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Haym Salomon collection

 Collection
Identifier: P-41

Scope and Content Note

Includes Haym Salomon's marriage contract with Rachel Franks (1777); a bank note signed by Francis Hopkinson, Treasurer of Loans (1780); 2 bank drafts in French (1784); a letter book containing both personal and business correspondence (1781-1783); a letter from Abraham I. Abrahams (1783); documents relating to estate of Barnet Levy (1784); and several sales lists (1784). Also contains a family record kept by his son, Haym Moses Salomon; a set of Bibles sold to H.M. Salomon by Ephraim Hart, and given to his son David Salomon, which contains family records and lists of children of Haym Salomon and Haym M. Salomon; several prayer books belonging to the Salomon family; several letters of Ezekiel Salomon (1819) and a petition of Rachel Helborne, widow of Haym Salomon, to Orphan's Court, Philadelphia (1787), requesting appointment of guardians for children.

Additional materials include: those relating to his financial role in the Revolutionary War and the validity of his descendants' claims for reimbursement; the controversy over the erection of a Haym Salomon monument in Madison Square in New York City, including a report and related material by Samuel Oppenheim (1926) and a report and letters of Ruth L. Benjamin (1927) to a sub-committee composed of Max J. Kohler, Leon Hühner and Albert M. Friedenberg and reports by the overall committee organized by Judge Grossman (1925-1927) relating to Salomon's role in the Revolution; a report of a sub-committee of the New York City ... Commission (1925); material ... pertaining to the work of the Haym Salomon Monument Committee of the Federation of Polish Jews in America; correspondence of Kohler; and a typed bibliography with transcriptions of various documents prepared by Laura L. Nichols of the Library of Congress.

The collection was compiled by a number of people including: Francis Hopkinson, Abraham Isaac Abrahams, Max James Kohler, Ruth L. Benjamin, Albert Marx Friedenberg, Leon Hühner, Samuel Oppenheim, and Moses H. Grossman.

Dates

  • undated, 1776-1983

Creator

Language of Materials

The collection is in English and French.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers, except items that may be restricted due to their fragility, or privacy.

Conditions Governing Use

No permission is required to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection, as long as the usage is scholarly, educational, and non-commercial. For inquiries about other usage, please contact the Director of Collections and Engagement at mmeyers@ajhs.org.

For reference questions, please email: inquiries@cjh.org

Biographical Note

Haym Salomon was born April 7, 1740 in Leszno, Poland to a Sephardic Jewish family. He immigrated to New York in 1772, where he worked as a financial broker for merchants of overseas trading and quickly became quite successful. When the American Revolutionary War broke out, he supported the patriots and joined the New York branch of the Sons of Liberty. He was arrested by the British forces in September 1776 and spent over a year in British custody, during which time he contracted tuberculosis. He was pardoned but arrested once again in 1778 and sent to the Provost Prison in lower Manhattan. He was sentenced to death as a spy and traitor but was able to escape British custody and flee to Philadelphia, where he was later able to bring his family to join him. In Philadelphia, Salomon resumed his work as a broker and became the financial agent to the French, aiming to bring French and American forces together to fight the British. He endorsed numerous government loans and notes, made private donations to prominent Americans and members of the Continental Congress, sold bills of exchange for cash, and was the broker for Robert Morris, the newly appointed Superintendent of Finance for the Colonies, from 1781-1784, just before his death.

Salomon was also closely involved in the founding of Congregation Mikveh Israel, the first synagogue in Philadelphia, in 1782, and contributed a great deal of money to the construction of the congregation's first building. When Salomon died suddenly at age 44, on January 6, 1785, he was buried in the Mikveh Israel Cemetery. He died in poverty, having loaned his vast fortune to help the Revolution and then to keep the newly-formed United States financially solvent.

Extent

2.5 Linear Feet (5 manuscript boxes, 2 oversized folders)

Abstract

This collection contains original manuscripts of Haym Salomon, one of the main financiers of the American Revolutionary War, including his marriage contract, financial records, personal and business correspondence, and items related to his own estate, as well as the estates of his family and business associates. The collection also contains a family record kept by Salomon's son, bilingual Hebrew-English family bibles and prayer books, and items of Haym Salomon's wife, Rachel, as well as other family members.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged into a single series.

Acquisition Information

The materials in this collection were given by several people, including William Salomon in 1892, Louise S. Hendricks in 1906 and 1923, and Philip D. and Elsie O. Sang in 1979, 1982, and 1986.

Microfilm and Digitization Note

AJHS made a microfilm copy of the Haym Salomon Letterbook in 1964. There are also three reels on microfilm from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) from 1971-1974, which contain documents relating to Haym Salomon held by NARA in Washington, D.C. These consist of one reel of Senate records relating to claims by Salomon's family for financial restitution, financial records for the United States from 1781-1789, and receipts of bills, bonds and loans signed by Salomon; and two reels of a microfilm project of the War Department's Revolutionary War Records, including receipt books of Samuel Hodgdon, the Commissary General of Military Stores and Assistant Quartermaster in Pennsylvania, from 1778-1789. The NARA materials do not duplicate items in this collection.

Collection was digitized in its entirety by Adam Matthew Digital in 2010, with the exception of oversized materials, three of the Bibles and prayer books, and the reverse of one document that was at that time in a non-archival frame. The digitized material was made available for research by the American Jewish Historical Society, on the folder level, in 2019.

Related Material

The American Jewish Historical Society holds several collections related to early American Jews, including Phillips Family Papers, P-17; the Seixas Family Papers, P-60; the Levy Family (New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore) Papers, P-120; Gratz Family (Philadelphia) Papers, P-8; Moses Family of New York Papers, P-1; and several others. Individuals represented in this collection include staff and board members of AJHS, for many of whom AJHS has numerous books and archival collections. These include Max James Kohler Papers, P-7; Louis Marshall Papers, P-24; Isidore S. Meyer Papers, P-905; Samuel Oppenheim Collection, P-255; A.S.W. Rosenbach Collection, P-748; and the Cyrus Adler Papers, P-16; as well as the American Jewish Historical Society Records, I-1, which contains correspondence and documentation about the Haym Salomon Collection, particularly in Isidore S. Meyer's records, found in Series I: Subseries 8: Librarian.

Processing Information

In 2019, materials were refoldered and rehoused in acid-free folders and boxes. Rusty paper clips and staples were removed and documents were unfolded as space allowed. The bill of exchange in box 1, folder 15 was removed from a non-archival frame and placed in an archival plastic sleeve, as were several other particularly fragile documents. The reverse of the bill was not digitized in 2010 as a consequence of having been framed.
Title
Guide to the Haym Salomon (1740-1785) collection, undated, 1776-1983 *P-41
Status
Completed
Author
Finding aid created by Marvin Rusinek and Rachel S. Harrison
Date
© 2010
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Revision Statements

  • March, June 2020: EHyman: post-ASpace migration cleanup

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

Contact:
15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States