An American Experience: Adeline Moses Loeb and Her Early American Jewish Ancestors

Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York  2009

 

If ever a physical book resembled its topics, this remarkable biography does. Elegantly presented, its coverage of its subject’s life and genealogical provenance are a revelation. Physical presentation almost overtakes the text’s uniqueness—portraits, maps, and many—6th cousins—genealogical charts. Oversize, it captures a world of atypical Americana—Jews.

Adeline Moses Loeb fit two descriptions: “fine woman,” family-centered, respectable, modest beginnings, strong personality; and “fine lady,” beautifully gowned, charitable, proud of her heritage, with some rags (sort of )-to-riches tales. She was affectionately and realistically recalled by her daughter, Margaret Loeb Kempner, in “Mother’s Life with Father,” unpublished and written some years ago. Grandson John L. Loeb, Jr., the force behind the book, gives due credit to his grandmother’s outstanding, permanent philanthropy, as well as the paternal Loeb lineup of financial successes.

While Adeline Loeb has only 33 discrete pages devoted to her, her name and background appear throughout, ranging from Jewish sea-farers, arriving here in the 17th century, to post- Civil War sagas of the South, iconic merchants, successful financiers, and highest-level friends. With a smooth, unchallenging style, it details membership in and publication by the Sons of the Revolution in the State of New York, to a not-in-your-face presentation of upper South/lower South dissensions, notably, discussion of Jewish ownership of “property-in-man.” Intermarriage—heavy, if surnames are an indicator—is not mentioned. A most unusual book, full of scholarly threads worth following.

Appendices, bibliography, family charts and maps, general index, guide to family trees, name index.

 

 



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