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ARC MS8 - Sabato Morais Papers - Finding Aid

Sabato Morais Papers

Sabato Morais Papers

Finding Aid



Prepared by Arthur Kiron,

Manuscripts Curator and Assistant Archivist

December, 1992






Title of the collection: Sabato Morais Papers.

Sample Citation: Annenberg Research Institute. Library.

Sabato Morais Papers, Box 1, File Folder

(FF) 1.

Statistics: 11.5 linear feet.

22 document boxes.

Languages: English, Hebrew, Aramaic, Italian, French, German, Samaritan (Aramaic), Spanish.

Related collections: Henry Morais Papers (Yeshiva University); Charles and Mary Cohen Collection (Annenberg Institute).

Processor: Arthur Kiron, Manuscripts Curator and Assistant Archivist.

Date: December, 1992






Sabato Morais was born on April 13, 1823 to Samuel and Bonina Morais in the northern Italian city of Leghorn (Livorno), in the grand duchy of Tuscany. Morais was the third of nine children, seven daughters and the older of the two sons. The Morais family descended from Portuguese Marranos. Morais' mother, Bonina Wolf, was of German-Ashkenazic descent. Morais' father, a man of limited means, was an ardent Republican and a proud supporter of the cause of Italian nationalism, for which he was once imprisoned. Morais' mother is reputed to have been a woman of great piety, from whom Morais is said to have gained a devotion to Jewish tradition. Among his siblings, it is known that Morais' sister Virginia married Dr. Caesare Lunel Bey, the Attorney General of Egypt. Morais' brother's name was Leone, and several other family members' names, including those of several of his sisters and their children, appear scattered throughout the correspondence (written in Italian) found in the collection.


Morais received rabbinical training from the Chief Rabbi of Leghorn, Abraham Baruch Piperno, as well as from Rabbi Abraham Curiat, Rabbi Isaac Alveranga, and Rabbi Angiolo Funaro. In 1845, Morais was presented with a rabbinical ordination, signed by the first three aforementioned rabbis. Morais himself preferred not to be addressed by the title "rabbi" -- his degree, some have argued, was only a teaching certificate. In addition to his rabbinical training, Morais also studied Semitics with Professor Salvatore De Benedetti, of the University of Pisa and was thoroughly versed in the full range of the broader European cultural and intellectual heritage.


From an early age, Morais felt impelled to earn a livelihood due to the financial situation of his family. In 1845, at the age of 22, Morais chose to leave Italy and his studies for London to seek the position of "Second Reader" at the largest Sephardic congregation in London, "Sha'are Shamayim" at Bevis Marks. While failing initially to secure the position, primarily because of his lack of fluency with English, Morais would return to London the following year to work as the Master of the same Congregation's Orphan's School, a post he held through 1850.



In addition to his work as Hebrew instructor at the Orphans school, Morais privately tutored Hebrew and Italian, while also working diligently to acquire a mastery of the English language for himself. During his five years in London, Morais was befriended by the famous Jewish philanthropist, Sir Moses Montefiore, who was (like Morais) a native of Leghorn in Italy. Morais also claims to have "pressed the hand" of Giuseppe (Joseph) Mazzini, the exiled Italian nationalist, and according to one account helped Mazzini return surreptitiously to Italy by lending him his passport.


In 1851, after some hesitation, Morais left London for the United States to apply for the position of Hazan (Cantor and Reader) at Philadelphia's oldest and one of America's most prestigious congregations, the Spanish and Portuguese Congregation Mikveh Israel. Morais arrived in New York on March 14, 1851 and in Philadelphia three days later. On his birthday, April 13, 1851, Morais was elected Hazan of the Congregation, and sixteen years later on September 18, 1868, he received a life-time contract. In assuming the office of Hazan, Morais succeeded the Rev. Isaac Leeser, the controversial traditionalist, after a vote taken by the board, 20-11. On May 17, 1854, Morais became a United States citizen and the summer of that year returned to Italy for a brief visit, apparently the last time he would travel back to his family and to his native home.


Morais married a school teacher in Philadelphia named Clara Esther Weil the following year in 1855. She gave birth to seven children before her death in 1872, which not only left Morais tremendously bereaved but also burdened with the task of raising the seven children by himself. Morais never was to re-marry. Of the children, Henry Samuel Morais became a founder of the Jewish Exponent of Philadelphia, a contributing editor to the Philadelphia Jewish Press and authored two books. Morais' daughter Nina, the oldest child, was a respected literary figure and civic leader, who eventually would move with her husband Emmanuel Cohen from Philadelphia to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Morais' other children were his daughters Mrs. (Rebecca) Eugene Lyon, Mrs. (Gentile) Herman Loeb, Esther and Miriam and his son Leon. Neither Henry, Leon, Esther nor Miriam is known to have married.





As a communal and religious leader, Morais played an active role in virtually every civic and charitable cause in the city of Philadelphia and carefully followed the political issues of his day both throughout the United States and around the world. He first gained lasting fame for his outspoken support of President Lincoln during the Civil War -- a stance that later would result in his receiving an honorary membership in the Union League of Philadelphia. Morais maintained his public advocacy of the cause of abolition and the preservation of the Union in the face of tremendous pressures, a one year suspension of his preaching privileges, offers of bribes, and threats of dismissal from the board of his own Congregation. Notable among Morais' other controversial stances as minister of Mikveh Israel was his support of the right of women to vote on all congre-

gational issues, a policy which was adopted by vote in 1882.


Morais supported Jewish causes not only in Philadelphia and in the United State but also throughout the world, as evidenced by his participation in the Alliance Israelite Universelle, of which he was vice-president of the Philadelphia chapter. Morais played an active role in responding to the persecution of Jews in Morocco and Rumania and spoke out against the notorious abduction of Edgar Mortara, and later of Joseph Coen, Italian Jewish children who were taken from their parents and baptised, with the consent of the Vatican. In 1868, Morais petitioned both the president of the Board of Delegates of American Israelites as well as the United States Secretary of State to appeal to the provisional government in Madrid to revoke the infamous 1492 edict of expulsion of the Jews from Spain. In 1870, following the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war, Morais urged the United States to intervene to prevent the burning of Paris and to negotiate peace.


