopez, Mrs. Abraham
Levy, Jacob, 108
Levy, Jefferson, 225, 229, 299
Levy, L. A. Jr., 124, 125
Levy, Mrs. L. Napoleon, 229
Levy, Moses, 69
Levy, Nathan, 178
Levy, Rachel, 299
Levy, Samson, 146, 179
Levy, Uriah Phillips, 178-200, 205,
207-22, 223, 224, 225, 226,
236, 298-89, 300
Levy, Mrs. Uriah Phillips (Virginia
Lopez), 215, 218, 221-25
Lewis, Harold L., 298, 300
Livingston (family), 16, 230
Lockerman (family), 95
Lodge (family), 16
Loeb (family), 15
Loeb, Carl Morris, 282
Loeb, Mrs. Carl Morris (Adeline
Moses), 282
Loeb, John L., 15, 282
Loeb, Rhoades & Company, 15
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 118-
Lopez (family), 19, 112, 115, 116,
127, 130, 134, 174, 235-36,
Lopez, Aaron, 95-96, 100-19 passim,
Lopez, Mrs. Aaron (Abigail or Anna),
96, 107, 145
Lopez, Mrs. Aaron (Sally Rivera),
107-8 Lopez, Abraham, 215
Lopez, Mrs. Abraham (Fanny Levy),
Lopez, Hannah, 108
Lopez, Moses, g6
Lopez, Rebecca, see Hendricks, Mrs.
Lopez, Rebecca Touro, 129
Lopez, Samuel, 174-75
Lopez, Sarah ( Sally), see Mendes,
Mrs. Abraham Pereira
Lopez, Virginia, see Levy, Mrs. Uriah
Lopez de Ayala, Pedro, 41
Lopez-Lopez, Rachel, 108
Los Angeles: Sephardim, 289
Lowell, Josephine Shaw, 273
Lumbroso, Mose, 57, 58
Lutherans: Dutch persecution, 62, 63
first American church, 70
Lyons, Sarah, 266
McAllister, Ward, 60, 235
McBlair (family), 16
McCann, John H., 253
McClure (family), 162
Mackay, Mrs. Clarence, 271
Madison, James, 138-39, 173, 228
Maduro (family), 170
Maduro, Levy, 169
Maduro, Mrs. Levy (Cohen Peixotio),
169 Maduro-Peixotto (family), 169
Maduro-Peixotio, Moses Levy, 170
Mangam, John, 242
Marks, Albert J. "Roley, " 121-23
Marques, Esther, see Gomez, Mrs.
Marranos, 40, 49, 53, 57, 75-76, 83-
84, 283; see also Conversos,
Marshall (family), 162
Martinez, Don Ferran, 42
Martinique: Sephardim, 65
Martya, Jan, 57-58
Mathews, Annie, 277
Mayhew, Rev. Jonathan, 133
Mears, Judah, 149
Megapolensis, Rev. John, 63
Mellish, Kitty (Caterina Mendes-da
Costa Villa-Real Mellish), 276
Mellon (family), 235
Mendes (family), 19, 27, 28, 111,
115, 168, 236
Mendes, Abraham Pereira II, 28
Mendes, Abraham Pereira I, 111-14
passim, 117
Mendes, Mrs. Abraham Pereira (Eliza
de Sola), 28
Mendes, Mrs. Abraham Pereira
(Sarah or Sally Lopez), 96,
111-14 passim, 117
Mendes, Dona Caterina, 276
Mendes, David, 114
Mendes, David Franco, 54, 55
Mendes, Don Fernando, 276
Mendes, Dona Gracia (Lady Beatrice
de Luna), 28
Mendes, Henry Pereira, 26, 27, 28
Mendes, Leah, 111, 113-14
Mendes, Piza, 26-28 passim
Mendes-da Costa, Antonio, 276
Mendes-da Costa, Sarah, see de Fonseca-
Brandon, Sarah Mendesda
Mendola (family), 19
Mendoza y Bobadilla, Cardinal Francisco,
Mercado (De Mercado; de Mereda),
Judith (Judica), 57
Mesoncort, George, 181
Meyer, Dr. Alfred, 272, 273
Meyer, Mrs. Alfred (Annie Nathan),
21, 257, 267-68, 269, 271-74
passim, 291
Mill, David, 102-5 passim
Miller, Alice Duer, 273
Miller, Kenneth Hayes, 258
Mills, Harriet May, 271
Minis (family), 174
Monroe, James, 138, 194, 196
