Guide to the Gratz family (Philadelphia) papers, undated, 1753-1916

P-8

Finding aid written by AJHS Staff and Kevin Schlottmann

American Jewish Historical Society

Center for Jewish History

15 West 16th Street

New York, N.Y. 10011

Phone: (212) 294-6160

Email: inquiries@cjh.org

URL: http://www.ajhs.org

© 2019  American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY. All Rights Reserved.
Machine-readable finding aid was converted from a MARC record with marc2ead_ajhs.xsl in 2009. Finding aid written in English.
September 2014 Container list added, description and EAD extensively edited. August 2016 Added dao links by Eric Fritzler.

Descriptive Summary

Creator:Gratz family (Philadelphia)
Title:Gratz family (Philadelphia) papers
Dates:undated, 1753-1916
Abstract:This collection contains correspondence, legal documents, and miscellaneous items concerning the personal lives and business interests of brothers Barnard (1738-1801) and Michael Gratz (1740-1811). It contains correspondence of Rebecca Gratz (1781-1869), Michael Gratz's daughter.
Languages:This collection is in English, with some Hebrew and Yiddish.
Quantity:5 manuscript boxes, 5 oversize folders (OSF 1, Folders 1-2, OSF 2, Folders 1-3), 1 map folder (MAP 1)
Quantity:3.5 linear feet + 1 map folder
Identification: P-8
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Location: Located in AJHS New York, NY
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Pastel drawing of Michael Gratz, circa 1805

Pastel drawing of Michael Gratz, circa 1805

Biographical Note

Barnard Gratz (1738-1801) was born in Langendorf, Upper Silesia, and emigrated to the United States, settling in Philadelphia in 1754. He ran a successful trading business, together with his brother Michael Gratz (1740-1811). Among other activities, they sold kosher meat to the West Indies, and conducted an extensive and sometimes dangerous Indian trade with the western areas of the United States. The Gratz family supported the United States during the revolution; Barnard Gratz was a signatory of the Non-Importation act. Active socially as well, Barnard Gratz was a founder of the first Philadelphia synagogue, Mikveh Israel. The family trading business was carried on by two of Michael's sons, Simon (1773–1839) and Hyman (1776–1857).

Rebecca Gratz (1781-1869), one of ten children of Michael and Miriam Simon Gratz, was perhaps the most prominent Jewish woman of the early Republic. After an elite education at the Young Ladies Academy in Philadelphia, Gratz became active in a variety of charities. She founded and helped run the Female Association for the Relief Women and Children in Reduced Circumstances, the Philadelphia Orphan Asylum, and the Female Hebrew Benevolent Society. She corresponded extensively with her far-flung extended family and her friends and peers.

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Scope and Content Note

The collection contains correspondence, legal documents, and miscellaneous items concerning the personal lives and business interests of Barnard, Michael, and Rebecca Gratz.

Included in the collection is personal correspondence of Barnard and Michael Gratz with their brothers Hayim and Jonathan in Europe (1756, 1759) and their cousins, the Henry (originally Bloch) family (1756-1801) in Europe, as well as correspondence of the Henry family itself (1754-1760). Also included in this personal correspondence are letters between Barnard and Michael Gratz (1760-1787) and to Solomon and Rachel Etting (1794-1798). There are letters also from Patrick Rice (1787), Eleazar Levy (1778), and from Moses Michael Hays who announces to Michael Gratz the forthcoming trip of his son Judah (1786) and responds to Gratz's financial distress by promising to look for a buyer for some of Gratz's land (1787). Of special interest are two printed letters from Palestine (now Israel) to Michael Gratz requesting financial assistance (1763), the last will and testament of Michael Gratz, written before he left London for America (1759), and a letter from Manuel Myers, president of Congregation Shearith Israel in New York, to Michael Gratz, giving his permission for Gershom Mendes Seixas to marry Gratz and Miriam Simon in Lancaster (1759).

Included in the business papers and correspondence are letters from Meyer Josephson, in Yiddish (1761-1767), Nachman Ben Moshe (1764), and Joseph Simon (1771, 1784); letters from General Augustine Prevost (1773, 1789), Peter Livingston (1768), and Isaac Hart of Newport (1769); and various deeds, leases, and other legal documentsl; as well as the account of Michael Gratz with his sons, Simon and Hyman (1797-1814). Among the witnesses for the deeds is Aaron Levy. Of special interest is a waste book (temporary account book) of accounts, in English and Yiddish, apparently kept by Michael Gratz soon after his arrival in Philadelphia (1759-1760); a certificate of Kashrut in Hebrew signed by Abraham I. Abrahams of Congregation Shearith Israel for meat shipped by Michael Gratz to Barbados (1767), and papers dealing with the Gratz brothers' relationship with George Croghan. Among the latter are items pertaining to the Illinois and Wabash grants (ca. 1779), and maps of Croghan's Lake Otsego lands (1774), and of Gratzburgh (1786), both located in New York State. Also included is a map of land owned by Michael and Barnard Gratz in Montgomery County, Virginia (1786). Related is a document signed by Patrick Henry, Governor of Virginia, granting land in Montgomery County to Michael Gratz.