As a communal leader, Morais is perhaps best remembered for his efforts to re-settle in the United States Russian and other Eastern European Jews fleeing the pogroms which had erupted throughout Eastern Europe beginning in 1881. In 1890, when a strike was declared by the Philadelphia clothing makers union, pitting many of these same immigrants against some of the most prominent members of his own congregation, Morais played an instrumental role in resolving the dispute. Morais was involved in many other types of public battles, including his defense of the principle of the separation of state and religion, and his efforts to combat the Christian missionary movements which were so strong in his day.




Morais was deeply involved in the development of higher Jewish education in the United States. From 1867 through 1873, he was professor of Biblical Exegesis of Maimonides College, the so-called "first American Jewish Theological Seminary," and later served as an examiner for the Hebrew Union College of Cincinnati before his eventual break with this central institution of the Reform movement. Morais also tutored children throughout his life, often for little or no remuneration, and regularly taught for the Hebrew Sunday School movement, started by Rebecca Gratz.


Morais is perhaps most famous for his role in founding the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (1886), of which he was a member of the executive Board, president of the faculty and of the advisory board, and professor of Bible. Morais not only founded the institution, but also conceived its motto: "To Learn and to Teach, To Observe and To Practise (lilmod u-lelamed lishmor ve-la'asot)" [an Hebrew epigram which had first appeared in America on the cover of Isaac Leeser's journal The Occident and American Jewish Advocate (1843)]. A more complete listing of the various institutions and organizations with which Morais was affiliated is found below.


Morais was a frequent contributor to local and regional newspapers, often championing humanitarian causes such as, for example, the treatment of the Chinese in the West, Native American Indian rights, and the persecution of Armenians. He was called upon regularly to deliver public lectures (in addition to his regular regimen of weekly Synagogue sermons) on a variety of subjects, addressing such topics as the prevention of cruelty to children, the prevention of cruelty to animals, the need to give to the poor and needy, and the improvement of the status of women. Less publicized were his frequent visits to aid the infirmed, the destitute, and the imprisoned.



Morais' literary contributions have not yet been assessed. In his day, he was renowned as a translator and master of Hebrew literature. Of particular note in this regard are Morais' translations from Italian into English (for the first time) of several works of Samuel David Luzzatto (ShaDaL), the famous leader of Italian Jewish learning, including Luzzatto's critical introduction to the Pentateuch. Morais also translated for the first time from Hebrew into English two of the medieval Jewish leader Maimonides' famous epistles: the "Letter to Yemen" and the "Treatise on Resurrection." Shortly before his death, Morais completed an English translation of the Biblical book of Jeremiah for the Jewish Publication Society (during the early stages of its efforts to produce a new translation of the entire Hebrew Bible). Morais's son Henry attests that his father wrote a short commentary on the Book of Esther but no specific bibliographical information about this work has yet been found. Morais' mastery of both English literarture and classical Jewish texts is evidenced throughout his many published and unpublished translations and studies.


In addition to his translations and commentaries, Morais composed several biographical and historical studies, many of them dealing with the Jews of Italy. Among his many shorter publications was a study of the history and status of the Ethiopian Jewish community, the so-called Falashah, which was published in the Penn Monthly in April of 1880. Morais also engaged in polemical exchanges on aspects of religious reform which were published in the various newspapers and journals of his day.


Morais' many unpublished sermons and writings, whose publication he opposed during his lifetime, were principally concerned with Biblical and exegetical topics. Morais also composed many explanatory lectures and addresses on post-Biblical Jewish history and theology. He also composed many funeral orations and wrote on contemporary questions of Jewish ritual practices.


Morais died in Philadelphia on November 12, 1897, at the age of 74, after several bouts of illness. He was buried in the Mikveh Israel cemetery located at 10th and Federal St. in Philadelphia.




Institutional Affiliations


The following preliminary list, based on information contained in the Morais Papers and in the bibliography provided below, presents all of the organizations in which Morais had either a formal membership or role or an informal but contributing relationship.


Alliance Israelite Universelle (Vice-president, Philadelphia chapter)


American Jewish Historical Society


American Historical Association (elected member)


Association of Jewish Immigrants (appointed to the committee on membership)


Bevis Marks (Master of Hebrew at the Orphans' school)


Carmel Colony (Baron de Hirsch Fund)


Chaplaincy of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in Pennsylvania (declined)


Chautaqua System of Education


Doreshe Da'at Society of Philadelphia


Freemasons, Order of (member)


Gratz College (helped to found)


Hebrew Charitable Association


Hebrew Education Society (volunteer instructor)


Hebrew Immigrant Society of Philadelphia


Hebrew Literary Society (first president and lecturer)


Hebrew Sunday School Society (instructor)


Hebrew Union College (examiner)


Hospital and Immigration Society





Institutional Affiliations (continued)


Hyman Gratz Trust (member of Board of Trustees, ex officio)


Human Freedom League


Indian Rights Association (supporter)


Jeshurun Lodge


Jewish Alliance of America (Treasurer)


Jewish Foster Home (and Orphan Asylum) (founder and board member)


Jewish Hospital Association (member)


Jewish Maternity Association


Jewish Minister's Association (member)


Jewish Publication Society (on the consultation committee)


Jewish Summer School of Atlantic City


Jewish Theological Seminary (founder, president of the faculty and of the advisory board, and member of the executive committee)


Jewish Theological Seminary Association (President)


Literary Association of Philadelphia (honorary member)


Maimonides College (founder and faculty member--Professor of Bible)


Mikveh Israel (Minister, Hazan, superintendent of its congregational school [1892])


Mikveh Israel Association (member and honorary president)


National Council of Jewish Women


National Farm School (Baron de Hirsch Fund)


Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals


Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (member)





Institutional Affiliations (continued)


Rappaport Benevolent Association (member)


Society Esrath Nashim (Helping Women)


The Society for the Extension of University Teaching (elected member)