Moors, 33-41 passim, 46
Conversos, 39-41, 42, 76
and Sephardim, 34-35, 36, 37, 39-
40, 41, 47
Morgan (family), 235
Morocco: Sephardim, 52
Morris (family), 147
Morris, Robert, 135, 137, 141
Mosaic Code, 133
Moses (family), 15, 282
Moses, Adeline, see Loeb, Mrs. Carl
Moses, Lion, 137
Moses, Rachel Gratz, 161
Moya, Marquesa de, 45
Nathan (family), 18, 21-25, 29, 52,
60, 67, 71, 168, 226, 229, 237-
38, 288, 295
Nathan, Annie, see Meyer, Mrs. Alfred
Nathan, Benjamin Seixas, 238, 239-
50, 254
Nathan, Mrs. Benjamin Seixas (Emily
Hendricks), 238, 250
Nathan, Edgar J., Jr., 21, 22, 60
Nathan, Elvira, see Solis, Mrs. David
Nathan, Emily Da Silva Solis, 22-23,
25, 30, 167
Nathan, Frederick, 237, 240-43 passim
Nathan, Mrs. Frederick (Maud Nathan),
267, 271-72, 274
Nathan, Frederic Solis, 22
Nathan, Isaac Mendes Seixas, 21,
Nathan, Maud, see Nathan, Mrs.
Nathan, Mendes Seixas, 21
Nathan, Mrs. Mendes Seixas (Sarah
Seixas), 21
Nathan, Rebecca, see Cardozo, Mrs.
Nathan, Robert, 264
Nathan, Robert Weeks, 267, 268,
269-70, 271
Nathan, Mrs. Robert Weeks (Annette
Florance), 268, 270-71
Nathan, Rosalie, see Florance, Mrs.
Ted; Hendricks, Mrs. Henry S.
Nathan, Sarah Seixas, 240
Nathan, Washington, 240-43 passim,
246-51 passim
Nathan, Mrs. Washington (Nina Mapleson
Amott), 251
Newbold (family), 147
New Orleans: Ashkenazim, 121, 123-
24, 125-26, 201
Sephardim, 95, 121-22, 123-24,
125-26, 168, 201
Touro bequest, 129
Newport: Jewish cemetery, 118, 132
Jewish club, 115, 126
Newport (cont'd)
Sephardim, 95-96, 110, 115, 116,
145-46, 230, 289
slave trade, 96-100 passim
Touro bequest, 130
Touro Synagogue, 95, 126
New York (English colony): Ashkenazim,
Dutch in, 94-95
Sephardim, 68-69
New York (New Amsterdam)
Sephardim, 67-68
anti-Semitism, 61-69 passim
arrival of, 14, 30-31, 51, 55-60
New York City, 205-7
Barnard College, 21, 272-"74
Bronx, Sephardim in, 14
clubs closed to Jews, 16
Dutch Church, 94
Emanu-El, 264, 297
Harmonie Club, 295n
Lower East Side, 14, 264, 289
Montefiore Hospital, 28
Saint Mark's in-the-Bowery, 300
Sephardic cemeteries, 297, 298
Chatham Square Cemetery, 28,
60, 70, 297
Sephardic synagogues, 19, 60, 70,
Sephardim, 288-90
Shearith Israel, 19, 22, 87, 91,
237, 264-65, 291, 294, 295-
de Lucena, Abraham Haim, found-
ding, 59-60
Gerstein, Louis C., 294
Mendes, Henry Pereira, 26, 28
Pool, David de Sola, 28, 291, 301
Seixas, Gershom Mendes, 21, 170
and Touro Synagogue (Newport),
Trinity Church, 69, 87
Union Club, 232, 235, 255
Union League Club, 235
Upper East Side, 264
New York Guild for the Jewish Blind,
28 New-York Historical Society: Hendricks
Collection, 25-26
Nones, Benjamin, 137
Norden, De Leon, 202
Norfolk, Bernard Marmaduke Fitzalan
Howard, Duke of, 158
Nunes (family), 71
Nunes, Ricke (Rachel), 57, 59
Pacheco, Don Juan, 45
Padilla, Dona Maria de, 46
Payne-Gallwey, Mrs. Stephen (Phila
De Lancey), 149
Peckham, Walton, 243
Peixotto (family), 19, 29, 169, 170,
297; see also Mendes-Peixotto
Peixotto, Antonio Mendes, 169
Peixotto, Cohen, see Maduro, Mrs.
