Guide to the Papers of the Seixas Family, undated, 1746-1911, 1926, 1939
 
*P-60

Processed by Alisa M. Flatow, updated by Adina Anflick.

American Jewish Historical Society

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 294-6160

Fax: (212) 294-6161

Email: reference@ajhs.org

URL: http://www.ajhs.org

© 2014, American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY. All Rights Reserved.
Finding aid was encoded by Marvin Rusinek on May 23, 2006. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Seixas family
Title: Papers of Seixas Family
Dates:undated, 1746-1911, 1926, 1939
Abstract: Contains published and manuscript material relating to the activities and administration of the congregation and its subsidiary organizations including reports and weekly bulletins, early financial records and lists of those honored at religious services, copies of resolutions and forms of service and prayers for various occasions in manuscript form. Contains also material relating to the cemetery, the Hebra Hased Va-Amet (the congregational burial society) and to later clergy in the congregation, Henry Pereira Mendes, David de Sola Pool and Louis Coleman Gerstein including published copies of their sermons.
Languages: English, Hebrew, and French.
Quantity: 1 linear ft. and 2 oversized folders
Identification: *P-60
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Return to the Top of Page

Biographical Notes of the Seixas Family

The papers constitute a history of some of the descendants of Isaac Mendes and Rachel Levy Seixas, Portuguese Jews who immigrated to America circa 1734. Several offspring of Isaac and Rachel Seixas held important roles in early synagogues and colonial Jewish affairs in New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Newport, Rhode Island; and Richmond, Virginia. Many were active in the establishment of civic economic institutions, such as the Bank of Rhode Island and the New York Stock Exchange and in philanthropic organizations, such as the Deaf and Dumb Institute in Philadelphia. Some were members of the military during the Revolutionary War and War of 1812. Moses Mendes Seixas and Gershom Mendes Seixas were involved in events welcoming George Washington as the nation's first President.

The following lists significant members of the Seixas family that appear in these papers. A biography of Abraham I. Abrahams also follows.

Isaac Mendes Seixas, September 5, 1709-November 3 1781/1782.
Son of Abraham Mendes and Abigail Seixas, Isaac Mendes came to America from Lisbon, Portugal about 1734. He was naturalized in 1745 and elected constable in New York City, but was not eligible for the position, being neither a freeman nor a freeholder. He moved to Newport, Rhode Island and lived there until the Revolutionary War, when he moved to Stratford, Connecticut. He returned to Newport after the war, and died shortly after. He married Rachel Levy about 1740, they had eight children: Abraham (died in infancy), Abigail (1742-1819), Moses (1744-1809), Gershom (1745-1816), Benjamin (1747-1817), Abraham (1751-1799), Grace (1752-1831), and Raphael (died in infancy).

Moses Mendes Seixas, March 28, 1744-November 29, 1809.
Son of Isaac Mendes Seixas, brother of Gershom. He was one of the organizers and first cashier of the Bank of Rhode Island. The bank conducted its business in his house until 1818. After the British occupied Newport during the Revolutionary War, Moses M. Seixas remained in Newport and was among the signers of a document pledging loyalty to the patriot cause. In 1790 he was president of the congregation in Newport, Jeshuat Israel and addressed George Washington in an historic letter of welcome. He was a charter member and in 1802 became first grand master of St. John's Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Newport. Moses Mendes Seixas married Jochebed Levy in 1770 and they had eight children: Rachel (1773-1822), Benjamin (1775-1843), Judith (1777-1829), Isaac (1779-1786), Bella (1781-1860), Abigail (1782-1854), Gershom (died in infancy), Grace (1786-1865), and Hetty (1790-1854).

Gershom Mendes Seixas, 1746-1816.
Son of Isaac Mendes Seixas. He was the first native-born minister in the United States and one of the most noted of early American Jews. During the Revolutionary War he fled first to Stratford, Connecticut where he joined his father (1776), residing as well in Norwalk, Connecticut. In 1780, he moved his family to Philadelphia (1780), where he served as minister and helped establish Congregation Mikveh Israel. He returned to New York in 1784, one year before his first wife Elkalah died. He may have been present at the inauguration of George Washington in New York in 1789. As Hazzan (prayer leader) of Congregation Shearith Israel, he also served at times as the community's mohel (circumciser), teacher, and shochet (ritual slaughterer). He founded the oldest existing Jewish philanthropic organization in New York, Hebra Hased Va-Amet (1802- ), a funeral society. He also initiated the formation of a charity society, Kalfe Sedaka Mattan Basether (1798-1816). He was a trustee of Columbia College from 1784-1814. He married Elkalah Myers-Cohen (1749-1785) in 1775 in New York and they had four children: Isaac (died in infancy), Sarah Abigail (1778-1854), Rebecca Mendes (1780-1867), and Benjamin (1783-1847). He then married Hannah Manuel (1766-1856) in 1786 and they had eleven children: David (1788-1864), Grace (1789-1826), Samuel (1792-1852), Joseph (1794-?), Elkalah (?-1831), Rachel (1801-1827), Joshua (1802-187?), Theodore J. (1803-1882) and his twin Henry (1803-1822), Lucy Orah (1804-1825), Selina (1806-1883), and Myrtilla (1807-1859).

Benjamin Mendes Seixas, January 17, 1747-August 16, 1817.
Son of Isaac Mendes Seixas, brother of Gershom. Born in Newport, RI, he came to New York as a young man. There he became a freeman of New York City, owning a saddler shop on Broad Street. He served as third lieutenant in the Fusiliers Company of the First Battalion of the New York Militia. He joined his parents in Stratford, Connecticut when the British overtook New York during the American Revolution, but was married in Philadelphia in 1779 by his brother Gershom. While a resident of Philadelphia, Benjamin Mendes Seixas engaged in privateering with Isaac Moses, and was a mason and treasurer at the Sublime Lodge of Perfection. He also served as a trustee for the Philadelphia congregation Mikveh Israel. In 1784, Benjamin Mendes Seixas returned to New York and opened a dry goods store. He was active in Congregation Shearith Israel, serving among his roles, as chairman of the board, trustee, and president. He was one of the founders of the New York Stock Exchange and became an auctioneer later in his life. He married Zipporah Levy on January 27, 1779 in Philadelphia. They had twenty-one children: Abigail (1779-1782), Moses B. (1780-1839), Isaac B. (1781-1839), Rebecca B. (1782-1868), Abigail (1784-1860), Abraham (1786-1834), Solomon (1787-1840), Esther B. (1789-1872), Sarah (1791-1834), Madison (died in infancy), three more, Hayman Levy (1792-1865), Grace (1794-1866), Jacob B. (1795-1854), Aaron (1796-1849), Rachel (1798-1861), Daniel (1800-1886), Miriam (1802-1833), and Leah (1805-1886).

Sarah Abigail Seixas Kursheedt, February 10, 1778-August 4, 1854.
Daughter of Gershom Mendes Seixas. Born in Stratford, Connecticut where her parents had fled after the British occupied New York, Congregation Shearith Israel's historian and religious leader David Sola de Pool considers Sarah Seixas Kursheedt as Gershom's favorite daughter. She was a loyal correspondent with her father and other family members. On January 18, 1804, she married merchant and broker Israel Baer Kursheedt, a learned Jewish scholar who was active in philanthropic societies. The couple had nine children: Elkaleh (1805-1883), Jeanette (1807-1901), Asher (1808-1893), Alexander (1811-1884), Isaac Mendes (1814-1886), Anna Augusta (?-1876), Gershom (1817-1863), Rebecca (1819-1875), and Miriam (1821-1866).