Southern Hebrew Sunday School (volunteer, lecturer)

Union League of Philadelphia (elected honorary member)


United Hebrew Charities (member and contributor)


United Hebrew Relief Association


Universal Peace Union (officer)


University of Pennsylvania (honorary degree, "Doctor of Laws")


Young Men's Hebrew Association (President "for awhile" and member)


Young Women's Union



Contributing author to:


American Hebrew


American Israelite


American Jewish Historical Society, Publications




Association Bulletin


Association Review


Boston Traveller


Daily Mercury


Episcopal Register



Contributing author to (continued):


Evening Herald


Evening Telegraph


Hebrew Standard


Jewish Exponent


Jewish Index


Jewish Messenger


Jewish Record


Jewish Tribune


Ledger and Transcript


Menorah Monthly


Mirror and Keystone


Mose Antologia Israelitica, Corfu


North American and United States Gazette


Occident and American Jewish Advocate (also was a subscriber)


Penn Monthly


Philadelphia Inquirer


Public Ledger


Sunday Dispatch


The Age (Philadelphia)


The Times (New York Times?)




Morais also made charitable contributions, often anonymously, to many other organizations, including Miss Moss' Infant School, and the Touro hospital.





Scope and Content


The Morais Papers can be divided roughly in half primarily between correspondence and writings. The earliest materials in the collection date from 1845 and the latest from just before Morais' death in November of 1897. The bulk of the collection is concentrated from after the time when Morais came to the United States in 1851 through 1897, and especially after 1876. The collection contains valuable information on Jewish life in Philadelphia in the second half of the nineteenth century, and provides new insight into Morais' role in the development of the Historical school of nineteenth century Judaism in American (precursor of American Judaism' modern Conservative movement) and the founding of its central institution: the Jewish Theological Seminary, in New York. Morais also maintained a life-long correspondence with family members, friends, and teachers from Italy, whose letters (in Italian) are rich in number and variety.


Several personal items, such as a copy of Morais' will as well as his certificate of membership in the Order of Free Masons, from Italy, are found in the collection. In addition, Morais' ordination discourse written in his own hand as well as his (rabbinical) ordination certificate from Italy are also held; the original ordination certificate, written on parchment and signed by Rabbis Piperno, Curiat and Alveranga, explicitly describes Morais as ordained, employing the language of "semikhah" (ordination).


The collection also contains numerous manuscripts and drafts of Morais' various sermons and lectures. As noted above, Morais was an outspoken supporter of a wide variety of causes such as abolition, (Native American) Indian rights, the protection of the Chinese working in the United States, protection of children and animals, supporter of the improvement of the status of women. Morais also received numerous appeals to help indigent Jewish communities, especially from Palestine.




New Acquisitions


The current collection has been enhanced by the recent donation of the long-presumed lost "Morais Ledger" (see below, bibliography). This ledger contains perhaps the single most important record of Morais' writings. These articles, personally compiled and annotated by Morais, were in many instances anonymously published and many are not listed in Moshe Davis' selected, annotated bibliography (see above, Davis (1947). Significantly, Morais has signed his name to the articles in the Ledger which he otherwise had submitted anonymously for publication. Morais pasted these articles in this large, bound ledgerbook, numbering over 500 pages, and kept a running table of contents, in which he would record new publications by title, publication, and date. Unfortunately, the Morais Ledger is in very fragile condition and use of this item is restricted. Efforts are now being made to have the Ledger preserved and scanned in an effort to ease the problem of access and make its contents more widely available.



Previous Use


According to Moshe Davis, p. 60 (1947, see below): "The very eixstence of (Morais') letters, finely schematized, is a tribute not only to the great historical foresight of Dr. Cyrus Adler, but also to the love and devotion of the pupil for his teacher. It was Dr. (Cyrus) Adler's dream, amidst his busy life, to pause for a brief a moment and inscribe a final poem in the form of a biography to his master. He therefore collected everthing and anything he could lay his hands on." Unfortunatley, much of Dr. Alder's carefully wrought chronological scheme of arrangement was found disarranged upon intitial inspection. Alder's basic organizational principles were sound, however, and have been maintained as possible.


The Morais Papers were microfilmed in 1956 by the American Jewish Archives. These microfilms are significant because they contain reproductions of materials no longer found in the collection, such as Morais' Italian passport (bearing the number 443) which he is said to have loaned to Joseph Mazzinni to enable him to travel from exile in London to Italy. Copies of these microfilms, including copy flow (hard copy) made from these microfilms are held by the Institute. The Morais Papers were also consulted at length by Dr. Moshe Davis whose selected, annotated bibliography of Morais' writings and papers and report on the contents and significance of the original collection was published in 1947 (see below, Davis, 1947).




Current Condition


The Morais Papers are still in relatively good, although fragile condition. Much of the collection was written on paper of good quality which has not decayed much over the last century. Very acidic and fragile documents have been interleaved with acid-free paper. While common sense should suffice, it may be worth emphasizing, nonetheless, that care should be taken in handling all of the material, especially anything marked "*fragile*." Much of the correspondence to Morais from Italy and elsewhere in Europe and Palestine was written on brittle paper and special caution should be taken when handling these letters. ORDER OF ARRANGEMENT MUST BE MAINTAINED.



Series Description


Series I. Correspondence




Inclusive dates of the correspondence range from 1845 through 1897, with the bulk of the correspondence beginning in 1851. The majority of the correspondence is addressed to Morais. Many of these letters include responses by him which are occasionally inscribed on the received letter. There also are many letters written by Morais, some of which may have been gathered together after his death for the purpose of eventual publication.





The correspondence is arranged chronologically by year and month. All ephemera and other types of items attached to correspondence have been kept together with the correspondence. The printed material series may be worth checking, however, for attachments, especially of notices, invitations, etc., spoken of in correspondence but not found with the letter.





Of particular note are Morais' varied correspondence with significant Jewish leaders of the nineteenth century throughout the United States, Europe (especially in England, France, Italy, and Greece), and Palestine (especially Jerusalem). There are two letters/cards sent to Morais from as far afield as Bombay, India. The correspondence provides extensive primary sources for documenting Morais' untiring involvement in numerous civic, religious, and charitable institutions (see above for a preliminary list of organizations).