Peixotto, Don Diego, 169
Peixotto, Joshua, 169
Perry, Comm. Matthew, 218
Pesoa, Isaac, 172
Peter I, King, 45-46
Philadelphia: Ashkenazim, 201-2
Meschianza, 150-52, 154
Mikveh Israel, 91, 291
Sephardim, 21, 95, 141, 144, 145-
46, 147, 156, 201, 28g
Philip I, King, 81
Philip II, King, 75
Philip III, King, 80
Philip IV, King, 84--85
Phillips (family), 29, 95
Phillips, Loyd Peixotto, 29
Phillips, Mrs. Lloyd Peixotto ( Beatrice),
Pierce, Franklin, 217
Pietersen, Solomon, 55-56, 59
Pilgrims, 61
Pinto, Beatrice, 166
Polhemius, Dominie Joannes, 63
Polynesia: Sephardim, 53
Pool, Dr. David de Sola, 28-29, 291,
Portland: Sephardim, 289
Portnoy (family), 31
Portugal: Brazil as colony, 53, 54
Sephardim, 14, 24, 27, 29, 30-33
passim, 35, 37, 38, 49, 51-52
slave trade, 97, 99
Potter, Lt. William, 185-88 passim
Primrose, Lady Lavinia Mary, 158
Pulaski, Casimir, 139
Pulgar, Hernando de, 44, 83
Puritans, 63, 132
Quakers: Dutch persecution, 62
Randolph, Edmund, 138-39
Randolph, Martha Jefferson, 208
Random, Don Francesco, 139
Rappaport (family), 31
Recife: Sephardim, 53, 54
Revere, Paul, 173
Rhodes: Sephardim, 284, 285, 289,
Ridgely, Charles Goodwin, 16-17
Riker, "Big Sam, " 233
Riker, "Little Sam, " 233
Rittenhouse (family), 229
Rivera (family), 115, 127
Rivera, Jacob Rodriguez, 96, 100-6,
107, 116, 126
Rivera, Sally, see Lopez, Mrs. Aaron
Rockefeller (family), 16, 235
Rockefeller, Mrs. Godfrey S. (Helen
Gratz), 162-63
Roos, Garret Janson, 70
Roosevelt (family), 229
Roosevelt, Franklin D., 141
Roosevelt, Theodore, 271, 299
Rosebery, Albert Edward Harry
Mayer Archibald, Earl of, 158
Rowland (family), 162
rum trade, 97-100 passim, 173
Sachs (family), 31
St. Clair, Gen. Arthur, 138
Saks (family), 31
Salmasius, 62
Salomon (family), 134, 136
Salomon, Haym, 132-43 passim, 150,
Salomon, Mrs. Haym (Rachel
Franks), 135, 140, 150
Salomon, Haym Moses, 139-40, 141
Salonica: Sephardim, 284, 285
Sanchez (family), 44
Sanchez, Gabriel, 48
Sancho II, King, 32
Santa Maria, Don Pablo de (Selemoh
ha-Levi), 39-40, 41
Santangel (family), 84
Santangel, Clara de, 84
Santangel, Donosa de, 84
Santangel, Gabriel de, 84
Santangel, Jaime Martin de, 84
Santangel, Luis de, 48, 84
Santangel, Simon de, 84
Santangel, Violante de, see Gomez,
Violante de Santangel
Saratoga: Sephardim, 230
Sartain, John, 159
Sarzedas, Abraham, 170
Sarzedas, Mrs. Abraham ( Caty
Hays), 170
Savannah: Sephardim, 95, 289
Saxe (family), 31
Schiff (family), 15, 235
Schuyler, Philip, 134
Scott, Sir Walter, 160-61
Scott, Gen. Winfield, 157-58
Scoville, Joseph, 177
Seattle: Sephardim, 289
Seixas (family), 18, 21, 29, 31-32,
50, 168, 169, 170, 229, 288,
Germanized versions of name, 31
in Spain, 31
Seixas, Abraham Mendes ( Miguel
Pacheco da Silva), 169
Seixas, Benjamin, 18
Seixas, Gershom Mendes, 18, 21, 26,
170, 238
Seixas, Moses, 164
Seixas, Sarah, see Nathan, Mrs.