Isaac Benjamin Seixas, November 22, 1781-August 10, 1839.
Son of Benjamin Mendes Seixas. Born in Philadelphia, the third of twenty-one children, Isaac Benjamin Seixas came to New York as a child when his parents returned there in 1784 after the Revolutionary War. In 1806, he was the reader for congregation Beth Shalome in Richmond, Virginia. Records indicate he owned a store in Richmond in 1808. Isaac Benjamin Seixas served in the War of 1812 and in 1813 he was a second corporal in the Richmond Light Infantry Blues. From 1828 until his death he was the hazzan for Congregation Shearith Israel in New York. He married his cousin Rebecca Judah on May 31, 1809 in Richmond. The couple had eight children: Abigail (1811-?), Benjamin (died in infancy), Hillel Mendes (1814-1874), Zipporah (1816-1839), Benjamin (1818-1840), Gershom (1820-?), Rachel (1822-?), and Sloe Virginia (died in infancy).

David G. Seixas, 1788-March 19, 1864.
Son of Gershom Mendes Seixas. Born in New York, David G. Seixas moved to Philadelphia where by 1811 he owned a small crockery store. When English imports of crockery were banned during the War of 1812, David G. Seixas manufactured crockery and has been credited as father of this art in the U.S. He also served in the military during the War of 1812. In 1819, he began bringing deaf children into his home to care and teach them. In May 1820, he established the Deaf and Dumb Institute in Philadelphia and served as the Principal until he retired in 1821. He established a brewery in New York in 1834, and in 1840 he was among the first to introduce daguerreotypes in the United States. He also discovered ways of burning anthracite coal, and manufactured sealing wax, printer's ink, and enamel-surfaced visiting cards. He joined his brother Theodore J. Seixas in South Bend, Indiana, where he died unmarried.

Grace Seixas Judah, December 7, 1789-August 20, 1826.
Daughter of Gershom Mendes Seixas. She married her cousin Manuel Judah, an auctioneer and merchant of distilled liquor, who was one of the founders of Richmond Jewry and active in the Richmond Light Infantry Blues. The couple had three children: Abigail (1816-1898), Louisa Leah (?-1838), and Gershom (?).

Jacob B. Seixas, July 30, 1795-March 15, 1854.
Son of Benjamin Mendes Seixas. Jacob Seixas was a music teacher and performer who arranged a choral group to sing at the dedications of new synagogue buildings for both Congregation Shearith Israel in 1818 and Congregation Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia in 1825. He died unmarried.

Joshua Seixas, June 4, 1802-187?.
Son of Gershom Mendes Seixas. Joshua converted to Christianity early in his life, and taught Hebrew at Oberlin and Western Reserve Colleges in Ohio. He published his first edition of A Manual of Hebrew Grammar in 1834, the same year he wrote to his friend Elizabeth as noted in the collection. Joshua Seixas married Henrietta Raphael in Richmond, and the couple had ten children: Julia Ann (1822-?), Esther H. (1825-?), Myrtilla (1827-?), Grace (1827-?), Virginia (1829-?), Theodora (1831-?), Henrietta Francis (1833-1902), Gershom Arnold (1835-1919), Selina (1838-1917), and Seraphine (1840-?)

Naphtali Moses Taylor Phillips, December 5, 1868-April 30, 1955.
Grandson of Rachel Seixas Phillips and Napthali Phillips. Rachel Seixas Phillips was the daughter of Moses Mendes Seixas. N. Taylor Phillips was a lawyer active in public service. One of the founders of the American Jewish Historical Society, he acted as its treasurer and later Vice-President. He also served for three years in the New York State Legislature and for eight years as deputy and then acting comptroller of New York City. At the age of fifty, he requested military duty during World War I and held the position of captain based in Washington, D.C. He served as clerk for Congregation Shearith Israel for thirty-two years, and as its president for eight years. He married Rosalie Solomons in Washington, D.C. on March 9, 1892. The couple had no children.

Abraham Isaac Abrahams, 1720-August 10, 1796. (No relation to the Seixas Family)
Abraham, son of Isaac Abrahams, was of Lithuanian descent. He served as a constable in New York City in 1753, and also was a tobacconist, distiller, and merchant. He traveled widely in the colonies as a mohel and also was a Hebrew teacher. He taught for Congregation Shearith Israel from 1762-1775. A circumcision register Abrahams compiled is available in the Jacques Judah Lyons Collection (P-15).

References:

Berman, Myron. Richmond's Jewry, 1769-1976. Charlottesville, 1979.

Ezekiel, Herbert T. and Gaston Lichtenstein. The History of the Jews of Richmond from 1769-1917. Richmond, 1917.

Greenspahn, Frederick E. "The Beginnings of Judaic Studies in American Universities." Jewish History, vol. 20, no. 2, 2000, pgs. 209-225.

Grinstein, Hyman. The Rise of the Jewish Community of New York 1654-1860. Philadelphia, 1976.

Gutstein, Morris A. The Story of the Jews of Newport: Two and a Half Centuries of Judaism, 1658-1908. New York, 1936.

Libo, Kenneth and Abigail Kursheedt Hoffman. The Seixas-Kursheedts and the Rise of Early American Jewry. Block Publishing Company, 2001.

Marcus, Jacob R. American Jewry: Documents, Eighteenth Century. Cincinnati, 1959.

Marcus, Jacob R. Early American Jewry, Volumes I and II. Philadelphia, 1951, 1953.

Marcus, Jacob R. The Handsome Young Priest in the Black Gown; the Personal World of Gershom Seixas. Cincinnati, 1970.

Morais, Henry Samuel. The Jews of Philadelphia. Philadelphia, 1894.

Pool, David and Tamar de Sola. An Old Faith in the New World. New York, 1955.

Pool, David de Sola. Portraits Etched in Stone. New York, 1952.

Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society. Volumes 4 (1896), 6 (1897), 19 (1910), 27 (1920), and 45 (1955-1956).

Rosenbloom, Joseph R. A Biographical Dictionary of Early American Jews: Colonial Times through 1800. University of Kentucky Press, 1960.

Stern, Malcolm H. First American Jewish Families. Baltimore, 1978.

Wolf, Edwin and Maxwell Whiteman. The History of the Jews of Philadelphia from Colonial Times to the Age of Jackson. Philadelphia, 1975.

Return to the Top of Page

Scope and Content Note

This branch of the Seixas family, originating with Isaac Mendes and Rachel Levy Seixas, who arrived in America from Portugal circa 1734, includes several individuals who have had an impact on communal affairs and colonial Jewish life in New York, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Newport, Rhode Island; and Richmond, Virginia. This collection does not preserve the total volume of papers produced by every family member, however, the documents contained within the collection are adequate to determine the importance of the family in Jewish as well as secular life in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

The collection is valuable to researchers studying the Seixas family; Civic, mercantile, and religious contributions of Jews in the colonial era; Jewish communities in New York, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Newport, Rhode Island; and Richmond, Virginia; the importance of religion to the Colonial Jews; Jewish participation in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and World War I; Jewish converts to Christianity; Jews as masons; and Congregation Shearith Israel of New York.

Individuals figuring prominently in the collection are Ephraim Hart, Grace Seixas Judah, Mrs. Jesse Judah, Israel Baer Kursheedt, Sarah Seixas Kursheedt, Hayman Levy, Nicholas Low, Isaac Moses, Naphtali Taylor Phillips, Benjamin Mendes Seixas, David G. Seixas, Gershom Mendes Seixas, Isaac Benjamin Seixas, Isaac M. Seixas, Jacob B. Seixas, Joshua Seixas, and Moses Mendes Seixas.

The collection is composed of account records, books, circumcision instructions and register, correspondence, drawings, estate papers, a eulogy, family trees, legal documents, petitions, photographs, prayer books, a sermon, and shipping records.

The collection is arranged into four series: Series I: Family Papers; Series II: Moses Seixas (1744-1809); Series III: Gershom Mendes Seixas (1746-1816) and descendants; and Series IV: Benjamin Mendes Seixas (1748-1817) and descendants.