Morais corresponded regularly with many of Italian Jewry's leading figures, such as Isaiah Luzzatto, the son of the famous Samuel David Luzzatto, Marco Mortara, the chief rabbi of Mantua, and Elia Benamozegh, chief rabbi of Leghorn. In addition, Morais also received correspondence from his teachers in Italy, including Rabbis Piperno and Funaro and Dr. Salvatore di Benedetti. He also maintained contact and worked with his childhood friend, the Chevalier Emanuel Veneziani (who became the almoner for Baron de Hirsch in Paris) for the resettlement of Eastern Europe Jewish refugees.




Series Description (continued)


Morais also carried on an important, life-long correspondence with Bernhard Felsenthal, a learned reform rabbi and communal leader from Chicago, as well as with other prominent American Jewish leaders of his day. Morais was consulted frequently by Jewish scholars and laity, as well as by Christian ministers from across the country, on matters pertaining to the Jewish religion, its customs, and the Hebrew language. Several important autographs are also found scattered throughout this series, including those of Samuel David Luzzatto, and Moses Montefiore. Correspondence relating to the awarding of an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws to Morais by the University of Pennsylvania (the first such award to a Jew by them, according to H.S. Morais, et al.) has also been found.

The correspondence series also demonstrates in a hitherto unappreciated way Morais' breadth of learning. In response to numerous questions that were often put to him, Morais shows a knowledge of no less than twelve languages: Aramaic, English, French, German, Hebrew of all periods, Italian, Greek (of the Septuagint), Latin, Samaritan, Sanskrit, Spanish, and Syriac.

According to the Jewish Exponent (November 19, 1897, p. 2), Morais "wrote and spoke a classical Hebrew and was conversant with seven languages."





Preliminary List of Correspondents


Samuel Abrahams, Grace Aguilar, Rebecca Aguilar, Cyrus Alder, Nathan Adler, Charles Allen, H.S. Allen, Rosalie H. Allen, Sarah Almosnino, Moses Angel, (B.?) Artom, Raffaella Ascoli, A. J. Ash, Henry Baird, N. Barnum. Miriam Belisario, Elijah Benamozegheh, Salvatore di Benedetti, Alfred Benjamin, Ezekiel Bernheim, Isidore Binswanger, Blum Bros., Joseph Blumenthal, S. C. Brace, Isidore Bush, L. Buttenweiser, Angelo Capua, J. Carvalho, Sabatini Choen, Charles J. Cohen, David Cohen, Emmanuel Cohen, Katherine M. Cohen, Mary M. Cohen, Max Cohen, Mathilde H. Cohen, R. D. Cordova, Raphel da Costa, Giuseppe Curiel, A. H. Delavante, Lewis Dembitz, Bernard Drachman, Moses Aaron Dropsie, David Einhorn, Josephine Etting, Jacob Ezekiel, Simon Ezekiel, J. M. Emanuel, Bernard Felsenthal, Pietro Ferrara, A. Finzi, Angiolo Funaro, Eisig (Isaac) Graber, Rebecca Goldsmith, Gustav Gottheil, Richard Gottheil, William Hackenburg, A. Hahn, Clara Hahn, A. Hart, B. B. Hart, Louisa Hart, Angelo Heilprin, Michael Heilprin, H. S. Henry, Jospeh Hertz, E. L. Hess, Emil G. Hirsch, Samuel Hirsch, Charles Hoffman, A. Huebsch, Adeline Hyneman, Henry Illiowizi, Abraham S. Isaacs, J. M. Isaacs, Meyer S. Isaacs, George Jacobs, Henry Jacobs, A. Jacoby, Hermine Jacoby, Morris Jastrow, Marcus Jastrow, Alfred T. Jones, J. Judelsohn, Emil Kleinsmith, Alexander Kohut, George Kohut, J. Korn, D. C. Labatt, Ephraim Lederer, Israel Leon, David Levy, Giuseppe Levi, J. E. Levy, H. M. Levy, E. H. Lindo, J. Lyons, Isadore Loeb, Isaiah Luzzatto, Samuel David Luzzatto, Alfred Marcus, Max Margolis, Ezekiel Melamed, Frederick de Sola Mendes, H. P. Mendes, Samuel Mendelsohn, M. R. Miller, Amelia J. Mitchell, Rebecca Mitchell, Charles H. Moise, Joseph Sebag Montefiore, Moses Montefiore, M. G. Montefiore, Henry Morais, Leon Morais, Nina Morais; Morais family in Italy: Alberto, Angiolo, Clara, Corilla, Felice, Fortunata, Gentile, Leone, Luigi, Mario, Rosa, Virginia (Nina) (Lunel),Laura Mordecai, Sarah Mordecai, Marco Mortara, Adolfo Moses, Lucien Moss, Rebecca Moss, M Mosse, A. H. Nieto, D. H. Nieto,E. Nunes, Aron Ottolenghi, Benjamin Franklin Peixotto,

Pietro Perreau, Ellen Phillips, I. Phillips, J. Phillips, M. Picciotto, Abraham Baruch Piperno, Nathan Piperno, David M. Pizal, Leon Provenzal, Meir Rabinowitz, George Randorf, Leo Reich, A. Rosenbach, M. A. Rosselli, Callman Rouse, J. Rubenstein, H. Schneeberger, A. Montefiore Sebag, Solomon Sebag, A. Siegelsteiss, Jacob Singer, Abraham de Sola, Meldola de Sola, Solomon Solis, J. P. Solomon, A. S. Solomons, S. H. Sonneschein, C. D. Spivak, David Stern, Cyrus L. Sulzberger, David Sulzberger, Mayer Sulzberger, Moise Tedeschi, David Treves, Emanuel Veneziani, Jacob Voorsanger, Clara Weil, Virginia Weil, Caroline E. White, Cora Wilburn, S. R. Wiley, Yehudah Cohen Wistinetzky, Leopold Woodle.




