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The White Jew Newspaper

Identifier: I-549

Scope and Content Note

The White Jew contains one four-page newspaper by an unknown author. The masthead prominently displays the text: “Coney Island, August 9, 1879, Vol. I-No. I” with the following article headings: “The Monk and the Jew (Poem),” “An Ear-Trumpet Conversation,” “The Saviour’s Mother a Jewess,” “Trouble in Hebrew Society,” “No Objection to ‘White Jews,”’ “A Nose Made of Sugar,” “Put His Foot In It,” “The Attack on the Jews,” and “The Exclusion of Hebrews.” This last article specifically mentions Board of Delegates on Civil and Religious Rights president, Meyer Isaacs, and delivers a statement from the Board of Delegates condemning the actions of the Manhattan Beach Company while urging Jews to restrain from demonstrations that are “beneath our dignity to take any further notice of so despicable an assailant: we may safely leave our defense to the intelligent and advanced public sentiment of our fellow citizens, irrespective of creed or race.”

Rounding out the paper and providing the majority of the text is a fictional story entitled, “The Churchyard Betrothal; or, Coals of Fire” by Mrs. George (Georgie) Sheldon (Bertha Allyn), a prolific serialized author of the late 1800s. This serialized account of two young people, Reginald Rutherford and Lady Alice Montague, betrothed by their uncle and father respectively, ends as a mysterious figure emerges to wreak havoc on an already tumultuous start to Reginald and Alice’s impending arranged marriage. However, the serialization stops with a note to read the continuation of the story in Street and Smith’s New York Weekly: A journal of useful knowledge, romance, amusement, etc., (No. 40).3

While we do not know the publisher of this newspaper, we may surmise that it was published by the Board of Delegates as a protest publication. The Isaacs Family owned The Jewish Messenger newspaper, of which Isaacs was the editor until 1872. The family held The Jewish Messenger until 1902 when it merged with The American Hebrew. However, there is no firm evidence that the piece was published by Isaacs or the Board of Delegates that can currently be found.


  1. 3Facsimile of an 1881 edition of New York Weekly showing a Mrs. Georgie Sheldon by-line. Accessed July 30, 2013.


  • August 9, 1879

Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to all researchers by permission of the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society, except items that are restricted due to their fragility.

Use Restrictions

Information concerning the literary rights may be obtained from the Director of Library and Archives of the American Jewish Historical Society. Users must apply in writing for permission to quote, reproduce or otherwise publish manuscript materials found in this collection. For more information contact:

American Jewish Historical Society, Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York, NY, 10011


Historical Note

In 1877, Joseph Seligman, a prominent German-Jewish businessman from New York City, was prohibited from staying at the Saratoga Grand Union Hotel in Saratoga Springs, NY. The Seligman family had previously stayed at the hotel and had long-standing (but at times terse) business dealings with A.T. Stewart, the owner of the Grand Union Hotel as well as the owner of a department store. When Stewart died, control of the hotel fell to Stewart’s partner, Judge Henry Hilton (no relation to Conrad Hilton, who began the Hilton Hotel chain in 1919).1 Hilton immediately banned Jews from the establishment and Seligman raised a ruckus regarding the banning. The incident and aftermath were widely written about in New York newspapers and the abolitionist, Reverend Henry Beecher Stowe preached against the incident.

Two years later, railroad magnate and close associate of Boss Tweed and the Tammany Hall machinery of New York politics, Austin Corbin, opened a hotel on the East end of the new and tony beach vacation destination of Coney Island, called Manhattan Beach. Corbin’s Manhattan Beach Company Hotel barred Jews while letting Jewish performers play for customers. A protest arose against the banning, resulting in numerous newspaper protest pieces as well as statements from prominent Jews and non-Jews. On August 9, 1879, an unknown entity published The White Jew newspaper, which contained several articles, many of which were also published in a booklet on the subject, “Coney Island and the Jews” written and compiled in 1879. 2


  1. 1 "The Seligman Scandal, Antisemitism in Saratoga Springs." Accessed July 27, 2013.
  2. 2 Coney Island and the Jews: A History of the Development and Success of this Famous Seaside Resort Together with A Full Account of the Recent Jewish Controversy. Accessed July 27, 2013.


1 Folders


The White Jew is a four-page newspaper with articles written somewhat tongue-in-cheek regarding the banning of certain “vulgar” Jews from Austin Corbin’s Manhattan Beach resort in Coney Island, NY in 1879.


The collection contains one item in one oversized (OS2) folder:

Physical Location

Located in AJHS New York, NY

Acquisition Information

Donated by the Eastchester Historical Society, 2013.

Related Material

I-2: Board of Delegates of American Israelites Records

P-22: Myer Isaacs Papers

P-701: Antisemitic Literature Collection

The Crisis: a Celebrated Case at Manhattan Beach AJHS Milton Gottesman Rare Book Collection; Call number: F129.C75 .Z86 1879

Guide to The White Jew Newspaper, August 9, 1879   *I-549
Processed by Tanya Elder
© 2013
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States