The present lot, a copy of the rare first edition of Wise’s The First of the Maccabees, appeared originally in installments in The Israelite and subsequently in book form. The work, which treats the historical period between the rise of the Hasmoneans and the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem, was one of a series of books he wrote in order to provide the English-reading Jewish public with good literature that celebrated the bold courage and assertions of national independence of Jews in past eras. In his memoirs, Wise would later reflect that this novel was one of a small group that had “a telling influence on thousands of readers in the way of arousing patriotism and a desire for Jewish learning […] Thousands of copies of the last-named stories were sold in a second edition.”
This copy of the book bears the additional distinction of having been owned by Abraham Ephraim Frankland (1831-1895), a British-born Jew who immigrated in his youth to the United States. In 1845, he moved with his family to Nashville, TN, where he became one of its first Jewish settlers, and in March 1850, they relocated to Memphis, where he operated a store and became a partner in a public auction company that dealt in real estate, the slave trade, furniture, and groceries. He was later appointed by Wise to be director (1868-1870) of the Cincinnati-based B’nai B’rith District Grand Lodge No. 2, comprising all B’nai B’rith lodges in the area west of the Alleghenies and east of the Rockies.
A. E. Frankland (front flyleaf and title)
Hasia R. Diner, A Time for Gathering: The Second Migration 1820-1880 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992), 211.
Robert Singerman, Judaica Americana: A Bibliography of Publications to 1900, vol. 1 (New York: Greenwood Press, 1990), 313 (no. 1697).
Isaac M. Wise, Reminiscences, ed. and trans. David Philipson (Cincinnati: Leo Wise and Company, 1901), 337.
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