Return to the Top of Page

Arrangement

The collection has been arranged into four series as follows:

Return to the Top of Page

Access and Use

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers by permission of the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society, except items that are restricted due to their fragility.

Use Restrictions

Information concerning the literary rights may be obtained from the Executive Director of the American Jewish Historical Society. Users must apply in writing for permission to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection. For more information contact:
American Jewish Historical Society, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY, 10011
email: reference@ajhs.org

Return to the Top of Page

Related Material

American Jewish Historical Society
Archives
William Brownejohn Rent Rolls (P-299) (Gershom M. Seixas)
Gratz Family Papers (Michael and Bernard Gratz) (P-8) (Gershom M. Seixas)
Jacob Levy, Jr. Estate Inventory (P-674) (Judith Levy Seixas)
Aaron Lopez Papers (P-11) (Moses Seixas)
Jacques Judah Lyons Collection (P-15) (Seixas family)
Moses Family Papers (P-1) (Seixas family)
Nathan Family Papers (P-54) (Grace Seixas Nathan, Sarah Abigail Seixas Kursheedt)
Samuel Oppenheim Collection (P-255) (Seixas family)
Benjamin Franklin Peixotto Family Papers (Estate Papers of Moses Levy Maduro) (P-195) (Isaac B. Seixas)
Phillips Family Papers (P-17) (David G. Seixas)
Touro Family Papers (P-214) (Seixas family)
Congregation Shearith Israel Records (I-4) (Gershom M. Seixas, Isaac B. Seixas)
Congregation Beth Elohim (Charleston, SC) Records (I-107) (Isaac Seixas)
Mayor's Court (New York, NY), Selected Briefs (I-151) (Abraham Seixas, Benjamin Seixas, David Seixas, Harman L. Seixas, Hyman Seixas, Hayman Seixas, Isaac Seixas, Jacob Seixas, Jonah Seixas, Joshua Seixas, Moses Seixas, Solomon Seixas)
New York (County) Hall of Records, Selected Insolvent Debtors Cases (I-153) (Abraham Seixas, Benjamin Seixas, Hayman Seixas, Moses B. Seixas, Solomon Seixas)

Rare Books
Carvalho, Emanuel Nunes. A Sermon Preached on Sunday [11 be-Tamuz, 5576] July 7, 1816 : on Occasion of the Death of the Rev. Mr. Gershom Mendes Seixas... Philadelphia, PA, 1816 (Rosenbach #181)
Congregation Shearith Israel. Form of Service at the Dedication of the New Synagogue of the Kahal Kadosh Shearith Israel : in Crosby-Street, New York. New York, NY, 1834 (Rosenbach #382)
Congregation Shearith Israel. Report of the Proceedings in the Case of Mrs. Anne Seixas. New York, NY 1823 (Rosenbach #S-379)
De La Motta, Jacob. Funeral Address Pronounced in the Synagogue, Previous to the Interment of the Relics of the Rev. Gershom M. Seixas... New York, NY 1816 (Rosenback #185)
Levy, David (Translator). The Form of Prayers... According to the Custom of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews. London, England, [1790-1793] (Library call # BM665.L28)
Machzor (Sephardic), 1726 (Library call # BM675.F45 M25a)
Molloy, Emma F. Authentic Account -of the late- St, Jo River Calamity.... South Bend, Indiana, 1868 (Soble #388)
Seixas, Joshua. Manual Hebrew Grammar: for the Use of Beginners. Andover, MA, 1833 (Rosenbach #368)
Siddur (Sephardic), 1727 (Library call # BM675.F3 A3 1727/28)

Congregation Shearith Israel (New York, NY)
Contracts with Clergy (Isaac Benjamin Seixas)
Lyons Family (Grace Seixas Lyons)
Manuscript Collection (Gershom Mendes Seixas)

New York Historical Society
Auction Records (Solomon Seixas)

Touro Synagogue (Newport, RI)
Moses Seixas letter to President George Washington

Western Reserve Historical Society (Cleveland, OH)
Cleveland Jewish Collection (Joshua Seixas, Seixas Family)

Yeshiva University. Special Collections. Rare Books and Manuscripts (New York, NY)
Four Documents of American Jewish Leaders (Moses Seixas, Newport)

Return to the Top of Page

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Papers of Seixas Family; *P-60; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY.

Return to the Top of Page

Access Points

Click on a subject to search that term in the Center's catalog. Return to the Top of Page

Container List

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

 

Series I: Family Papers, undated, 1746-1747, 1750, 1772, 1806, 1817, 1821, 1823, 1825, 1828-1829, 1834, circa 1839, 1846, 1867, 1926

English, French, and Hebrew.
Box 1, Folders 1-5.
Arrangement:

Folders are arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content:

This series contains material generally relating to the Seixas family. A few items, kept in their original order within folders, pertain to Moses, Gershom Mendes, and Benjamin Mendes and their descendants (Series II-IV).

The series includes two books, one in English, and the other in French that belonged to members of the Seixas family as well as a Sephardic Siddur that was owned by various members of the family. A family record, compiled most likely by Hayman Levy, son of Benjamin Mendes Seixas, is located in Box 1, Folder 4. Box 1, Folder 4 also includes items relating to the Seixas' coat of arms. Photographs depicting a portion of the Seixas family tree, as well as Moses Mendes Seixas and a plaque honoring Moses Mendes Seixas are within Box 1, Folder 4.

Box 1, Folder 5 is a compilation of materials concerning various Seixas family members from different areas of the family tree. The items were kept within the folder to preserve the original order of the collection. The folder includes contracts, estate records, a property evaluation, and a personal letter relating to Jacob B., Joshua, Moses, Isaac M., and Hannah M. Seixas.

BoxFolderTitleDate
11A Voyage to Hudson's Bay, by the Dobbs Galley and California, in the years 1746 and 1747 for discovering a North West Passage...1746-1747, 1750
  

A book titled A voyage to Hudson's Bay, by the Dobbs Galley and California, in the years 1746 and 1747 for discovering a North West Passage: With an accurate Survey of the Cc(r)aft and a short National History of the country. Together with a fair view of the facts and arguments from which the future finding of such a passage is rendered probable. The author of this work is Henry Ellis and there are photographs in the book as well. The inside front cover contains a poem and the date July 19, 1750, onboard the Maria.

 
12Sephardic Siddurundated, 1772 (Hebrew date 5532), 1817 (Hebrew date 5577), 1825 (Hebrew date 5585), 1828
  

Sephardic Rite Siddur, weekday and Shabbat, without covers, broken in half. Moshe Mendes' name appears inside. There is an inscription to Reverend Isaac B. Seixas from Theodore Seixas, Richmond, Nissan 5585. Note inside from Jonas N. Phillips. The Siddur was presented to him by M. Seixas, son of the late Reverend Isaac B. Seixas, his Hebrew teacher on August 23, 1828(?). Written in English is the prayer for the welfare of the American Government. There is also a small white piece of paper inside the Siddur with the prayer Kail melech yosheiv al cisay Rachmim, written in a combination of Hebrew Rashi script and block letters.

Contains Hebrew. 
 
13Procès-Verbal Des Séances De L'Assemblée Des Députés Français1806, 1821, 1823
  

On the binding the words Sanhedrin and Jacob Seixas are written. The name A. Solomon Seixas and New York10 September, 1821 and E. Seixas all appear inside the front cover along with the note that Dr. K. Kohler presented this book to his best friend in New York13 April 1823. The title of this work is Procès-Verbal Des Séances De L'Assemble'e Des Députés Français. Professant La Religion Juive: Imprint d'aprés le Manuscrit communiqué par M.le Président. A Paris, 1806. This book is a copy of the printed proceedings of the Great Sanhedrin in France.

