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Moses Family of New York Papers

Identifier: P-1

Scope and Content Note

This collection contains personal, business, and genealogical materials about the Moses family of New York. The collection has a particularly large amount of information on Isaac Moses (1742-1818), including a Receipt Book. The collection also contains a diary of Simon Gratz Moses of his journey to China, a portfolio of clippings on Isaac Moses Jr.’s Civil War service, a series of letters exchanged by Israel Moses with his brother during his service as a Civil War doctor, and genealogical material compiled by Blanche Moses on the family.


  • undated, 1767-1941, 1971


Language of Materials

The collection is in English with some Hebrew.

Access Restrictions

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

Use Restrictions

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

For reference questions, please email:

Biographical Note

The Moses family of New York has been a prominent Jewish family since the American Revolution. Isaac Moses (1742-1818). born in Giessen, Germany, moved to New York in 1764. In 1766 he became a “freeman” of New York City. He worked in his uncle, Hayman Levy's, mercantile firm until he established Isaac Moses and Company with two business partners in 1775. His firm supported the Revolutionary army by accepting $20,000 Continental paper dollars in exchange for $20,000 in hard currency, thereby financing the war effort. The firm also traded for military supplies internationally and sold guns and ammunition to the army. When the British occupied New York, Isaac Moses left for Philadelphia and ran the firm from there. In 1783 he returned to New York City and continued his commercial enterprises. Despite a bankruptcy in 1786, he was generally financially successful, establishing Isaac Moses and & Sons, an international trading company. He was also a major stockholder in the Bank of New York.

Isaac Moses was very involved in his community. He was a Mason in New York City's Union Lodge, and an important member of the New York City Chamber of Commerce. He was also president of Congregation Shearith Israel in New York, and one of the principle organizers of the Congregation Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia. He married Reyna Levy in 1770. They had ten children together.

After his death, Isaac's sons continued the international mercantile business they had founded with their father. They were involved not only in the China trade, but also with the Mexican trade. Of Isaac's grandchildren at least two, Isaac Jr. and Israel, a medical doctor, joined the Union Army in the United States Civil War. This generation also continued in the China trade. Isaac's great-grandchild, Blanche, was a New York resident who compiled her family's papers and genealogy.

The collection includes the personal papers of many members of the Moses family.

The family relationships of the individuals mentioned in the collection are described here. Isaac Moses (1742-1818) married Reyna Levy and had ten children, including Moses Levy (1773-1843), Solomon (1774-1857), and Joshua (1780-1837). Solomon had nine children, including Isaac (1807-1847) and Simon Gratz (1813-1897). Joshua had ten children including Isaac Jr. (1819-1889), Abraham Rodriguez Brandon (1820-1870), Israel, M.D. (1821-1870), and Lionel (1825-1895). Lionel had seven children, including Blanche (1859-1946).


  1. American National Biography Online. "Isaac Moses," Oxford University Press.
  2. American National Biography Online, "Isaac Moses," Oxford University Press.
  3. Joseph R. Rosenbloom. A Biographical Dictionary of Early American Jews: Colonial Times through 1800. (Kentucky: University of Kentucky Press), 1960.
  4. Materials from the Collection.
  5. Malcolm H. Stern. First American Jewish Families: 600 Genealogies 1654-1988. Third Edition Updated and Revised. (Baltimore Maryland: Ottenheimer Publishers), 1991.


1.42 Linear Feet (2 Manuscript Boxes; 1 Half Manuscript Box; and 1 OSF folder in consolidated box)


This collection contains the personal and business papers of the Moses family, along with family genealogical materials. Isaac Moses (1742-1818) was a prominent New York businessman and American patriot who helped fund and supply the US forces during the Revolution. His descendants were prominent Jewish businessmen in New York who traveled internationally, and served in the Union Army during the Civil War.


The collection is arranged into twelve series as follows:

  1. Series I: Isaac Moses (1742-1818), 1767-1818
  2. Series II: Solomon Moses (1774-1857), 1806-1898
  3. Series III: Moses Levy Moses (1773-1843), 1800-1838
  4. Series IV: Joshua Moses (1780-1837), 1803-1838
  5. Series V: Isaac Moses [?] (1807-1847), 1829
  6. Series VI: Simon Gratz Moses (1813-1897), 1832-1897
  7. Series VII: Isaac Moses Jr. (1819-1889), 1833-1889
  8. Series VIII: Israel Moses, M.D. (1821-1870), 1847-1891
  9. Series IX: Lionel Moses (1825-1895), 1847-1895
  10. Series X: Blanch Moses (1895-1946), 1816-1945
  11. Series XI: Other Repository Holdings Photocopies, 1848-1865
  12. Series XII: Photographs, undated, 1865-1888

Physical Location

Located in AJHS New York, NY

Acquisition Information

Donated by Blanche Moses in 1936 and 1945, and by the Elsie O. and Philip D. Sang Foundation in 1979.

Digitization Note

With the exception of preservation photocopies, this collection was digitized in its entirety by Adam Matthew Digital in 2010. The digitized material was made available on the folder level for research by the American Jewish Historical Society in 2016.

Moses Family of New York, undated, 1767-1941, 1971   *P-1
Processed by Christine McEvilly
© 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English.

Revision Statements

  • December 2016: Added dao links by Eric Fritzler.
  • March, June 2020: EHyman--post-ASpace migration cleanup (markup, format, copy editing)

Repository Details

Part of the American Jewish Historical Society Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States