Skip to main content

tv   American Artifacts  CSPAN  March 26, 2016 1:14am-1:40am EDT

1:14 am
when he arrived, various groups addressed him, including the jewish community of new port. and this is the address that was read outloud to washington that day on august 17. a very quickly afterwards, probably within a day or a few days, washington would write back to the congregation a very eloquent letter confirming his belief that the new nation should -- and his commitment to religious tolerance in the new nation. it's really one of the founding document for american jewish history. it's a very important thing for us to have on display here. new port was not the only community to address washington and receive a well considered letter confirming washington's belief in religious libtd in
1:15 am
response. we have a couple more letters across the way here. the community of savannah also wrote to washington, as did many other religious groups. we have a list here of different groups that wrote to him. despite this confirmation of commit by the federal government of religious wlibt, jews haed to overcome obstacles to complete liberty. many states had religious tests that blocked jews from holding office at the state level. generally that would be -- you would have to take an oath on a christian bible in order to hold office. jews can't do that. so those laws were struck down one by one in the states that help held them. the latest was in 1877. so it took a very long time for
1:16 am
this. in this gallery, we look at the mid 19th century from the period of about 1820 to right around the civil war, the 1860s. in this gallery, especially over here in this gallery, you'll notice that we paid a lot of attention to our youngest visitors while we were organizing this exhibition. we didn't want kids to be bored when they were walking through this history museum. it's no not a dry history. we really nougt about ways to keep children engaged while they're here. throughout the building you'll find stations with kids books where parents or grandparents can sit down with children and read to them and different activities that can engage children. i even see adult visitors trying on costumes in our pioneer gallery here.
1:17 am
the pioneer gallery is a story around fannie brookser who was a young woman, a teenager in central europe who married a man who had already been to america and came back to europe and was planning to come back to america and join a wagon train. she set off on thissed a men chur with him and came to america and traveled all over the country with him in a wagon. she left very detailed memoirs for her daughter, for her children, with allowed us to recreate the wagon she traveled on on her journey. and gave us a lot of information about the types of supplies they brought with them on their journey. these are two basically 16-year-old kids off in america by themselves. the children can try on
1:18 am
costumes, think about what they would pack if they were going on a journey like this. they can pretend to cook dinner around a campfire and visit a trading post. the types of people coming here are expanding in variety and the nation itself is geographically expanding as the boundaries move west. and jews are traveling along with those boundaries, going out west for the gold rush and for different opportunities and to get, you know, to be out in the open and for adventure as well. for exploration. in this gallery, we talk about the civil war. we know that jews found themselves on both sides of the conflict, like other americans. they divided mainly along geographic lines.
1:19 am
if you lived in the north, you were likely to support the union. and if you lived in the south, you were likely to support secession. jews also were on both sides of the debate over slavery. this is a very vivid artifact. the original is in the mangun collection in california. it's a lithograph of a rabbi in neat. at some point in the war, he apologized for not speaking out against slairy saying right must be right whatever the consequences. and coming out on the side of abolition. one of his former supporters, a man named jacob cullen of new orleans dei faced his portrait and sent it back to him in protest. the family kept this and eventually donated it to the magnus museum. there were about 10,000 jews who
1:20 am
fought in the civil war. 7,000 for the union, and we think about 3,000 for the confederacy. that disparity of numbers might just have to do with where jews lived. there were more jews in the north. in 1852, up with of the more well known instances of the civil war for jews is grants order number 11. general grant was in charge of keeping track of the cotton industry during the war. it needed to continue because the north needed cotton. the south needed funds. so grant was charged with making sure there was no black market, which there was. i believe it was during hanukka, grant issued orders that because jews as a class were trading in
1:21 am
cotton on a black market they all needed to be expelled from several states, kentucky, tennessee, other states. and about 300 families were displaced because of these orders. the jews were incensed about lumping people in one group and protested directly to lincoln. this is a letter frto abraham lincoln in early january 1863. as soon as lincoln heard about this, it seems that he wrote to grant and told him that he needed to rescind these orders. grant later protested that he had not read the orders, that he just signed them, that they had been written by a subordinate. and a lot of people thought that this might come back to haunt him when he ran for office a few
1:22 am
years later. the thought was maybe jews wouldn't vote for grant, but we know that jews did vote for grant. they forgave him for this. >> we look at several aspects of the jewish experience in the civil war. the home front, fighting in the war, as well as serving in government. this woman is particularly interesting. she was from a prominent family in charleston. she had married a man from pennsylvania who was a general in the union army. she went to war with him, which many women did with their husbandss. she wrote a memoir and it includes photographs about the war and her experience. in those memoirs she wrote that she had never really fully