Contains French. 
 
14Seixas Family-Genealogy and coats of armsundated, 1926
  

This folder contains six items:

Item #1: Photograph of a plaque in honor of Moses Mendes Seixas, 1926
This plaque was erected by his great grandson, Captain N. Taylor Phillips. He is honored for his presidency in Congregation Jeshuat Israel, fighting in the Revolutionary War, being grandmaster of masons in Rhode Island, and founder of the Bank of Rhode Island. The plaque is dated 5686-1926.

Item #2: Family Record, 1748-1902, undated
An original family record, as well as a photocopy. Eleven typed pages and an additional cover page, with various symbols from the typewriter along the top and bottom of the cover.
The compiler of the information does not give his name, however he is most likely Hyman Levy Seixas, who was a son of Benjamin and Zipporah Seixas, as he writes "my Dear Father/Mother." Dates of births, deaths and marriages of the entire family are recorded.
The family records of the compiler's wife, Abigail N. Cardozo, are also recorded.

Item #3: Coat of Arms, undated
A drawing of the family's coat of arms. There is a shield with five birds, each in a different flight position. There is a helmet and leaves, forming arms at the top of the shield and a bird rests upon the helmet. At the bottom of the drawing is the name Seixas.
On the back of this sheet of paper is a taped piece of paper, small, with red trim that says "Coat of Arms family of Gershom Mendes Seixas." It also appears to say the word "Rabbi" but it is difficult to make out the other word.

Item #4: Coat of Arms, undated
Photograph of another picture of a coat of arms. The center of the picture contains a circle, with stripes, with three fish-like creatures overlapping each other. There is also some design around the center, in the appearance of leaves and circular objects. On the back of the photograph the words "Arms, Seixas family of Lisbon Portugal" are written. A section of the photograph is ripped, presumably from the way it was placed in the folder; both pieces are present.

Item #5: Photograph of the Seixas Family pedigree, undated
This family tree shows the parents of the lineage, Isaac Mendes Seixas and Rachel Levy, and all of the subsequent generations of the family. The children are all listed, as well as the names of their spouses, and birth and death dates where known.

Item #6: Photograph of Moses Mendes Seixas, undated
A 8x10" photograph that contains, in the center, a picture of a painting of Moses' face and shoulders. The picture of him is centered in a dark square frame and is oval. He has dark curly hair and a short beard. He is wearing a white shirt with a high collar.

 
15Seixas Family papers1829, 1834, circa 1839, 1846, 1867
  

This folder contains six items:

Item #1: Property evaluation, July 2, 1829
Thick, folded over original document from Charleston. On the back of this document are the first two words of the text: "We the subscribers." It seems as though the person who was drafting the document erred in the way he was writing and turned over the paper, and wrote on the other side.
The signers of this document had been called upon to examine the conditions of a lot in Champruey's(?) Alley with the ruins of an old building upon it. The property seems to belong to the young children of Isaac M. Seixas, who is deceased. They find the building very destroyed, without a roof, with the lower floor ripped up and falling through. They also certify that the building had been authorized to be demolished because of its state and the likelihood that it would fall on its own.

Item #2: Letter from Joshua Seixas to Elizabeth, February 22, 1834
The letter is in response to Elizabeth's letter to Joshua. Elizabeth is Joshua's student. He apologizes for the delay in his response to her. He cites his reasons as 1) being away from home, 2) his eyes were weak at the time he received the letter, and 3) he had been waiting to receive a certain grammar book. He remarks that he was happy to hear that Elizabeth had told him about her love for heavenly things and a newfound religiousness and spirituality. He discusses the fact that it is impossible to love Christ and one's parents. He calls Jesus Christ l-rd, and expresses his wish that his family imitate his ways. He continues by praising Jesus' faith in G-d and the commandment to follow Jesus and his ways. [Note: there is both the use of Hebrew terms and talk about Jesus in this document. Elizabeth's ancestors were religious people, and she has strayed from Judaism.]
The next section of the letter expresses Jacob's concern over hearing about Elizabeth's mother's misfortune, although he does not say what the misfortune is. He then goes on to discuss the problems he is having with his eyesight and his compulsion to give up the Concordance he was working on as well as his Hebrew Grammar book for several weeks. He concludes the letter by wishing pleasure to Elizabeth and her entire family and signs it "your sincere friend, J. Seixas."

Item #3: Account record, circa 1839
Original document. A half sheet of paper, column on the right hand side with a list of numbers, set aside from the words of the document by a double vertical line.
The document is a record of money and shares in companies owned by the deceased Moses Seixas.

Item #4: Account record, continuation of above, circa 1839
Two separate original pages, containing writing on both sides of the documents. As with the previous document, there are lists of prices on the right column of the page, separated from the main text of the document by a double line on the sheet of paper. Both pages are beginning to tear along the folded crease in the middle of the page.
The two pages are detailed accounts listing furniture and other items found in various rooms of a house and their value. These items and their prices reflect the amount of money raised at an auction.

Item #5: October 29, 1846. Contract, October 29, 1846
Original document, contract signed by Jacob B. Seixas, Jonas B. Phillips and Richard Lawrence. In the top center of the document is a symbol that contains a man and a woman standing on two sides of a shield. The man is holding a sword and scales of justice; the woman is holding a long rod. In the shield is the image of a sun setting behind a mountain, overlooking a body of water. There are bushes behind the man and woman as well as an eagle with its wings spread on top of the shield. There are three red dots on the lower right hand corner of the paper in a vertical position.
This contract is a loan document, wherein the three men promise to return four hundred dollars that they borrowed.

Item #6: Estate of H. M. Seixas, April-June, 1867
Four attached pieces of paper about the estate and death of H.M. Seixas. Alfred M. Seixas is the Executor, H.M. Seixas may have been his mother Hannah. His father Abraham Mendes Seixas was known to have died in 1867, yet the deceased initials appear to be H.M. The pages are held together by a straight pin.
Page 1: Dated May 17, 1867. On May 22, at noon there will be an inventory of all of H.M. Seixas' belongings, for all who are interested in the deceased estate.
Page 2: From the County of New York Surrogate's office, dated June 3, 1867. A statement that everything reported to have been found during the inventory is accurate.
Page 3: A statement by witnesses and the appraiser that the articles and objects he found in the deceased's possession were declared honestly. The document is light blue and printed.
Page 4: Titled Inventory and Appraisement of the Personal Estate of H.M. Seixas. Handwritten on a lined sheet of paper and signed by the appraiser. It lists possessions and their value. There is also a stamp worth five cents stuck to the paper. On top of the stamp is printing that says "April 18, 67."

 
Return to the Top of Page
 

Series II: Moses Seixas (1744-1809), undated, 1755, 1772, 1775-1796, 1799-1809, 1890

English and Hebrew
Box 1, Folders 6-7, Box 2, Folders 1-5, Oversized folder OS1 #1.
Arrangement:

Folders are arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content:

Items only pertaining to Moses Seixas can be found within this series. A drawing book Moses Seixas created dates from 1755, and is located in Box 1, Folder 6. Moses Seixas conducted circumcisions; a letter from mohel Abraham I. Abrahams detailing circumcision instructions as well as a register of Moses Seixas listing the circumcisions he performed between 1775-1796 is located in Box 1, Folder 7.

A prayerbook Moses Seixas owned for High Holiday Services is located in Box 2, Folder 1. Box 2, Folders 2 through 4 and oversized folder OS1 #1 consist of shipping records for voyages based out of New York and Newport, a letter Moses wrote to an unidentified individual requesting assistance regarding a petition to absolve a debt, and a mortgage document from New York State.

