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Object of the Month: April 2012 0 Comment(s)

Object No.: 2008.4.1
Donor: Frank Rich, Sr.
Description: Invitation to reception for the Grand Army of the Republic’s National Encampment, 1892 

Background: In 1861, German immigrant Abraham Hart joined the Union forces in Pennsylvania. He was wounded in battle the next year and convalesced in Washington. Hart remained in the city and, after the war, he worked as a lawyer and served as commander of the Department of the Potomac, Grand Army of the Republic (a Union veterans’ organization). Union veterans attended annual multi-day gatherings, or encampments, to commemorate their Civil War service. This invitation to a reception during an encampment is in a scrapbook that Hart’s great-grandson Frank Rich, Sr., donated to the Society.

Do you have material documenting local Jewish life during the Civil War that you’d like to donate to the Jewish Historical Society’s collection? Please contact us at info@jhsgw.org or (202) 789-0900.

To learn more about Jewish Americans’ role in the Civil War, join us on May 3rd at the National Archives when scholar Jonathan Sarna talks about his recent book, When General Grant Expelled the Jews .

Jewish History on the Air 0 Comment(s)

Had a great chance the other day to share some of our community's Civil War stories with a wider audience. Kojo Nnamdi on WAMU - 88.5 FM - interviewed me about stories of Civil War soldiers (such as Leopold Karpeles, shown here), General Grant's Order No. 11, and the Jewish community in Washington during the war years. My first time on live radio and really fun to share some of these little known stories. You still listen or read the transcript on WAMU's website.

Featured in The Examiner! 0 Comment(s)

Did you see this morning's copy of The Washington Examiner? I'm featured in the "3-Minute Interview" on page 5! Here's a picture of the article.

You can also check it out online. Thanks to Susan Ferrechio of The Examiner for thinking of us!

This is the second time someone from the Society has been featured--be sure to check out the interview with our director, Laura.

Just to note: the historic synagogue is actually at 3rd and G, NW. It's been corrected in the online version.

Lincoln Exhibition at JCCNV! 0 Comment(s)


There are still 10 more days to see the framed panel version of our exhibition, Jewish Life in Mr. Lincoln's City, at the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia. It's there until February 22.

The exhibition's 15 panels tell stories of Jewish life in Civil War-era Washington and Alexandria. As a bonus, we also have directories of known Jewish residents in Washington and Alexandria and extra pictures and documents on display.

Can't make it to JCCNV before February 22? Then come see the show at B'nai Israel Congregation (March 4-April 4) or the Washington, D.C., Jewish Community Center (April 10-30).

You can also buy the book and see illustrated lectures.

Thanks to board member John Tolleris for his generous contribution, which allowed us to create the traveling version!

Happy Birthday Mr. Lincoln 0 Comment(s)

Today we hosted a Lunch & Learn talk in our historic synagogue featuring Jewish life in Mr. Lincoln's City. The talk centered around daily life for the some 2,000 Jews living in DC and Old Town during the Civil War. Wendy Turman, our archivist, joined me in telling some of the colorful stories associated with personalities like Judah P. Benjamin, Confederate spy Eugenia Levy Phillips, and Medal of Honor recipient Leopold Karpeles.

Birthday cake was served to all in attendance. This is the first in a series of programs to celebrate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. To learn more about Civil War programming, click here.