Mendes Seixas; Nathan, Sarah
Seixas, Vic, 3Z
Seixas, Victor Montefiore, 32
Selemoh, Don, 43, 44
Seligman (family), 255
Seligman, James, 229
Seligman, Mrs. James (Rosa Content),
Seligman, Joseph, 255
Senior, Don Abraham, 43, 44, 48, 49
Sepharad, 31
Sephardim, 202, 204
and Ashkenazim, 19, 120-21, 123-
24, 125-26, 147, 201-4, 229,
255, 291, 294-95
characteristics and traits, 19, 62-63
Sephardim (cont' d)
conversions to Christianity, 19,
Conversos, 40-41, 42, 44, 45, 46,
49, 74, 76, 80, 8z-83
reconversions to Judaism, 53
derivation of name, 31
in finance, 32-33, 35, 39, 43, 48,
62, 67-69, 74, 75
importance of the past, 30, 281-82,
Ladino language (Judea-Spanish),
37, 284, 290
Levantine Sephardim, 14, 50, 52,
magic and healing, 286-87
Marranos, 40, 49, 53, 57, 75-76,
83-84, 283
phoenix as symbol 66
zekhut avot (ancestral merit), 20
see also Jews and Judaism; Portugal,
Sephardim; Spain, Sephardim
Seville: Sephardim, 24, 27, 33, 42, 46,
76 Seward, William, 91
Shackelford (family), 2zg
"sheeny, " origin of word, 203
Shepherd, Rezin Davis, 130
Shippen, Peggy, 150
Sixtus IV, Pope, 79
slave trade, 95-100, 172-73
Solis (family), 19, 21, 166, 167, 168-
69, 170
Da Silva Solis (Da Silva y Solis;
family), 166-67
Solis, David, 168
Solis, Mrs. David Hays (Elvira Nathan),
22, 168
Solis, Elvira Nathan, 22-25, 30, 32,
60, 166, 167, 168
Solis, Fernao Jorge Da, 166
Solis, Isabel de, 167
Solis, Jacob da Silva, 167-68
Solis, Mrs. Jacob da Silva (Charity
Hays), 167, 168
Solis, Joseph, 168
Solis, Joseph Da Silva, 167
Solis, Judith, see Cohen, Mrs. Myer
Solis, Solomon da Silva, 167
Solis-Cohen (family), 21, 169
Souza, Victor, 123
Spain: Castilian language, 37
Crusades, 35, 39, 41
Inquisition, 24, 27, 31, 46, 47-48,
51, 72-84
auto-da-fe, 75, 76-78, 81, 82, 85
sanbenito, 7B-79
scourging, 77, 78
see also Sephardim, Expulsion
Edict below
Latin language, 37
Moors, see Moors
Sephardim, 14, 24, 30-50, 292-93,
anti-Semitism, 35, 36, 39-42 passim,
44, 45, 72-73; see also
Inquisition above
Anusim see Conversos; Marranos
astronomy and navigation, interest
in, 35, 36, 48
Conversos (Catholic converts;
New Christians), 40-41, 42,
44, 45, 46, 49, 74-76, 80, 82-
83; see also Marranos below
Expulsion Edict, 47-51 passim,
73, 283, 284, 292-93, 294
in finance, 32, 35, 39, 43, 48,
74, 75
identification badge and dress,
38-39, 42, 77-79
Ladino language (Judea-Spanish),
37, 284
limpieza doctrine, 75
Marranos, 40, 49, 75-76, 83-84,
283; see also Conversos above
as merchants, 35, 37
and Moors, 34-35, 36, 37, 39,
