The First Jewish Americans: Freedom and Culture in the New World

Exhibition Website

Oct 28 2016 - Mar 12 2017

How did Jewish settlers come to inhabit — and change — the New World? Jews in colonial America and the young United States, while only a tiny fraction of the population, significantly negotiated the freedoms offered by the new nation and contributed to the flowering of American culture. The First Jewish Americans: Freedom and Culture in the New World  follows the trajectory of a people forced from their ancestral lands in Europe, as well as their homes in South America and the Caribbean, to their controversial arrival in New Amsterdam in 1654, to the unprecedented political freedoms they gained in early 19th-century New York, Philadelphia, and Charleston. In this ground-breaking exhibition, rare portraits, drawings, maps, documents, and ritual objects illuminate how 18th- and 19th-century artists, writers, activists, and more adopted American ideals while struggling to remain distinct and socially cohesive amidst the birth of a new Jewish American tradition.

Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.

  • American
  • History
  • Solomon Nunes Carvalho
  • Thomas Sully
  • Gerardus Duyckinck I
  • and others

Exhibition Venues & Dates