Box 2, Folder 5 contains the Charter and By-Laws of St. John's Lodge No. 1 in Newport, Rhode Island. The small book, once in Moses Seixas' possession, includes a short biography of him that was handwritten by his great grandson N. Taylor Phillips.

BoxFolderTitleDate
16Moses Mendes Seixas-Drawing book1755
  

The book is soft covered, six inches by seven inches. On the cover it says Moses Seixas-his book, December 3, 1755. There is writing from a later date in pencil on the cover but it is virtually illegible. At the top of the cover it says "My grandfather, Rebecca Phillips." On the cover is also a picture of a profile of a man.
There are twelve drawings in this book, each on its own page.
The first three drawings are of trees, one contains color and the others are in pencil.
The next five drawings are of various houses and their surroundings. Most of the works are in gray and one contains a small amount of brown writing.
The next three pictures are of animals and have brown, green, gray and yellow writing.
The last picture is small, in numerous colors, of a house and the land around it.
There are several blank pages at the end of the book.

 
17Moses Mendes Seixas-Circumcisions-Instructions from Abraham I. Abrahams and list to Moses1772, 1775-1796
  

Letter to Moses Seixas from Abraham Abrahams, dated June 1, 1772. The folder contains the original document as well as a photocopy. The original is six and a half pages, written on both sides of the paper. At the end of the letter is a list of the names of 21 people that Moses Seixas circumcised from 1775-1796.
He is sending Moses these instructions as per the request of Moses' father, because he wants to become a mohel.
After instructing him to have a good heart and a mixture of courage and tenderness, he gives step by-step instructions on how to perform a circumcision. He tells him every step of the process and which phrases to recite.

 
BoxFolderTitleDate
21Machzor Siddur, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippurundated, 1775
  

Owned by Moses Seixas.

Contains Hebrew. 
 
22Moses Seixas-Shipping documents-Newport and New York1797, 1799, 1807, 1809
  

(See Oversized folder OS1 #1)

The folder contains five items:

Item #1, March 2, 1797
Two attached pages. From the district of the City of New York.
The document is a statement by Moses Seixas that the items have been delivered from St. Thomas aboard the Brig James Weston on March 2, 1797.
The second page lists the items being imported: four trunks of clothing, two cases, and beds and bedding. Both pages are signed by Moses Seixas. On the back of the second page the words "Moses Seixas B. entry Brig James March 2, 1797" are written.

Item #2, May 20, 1799
Entry of baggage, imported by Moses Seixas. Small original sheet of paper that appears to have been attached to another document that is not in the folder.
The back of the document has the words "Moses Seixas, B. entry Ship Three Sisters 20 May 99"
The shipment came from Havanna (sic), to New York on May 20, 1799 and contained four trunks of clothes, two beds and bedding, and one small box of sea stories. The Ship Three Sisters carried the items and has been recorded by Charles White, Master of the port, and signed by Moses Seixas.

Item #3, December 31, 1806
(See Oversized folder OS1 #1)
Invoice of cargo shipped by Moses Seixas, Edward Easton, John Price, Jr., and William Price. The cargo was shipped from Newport, Rhode Island on board the Brig Eagle John Clarke Master, bound for Africa.
The invoice lists items that were sent to Africa, including candles, soap, tobacco, various fishes, meats and other grocery items. The amount of each item is listed, along with its value, which is tallied at the end of the document for a total of $11,750.

Item #4, January-February 1807
(See Oversized folder OS1 #1)
A settlement of accounts between the owners of the Brig Eagle, John Clarke Master Voyage to Africa. The owners are Edward Easton, John Price, Jr., William Price, and Moses Seixas. Lists dates and prices of the transactions.

Item #5, May 31, 1809
(See Oversized folder OS1 #1)
A settlement of accounts between the owners of the ships Union, Brig. Eagle, and Brig. Hiram. The owners are Edward Easton, John Price, Jr., William Price, and Moses Seixas. Lists dates and prices of the transactions.

 
23Moses Mendes Seixas-Letter1803
  

An original document one page in length dated Newport, February 28, 1803.
Moses does not write whom the letter is addressed to, but uses the word "sir." It can be inferred that the man he is writing to is of some political position, as he asks him to please give professional assistance and support to a petition. The petition regards a debt and a lottery is the only means of absolving the debt.

 
24Moses Seixas-New York mortgageMay 2, 1809
  

One page, original document, divided into two parts.
The first half of the page is signed by Moses Seixas and testifies that his mortgage from November 1, 1808 has been redeemed and discharged-dated May 2, 1809.
The second part is a statement by an officer of the State of New York that Moses Seixas has come before him and has done what he has written in the top section of the document.

 
25St. John's Lodge No. 1 of Free and Accepted Masons, Newport, Rhode Islandundated, 1890
  

The folder contains a small soft covered book entitled The Charter and By-Laws of St. John's lodge No. 1, Newport, Rhode Island. The cover is black but has many brown aging spots. Inside the front cover is a note written by N. Taylor Phillips in 5650, 1890. He writes that the book belonged to Moses Seixas, first master of St. John's Lodge F. & A.M. of Newport, Rhode Island. He was also cashier of the Bank of Rhode Island at Newport. He died in New York City on November 29, 1809 and was buried in the Ancient Cemetery of the Jewish Nation in Newport. N. Taylor Phillips concludes by saying that Moses was his great grandfather.
The book is 26 pages and is divided into two sections: charter and by-laws. At the end of the book is a six and a half page index. The total number of pages is 33.

 
Return to the Top of Page
 

Series III: Gershom Mendes Seixas (1746-1816) and descendants, undated, 1783-1787, 1789, 1790, 1813-1815, 1824, 1911, 1939

English and Hebrew.
Box 2, Folders 6-11, oversized folder OS1 #2.
Arrangement:

Folders are arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content:

The series contains material relating primarily to Gershom Mendes Seixas and his children, David G. Seixas, Sarah Seixas Kursheedt, Grace Seixas Judah, and Henry Seixas. The series also includes material concerning Seixas' position as Hazzan for Congregation Shearith Israel and as trustee for Columbia College in New York.

Box 2, Folder 6 consists of typescripts copied from Gershom Mendes Seixas' original letters that are held in the archives of Congregation Shearith Israel. Among the items is correspondence Gershom Mendes Seixas' wrote while occupying the role of Hazzan of Congregation Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia as he contemplated accepting the new position in Congregation Shearith Israel. Later correspondence addressed to Congregation Shearith Israel trustees appeal for increases in his salary and synagogue seats for Mrs. Jesse Judah and her daughters. Box 2, Folder 6 also includes a three-page document regarding Gershom's involvement with Columbia College.

Additional material concerning Congregation Shearith Israel is found in Box 2, Folder 10, which contains a sermon Gershom Mendes Seixas delivered on February 2, 1814, most likely relating to the War of 1812.

Box 2, Folders 7 through 9 and oversized folder OS1 #2 contain letters Gershom Mendes Seixas wrote to family members. Box 2, Folder 7 consists of a 1790 letter Gershom sent to his brother Moses Seixas. The letter includes references to the Sulchan Aruch, Code of Jewish Law and certain aspects of Jewish mourning. Box 2, Folder 8 (user copies) and Folder 9 and oversized folder OS1 #2 contain seventeen letters Gershom Mendes Seixas wrote to his daughter Sarah Seixas Kursheedt. The letters include family and Congregation Shearith Israel news, references to Jewish holidays and Jewish thought, and anecdotes of his life. One letter is addressed to his daughter Grace and contains a message from Grace's brother, Henry.

Box 2, Folder 11 is devoted to research conducted in 1911 on David G. Seixas' life. The research is performed at the request of Dr. Barnett A. Elzas, who writes on behalf of the Deaf Mutes of Philadelphia, the institution David G. Seixas founded in 1820. H. Van Allen, a journalist also requests information for a magazine article. Correspondence between N. Taylor Phillips, various scholars, Manual A. Kursheedt (David G. Seixas' great nephew), and an officer of the Society of Brotherly Love in South Bend, Indiana provide answers to the requests. An additional document dated in 1824 concerns a court settlement involving David G. Seixas and Hyman Marks.