Placenames [preliminary list of countries and U.S. cities of origin of correspondence sent to Morais]:


Countries: Amsterdam, Barbados, Canada, England, France, Germany, Greece, Grenada, India, Italy, Jamaica, Palestine, Poland, Rumania.


Cities in the U.S.: Athens (GA), Augusta (GA), Austin (TX), Baltimore (MD), Boston (MA), Brandon (VA), Charles River Village (Norfolk County, MA), Charleston (SC), Chicago (IL), Cincinnati (OH), Evansville (IN), Gordonsville (Orange County, VA), Houston (TX), Kansas City (MO), Long Brach City (NJ), Louisville (KY), Minneapolis (MN), Mobile (AL), New Orleans (LA), New York City (NY), Norfolk (VA), Pittsburgh (PA), Portland (OR), Richmond (VA), San Francisco (CA), Springfield (IL), Spring Lake Beach (NJ), Waterbury (CT), Waterloo (IN), Wilmington (NC).



Series II. Literary Productions


The full range of Morais' literary contributions to American Jewish life are yet to be appreciated. In addition to the regular, weekly Biblical sermons which he delivered (in English) to his Congregation, Morais frequently was called upon by and lectured before numerous civic, charitable, and educational groups. Morais also prepared numerous opening benedictions, funeral orations, occasional sermons for bene mitsvah and anniversaries, as well as contributed on a regular basis to the newspapers and periodicals of his day. Morais was an accomplished poet, having composed poetry in Hebrew and Italian, and translator, as noted above. Typescripts of a number of Morais' published works, which were being prepared for posthumous publication, are found in the collection. Among this group are parts of the typescript for what became the first and only collected volume of Morais' works Italian Hebrew Literature (edited by Julius Greenstone, 1926).


The manuscripts of most of Morais' unpublished sermons and lectures, as well as the Ledger-Book (see above) collection of his published writings, have been arranged in four sub-series:


1. Sermons (Biblical, Sabbath, Dated, Occasional, Miscellaneous)

2. Lectures (Biblical, Exegetical, Post-Biblical, Biographical, Historical, Theological, Miscellaneous)

3. Miscellaneous writings

4. The Morais Ledger



Series III. Financial and Legal materials


This series includes cancelled checks, checkbook stubs, deeds, and Morais' will (see Box 17, FF22).



Series IV. Printed material


This series is composed of numerous broadsides, circulars, advertisements, clippings, flyers and other ephemeral, printed material such as invitations, greeting cards, and calling cards.

Series V. Miscellaneous material


This series is composed of everything else which does not readily fit into any of the above categories, such as appeals for support from Palestine, a copy of a fragment in Samaritan characters, etc..

Series VI. Copyflow


This series is composed of copyflow (hard copy) made from the American Jewish Archives microfilms of most of the Dropsie College Morais Papers as they were in 1956. These copies are important because they provide images of materials (letters, documents, etc.) no longer found in the current collection. This series also contains photocopies of significant items in the current collection which were selected and arranged for exhibit by Dr. Abraham Karp (in 1992).



Container List


Box 1


FF1 .


Series I. Correspondence


FF2 Correspondence: 1845.



FF3 Correspondence: 1846.



FF4 Correspondence: 1847.



FF5 Correspondence: 1848.



FF6 Correspondence: 1849.



FF7 Correspondence: 1850.


FF8 Correspondence: 1851.



FF9 Correspondence: 1852.



FF10 Correspondence: 1853.



FF11 Correspondence: 1854.



FF12 Correspondence: 1855.



FF13 Correspondence: 1856.



Box 1 (continued)


FF14 Correspondence: 1857.



FF15 Correspondence: 1858.



FF16 Correspondence: 1859.



FF17 Correspondence: 1860.



FF18 Correspondence: 1861.



FF19 Correspondence: 1862;



FF20 Samuel David Luzzatto autograph, September 22, 1862;



FF21 Moses Montefiore autograph, December 29, 1862.



FF22 Correspondence: 1863.



FF23 Correspondence: 1864.



FF24 Correspondence: 1865.



FF25 Correspondence: 1866.



FF26 Correspondence: 1867.



FF27 Correspondence: 1868.



FF28 Correspondence: 1869.



Box 1 (continued)


FF29 Correspondence: 1870.



FF30 Correspondence: 1871.



FF31 Correspondence: 1872.



FF32 Correspondence: 1873.



Box 2


FF1 Correspondence: 1874.



FF2 Correspondence: 1875.


FF3 Correspondence: 1876.



FF4 Correspondence: 1877 (January-June).



FF5 Correspondence: 1877 (July-December).



FF6 Correspondence: 1878.



FF7 Correspondence: 1879 (January-June).



FF8 Correspondence: 1879 (July-December).


FF9 Correspondence: 1880.




Box 3


FF1 Correspondence: 1881.



FF2 Correspondence: 1882 (January-June).



FF3 Correspondence: 1882 (July-December).



FF4 Correspondence: 1883 (January-July).



FF5 Correspondence: 1883 (August-December).



FF6 Correspondence: 1884 (January-April).



FF7 Correspondence: 1884 (May-August).



FF8 Correspondence: 1884 (September-October).


FF9 Correspondence: 1884 (November-December).



FF10 Correspondence: 1885 (January-March).



FF11 Correspondence: 1885 (April-August).



FF12 Correspondence: 1885 (September-December).



FF13 Correspondence: 1886 (January-February).







Box 4


FF1 Correspondence: 1886 (March-May).



FF2 Correspondence: 1886 (June-August).


FF3 Correspondence: 1886 (September-December).



FF4 Correspondence: 1887 (January-May).



FF5 Correspondence: 1887 (June-July).



FF6 Correspondence: 1887 (August-September).



FF7 Correspondence: 1887 (October-December).



FF8 Correspondence: 1888 (January-February).


FF9 Correspondence: 1888 (March-April).



FF10 Correspondence: 1888 (May-June).



FF11 Correspondence: 1888 (July).



FF12 Correspondence: 1888 (August-September).



FF13 Correspondence: 1888 (October-November).