41, 47
as physicians, 35, 39, 45, 74
protection by the Crown, 36, 41
right to wear arms, 37-38
as scholars, 35, 36
taxes, 32-33
Spencer, William A., 198, 199
Starin, Mrs. Jeffrey, 92
Stern, Jacob, 15
Stem, Malcolm H.: Americans of Jewish
Descent, 13-19, 166, 167,
170, 204, 282
Stevenson (family), 16
Stewart, Comm. Charles, 191>-91, 219
Stiles, Ezra, 97, 117-18, 133
Stringham, Comm. Silas, 218
Stuart, Gilbert, 175
Stuyvesant, Peter, 61-62, 64-68 passim,
Suffolk, Charles Brandon, Duke of,
276 Sully, Thomas, 150, 159, 161-6.2, 189
Sulzberger, Arthur Hays, 127n
Susan, Diego de, 76
Susman, Moses, 69
Talavera, Fray Hernando de, 44
Taylor (family), 162
Ten Eyck (family), 16
Thompson, Comm. Edward, 192
Tiffany (family), 16
Tobias (family), 18, .2.27
Tobias, Amelia Barnard, see Lazarus,
Mrs. Jacob Hart
Tobias, Fanny, see Hendricks, Mrs.
Tobias, Florian, .227
Tobias, Harriet, see Hendricks, Mrs.
Tobias, Henry, 227
Tobias, Mrs. Henry (Roselane Hendricks),
177, 227
Tobias, Isaac, 2.27
Tobias, Mrs. Isaac (Hermoine Hendricks),
Tobias, Alfred, 227
Tobias, Sophia, 232
Tobias, Tobias I., 227, 229
Toledo (Spain): center of astronomical
learning, 36
Sephardim, 24, 33, 42, 76, 83
Torquemada, Tomas de, 79-80, 81
Touro (family), 127, 13.2
Touro, Isaac, 126-.27
Touro, John, 131
Touro, Judah, 126-32 passim, 143,
159, 178, 201
Townsend, Joseph, 83
Tracy, Kate, 258
Turkey: Sephardim, 14, 50, 52, 284-
88, 289
see also Sephardim, Levantine Sephardim
Tuttle, Bishop, 163
Tweed, "Boss" William, .253-54
Tyler, John, 213, 214
Van Cortlandt (family), 95
Vanderbilt (family), 16, 235
Vanderpoel, Aaron, 219
Van Horn, Cornelia, 157
Van Rensselaer (family), 16, 95, 229
Van Rensselaer, Gratz, 159-60
Verplanck (family), 147
Vincent Ferrer, Saint, 42
Von Mayhoff, Mrs. Amelia Levy, .299
Waag, Rachel, 175
Wallace (family), 16
Walling, George, 248-49
Warburg (family), 15
Washington, George, .21, 132, 133,
138, 140, 141, 153, 163, 164-
65, 179
Wayne, Gen. Anthony, 152-53
Weaver, Lt. William, 197, 198
Weed, Ella, 273
Wharton, Edith, .231, 238
Wharton, Joseph, 151
Whichcote, Sir Thomas, 158
Willis, Nathaniel Parker, 221
Wilson, Ellen, 131
Wilson, James, 138
Wolff (family), 229
Wolff, Agnes Hendricks, .230
Wolff, Frances Nathan, 18
Woortman, Henrick, 103-4, 105
yellow, as color of cowardice: in identification
badges and dress, 38,
42, 78, 301
Yiddish language, 20.2
Zacuto, Abraham ben, 48
zekhut avat (ancestral merit), 20
Zuntz (family), 13
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