Monday, April 9, 2012

Object of the Month: April 2012

Object No.: 2008.4.1
Donor: Frank Rich, Sr.
Description: Invitation to reception for the Grand Army of the Republic’s National Encampment, 1892 

Background: In 1861, German immigrant Abraham Hart joined the Union forces in Pennsylvania. He was wounded in battle the next year and convalesced in Washington. Hart remained in the city and, after the war, he worked as a lawyer and served as commander of the Department of the Potomac, Grand Army of the Republic (a Union veterans’ organization). Union veterans attended annual multi-day gatherings, or encampments, to commemorate their Civil War service. This invitation to a reception during an encampment is in a scrapbook that Hart’s great-grandson Frank Rich, Sr., donated to the Society.

Do you have material documenting local Jewish life during the Civil War that you’d like to donate to the Jewish Historical Society’s collection? Please contact us at or (202) 789-0900.

To learn more about Jewish Americans’ role in the Civil War, join us on May 3rd at the National Archives when scholar Jonathan Sarna talks about his recent book, When General Grant Expelled the Jews.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Good Deeds Day Delivery

photo of toiletries An extra travel size bottle of shampoo and bar of soap may not make much of a difference in your life, but for others struggling with poverty and homelessness it makes a big difference. The Society decided to collect toiletries for our neighbors at Community Family Life Services, as our part for Good Deeds Day--a world-wide day of service that originated in Israel and is organized locally by the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.

Joel Wind, JHSGW board member (seen here), and I dropped off a bag of toiletries at Community Family Life Services (CFLS), which operates down the street from us at First Trinity Lutheran Church, and we met their Executive Director, Claudia Thorne. We saw first-hand people benefitting from CFLS’s services while we made our donation. Check with us in March 2013 to find out what our next Good Deeds Day project will be.