FF14 Correspondence: 1888 (December).




Box 5


FF1 Correspondence: 1889 (January-February).



FF2 Correspondence: 1889 (March-April).


FF3 Correspondence: 1889 (May-June).



FF4 Correspondence: 1889 (July-August).



FF5 Correspondence: 1889 (September-December).



FF6 Correspondence: 1890 (January-March).



FF7 Correspondence: 1890 (April-May).



FF8 Correspondence: 1890 (June-July).


FF9 Correspondence: 1890 (August-September).



FF10 Correspondence: 1890 (October-November).



FF11 Correspondence: 1890 (December).



Box 6


FF1 Correspondence: 1891 (January).



FF2 Correspondence: 1891 (February-March).


FF3 Correspondence: 1891 (April-May).



FF4 Correspondence: 1891 (June-July).



FF5 Correspondence: 1891 (August-September).



FF6 Correspondence: 1891 (October-December).



FF7 Correspondence: 1892 (January-February).



FF8 Correspondence: 1892 (March-April).


FF9 Correspondence: 1892 (May-June).



FF10 Correspondence: 1892 (July-August).



FF11 Correspondence: 1892 (September-October).



FF12 Correspondence: 1892 (November-December).



FF13 Correspondence: 1893 (January-March).



FF14 Correspondence: 1893 (April).





Box 7


FF1 Correspondence: 1893 (May-June).



FF2 Correspondence: 1893 (July-August).


FF3 Correspondence: 1893 (September-October).



FF4 Correspondence: 1893 (November-December).



FF5 Correspondence: 1894 (January-April).



FF6 Correspondence: 1894 (May-December).



FF7 Correspondence: 1895 (January-June).



FF8 Correspondence: 1895 (July-December).


FF9 Correspondence: 1896 (January-June).



FF10 Correspondence: 1896 (July-December).



FF11 Correspondence: 1897 (January-May).



FF12 Correspondence: 1897 (June-July).



FF13 Correspondence: 1897 (August-December).



Box 8


The following miscellaneous correspondence is arranged in alphabetical order, with all correspondence addressed to Morais unless otherwise noted.



FF1 Correspondence, n.d (no date): Rafaello Ascoli; includes one letter with Ascoli's signature as well as that of "Barone Giuseppe" (Mazzinni?), in Italian.



FF2 Correspondence, n.d.: Salvatore De Benedetti, in Italian.


FF3 Correspondence: Isidore Binswanger, chiefly relating to the Jewish Foster Home.



FF4 Correspondence, n.d.: Louisa Hart.



FF5 Correspondence, n.d.: Adeline Hyneman.



FF6 Correspondence, n.d.: M(arcus) Jastrow.



FF7 Correspondence: concerning the George Keenan Testimonial.



FF8 Correspondence, n.d.: Clara Morais (S. Morais' niece?), in Italian.


FF9 Correspondence, n.d.: Gentile Morais (S. Morais' sister).



FF10 Correspondence, n.d., Henry Morais (S. Morais' son), one letter to him, dated 1920; one undated letter from him to S. Morais.



FF11 Correspondence, n.d., Leone Morais (S. Morais' brother), in Italian.



Box 8 (continued)


FF12 Correspondence, n.d., Nina Morais (S. Morais' sister),

in Italian.



FF13 Correspondence, n.d., Sabato Morais (miscellaneous).



FF14 Correspondence, n.d., Rosa Mordecai.


FF15 Correspondence, n.d., (D.H.) Nieto (of New York).



FF16 Correspondence, n.d., H. Pereira Mendes.



FF17 Correspondence, n.d., David Pulsifer.



FF18 Correspondence, after 1887, Solomon Solis-Cohen.



FF19 Correspondence, n.d., miscellaneous.



FF20 Correspondence, n.d., miscellaneous postcards, including several from Isaiah Luzzatto.



FF21 Correspondence, n.d., miscellaneous letters in Hebrew, including several from Samuel Mendelssohn, one of Morais' students at Maimonides College, and several very fragile letters apparently from Rabbi Avraham Baruch Piperno, chief rabbi of Leghorn.



FF22 Correspondence, n.d., miscellaneous letters in Italian and French.



Box 9


Series II. Literary Productions


FF1 Biblical Sermons, Bereshit.



FF2 Biblical Sermons, Noah.



FF3 Biblical Sermons, Lekh Lekhah.



FF4 Biblical Sermons, Vayera.



FF5 Biblical Sermons, Hayye Sarah.



FF6 Biblical Sermons, Vayishlach.



FF7 Biblical Sermons, Vayesheb.



FF8 Biblical Sermons, Vayiggash.


FF9 Biblical Sermons, Vayehi.



FF10 Biblical Sermons, Shemot.



FF11 Biblical Sermons, Bo.



FF12 Biblical Sermons, Beshallah.



FF13 Biblical Sermons, Yithro.



FF14 Biblical Sermons, Mishpatim.


FF15 Biblical Sermons, Terumah.





Box 9 (continued)


FF16 Biblical Sermons, Ki-tissa.



FF17 Biblical Sermons, Vayakhel.



FF18 Biblical Sermons, Pikkude.



FF19 Biblical Sermons, Vayikra.



FF20 Biblical Sermons, Tzav.


FF21 Biblical Sermons, Shemini.



FF22 Biblical Sermons, Ahare moth.



FF23 Biblical Sermons, Kedoshim.



FF24 Biblical Sermons, Emor.



FF25 Biblical Sermons, Behar, Behukothai.



FF26 Biblical Sermons, Bamidbar.


FF27 Biblical Sermons, Re'eh.



FF28 Biblical Sermons, Shoftim.



FF29 Biblical Sermons, Ha'azinu.



FF30 Biblical Sermons, Jonah.




Box 9 (continued)


FF31 Biblical Sermons, Job.



FF32 Biblical Sermons, miscellaneous.



Box 10


FF1 Special Sabbath Sermons, Elul; Rosh ha-Shanah.



FF2 Special Sabbath Sermons, Penitential Sabbath (Shabat shubah).


