Friday, October 30, 2009

250 Years in America: The Jewish Contribution

This is the first in a short series of articles published at the end of 1905, commemorating the 250th anniversary of the Jewish presence in the United States.

The first "Hebrew" (at least some of the newspapers during this time referred to Jews as “Hebrews”) who stepped foot on American soil was one Jacob Bar Simson, who came from Holland, followed the next year by a “band” of twenty-three refugees, probably from Brazil.

These articles are generally praiseworthy, and list the contributions that the Jews have made to the U.S. from 1655 to the time of the article in 1905.

You can now read the first such article (though in all there are three articles on this one newspaper page, published in the San Francisco Sunday Call newspaper.) The first of these articles was written by Oscar S. Straus.

Oscar S. Straus (1850-1926) was U. S. Secretary of Commerce and Labor under President Teddy Roosevelt (the first U. S. Jewish Cabinet secretary) as well as a Minister to Turkey.

In the first of the three articles on this page, Straus discusses the early history of the Jewish immigration, and the presence of Jews in the U.S. in such cities as Newport, Rhode Island; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and several states and cities to the South, such as Georgia, Charleston, Maryland, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia. He also talks about the early Jewish presence in the Ohio Valley, Chicago and California.

The other two articles within this triad are entitled “What American Hebrews Have Done” and “Hebrews in Philanthropy and Society.”

More articles will appear in the near future about the Jewish presence in the U. S., and one at least about the contributions at this 250th anniversary of Jews to New York City.

The link to these articles is www.museumoffamilyhistory.com/lia-250-sfcall.htm .

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