1:23 am
realized the fraternal side aspect of the conflict until she was nursing her brother one day and her northern husband the next. this really embodies that concept. one development we saw was the first jewish chaplains came into being during that time. up until the civil war, a chaplain in the army had to be a regularly ordained minister of some congregation. jews fought to have that law changed so that it was just a regularly ordained minister. of a congregation. so this is the first charter for a jewish chaplain signed by abraham lincoln, just above those flags. this is on loan to us from a
1:24 am
congregation here in philadelphia. the first jewish chaplain was rabbi jacob frankel. we explore the story of judah benjamin who was a high ranking official in the confederacy. we look at reform judaism, which was not an american movement originally. it was a european movement that was sort of imported over here to america. it has three main aspects. one is that prayers in english are introduced, or whatever country the reform is happening in. in america, that's english. not everyone could understand the he brew prayers anymore and it was important for people to understand what they were saying during services. as well as mixed seating was being introduced so that unlike
1:25 am
the torha synagogue model we looked at earlier, there were women seated in a balcony with children and men would sit down on the level of the bema where the reader is positioned. at this time, family seating was being introduced. in this image of temple emanuel in new york, you can see that there are women down here with their husbands and families. and we have an orchestra in the balcony. music and choirs and instruments were introduced during services. reform judaism was not without controversy. there were a lot of people who did not think reform was good. some people thought that it was a die lugs of jewish tradition and they should stay the same and follow from generation to
1:26 am
generation very closely. people went as far to say that reform judaism was a way of making judaism more like protestant christianity. in 1883, the first rabbis were being ordained. before the 1880s, all rabbis had been ordained in europe. there were no american ordained rabbis. there were a couple in 1875, but generally rabbis came from europe and came over here and worked. people all over the country were invited to a banquet including a lot of different rab lies in different areas. they sat down to a meal that
1:27 am
included food that was not kosher. so this is a menu from that event. this is an oyster fork from the caterer that is onloan to us. this was a big controversy obviously. not all of the rabbis who came were reform minded. a lot of people kept kosher and were faced with all these nonkosher foods at this meal. and it was a big controversy. it became known as the trefa banquet, meaning nonkosher food. at the end of the century, we're here in about the 1870s, 1880s in this gallery. a lot of the central european jews who had emigrated from europe in the mid 19th century had kind of made their way in america and settled in and they have professions and jobs now. they become interested in giving back to the community, back to the wider community as well as the jewish community.
1:28 am
they start to get organized and old balls in support of different charitable causes. this is around the time when some of the first jewish federations of jewish charities get founded. a popular time for these balls is a holiday of purin which is focused on charity. we have a few ar fi tacts related to purim balls. the charities could include hospitals to orphanages to support for the immigrants who are starting to come over in greater numbers from eastern europe. each floor in our building ends with a time line. we wanted to give people an idea
1:29 am
of when things happened in relation to other things. so our time line has three levels. american history, american jewish history, and world history. some of these events are cover ed on the floor we just left, others are not, like the building of taj mahal. i was surprised to learn that the taj mahal was completed only 11 years before the first 23 jewish refugees came here to our shores. it's a nice way to orient people to review what we've just seen and see how it fits in with other things we know about. my title is jeff rerj star and associate curator my main focus is our artifact collection. i oversee its preservation and see that it's getting processed
1:30 am
correctly and that it's accessible to researchers. i also write text and do research for our exhibitions. artifacts help us tell stories about history in a way that we can't get out of books. when you're stanning in sfront of an artifact, it's a different experience than reading a book. it's a direct witness to the history you're learning about. and it's really a special experience. >> this was the first of a two-part look at jewish history. >> each week, american history tv's american artifacts visit museums and historic places. up next, a visit to philadelphia's national museum of american jewish history for a
1:31 am
tour of their exhibition, tracing the history of jewish people in america from 1654 to the present day. the second of a two-part visit, we pick up the story in the 1880s when the era of mass immigration brought thousands of jewish immigrants to eastern europe every year. our guide is curator claire pingel. >> in the 1880s we saw big waves of immigrants coming to america. they included jews, i rash, italians. all kinds of people were coming in to ellis island. people were all coming into boston as well as from places you wouldn't think.
