C. Victorian Jewish Publishing in the Atlantic World

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C. Victorian Jewish Publishing in the Atlantic World

Jacob Franklin, David Aron de Sola, Morris Raphall; eds.
The voice of Jacob
Cover page of the September 15, 1843 issue
London: B. Steill, 1841-1848
Vol. 1, no. 1 (Sept. 16, 1841) - Vol. 7 ( Aug. 18, 1848 )
Isaac Leeser and Mayer Sulzberger, eds.
The Occident, and American Jewish advocate: A monthly periodical devoted to the diffusion of knowledge on Jewish literature and religion
Title page
Philadelphia: Printed by C. Sherman et al, Vol. 1 (April 1843) - Vol. 26, (March 1869)
Publication suspended Dec. 1852-Mar. 1853
Moses N. Nathan and Lewis Ashenheim, eds.
Bikurei ha-yam = The first fruits of the West, and Jewish monthly magazine: a periodical specially devoted to Jewish interests
Title page of the first printing
Kingston, Jamaica: Printed by R.J. Decordova, Vol 1, no. 1 February 1844 – Vol. 1, no. 8, August-September, 1844
Julius Eckman, ed.
The Weekly Gleaner [ha-Me’asef]: Circular to our Friends and Agents
An advertisement for potential subscribers
San Francisco: Julius Eckman, Offfice No. 110, Sacramento Street, second floor; 1857?
Alfred Trumble
The Jews in America
Cover page, depicting a bar mitzvah ceremony
New York: Frank Leslie's Publishing House; August, 1877
Extracted from Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly, Vol. 4, no. 2, Aug. 1877
Cover page of the September 15, 1843 issue

The Voice of Jacob was the first Anglo-Jewish newspaper. Published in London , beginning on the eve of the Jewish New Year in 1841, its title undoubtedly refers to the first name of its principle editor, Jacob Franklin. The Voice of Jacob was distributed across England; for example, in London, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Cheltenham, Plymouth, Dover, Portsmouth, Canterbury, to Edinburgh, Scotland, to the West Indian islands of St. Thomas, Curacao, and Barbados, to the U.S. port cities of Charleston, South Carolina and Philadelphia, to Wellington, New Zealand, as well as to Corfu, Odessa, Paris, and Smyrna.

Credit: From the Isaac Leeser Collection held in the Dropsie College Library; Gift of Walter H. Annenberg and the Board of the Annenberg Research Institute; Library at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania (More bibliographic information)
Title page, 1st page

Isaac Leeser is regarded as the most important Jewish publisher-editor in antebellum America. His Occident, published here in Philadelphia , was the first monthly Jewish periodical in the United States and the most successful of the three Atlantic Jewish periodicals displayed here. Leeser personally handled and/or supervised all aspects of the publication, including editing, advertising, and distribution. The printing of the periodical was carried out by C. Sherman, but Leeser himself sometimes set the type. Significantly, the Occident's readership (like that of the Voice of Jacob and the First Fruits) was not limited to Jews. Letters from Christian ministers often graced its pages.

Credit: From the Isaac Leeser Collection held in the Dropsie College Library; Gift of Walter H. Annenberg and the Board of the Annenberg Research Institute; Library at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania (More bibliographic information)
Title page of the first printing, 1st page

The cover of this rare first issue features a bi-lingual title with the Hebrew left un-transliterated. The second word in the title phrase [“Bikure ha-yam”] or “first fruits of the sea” undoubtedly referred to their Caribbean-based newspaper, but the initial word “bikure” (first fruits [of]) perhaps also alludes to the enlightened Jewish journal Bikure ha-‘itim published in Vienna from 1820-31. The editors’ decision to translate the word (yam) figuratively as “west” (like Leeser’s Occident) instead of literally as “sea” indicates that they conceived of their island press in the hemispheric context of the Atlantic littoral, and not in the local or regional terms of the Caribbean.

Credit: From the Isaac Leeser Collection held in the Dropsie College Library; Gift of Walter H. Annenberg and the Board of the Annenberg Research Institute; Library at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania (More bibliographic information)
An advertisement for potential subscribers

The Hebrew name (ha-Me’asef) of this weekly English-language Jewish periodical, the first of its kind to be published in the American Far West, echoes the title of the first haskalah Hebrew periodical by the same (Hebrew) name. Eckman, an itinerant rabbi born in Prussian Posen had ministered to Jewish congregations in Richmond, VA; Charleston, SC; and Mobile, AL before settling in San Francisco. He served as the editor and publisher of the Weekly Gleaner, for which he solicits subscribers in this rare pre-publication circular.

Credit: From the Isaac Leeser Collection held in the Dropsie College Library; Gift of Walter H. Annenberg and the Board of the Annenberg Research Institute
Cover page of the August, 1877 issue, depicting a bar mitzvah ceremony

Featured in this famously illustrated (non-Jewish) monthly are depictions of scenes of Jewish rituals and festival customs. As with Bernard Picart’s 17th century engravings of Jewish ceremonies, this monthly issue is designed to appeal to non-Jewish audiences. Trumble tries here both to peak his American readership’s curiosity and to explain American Jewish life in a positive fashion to them once he has their attention.

Credit: Library at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies, University of Pennsylvania (More bibliographic information)