BoxFolderTitleDate
26Gershom Mendes Seixas-Typescripts of correspondence held by Shearith Israel Congregationundated, 1783-1787, 1789
  

These letters are copies of originals that belong to Congregation Shearith Israel in New York. The folder contains three sections of letters.
The first section of papers contains two letters, plus copies of each. Both are from Gershom Mendes Seixas to Hayman Levy.

Letter #1: December 21, 1783, Philadelphia
One page and a line onto the second page. At the center of the first page the word "Confidential" is written. The letter concerns Gershom's questioning and doubts in remaining a Chazan. He is deciding whether or not to take the position of hazzan in Shearith Israel in New York. He has fears about going to this congregation for several reasons:
1) He does not understand the Spanish-Portuguese language that is used there.
2) He also has heard that there is a growing rift in the congregation that is resulting in a disunity in serving G-d.
3) He has a family to support and therefore needs a guarantee that he will receive a salary equal to that which he is receiving in Philadelphia or he will have to take on a new profession. He expresses his desire to go to New York, if he can be paid sufficiently and a mode of public worship is agreed upon.
Gershom wishes his friend luck in his position as president and concludes by telling him to do what he knows is right.

Letter #2: March 15, 1784, Philadelphia
One page. Gershom has accepted the Shearith Israel position (not mentioned in this letter) and says that he hopes to reach New York the following week. He says that he would rather wait until Ros Hodes Iyar as he will be more prepared to leave and more able to take his family with him. If this is not possible, he will leave as soon as possible until after Pesach. He also notes that the junta and Parnas of his present synagogue are angry with him for not giving sufficient notice that he is quitting. He waits to hear from Hyman when he is expected and desired in New York.
The second set of pages is a three-page document, typed, connected by a clip.
The document is about Gershom's involvement with Columbia College, as he was a trustee, appointed on April 13, 1787. This position is significant in that it shows that the University allowed a Jew to serve as a trustee. Seixas, however, was the only Jewish trustee until the 20th century.
In 1754, Trinity Church donated land to the University on the condition that the president always be an Episcopalian. The act of 1784 repealed this as it states that the president must be elected and no one can be considered ineligible.
Columbia College made specific attempts to incorporate people from all religions into its membership and Seixas' appointment is thus significant. They also note that Seixas was a close friend of several officers in the University who were of different dominations.
The third section contains "Unpublished letters of the Rev. Gershom Mendes Seixas." There are nine pages, all numbered except the first, typed on yellow sheets of paper that are tearing along the folds.

Page 1 and 2
An introduction-by the person who has the originals of these letters. He writes that the letters concern Seixas' time as hazzan in Shearith Israel and points out the some of the letters are interesting due to the inability of the Trustees to agree on even the most modest demands of their preacher.
Seixas was born in New York on January 14, 1745 to Isaac Mendes Seixas and Rachel Levy. He became hazzan on Tamuz 1, 5528 and replaced Joseph Jessurun Pinto. He was trustee of Columbia College from 1787-1815. He was greatly esteemed and often many Episcopalian ministers would come to hear him chant. He left New York in 1776 and returned on two occasions, to officiate at two marriages. He died on Tuesday July 2, 1816 and was buried in the cemetery belonging to Shearith Israel.

Pages 3-4
The same letter as letter #1 in the first section of this folder.

Page 5. September 22, 1785, New York. Gershom Mendes Seixas to the Trustees of K.K. Shearith Israel
Gershom tells the congregation Trustees that due to his great expenses since his move from Philadelphia, he needs assurance that his salary will be paid on time. If they cannot supply him with his basic living needs, he will have to find a different means of making a living. He restates that his payment is fifty pounds every three lunar months and the sum of money needed to purchase six cords of Hickory wood and perquisites usually given to the hazzan. He also reminds them that there is a balance owed to him from 1776.

Page 6. September 28, 1786. Gershom Mendes Seixas to the Chairman and Trustees of K.K. Shearith Israel
On behalf of Ms. Jesse Judah, Gershom requests that she be given a seat in the synagogue. The Chairman had ignored her request, and she would like seats for herself and her daughters and will pay the same price as the other women in the society.
Gershom states that in order to promote peace in the synagogue, he hopes that the Trustees will grant Mrs. Judah's request.

Page 7. September 29, 1786. Tishri 7, 5547, New York. Gershom Mendes Seixas to Mr. Benjamin Seixas, Chairman
This letter again regards Mrs. Judah and her daughters. Although it is not mentioned explicitly, it seems as though there was an argument between Mrs. Judah and the Trustees. Gershom states that as a Jew, he cannot allow this matter to go before the civil court. He apologizes that the Trustees have a different opinion and wants to stop his involvement in the issue.

Page 8. August 13, 1789, New York. Gershom Mendes Seixas to Mr. Ephraim Hart
Response to a letter from Mr. Hart on the previous day, regarding a conversation they had the previous Sunday. Gershom requests that Mr. Hart inform the Trustees that they and the Congregation may not insist that they perform in the service.
He proposes a salary of 180 pounds per annum, 6 cords of Hickory wood and matzot and he will give ten pounds a year to Charity. He proposes to be paid quarterly and hopes that his arrangement is satisfactory to the Trustees.

Page 9. No date or opening to the letter. Gershom Mendes Seixas to Mr. Isaac Moses, President of K.K. Shearith Israel, New York
The terms of the agreement signed by the President in regards to his salary are inconsistent with the original agreement and he can therefore not agree to them.

 
27Gershom Mendes Seixas-Letter to Moses SeixasSeptember 1, 1790
  

The original letter is on one page, written on both sides. Gershom has not received any response from his previous two letters. Much of the letter has faded and is illegible. However in one section that is readable, Gershom discusses certain aspects of Jewish mourning and makes references to the Sulchan Aruch, Code of Jewish Law.

Contains Hebrew. 
 
28Gershom Mendes Seixas-Letters to Sarah Seixas Kursheedtundated, 1813-1815
  

(Use Copies)

Contains Hebrew. 
 
29Gershom Mendes Seixas-Letters to Sarah Seixas Kursheedtundated, 1813-1815
  

(Restricted) (See Oversized folder OS1 #2)

The folder contains original documents as well as photocopies. Researchers are given access only to photocopies. There are seventeen letters in the folder, dating from November 4, 1813 to May 1815. All of the letters are on long sheets of paper.
The letters include several Hebrew words and references to Jewish holidays and Jewish thought. They also contain information and anecdotes about the family. Several of the letters are described here in detail; others are noted for their outstanding information. Attached to all the letters are pieces of paper that have Sarah's husband's name, Mr. I.B. Kursheedt, Merchant, Richmond, Virginia.

Letter #1: November 4, 1813, Thursday.
Three pages long. The letter is from Gershom to his daughter Sarah, and opens with his expressions of joy that she is feeling better. He also discusses the idea that often things occur in different ways than we have planned, but it is for the best that they turn out the way they do. He feels that everything that happens is al pi hagoral-written in Hebrew, by lottery-we have no control over why things happen. There is no point in lamenting, our chief duty is to be reconciled with our lot.
He continues by saying that whereas Kursheedt wrote in Hebrew, he writes in English and thanks "the great Creator" for healing her. Gershom also offers various bits of information about other members of the family and the experiences he has had recently.