FF3 Special Sabbath Sermons, Four Parashiyot (Shekalim, Zakhor, Parah, ha-Hodesh).



FF4 Special Sabbath Sermon, Sabbath before Passover (Shabat ha-gadol).



FF5 Sabbath Sermons, miscellaneous (Shabat Nahamu, the first Sabbath after the Ninth of Av; Sabbath of Rosh Hodesh Adar; a sermon on the observance of the Sabbath; one undidentified Sabbath sermon).



FF6 Sermon, 1854, "A Farewell address."



FF7 Sermons, 1879-1887 (not including 1880, 1882-3).



FF8 Sermons, 1888-1889.


FF9 Sermons, 1890-1891.



FF10 Sermons, 1892-1895.



FF11 Sermons, 1896-1897.





Box 11


FF1 Occasional Sermons, Bar mitsvahs.



FF2 Occasional Sermons, Anniversaries.


FF3 Occasional Sermons, Anniversaries marking Morais' ministry (25-26th, 37-39th, 43-46th year).



FF4 Occasional Sermons, Anniversary prayer and address for Moses Montefiore (Tefilah li-Moshe).



FF5 Occasional Sermons, Thanksgiving, Civil War.



FF6 Occasional Sermons, Funeral orations.



FF7 Occasional Sermons, Funeral orations.



FF8 Occasional Sermons, Funeral orations.


FF9 Occasional Sermons, Funeral orations.



FF10 Occasional Sermons, Funeral orations.



FF11 Occasional Sermons, Funeral oration for Clara Esther Morais, S. Morais' wife, written and delivered by him.



FF12 Occasional Sermons, Funeral orations, including those for Baron de Hirsch, Abraham de Sola, Adolph Huebsch, Alfred T. Jones, et al..



FF13 Occasional Sermons, Funeral oration for Abraham Adler, President of the Hebrew Free Schools.



Box 11 (continued)


FF14 Occasional Sermons, Funeral orations (printed) for (Bluma Hart, Rebecca Hart, Giussepe Mazzini, Simon Muhr).



FF15 Occasional Sermons, Funeral oration for Isaac Leeser; also included are several handwritten drafts in Morais' hand of Leeser's tombstone inscription.



FF16 Occasional Sermons, "Necrologia" in Italian for Filipino Luzzatto.



FF17 Occasional Sermons, "On the Death of Leopold Zunz."



Box 12


FF1 Biblical lecture, "Authenticity of the Pentateuch."



FF2 Exegetical lectures.


FF3 Post-Biblical lectures (1-20)



FF4 Post-Biblical lectures (21-43)



FF5 Post-Biblical lectures (44-64)



FF6 Post-Biblical lectures (in Hebrew)



FF7 Biographical sketches, Shabbethai Donnolo; Nathan ben Yehiel, Immanuel of Rome, Elias del Medigo, Azariah de Rossi, David Nieto.



FF8 Biographical sketch, "Italy and Donnolo."




Box 12 (continued)


FF9 Biographical sketch, "Note all'autobiografie di S. D. Luzzatto."



FF10 Biographical sketch, "Moses, Ezekiel, Rabbenu Tam."



FF11 Biographical sketch, "Joseph Mazzini."



FF12 Biographical sketch, "Moses Mendelssohn."



Box 13


FF1 Historical lecture.



FF2 Historical lecture.


FF3 Historical lectures (3)



FF4 Historical lecture, on the book "Esperanza de Israel."



FF5 Historical lecture, personally annotated copy of his "Mikveh Israel" essay, which appeared in PAJHS vol. 1 (1893).



FF6 Historical lecture, "On the Bene Israel in India."



FF7 Historical lecture, "On the Falashah."



FF8 Historical lecture, "On the Karaites."


FF9 Historical lecture, "On the Kalam."



FF10 Theological lectures.





Box 13 (continued)


FF11 Theological lectures, On Kashruth.



FF12 Theological lectures, On the Messiah.



FF13 Theological lectures, On Immortality.



FF14 Theological lectures, On Revelation.



FF15 Theological lectures, On the Existence of God.



[Miscellaneous lectures]


FF16 Admonishing lectures.



FF17 "The Necessity of Arguing Dispassionately with Intellectual Youths."



FF18 Dedications.



FF19 About religious schools and sunday schools.



FF20 "On the Originality of the Hebrew language."


FF21 On cremation (incompatible with Jewish precepts).



FF22 Two catechisms in French and Italian.



FF23 "On the Reported Outrages against Armenians."



FF24 "On the Treatment of the Chinese in the Far West."



Box 13 (continued)


FF25 "On the women of Israel, their standing in society."



FF26 On women and education.


FF27 On evil spirits.



FF28 On reform.



FF29 On synagogue practices, including singing and the Oriental rite.



FF30 On blood-libel accusations; On the refusal of admission by the Grand Union Hotel of New York to Joseph Seligman, the Jewish Banker.



FF31 On the centennial of the constitution.



FF32 "The Duty of mutual correction" adopted from a discourse by S. D. Luzzatto; other materials relating to Luzzatto, including a lecture and death notice.



FF33 Jewish Theological Seminary Association writings.



FF34 "On a proposition to restore Israel to Palestine" (1891).



FF35 Translation of Maimonides' "Treatise on Resurrection" by Morais for the Jewish Messenger.



FF36 A preface by Morais to his translation of Maimonides' "Letter to Yemen."



FF37 Translation of Maimonides' "Letter to Yemen" which Morais entitled "Inspiring Hope."




Box 13 (continued)


FF38 Morais' ordination certificate.



FF39 Morais' ordination discourse.



FF40 On rabbis.



Box 14


FF1 Miscellaneous lectures.



FF2 Miscellaneous lectures.


FF3 Miscellaneous writings.



FF4 Miscellaneous writings in English and Hebrew.



FF5 Miscellaneous writings and sermons, in Morais' hand.



FF6 Miscellaneous, undated sermons and fragments in Morais' hand.



FF7 Typescripts of Morais' published writings.



FF8 Typescripts of Morais' published writings.



FF9 Typescripts of Morais' published writings.