The collection also contains personal letters written by Rebecca Gratz of Philadelphia to various family members and friends. Her primary correspondents were her brother, Benjamin Gratz, of Lexington, Kentucky, and his wives, Maria Gist Gratz and Anna Maria Boswell Gratz. A substantial collection of letters of her friend, Maria Fenno Hoffman, wife of Ogden Hoffman, attorney general of New York State, is also included. The collection also contains several letters to Rebecca Gratz, including one from her mother (1799); several from Slowey Hays (1806-1832); several items pertaining to the Jewish Sunday School of Philadelphia, the Female Benevolent Society of Philadelphia, and the Orphan Society; a receipt for payment of United States income tax, along with a list of silver on which tax was paid (1862); and papers relating to Rebecca Gratz's estate.

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Arrangement Note

This collection is arranged by family member.

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Access and Use

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers by permission of the Director of Collections and Engagement 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 Director of Library and Archives 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

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Related Material

AJHS holds many related archival collections, such as the Congregation Mikveh Israel (Philadelphia, Pa.) records (I-26), the Etting family collection (P-143), and the Mordecai family papers (P-116).

The LBI Archives has digitized a letter book, containing correspondence from 1769-1772, belonging to Michael Gratz (AR 1042).

The American Philosophical Society (APS) Manuscripts Department also has a large collection on the Gratz Family of Philadelphia (Mss.Ms.Coll. 72).

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Digitization Note

The collection is digitized in its entirety, with the exception of Box 1, Folders 19 and 24; Box 2, Folder 3; and Box 5, Folder 12.

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Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Gratz family (Philadelphia) papers; P-8; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY.

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Acquisition Note

Gifts of Judge Mayer Sulzberger, 1915-16; Miss Eleanor Cohen, 1918-19; Miss Henrietta Clay, 1931; Elsie O. and Philip D. Sang Foundation, 1979; Yosef Goldman, 1984, Yosef Goldman, 1984; Eleanor and Morris Soble, 1989; Sidney Lapidus, 2004.

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Processing Note

This collection includes the merging of the following collections: P-185, P-180, P-9, P-615, P-429, P-436, P-557.

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Bibliography

Nine letters included in this collection were transcribed, translated, and published in "Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society," vol. 34 (1937).

AJHS Library also holds many published works about the Gratz family.

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Access Points

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

Container List

Click the box in the request column to open the form that allows you to request a box for onsite viewing in the reading room at the Center for Jewish History, New York, NY.

 

Gratz family (Philadelphia) papers, undated, 1753-1916

BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
11Correspondence and notes pertaining to the collection by Mayer Sulzberger
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Barnard Gratz (1738-1801)

BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
1 2 Correspondence with Jonathan Henry and Jacob Henry 1756-1761
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1 3 Correspondence with Solomon Etting (1764-1847) 1794-1798
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1 4 Policy of Marine Insurance 1761
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1 5 Kahal Kadosh Mikve Israel, Address to Jewish Congregation of Surinam, signed by Barnard Gratz 1790
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Barnard Gratz (1738-1801) and Michael Gratz (1740-1811)

BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
1 6 Correspondence with Myer Josephson 1762-1767
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1 7 Correspondence from Joseph Simon 1771-1784
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1 8 Correspondence between Barnard and Michael 1763-1789
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1 9 Wabash Grants / Land purchased from Indians 1768-1780
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BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
OSF 2 3 Maps and grants 1786-1976
  

Map of Gratzburgh, 1796

“A Plan of Three Hundred and Twenty One Thousand Acres of and Situated in Fyeatte and Montgomery Countys in the State of Virginia” (in 4 large pieces and 1 small piece)

Land grant to Michael Gratz from Commonwealth of Virginia, signed by Patrick Henry, Governor of Virginia, 1786. (Most likely the same land referred to in the above plan)

Also a sketch of Patrick Henry (undated)

 
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Michael Gratz (1740-1811)

BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
1 10 Correspondence to Barnard Gratz 1760, 1780
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1 11 Correspondence with Hayim and Jonathan Gratz 1759
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1 12 Correspondence (Hebrew) 1763
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1 13 Correspondence 1760
  