Letter #2: November 10, 1813, New York
Three pages plus an additional paragraph. He discusses his happiness in the improvement in the condition of Elkalah as well as the recent arrival of Sarah's aunt, who has come to stay with Gershom. He asks Sarah about her ease or difficulty in obtaining her citron and myrtle, items used on Sukkot. Gershom also offers other bits of gossip about the Parnas and his new daughter.
In this letter; as in the one previous, Gershom offers his blessing to his daughter that the G-d of Israel bless her.

Letter #3: November 18, 1813, New York
Two pages. Gershom writes that Sarah, whom he calls Sally, should not be over exerting herself until she feels better. He chastises her for writing to him and says better she wait until she is in good health and then write to him about all that has happened. He tells her several anecdotes pertaining to the family and wishes her his hope that she feels better soon.

Letter #4: November 24, 1813, New York
Two pages and several lines. The last page is a note from David G. Seixas who has forwarded the letter to I.B. Kursheedt and says that part of the letter was for him, from his father, and the rest is for Sarah.
The letter describes what has been going on in the family as well as various prices of etrogim and lulavim that they sold to make money.

Letter #5: January 29, 1814, Monday, New York
Slightly longer than three pages; the last page contains the notation that I.B. Kursheedt received the letter.
At his daughter's request, Gershom talks about the troubles and problems the family is facing as Gershom is having difficulties commuting due to his age. As in previous letters, he offers numerous anecdotes and incidents that have occurred since their last correspondence.

Letter #6: February 4, 1814, New York
Two and a half pages plus the note of receipt. Gershom mentions in this letter that he wrote a request to the Congregation, calling for a day of fasting and humiliation because of the disasters in the Ma'arivit Tzifonit, written in Hebrew, and to collect money to aid the people in that area. He developed an order of prayers to be said and observed. He also speaks of the other things he has been doing. Prayers are from the Rosh Hashana and Shabbat liturgy, including a prayer for the government and a short address in English.

Letter #7: March 22, 1814, New York
Three pages and a paragraph. Gershom thanks her for her Purim present-says he hopes that she receives the letter before the great Sabbath before Passover.

Letter #8: April 15, 1814, New York
Three and a half pages. Gershom refers to the two great men, Raish Lakish and Rabeinu Gershom (written in Hebrew) who while they were both great, did not get along. He tells of a story between these two men who were both esteemed and had many followers. He brings this story to show Sarah that while he and her husband may have differences of opinion, he does not want him to say that he is right, rather to show him that he is wrong.

Letter #9: May 5, 1814, New York
Slightly less than three pages. He is happy to hear that Sarah is in full health.

Letter #10: May 15, 1814, New York
Three pages. Gershom talks about going to synagogue and having to leave early. He tells her what he has done during the days before writing this letter.

Letter #11: July 11, 1814, New York
Three pages and one paragraph. Gershom has to stay in the house due to the rain. The letter is filled with references to Shabbat, things happening in the synagogue, and a brit milah.

Letter #12: August 8, 1814, New York
Three pages and several lines. Nothing new has occurred. Gershom talks about the way in which things that are true one day are false the next. He refers to Hebrew dates when he received and sent her letters. He writes a few lines in Hebrew-"I have written the preceding lines in square characters-that all Jews may be able to read it."

Letter #13: September 25, 1814, New York
Two and a half pages. Gershom thanks Sarah for always inquiring about his welfare. He talks about the fact that he tried to write several times before Yom Kippur but did not have enough time.

Letter #14: Undated
Three and a half pages. Gershom describes the Purim festivities he enjoyed with the family.

Letter #15: May 24, 1815, New York
Two pages. Gershom writes to his daughter Grace. The first part of the letter is a note from her brother Henry that the family is well. Gershom writes that he is feeling better than when Grace left him.

Letter #16: September 26, 1812, Monday Evening, Philadelphia
One page. The top part of the page is from David to Dr. Kursheedt, concerning various synagogue affairs. The bottom part is to Mr. Hyman Marks that his wife fasted well and is waiting to hear from him. It is written by DGZ(?).

Letter #17, undated
Two pages. Gershom writes to Sarah, although he does not sign the letter. He writes dear daughter and the handwriting corresponds to that of previous letters. Gershom talks about the second book of Kings. In response to something Sarah must have written about the name Shlomit-he discusses the negative aspect of the name because of the woman's namesake in this book.

Contains Hebrew. 
 
210Gershom Mendes Seixas-SermonFebruary 2, 1814, 1939
  

Original document, long paper, folded vertically, three and a half pages. Mentions the 30th chapter of Deuteronomy and the discussion of the commandment to walk in G-d's way. Gershom discusses the notion that people choose whether or not to follow in G-d's way, thereby affecting what good or evil shall come upon them. Man is a "free agent" and is responsible for all the transgressions he may commit.
Gershom says that because the ruling powers have declared war, it is their duty to "act as true and faithfull (sic) citizens, to support and preserve the honor, the dignity, and the independence of the United States of America!"
War is an evil and even David, who was a warrior, viewed war as the greatest of all punishments. Gershom calls to the people to pray to G-d for protection and a strengthening of faith and to get rid of the evil that is around them. He discusses the horrible conditions that many people have been faced with and the numerous deaths that have occurred.
He calls to his congregants to repent for their sins and to pray.
He concludes by announcing several additional prayers that the congregation will say on behalf of their fellow Jews who are in trouble. [Note: This sermon and the prayers mentioned in it are the subject of letter #6 to Sarah, found in the previous folder.]
The folder also includes a copy of the cover of Gershom Mendes Seixas' published Thanksgiving Sermon delivered in New York City on November 26, 1789. An article titled "A Fount of American Democracy," by Isidore S. Meyer, published in The Menorah Journal (October-December 1939) discusses this sermon.

Contains Hebrew. 
 
211David G. Seixas (1788-1864, son of Gershom Mendes Seixas)1824, 1911
  

This folder contains a series of letters from various people who are attempting to locate the information of David's birth date and other events in his life.

Letter #1: February 16, 1824
There is another document in the folder that is difficult to read due to the handwriting. It is a legal document written in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on February 16, 1824. It appears to be regarding a court settlement that involved David Seixas and Hyman Marks and concerns the amount of fifty thousand dollars.

Letter #2: January 15, 1911. Dr. Barnett A. Elzas to the Honorable N. Taylor Phillips
The Deaf Mutes of Philadelphia wish to construct a memorial to honor David for his founding of the Philadelphia Institution and request the dates of David's birth and death.

Letter #3: March 1, 1911. H. Van Allen to the Honorable N. Taylor Phillips
Asking for details about David's origins and career to be the subject of a magazine article. Van Allen has information from South Bend, Indiana that places David's birth at July 2, 1788 and his death on March 19, 1864. This data does not correspond with previous information that places the marriage of David's parents Gershom Mendes Seixas (second marriage) to Hannah Emanuel on November 1, 1789. He also requests the information regarding David's movements after he left Philadelphia.

Letter #4: March 3, 1911. Honorable N. Taylor Phillips to H. Van Allen
Response to Allen's March 1st letter. Phillips has found that all authorities agree that the marriage between Gershom Mendes Seixas to Hannah Manuel, not Emanuel, took place on November 1, 1789.
He also supplies the additional information that David was a member of the Washington Lodge No. 21 F. and A.M. of New York City in 1807 and a soldier in the War of 1812. He states that he will attempt to obtain additional information about David.

Letter #5: March 7, 1911. Dr. Reid to the Honorable N. Taylor Phillips
Reid does not know the date of David's birth but maybe Manuel does.

Letter #6: April 12, 1911. Manuel A. Kursheedt to the Honorable N. Taylor Phillips
David was his grand uncle. Manuel's sister Serena has a Bible with recordings of significant dates for the family. David was born in the Hebrew month of Sivan, 1788. He figures out that Sivan is July and there appears to be a number seven before "July."

