Guide to the Papers of Phillips Family, undated, 1752, 1758-1955

Reprocessed by Sarah Stetson

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



© 2015, American Jewish Historical Society, Boston, MA and New York, NY. All Rights Reserved.
Machine-readable finding aid created by Sarah Stetson as MS Word document, July 2009. Finding aid was encoded by Marvin Rusinek on September 2, 2009. Description is in English.

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Phillips Family
Title: Phillips Family, papers
Dates:undated, 1752, 1758-1955
Abstract: Contains personal papers, correspondence, and other material relating to the Phillips family, 1733-1954. Papers center about the following members of the family: Jonas Phillips, 1733-1802, including his copy of a book on the laws and practice of shehita, printed in Wandsbeck, Germany (1733), and a document by Moses Lindo (1773); Naphtali Phillips, 1815-1868, including letters relating to Cong. Shearith Israel, the Tammany Society and the National advocate, of which he was publisher, and documents signed by Myer Moses (1831) and David G. Seixas (1818); Joseph Phillips, 1811; Rebecca Hart Phillips, 1812; Joshua Phillips, 1852-1858; Isaac Phillips, 1830-1884, including correspondence relating to Cong. Shearith Israel, Masonic activities, and his position as Appraiser of Merchandise for the Port of New York; Roslie Solomons Phillips, 1872-1945, including correspondence and other material relating to her political activities, her work on behalf of various Jewish institutions, Cong. Shearith Israel and the Solomons family, and letters from Eleanor Roosevelt; and Naphtali Taylor Phillips, 1895-1954, including correspondence, published material, newspaper clippings and notes relating to American Jewish history and correspondence and other material relating to Cong. Shearith Israel, the Touro Synagogue, the Federation of American Zionists, the National Conference of Jewish Charities (Committee on Palestinian Charities) and Adolphus S. Solomons. Collection also contains published material of the Masons and political memorabilia, and a letter from George Mifflin Dallas to an unidentified member of the Phillips family, 1856.
Languages: The collection is predominantly in English, with some Yiddish and Hebrew.
Quantity: 4.5 linear feet (9 manuscript boxes, 1 oversized folder)
Identification: P-17
Repository: American Jewish Historical Society
Return to the Top of Page

Biographical Note

Phillips Family Papers

This biographical sketch discusses various members of the Phillips family represented in the collection.

Naphtali Phillips (1773-1870) was the editor of the National Advocate New York Daily Newspaper during the early 1800's. Phillips's Bedikah book and his prayerbook, both dating to the late 1700's, are included in the collection.

Jonas Phillips (1736-1803) fought in the American Revolutionary War. Born in Germany, he was one of the first Jewish individuals to settle in the U.S. The collection includes Phillips's prayerbook, dated to the mid-1700's, as well as a soldier's pay note. Though he was active in synagogue life, Phillips became a Master Mason in the Masonic order in 1760. Some of the documents pertaining to Phillips are printed in Hebrew.

Isaac Phillips (1812-1889) was appraiser of merchandise for the Port of New York City and a member of the Albion Lodge No. 26 of Free & Associated Masons. The collection contains several financial and personal correspondences of Phillips's, including most notably letters from Henry Clay and J.Q. Adams, both dated to 1828.

Rosalie Solomons Phillips (1867-1946) was extremely active in politics, education, and in charitable works, particularly those regarding the Jewish community. She was closely involved with the New York State Democratic Party, and was especially committed to working with other women politicians, including Eleanor Roosevelt. Phillips held positions on several committees and clubs such as the Women's Committee to Promote Pay Increase for New York City Police and Firemen, the Amsterdam Democratic Club, Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), Hadassah, National Council of Jewish Women, Columbia Religious and Industrial School for Jewish Girls, and the Sisterhood of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogues. Her commitments ranged from social to political to religious. The collection includes many personal and political correspondences, including formal and informal letters, as well as event invitations. Items of interest include an exchange between RSP and the office of the President of the borough of Brooklyn regarding RSP's concern for the "lack of bathing privileges for Colored people at Coney Island" (Aug. 11, 1923) in which the City maintains that no discrimination is practiced, as well as a speech written by RSP on the importance of prayer on the Sabbath. She was married to N. Taylor Phillips.

N(aphtali). Taylor Phillips (1868-) often referred to as Captain Phillips, as he held a position in the Quartermaster Corps, was a lawyer by training. Phillips was involved in politics and was in good standing among many of the more important political players of his time, including President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Aside from his successful careers in the military and in law, much of Phillips' private and public energies were devoted to the preservation of American Jewish history and to the education of future generations in that history. While he was an active member of the order of Free and Associated Masons in New York, Phillips kept both handwritten and typed notes, as well as newspaper clippings, on details of American Jewish history, including institutions, movements, and genealogies. Phillips was involved in the Federation of American Zionists and in the Palestinian Charities, among other organizations. He was a member of Congregation Shearith Israel and kept notes on the status of synagogues from around the country. He was married to Rosalie Solomons Phillips.

Return to the Top of Page

Scope and Content Note

The Phillips Family Collection contains papers pertaining to several members of the Phillips family. Some members, including Aaron Phillips, Joseph Phillips, Joshua Phillips, Moses Phillips, Naphtali Phillips, Phillip A. Phillips, and Rebecca Phillips, are minimally represented. The core of the collection focuses on the papers of Captain N. Taylor Phillips and Rosalie Solomons Phillips, as well as on Masonic materials.

Return to the Top of Page


The collection is organized into six 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 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

Return to the Top of Page

Related Material

P-192 Sanford A. Moss genealogies
P-471 Jonas Altamont Phillips family papers
I-4 Congregation Shearith Israel (New York, N.Y.)
I-24 New York. Columbia Religious and Industrial School for Jewish Girls (New York, N.Y.). (Rosalie Solomons Phillips)

Return to the Top of Page

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:
Identification of item, date (if known); Phillips Family, papers; P-17; box number; folder number; American Jewish Historical Society, New York, NY, and Boston, MA.

Return to the Top of Page

Acquisition Information

Donated by the estate of N. Taylor Phillips in 1956.

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: Other Family Members, undated, 1760-1942

Box 1, Folder 1 -- Box 2, Folder 24.
Scope and Content:

Composed of correspondence, personal papers, financial records, and legal records, this series provides a limited amount of information on a wide range of the Phillips Family members, including Aaron, Jonas, Joseph, Moses, Naphtali, Phillip, Rebecca, and Zillah Cohen. Items include receipts of synagogue offerings from Joseph and Rebecca Phillips, a selection of school reports of Phillip A. Phillips, a discharge notice for Moses Phillips, and a correspondence from Blackwell's Island to Joshua Phillips. A manuscript dictating the rules and laws of Shechita, in both Hebrew and English, belonging to Aaron Phillips is included. Regarding Jonas Phillips, there are several correspondences, as well as financial and legal documents. Perhaps the most unusual item in the series is a letter with seal and medallion from King George the III, dated 1765, addressed to Jonas Phillips, which is separated into a MAP folder. The widest amount of information in the series regards Isaac Phillips. His financial papers, correspondence regarding Congregation Shearith Israel, and the front page of the Brooklyn Daily Advertiser (costing one cent in 1852) are included. An item of particular note is a correspondence between Isaac Phillips and John Quincy Adams regarding family history. The series provides insight into the daily lives of various members of the Phillips family, including religious activity, professional activity, and military history. In the correspondence of Isaac Phillips, one can note the interest in American history that seems to be a marked trait of the Phillips Family. The folders are arranged alphabetically by subject.

1 1 Phillips, Jonas, Letter with medallion 1765
1 2 Phillips, Jonas, Correspondence 1776-1802
1 3 Phillips, Jonas, Financial records undated, 1762-1807
1 4 Phillips, Jonas, Masonic papers 1760-1857
1 5 Phillips, Jonas, Legal papers, synagogue, print undated, 1773-1889
1 6 Cohen, Zillah P. to Coudert Brothers Counsellors at Law, Correspondence July 6, 1897
1 7 Phillips, Aaron N., Rules of shechita undated
1 8 Phillips, Joseph, Rebecca, Joshua, Congregation offerings, correspondence, certificate undated, 1811-1880
1 9 Phillips, Moses S., Discharge notice 1816
1 10 Phillips, Phillip A., School report, engraving undated, 1854-1855
1 11 Phillips, Naphtali, Lectures on temperance undated
1 12 Phillips, Naphtali, Financial and professional papers, correspondence undated, 1815-1942
1 13 Phillips, Naphtali, Personal notes, synagogue papers undated, 1823-1854
1 14 Phillips, Naphtali, Calendar, Hebrew manuscript undated, 1843-1844
1 15 Letter re: Rhind, Charles 1829
1 16 Misc. papers of General Phillips family (pedigree) undated, 1845
1 17 Phillips, Isaac, American history correspondence 1828
1 18 Phillips, Isaac, Congregation Shearith Israel paper 1812-1889
1 19 Phillips, Isaac, Dallas, George M, correspondence 1846-1856
1 20 Phillips, Isaac, Masonic correspondence 1833-1849
1 21 Phillips, Isaac, Masonic correspondence 1850-1893
1 22 Phillips, Isaac, Masonic papers, general 1804-1889
2 23 Phillips, Isaac, Personal papers, general undated
2 24 Philips, Isaac, Professional correspondence undated, 1830-1869
Return to the Top of Page

Series II: Captain N. Taylor Phillips, undated, 1758-1955

Box 2, Folder 25 -- Box 4, Folder 56.
Scope and Content:

This series contains the largest amount of information in the collection, all pertaining to Captain Phillips. It is composed of correspondence, personal notes, newspaper clippings, financial and legal documents, and military documents. Folders are arranged by subject and alphabetized, as there is often a wide range of years represented for each subject. Captain Phillips's interest in family history, American history, and Jewish history are each represented in his correspondences, his handwritten notes on his own family as well as prominent New York families such as the DeLanceys, and his newspaper clippings which track subjects such as Jewish views on slavery and the Civil War. Several documents pertain to activity in Jewish organizations such as the Zionist Organization of America; the series includes Captain Phillips' annual membership card for the years 1919 to 1921. Captain Phillips' involvement in the Committee on Palestinian Charities and National Conference of Jewish Charities can be tracked through copies of checks written to said organizations, as well as monthly account statements and financial correspondences. The development of synagogues such as Shearith Israel, the Spanish and Portuguese synagogue of New York, and Touro Synagogue of Newport, Rhode Island, is included. The series contains two of Captain Phillips' speeches: "Zion for the Sephardim" and "How Faith Can Help You in Daily Life." Items of particular interest include commissions to position of Captain, Quartermater, handwritten and typed correspondence between Captain Phillips and the Department of the Interior, the Department of Finance, the New York Historical Society, the Newport Historical Society, and the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, Captain Phillips' license to carry a pistol, and letters protesting Captain Phillips' resignation as trustee of Congregation Shearith Israel.

2 25 Phillips, N. Taylor, American Jewish history, personal notes undated, 1890-1940
2 26 Phillips, N. Taylor, American Jewish history, Jews and the Civil War, newspaper clippings undated, 1861-1864
2 27 Phillips, N. Taylor, American Jewish history, correspondence, inquiries undated, 1758-1929
2 28 Phillips, N. Taylor, American Jewish history, correspondence, inquiries undated, 1930-1952
2 29 Phillips, N. Taylor, American Jewish Historical Society, correspondence 1924-1955
2 30 Phillips, N. Taylor, Congregation Shearith Israel, Letters protesting NTP's resignation as trustee undated, 1939
2 31 Phillips, N. Taylor, Congregation Shearith Israel, correspondence undated, 1917-1952
2 32 Phillips, N. Taylor, Congregation Shearith Israel, papers (addresses by NTP 1898 & 1927 before Congregation) undated, 1898-1953
3 33 Evans, Lena Cadwalader, correspondence undated, 1933-1951
3 34 Federation of American Zionists, correspondence, financial papers, minutes undated, 1908-1921
3 35 Genealogical Data undated, 1897-1934
3 36 Gomez Family, correspondence, notes undated, 1765-1922
3 37 Jewish General Interest, Reform, Synagogues undated, 1854-1928
3 38 Mendes, H. Pereira, correspondence undated, 1917-1933
3 39 Masonic Correspondence undated, 1895-1953
3 40 National Conference of Jewish Charities, Committee on Palestinian Charities, account statements, financial correspondence undated, 1914-1931
3 41 Oppenheim, Samuel, correspondence undated, 1910-1913
3 42 Military career, commissions, correspondence undated, 1919-1945
3 43 Political career and activities, correspondence, notes undated, 1897-1934
3 44 Personal correspondence, general undated, 1895-1929
3 45 Personal correspondence, general undated, 1930-1954
4 46 Delegate pin, Democratic National Convention 1916
4 47 Roosevelt, Franklin D. and Family, letters, invitations undated, 1916-1933
4 48 Roosevelt, Franklin D. and Family, letters, invitations undated, 1936-1946
4 49 Smith, Alfred E., correspondence 1927
4 50 Solomons, Adolphus S., correspondence, notes undated, 1931-1951
4 51 Phillips, N. Taylor, speeches undated
4 52 Touro Synagogue, papers undated, 1910-1952
4 53 Tyler, John, letter to Simpson, Joseph 1843
4 54 Wagner, Robert F., letter 1954
4 55 Miscellaneous papers undated, 1890-1929
4 56 Miscellaneous papers undated, 1930-1951
Return to the Top of Page

Series III: Rosalie Solomons Phillips, undated, 1872-1946

Box 4, Folder 57 -- Box 5, Folder 69.
Scope and Content:

This series contains information on the life of Rosalie Solomons Phillips, who was the daughter of Adolphus S. Solomons. Much of the information in the series documents Phillips' involvement in the New York State Democratic Party, with an emphasis on women's activity in the Party. Several ballots, tickets to Democratic National Conventions, and certificates of election are included. Items of interest include a letter from Eleanor Roosevelt and an anonymous "tip" typed to Phillips, noting that Phillips' apparent colleague, Anna Rosenberg, was attempting to politically sabotage Phillips. There is a letter from the city of New York, Office of the President of the Borough of Brooklyn, written in response to Phillips' grievance "relative to lack of bathing privileges for Colored people at Coney Island," dated 1923. Also included is the last will and testament of Zillah Solomons and the last will and testament of Aline E. Solomons. There are several unique personal effects such as a hand mirror kept in a leather monogrammed case belonging to Phillips, and "Rosalie's First Letter," which is addressed to "Papa". The folders are arranged alphabetically by subject.

4 57 Amsterdam Democratic Club, Correspondence, invitations, membership cards, miscellaneous papers 1918-1936
5 58 Charities, Correspondence, programs, receipts, miscellaneous papers 1917-1946
5 59 Daughters of the American Revolution, By-Laws, booklets, clipping 1928-1940
5 60 Democratic Party National Conventions, tickets, ballots, invitations, certificates of election 1912-1939
5 61 City of New York Politics, Correspondence, tickets, voting reminders, miscellaneous papers 1917-1926
5 62 New York State Politics, Correspondence, ballots, certificates of election, miscellaneous papers 1920-1930
5 63 New York State Politics, Correspondence, ballots, certificates of election, miscellaneous papers 1931-1940
5 64 New York State Politics, RSP Re-Election papers undated
5 65 Personal Items undated, 1872-1942
5 66 Political and Public Life of RSP, general clippings undated, 1928-1932
5 67 Religious Commitments, Correspondence, speech, miscellaneous papers 1913-1945
5 68 Smith, Alfred, campaign papers undated, 1928
5 69 Wills, Solomons Family undated, 1911-1942
Return to the Top of Page

Series IV: Masonic Material, undated, 1831-1923

Box 6, Folders 70-80.
Scope and Content:

Male members of the Phillips family such as Captain N. Taylor were heavily involved in the Free and Associated Mason movement, which was a social and religious order. This series contains items related to Free Masonry. There are several copies of books containing the by-laws, constitution, roster, and proceedings of Free Masonry. Often, such materials will be linked to specific lodges; reports of Grand Historians regarding the "Historical Sketch" of various lodges are included. There are several correspondences. There is also a sash that was typically worn by members of a Masonic lodge. Captain Phillips appeared to be able to maintain his Jewish faith while simultaneously practicing Free Masonry. The folders are arranged alphabetically by subject.

6 70 Address and Proceedings 1844, 1848
6 71 By-Laws of Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite 1878
6 72 Constitutions 1832-1872
6 73 Magazines, event tickets and program 1846-1916
6 74 Masonic Registers 1845, 1849
6 75 Minutes of Albion Lodge No. 107 1831-1834
6 76 Miscellaneous Items, circulars, roster, notices 1850-1923
6 77 Reports 1849
6 78 "Report of the Grand Historian" 1901-1906
6 79 Sash undated
6 80 Transactions of Lodge 1850-1852
Return to the Top of Page

Series V: Photographs and Tintypes, undated, 1919

Box 7, Folders 81-86.
Scope and Content:

The photographs and tintypes in this series are largely of Captain Phillips and Rosalie Solomons Phillips, though there are a few other family members included. These photographs are well preserved, include formal portraits as well as family snapshots, and, while undated in many cases, include a wide range of years, from childhood to old age. There are several interesting photos taken in and around the Phillips' summer home in Elberon, New Jersey, and a photo of the 50th reunion of the 1888 Columbia University Law class. The tintypes are much smaller in number, and are mostly of Captain Phillips as a young boy. The folders are arranged alphabetically by subject.

7 81 Phillips, Isaac, copper photographic plate undated
7 82 Phillips, N. Taylor, photographs undated
7 83 Phillips, N. Taylor, tintypes undated
7 84 Phillips, Rosalie Solomons, photographs undated
7 85 Quartermaster Corps U.S. Army 1919
7 86 Miscellaneous photographs, prints, daguerreotype undated
Return to the Top of Page

Series VI: Books, undated, 1752, 1792, 1798, 1824-1904, 1939

Box 7, Folder 87 -- Box 9, Folder 96.
Scope and Content:

The larger books in this collection were separated into their own series. The majority of these books belonged to Captain Phillips. They are organized in alphabetical order by owner, and are written in both English and Hebrew. Subjects include prayer, assembly notes, and date books.

7 87 Phillips, Jonas, Prayerbook 1752
8 88 Phillips, N. Taylor, Assembly notes 1898-1899
8 89 Phillips, N. Taylor, Congregation Shearith Israel 1939
8 90 Phillips, N. Taylor, History of the Albion Lodge No. 26 F & AM undated, 1904
8 91 Phillips, N. Taylor, Presidential campaigns scrapbook 1824-1904
8 92 Phillips, N. Taylor, Standard Masonic Monitor 1890
8 93 Phillips, Naphtali, bedikah book 1798
8 94 Phillips, Naphtali, prayerbook 1792
9 95 Phillips, Rosalie Solomons, Record of Marriages, Births, Deaths 1902
9 96 Hebrew, book undated
Return to the Top of Page

Separated Oversized Material, 1765

MAP Folder 1.
MAP1 1 Phillips, Jonas, Letter with medallion 1765
Return to the Top of Page