84 185 GRATZ, REBECCA. Autograph Manuscript. Annual Report of the Female Hebrew Benevolent Society of Philadelphia. Titled in another hand (possibly Isaac Leeser). Rebecca Gratz summarizes the activities of the Female Hebrew Benevolent Society of Philadelphia, the charitable organization which she founded in 1819. She refers to the influx of “destitute immigrants… flocking to our shores, ” namely the first great wave of Jewish immigration to the United States from Germany in the 1840s. Gratz enumerates the activities which the Society had been called upon, “that labor of love,” namely, assisting the needy. She reports that the Society helps wayfarers on their journey, helps them bury their dead, and maintains those orphans left from such tragedies. This report is undated, but was published in The Occident Vol. 7, January 1850, pp. 517-18, thus it describes the activities for the year 1849. Three pages with integral blank. 4to. (Philadelphia, 1849). $5000 - $7000 ❧ Created in 1819, Rebecca Gratz’s Philadelphia-based Female Hebrew Benevolent Society inspired the creation of the New York Female Hebrew Benevolent Society a year later. Jacob Rader Marcus referred to the seminal founding of such aid societies as the origin of “a new woman - the Jewish social worker.” See Marcus, The American Jewish Woman, 1654-1980 p. 48. The present report clearly displays the fiduciary responsibility with which Gratz took her calling. Her charitable work was a labor of love and religious devotion and her report is imbued with words of kindness and sympathy towards her less fortunate brethren with nary a trace of condescension from one more fortunate. Gratz deems her work “a privilege” and a cause for “rejoic[ing] that the Spirit of Judaism is spreading its influence through various channels.” Gratz calls here for the founding of a foster home for Jewish children and predicts that it will be a place for rearing “future artisans and mechanics… [who] will bless another generation.” Gratz speaks of bright hopes, and suggests that “the prayers of the poor, & those who were ready to perish bring down blessings on their benefactors.” Rebecca is justly remembered as an accomplished and engaged exemplar of an early American Jewish woman deeply imbued with notions of benevolence and generosity of spirit. 186 GUTHEIM, JAMES K. (1817-86). Autograph Letter Signed written to Isaac Leeser, in English. Gutheim tells Leeser that he has prepared a lengthy rebuttal to Isaac Mayer Wise’s article “Monument for Judah Touro” (The Israelite, June 1, 1860, p. 382), and asks Leeser to withhold publishing any letters reacting to Wise until he has seen his. One page. 4to. New Orleans, June 7th, 1860. $2000 - $3000 ❧ Shortly after the great American Jewish philanthropist Judah Touro died (1854) a proposal emerged to memorialize him with a monument in the form of a bronze statue. In time the proposed monument was to be placed on the grounds of the Congregation K. K. Nefuzoth Yehudah, the Portuguese synagogue led by Rev. James Koppel Gutheim. Never before had Jews memorialized another by way of a statue, which was presumably forbidden by the second of the Ten Commandments - hence a controversy arose as the affiliation of the society and synagogue was ostensibly Orthodox. In what is perhaps a surprising twist, Reform Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise not otherwise known for opposing innovations with halachic objection, took a vigorous stance against the statue citing numerous traditional rabbinic authorities in his defense. See J. Sarna, The Touro Monument Controversy, in: Essays in Honor of David Ellefson (Detroit, 2014). New Orleans’ Rev. Gutheim, in whose synagogue Judah Touro prayed, shared with Leeser a similar biography, geographic background and even childhood Talmud teacher. Gutheim defended the monument and its statue in a learned essay, see The Jewish Messenger, June 29, 1860, pp. 196-97. Lot 185 Lot 186