Letter #7: April 26, 1911. Manuel A. Kursheedt to the Honorable N. Taylor Phillips
The Bible has a recording of the death of Gershom's first wife on October 30, 1785. It also has the birth dates of several children but there is no data for Gershom's second marriage.

Letter #8: May 3, 1911. Honorable N. Taylor Phillips to Manuel A. Kursheedt
Wants to know how they can get the date of Gershom's second marriage.

Letter #9: May 15, 1911. M. Engel, President of Indiana Mirror Manufacturing Company to the Honorable N. Taylor Phillips
Engel writes that he has enclosed a copy of an inscription that Phillips requested. (The copy does not appear in the folder).

Letter #10: May 18, 1911. Honorable N. Taylor Phillips to H. Van Allen
Phillips writes that he has the Bible from Gershom's great granddaughter and that the information regarding his second marriage is not there. He states that the information received from South Bend, which placed David's birth on July 2, 1788 and the marriage on November 1, 1789 to be wrong.
Phillips also found out that David was Master Mason in the Washington Lodge in December of 1808. He says that he will try to gain information about the marriage from Philadelphia.

Letter #11: May 18, 1911. Honorable N. Taylor Phillips to Dr. Barnett A. Elzas
The dates of July 2, 1788; March 19, 1864; and March 21, 1864 as David's birth, death, and burial respectively, have been confirmed by the Society of Brotherly Love in South Bend, Indiana.

Letter #12: May 18, 1911. Honorable N. Taylor Phillips to M. Engel
Phillips thanks Engel for the copy of the record that he sent and asks for a copy of the tombstone as well.

 
BoxFolderTitleDate
OS12Gershom Mendes Seixas - Letters to Sarah Seixas Kursheedtundated, 1813-1815
  

12 letters (Separated from Box 2, Folder 9)

 
Return to the Top of Page
 

Series IV: Benjamin Mendes Seixas (1748-1817) and descendants, undated, 1775, 1791-1792, 1799, 1809, 1828

English.
Box 2, Folders 12-16, oversized folder OS1, oversized folder OS1 #1.
Arrangement:

Folders are arranged chronologically.

Scope and Content:

The series contains material relating primarily to Benjamin Mendes Seixas, his son Isaac Benjamin Seixas, and his grandson Isaac Gomez Seixas.

Box 2, Folders 12 through 14 and oversized folder OS1 #1 consist of petitions, legal documents, and shipping records pertaining to the activities of Benjamin Mendes Seixas. Box 2, Folder 12 contains two petitions sent to the Committee of Safety for the Province of New York in 1775, calling members of the community to be prepared to fight in case hostilities with England escalate into a war. Box 2, Folder 13 includes documents concerning Benjamin Mendes Seixas' detainment in prison in 1792, an arrest warrant issued for him in 1799, a transaction receipt dated 1791, and a document discussing promissory notes dated 1792. Box 2, Folder 14 and oversized folder OS1 #1 consists of a 1809 shipping document regarding transactions with the ship Comet. Benjamin Mendes Seixas was one of the owners of the ship.

Box 2, Folder 15 concerns Rabbi Isaac Benjamin Seixas, son of Benjamin Mendes Seixas. The folder consists of a eulogy for Isaac Hillel Judah that the Rabbi delivered while he was minister of congregation Beth Shalome in Richmond, Virginia.

Box 2, Folder 16 contains one item, a petition written by Isaac Gomez Seixas, grandson of Benjamin Mendes Seixas and other individuals to the customs appraiser. The petition recommends Henry McDermott for a position in the public store.

BoxFolderTitleDate
212Benjamin Mendes Seixas-Revolutionary Warundated, 1775
  

This folder contains two copies of a typescript of a petition dated September 21, 1775, that was copied from the Calendar New York Historical Manuscripts, Volume 1, p.152.
The petition appeals to the Committee of Safety for the Province of New York. The document is a call to members of the community who know how to fight, in light of the tensions between the colonies and the motherland, to be prepared and should "acquaint himself with military discipline." They also call for a meeting at least once a week for three months and a field day for each battalion at least once a month to ensure that people are prepared in case of a war.
The typist writes that this petition was signed by Benjamin Seixas and some fifteen other names.

 
213Benjamin Mendes Seixas-Legal documents1791-1792, 1799
  

This folder contains four items:

Item #1: September 22, 1791. Transaction Receipt
From New York. Small original piece of paper signed by Benjamin Seixas. The document is a receipt of a transaction between Benjamin Seixas and Mr. Nicholas Low.

Item #2: July 10, 1792. Complaint and Prison Warden's Statement
Two pages, attached by a ribbon, affixed with the seal of New York. Document is tearing along the perforations.
The first page discusses Benjamin's detainment because of a complaint against him by William Rogers.
The second page of these two is smaller, in a different handwriting than the first. It is written by Mr. Kofson (?), who states that Benjamin Seixas had been in his prison.

Item #3: September 12, 1792. Discussion of Promissory Notes
Original document, folded lengthwise with handwriting on two sides and a few lines on the third page. Signed by Benjamin Seixas and three others. The document discusses a series of transactions involving promissory notes that concern Benjamin Seixas, Richard Platt, Nicholas Low and Leonard Bleecker.

Item #4: January 15, 1799. Arrest Warrant
From Albany, New York. A small original document bearing an affixed seal. The document is an arrest warrant issued for Benjamin Seixas. There is illegible writing on the back of the document, written by Benjamin Seixas and the sheriff.

 
214Benjamin Mendes Seixas-Shipping document-NewportApril 8, 1809
  

(See Oversized folder OS1 #1)

The document is a settlement of accounts between the owners of the ship Comet. The owners are Edward Easton, John Johnson, John Price, Jr., William Price, and Benjamin Seixas. Prices and dates of the transactions are noted.

 
215Rabbi Isaac Benjamin Seixas (1781-1839, son of Benjamin Mendes Seixas)1828
  

Eight and a half pages, original document, a discourse from his time as minister of the Spanish Portuguese Congregation in Richmond, Virginia, circa 1828. The document is the eulogy given at the funeral of Isaac Hillel Judah, a member of the congregation. He begins his speech with a quote in Hebrew and English from Job, Chapter 14 "Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble." The speech is based on the concept that Job, although was faced with a tremendous amount of hardship, never lost his faith in G-d. He accepts the bad that happens to him with the good; Rabbi Seixas encourages the mourners to learn from Job. Mr. Judah, the man being eulogized had contributed greatly to the establishment of the congregation and was an honest upright man. The Rabbi stresses that Job and our forefathers suffered difficult times and did not despair; the members of his congregation should do the same.

 
216Isaac Gomez Seixas (b.1817, grandson of Benjamin Mendes Seixas, son of Solomon Seixas)undated
  

This folder contains one item: Light blue sheet of paper. No date or city written upon it. It is a petition written by Isaac Seixas and signed by eight other individuals to the "appraisers of the customs." It is a petition recommending Mr. Henry McDermott for the position of Laborer in the public Store. The signers state that appointing him in this position would be doing them a great favor.

 
Return to the Top of Page
 

Oversized Separated Material, 1806, 1807, 1809, 1813-1815

BoxFolderTitleDate
OS11Settlement, Owners of the Brig. Eagle John Clarke Master, Voyage to AfricaDecember 31, 1806
  

(Separated from Box 2, Folder 2)

 
OS11Settlement, "The Owners of the Brig. Eagle John Clarke Master, Voyage to Africa"January-February 1807
  

(Separated from Box 2, Folder 2)

 
OS11Settlement, "The Owners of the Ship Union, Brig. Eagle and Brig. Hiram"May 31, 1809
  

(Separated from Box 2, Folder 2)

 
OS11Settlement, "The Owners of the Ship Comet, John Johnson, Master"April 8, 1809
  

(Separated from Box 2, Folder 14)

 
Return to the Top of Page