1:32 am
everything from passports to visas. luggage tags, health inspection certificates. and these are things that people tended to save for a very long time afterwards. and each pass down to their children. jews left here for many different reasons. one of the most well known, of course, is anti-semitic violence that happened in europe. things called pagras whi. they were very traumatic experiences and they were remembered by the grandchildren. however, they're not the only reason people left. people left for geographic freedom, for economic opportunity, and to avoid military conscription. one of my favorite stories in
1:33 am
this area is that of albert hatchwell and his family. hatchwell was an algerian jew. he lived in algeria in the 1890s. of course we always think of these jews who came here in this time period as being from eastern europe, but hatchwell stands here to let us know that not everyone was coming from eastern europe. people were coming from all over the place. his descendants gave us his fez and we have on loan a pair of coffee pots that descended down through his family. when people arrived here in america, they both a welcoming harbor and not always a welcoming harbor. some weren't happy about immigrants coming, but others were helping these immigrants become acclimated to their new
1:34 am
surroundings. we have several books on display here that were written for these incoming immigrants to help them figure out what american life was like. so the books ranged from how to get your citizenship started, how to find employment, how to be socially accepted in some cases. we have a few examples of the types of things immigrants brought with them. it's always surprising to see the large objects people brought with them when they didn't have a lot of luggage space. you see pictures of immigrants traveling with a basket or a satchel or their back. but some people managed to drag over from europe entire cooking sets. things they could much more easily got here when they got themselves established, but they
1:35 am
just chose to bring them with them. a lot of times people stopped using these things when they got here and got new american things, but they kept the european things and passed them down to their families. which is nice for us because those families then donate them to museums and help us tell stories. eva bane was 17 years old when she came to america by herself, following a brother who had already come here. eva is the one standing in the middle in that photograph where she's appearing with her family back home in europe. she came to philadelphia, lived with an uncle for a while and she later told her daughter that she had em gritted because she had finished the educational opportunities had run out for her at home and she wanted to continue going to school. and she felt that she could only do that here in america.
1:36 am
whej you talk about the different reasons people come here, that's a compelling one for all of us. she brought a muffin tin. it belonged to her grandmother. she brought with her this table runner that she stitched while she was on the journey. before the museum opened, we had this table runner reviewed by a textile conservator to make sure that we knew that we were displaying it in a way that would best preserve it. one interest thing the conservator told me was that it was made from a kit that would have been purchased. so i like to think about ava thinking about this long ocean voyage ahead of her and thinking about what am i going to do i'm on the boat and going out and buying a kit so she could do some embroidery while she was sitting on the ship waiting to get to america. in this area, we call this our street scape. it is a typical immigrant urban
1:37 am
neighborhood. we have different smaller galleries that go off from this area where we talk about different subjects, including the way that people lived, their home life, a lot of people lived in tenements. many had borders living with them in a small two-room apartment. so this was a different experience. people were living very close to each other close to people of other nationalities and learning about them in this situation. one gallery that surprises a lot of our visitors is this one where we explore the farming experience.
1:38 am
not all immigrants ended up in urban experiences. some took up farming. this afghan and tools belonged to the kalof family. rachel kalof came to america and promptly moved to a homestead in north dakota where she lived with her husband. for seven year before the family moved to chicago. in this gallery we learn about the work the jews were doing at this time in urban communities. a lot of factory work, a lot of manufacturing and, of course, the garment industry was a major area that employed a lot of jews in factories. this was a time when the labor unions started getting more traction here in america. people began fighting for rights like shorter working hours and
1:39 am
basic safety in their factory settings. this is from a man who came to america and worked in a garment factory where he met his wife. they left the factory together and started a tailor shop. and he worked at this sewing machine for 30 years. we learn about the jewish experience in world war i. this uniform was worn by a doctor in the american expeditionary forces stationed in france did you know there were 300 female marines in 1851. these women mostly had clerical positions. the marines were really looking to open up position s


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on