Letters in English, Yiddish, Hebrew

 
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1 14 Pages from receipt books 1762, 1765
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1 15 Waste book of accounts 1759-1760
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1 16 Kashruth from Congregation Shearith Israel (states beef sent from Philadelphia to Barbados was kosher) 1767
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1 17 Will of Michael Gratz undated
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BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
OSF 1 2 Will of Michael Gratz 1759
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BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
1 18 Miscellaneous plats and leases undated
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BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
MAP 1 Deeds (2) 1796-1818
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MAP 1 Map 1775
  

Land plots near Lake Otsego

 
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BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
1 19 Jacob Henry (d. 1761)--Correspondence with Solomon Henry 1757-1760 request_box
1 20 Papers of Solomon Henry
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1 21 Estate of Joseph Henry (d.1761) 1793-1801
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1 22 Estate of Jacob Henry undated
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1 23 Miscellaneous Yiddish Letters--Sulzberger Collection undated
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1 24 Miscellaneous Photostats undated request_box

Simon Gratz (1773-1839) and Hyman Gratz (1776-1857)

BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
2 1 Correspondence 1826
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2 2 Account with Estate of Michael Gratz 1825
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2 3 Account with Estate of Michael Gratz 1825 request_box
  

USE COPY

 
2 4 Receipts 1804-1860
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2 5 Legal Documents 1818-1850
  

(photocopies)

 
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BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
OSF 2 2 Deeds and leases 1796-1827
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Hyman Gratz

BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
2 6 Guardianship Account for children of Horatio Etting 1842-1851
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Simon Gratz

BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
2 7 Practical Book Keeping undated
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BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
MAP 1 Deed 1826
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Joseph Gratz (1785-1858)

BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
2 8 Correspondence 1807-1811
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Jacob Gratz (1789-1856)

BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
OSF 1 1 Correspondence 1827
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BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
2 9 Account of Estate 1857-1858
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BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
OSF 2 1 Deed 1830
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Edward Gratz (d. 1869)

BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
2 10 Last will and testament 1869
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Simon Gratz (son of Edward)

BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
2 11 Correspondence 1879-1916
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Rachel Gratz Moses

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3 1 Letters from Sarah Gratz to Rachel Gratz Moses 1800-1806
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Benjamin Gratz (1792-1884) and Maria Gist Gratz (1797-1841)

BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
3 2 Correspondence from Rebecca Gratz Moses and Sarah Gratz Moses undated
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3 3 Correspondence from Miriam Gratz Moses (b. 1808) 1819-1840
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Benjamin Gratz

BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
3 4 Correspondence, General undated
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3 5 Correspondence from Hyman, Joseph, and Jacob Gratz 1816-1856
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3 6 Correspondence from miscellaneous female family members 1808-1848
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3 7 Papers 1819-1855
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Miriam Gratz

BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
3 8 Drawing undated
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Rachel Gratz Etting (1764-1831)

BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
3 9 Book on mathematics written by Rachel Gratz Etting [1798]
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Richea Gratz Hays (1774-1858)

BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
3 10 Family Bible undated
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Maria Gist Gratz (1797-1841)

BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
3 11 General Correspondence undated
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Miscellaneous items

BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
3 12 Clay Collection undated
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3 13 Collection notes and inventories undated
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Rebecca Gratz (1781-1869)

BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
4 1 Letters to Benjamin Gratz (1792-1884) 1808-1841
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4 2 Letters to Benjamin Gratz 1842-1866
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4 3 Letters to Benjamin Gratz undated
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4 4 Letters to Maria Gist Gratz 1819-1824
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4 5 Letters to Maria Gist Gratz 1825-1831
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4 6 Letters to Maria Gist Gratz 1832-1836
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4 7 Letters to Maria Gist Gratz 1837-1841
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4 8 Letters to Maria Gist Gratz undated
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4 9 Letters to Anna Boswell Gratz (dates unknown) 1843-1851
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4 10 Letters to Anna Boswell Gratz 1851-1863
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4 11 Letters to Anna Boswell Gratz undated
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BoxFolderTitleDateRequest
5 1 Letters to Maria Fenno Hoffman (dates unknown) 1802-1811
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5 2 Letters to Maria Fenno Hoffman 1812-1823
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5 3 Letters to Maria Fenno Hoffman undated
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5 4 Letters to Miriam Gratz (1844-1873) 1853-1862
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5 5 Letters to Gratz Family (miscellaneous) undated, 1825, 1852
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5 6 Letters to friends (miscellaneous) 1808-1862
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5 7 Letters from Slowey Hays (1779-1836) 1806-1832
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5 8 Letters from Rachel Gratz Moses 1804-1814
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5 9 Letters from Gratz family 1799-1808
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5 10 Miscellaneous charitable organizations 1862-1869
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5 11 Will and inventory of estate 1869
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5 12 Miscellaneous photocopies undated request_box
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