Philadelphia: Published at 371 Walnut Street [stereotyped by L. Johnson & Co.], 5614 [i.e. 1853-1854].
First edition. