Civil War ketubah
Civil War ketubah
The ketubah, or marriage contract, for Bettie Dreifus and Henry Baum, 1862. Translation by Sharon Horwitz, Library of Congress Hebraic Section.
JHSGW Collections, gift of Martin Baum and Evelyn Conn
On the fifth day of the week [i.e. Thursday], 13th day of the [Hebrew] month of [Heshvan] (the name of the Hebrew month is indistinct or rubbed out, but the 13th of Heshvan corresponds to November 6, 1862) in the year five thousand six hundred and twenty three, after the creation of the world, as we reckon here in Washington, North America. The bridegroom, R. Hayim son of our fellow-member, R. Mordekhai said to Baylah the virgin daughter of R. Shimshon, "Be my wife according to the statutes of Moses and Israel. And I will work for, esteem, feed and support you as is the custom of Jewish men who work for, esteem, feed and support their wives faithfully. And I will give you the settlement [mohar] of virgins, two hundred silver zuzim, which is due you according to Torah law, as well as your food, clothing, necessities of life, and conjugal needs, according to the universal custom." Miss Beylah, the virgin daughter of R. Shimshon, agreed, and became his wife. The dowry that she brought from her father's house, whether in silver, gold, jewelry, clothing, home furnishings, or bedding, R. Hayim the son of our-fellow member R. Mordekhai accepts as being worth one hundred dollars. The bridegroom, R. Hayim , son of our fellow-member R. Mordekhai, agreed, and of his own accord, added an additional one hundred dollars. R. Hayim, the bridegroom, made the following declaration: "The obligation of this marriage contract, and this additional amount, I accept upon myself and upon my heirs after me. It can be paid from the entire best part of the property and possessions that I own under all the heavens, whether I own [this property] already or will own it in the future. [It includes] both mortgageable property and non-mortgageable property. All of it shall be mortgaged and bound as security to pay this marriage contract, and this additional amount." The obligation of the marriage contract, and the additional amount was accepted by the bridegroom, R. Hayim the son of our fellow-member R. Mordekhai, according to all the strictest usage of all marriage contracts and additional amounts that are customary for daughters of Israel, according to the ordinances of our sages, of blessed memory. [It shall] not be a mere speculation or a sample document. We have made a 'kinyan" from the bridegroom, R. Hayim the son of our fellow-member R. Mordekhai, to Miss Beylah, virgin daughter of R. Shimshon, regarding everything written and stated above, with an article that is fit for such a 'kinyan'. And everything is valid and confirmed. Signed [this is in German] A. Reis } wittnesses M. Katzenberg } [the word is in German] date: [in German] November 6, 1862 J.P. Herman, Matchmaker [his 'title' is in Latin] Washington, D.C. January 10, 1863 Scribe (or document preparer) [written in German] Sam Weil
“Civil War ketubah,” Jewish Life in Mr. Lincoln’s City, accessed January 28, 2015, http://www.jhsgw.org/exhibitions/online/lincolns-city/items/show/33.