FF10 Typescripts of Morais' published writings.



FF11 Typescripts of Morais' published writings.



Box 15


Series III. Financial and Legal Materials


FF1 Life insurance.



FF2 A Lease.



FF3 Private Deed.



FF4 Personal accounts book.



FF5 Savings account book.


FF6 Savings account books (2), with checks, signed by Morais.



FF7 Checks.


FF8 Checks.



FF9 Checks and receipts.



FF10 Miscellaneous: one check dated May, 1884; one receipt, dated December 3, 1897.



FF11 Check stubs.



FF12 Check stubs.



FF13 Check stubs.






Box 16


Series IV. Printed materials


FF1 Greeting cards, invitations.



FF2 Greeting cards, invitations.


FF3 Greeting cards, invitations.



FF4 Notices, circulars.



FF5 Notices, circulars in French, Hebrew, and Italian (including one circular signed by Mazzini).



FF6 Clippings.



FF7 Reprint of Morais' article on the Falashah (Ethiopian Jewry) which appeared in the Penn Monthly (April, 1880).



FF8 Clipping of an article about Morais which appeared in Helpful Thoughts (1898).



FF9 Printed materials: Ephemeral item from the dedication of the Mikveh Israel Synagogue (1907).



FF10 "Dr. Sonneschein's Statement" (on reform).



FF11 Advertisement in Hebrew by the bookdealer Eisig Graber for the works of Luzzatto.


FF12 A ephemeral item in Hebrew dealing with the seven blessings for a wedding (1887) [four copies].



FF13 One hundredth anniversary tribute to Morais (1923) [five copies].




Box 16 (continued)


FF14 "An appeal to the Jews of Philadelphia to establish a Chair of Theology in the Jewish Theological Seminary in honor of Sabato Morais."



FF15 Photo of Joseph Hertz.



FF16 Photo of M.G. Ottolenghi (Salonika, 18895).

Box 17 (legal-sized documents)


Series I. Correspondence


FF1 Correspondence: 1851-1893; undated.



FF2 Correspondence: 1885 (fragile).



FF3 Correspondence: in Italian (fragile).



Series II. Literary Productions


FF4 Biblical Sermon: Noah.



FF5 Sabbath Sermon (Sabbath before Passover [Shabat ha-gadol].



FF6 Sermon on Penitence.



FF7 Thanksgiving Sermon.



FF8 Sermon on Immortality.


FF9 Miscellaneous Sermons.



Box 17 (legal-sized, continued)



FF10 Exegetical lecture: "Some remarks on....Joseph."



FF11 Explanatory lecture on the Bible.



FF12 Exegesis of Biblical passages (copied in the hand of Leon Hyneman, 1852).



FF13 Exegesis of Biblical passages.



FF14 Exegetical lecture.


FF15 Explanatory lecture to prove the necessity of the ceremonial laws.



FF16 Explanantory lecture on domestic peace.



FF17 Explanatory lecture on prayer.



FF18 Samuel David Luzzatto's "Lessons in Moral Necrology" (translated into English by Morais).



FF19 Draft for the Jewish Theological Seminary, to the Trustees and the Advisory Board.



FF20 History of Hebrew Language (in Hebrew), in Morais' hand.



FF21 Bulletin and Annual report of The Mutual Benefit Company of Pennsylvania.





Box 17 (continued)



Series III. Financial and Legal Materials


FF22 Typed copy of Morais' will.



Series IV. Printed materials


FF23 "Persecution des Israelites in Russie," (Mai-Juin, 1881) [very fragile].


FF24 Mentions Abraham Baruch Piperno (in Hebrew).



FF25 Circulars.



FF26 Mikveh Israel Historical Series, no. 3, the Lincoln-Hart correspondence in facsimile.



FF27 Death notice for Samuel Morais (Sabato Morais' father), with the funeral speech of S. D. Benedetti.



Series V. Miscellaneous materials


FF28 Charitable appeals.



FF29 Charitable appeals.



FF30 Charitable appeals for the poor of Palestine.



FF31 Charitable appeals from Palestine.



FF32 Charitable appeal from Palestine (very fragile).



FF33 Charitable appeal for the Ladies Emigration Aid Society (1907?); Society Esrath Nashim (17th annual report, January 18, 1891); the Female Hebrew Benevolent Society (15th Annual Report, November 3, 1869).




Box 17 (continued)



FF34 Resolution, by Congregation Oheb Tzedek, for the dedication of a new Torah scroll.



FF35 Fragment of writing in Samaritan characters



FF36 Account for the Hebrew Sunday School Society for the year 1865, kept by its Treasurer, Isabel Rosenbach.


FF37 One prayer; a statement against radicalism; et al.



FF38 "The Hebrew Alphabet."



FF39 "Report of Sir Moses Montefiore Bart to the London Committee of Deputies of the British Jews.


FF40 Morais' Masonry Certificate.



Box 18


Series II. Literary Productions


Morais Ledger (extremely fragile).



Box 19


Series VI. Copyflow


Copyflow made from the American Jewish Archives microfilms of the contents of the Dropsie College Morais Papers in 1956.





Series VI. Copyflow (continued)


Box 20


Copyflow made from the American Jewish Archives microfilms of the contents of the Dropsie College Morais Papers in 1956.



Box 21


Copyflow made from the American Jewish Archives microfilms of the contents of the Dropsie College Morais Papers in 1956.



Box 22


Photocopies of items in the Morais Papers selected and arranged for exhibit by Dr. Abraham Karp (in 1992).





A photographic portrait of Morais (16.5 x 13.5) has been re-located to over-sized storage. The back of the photo-portrait bears the mark of the photographer, F. Gutekunst, 712 Arch St. Philadelphia, and is accompanied by the following inscription:



The Reverend Doctor Sabato Morais

Born at Leghorn, Italy April 13 1823

Died in Philadelphia November 11 1897 Heshvan 17 5658

Minister Congregation Mikveh Israel 1851-1897

Founder of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America


Presented by Miss Miriam Morais - September 1932

To Sabato Morais Ben Diner