Boston: 1896. 10 unnumbered album card leaves, each protected with tracing paper. Calligraphed manuscript in ink, by H. C. Kendall (signed on the verso of the first leaf). In original black leather by Frank J. Barnard (signed on the recto of the last leaf), with clasp, gilt title on front panel, gilt edges, gilt turn-ins. Pastedowns and flyleaves are covered with white moiré. With the mounted portrait, transferred on porcelain, of Baron Hirsch on the second leaf. Each page written in different calligraphy style. Text in English. Moiré detached from the flyleaves, discolored at the rear. Some of the tracing paper leaves are creased, few with closed tears. Stains to the gutter at the rear, no effect on text. Binding slightly rubbed, with three small, barely visible holes. Overall in very good condition.
A memorial album commemorating the death of the greatest Jewish philanthropist of the nineteenth century, Baron Maurice de Hirsch, offered by the Jews of Boston to his widow and family. This delicate memorial album, signed by twenty-two representatives of Jewish associations of Boston, was prepared by the commission of the Boston Jews under the auspices of the American Committee (here Society) for Ameliorating the Condition of Russian Refugees, an umbrella organization of various groups concerned with the welfare of the immigrants (co-founded by the Hirsch Fund), and was offered to the widow and the family of Baron de Hirsch. The album is a piece of very fine craftsmanship, calligraphed by H. C. Kendall an “artist penman” and Principal of the Normal Writing Institute in Boston, and bound by Frank J. Barnard, the industry leader bookbinder in Massachusetts. The text consists of profound quotes about human greatness from William Dean Howells and Julia C. R. Dorr, and the eulogy delivered at Temple Ohabei Shalom.
Baron Maurice de Hirsch (1831–1896) was a German Jewish financier and philanthropist, born into a wealthy landowner and banker family in Bavaria. In 1855, Hirsch married Clara Bischoffsheim, daughter of a Belgian banker, and became associated with his father-in-law’s banking house. He amassed a large fortune and became one of the top five richest individuals in Europe at the time. Baron de Hirsch set up charitable foundations promoting Jewish education especially in Russia, and after an unsuccessful offer of 50,000,000 francs to the Russian government to be used for purposes of Jewish education, in 1891 he founded the Jewish Colonization Association, the greatest charitable trust in the world, to provide the funds for extensive Jewish immigration to Argentina. In the same year, he established the Hirsch Fund to help the Russian Jewish immigrants in the States and provided the finances for agricultural colonies and trades schools in the US. Through his Galician Foundation, he realized the establishment of primary and technical schools for Jewish pupils in Galicia and the Bukowina. “It is impossible to form an accurate estimate of the amount of money Baron de Hirsch devoted to benevolent purposes. That, including the large legacy (amounting to $45,000,000) left to the Jewish Colonization Association, it exceeded $100,000,000 is an estimate justified by the amounts given by him from time to time to the foundations already referred to. There were, besides, many gifts to individuals of which there is no record.” (Jewish Encyclopedia) Baron Maurice de Hirsch died suddenly, presumably of a heart attack at the age of 64, on 21 April 1896, at the country house of a friend near his own recently purchased estate of Ógyalla in Hungary (now part of Slovakia). His widow continued the Baron’s charitable work. Clara died in Paris in 1899 and left the remaining family assets to her adopted son, Maurice Arnold de Forest.