Men with the President’s Ear
Adolphus Solomons: Local and National Leader (1826-1910)
We passed a pleasant Sabbath with Mr. Adolphus Solomons whose place of business [on] Pennsylvania Avenue is the resort of men of letters…We were pleased to find Mr. S. doing so well in the capital, especially as he is one of the very few Israelites there who observe the Sabbath.
- The Jewish Messenger, January 24, 1862
With Franklin Philp, Adolphus Solomons ran a successful bookstore at 332 Pennsylvania Avenue. Widely respected by both President Lincoln and the Jewish community, he frequently served as a link between them.
After the Civil War, Solomons served in the Washington, D.C. House of Delegates and on the Presidential Inauguration Committee for Ulysses S. Grant. In 1881, Solomons helped Clara Barton found the American Red Cross.
Meeting Jewish Soldiers’ Spiritual Needs
When the Volunteer Act of 1861 mandated that only Christians could be military chaplains, the Board of Delegates of American Israelites sent Rabbi Arnold Fischel to Washington to lobby for change. Using Solomons’s bookstore as his headquarters, Fischel succeeded when Lincoln signed a law on July 17, 1862, for the first time permitting rabbis to become chaplains.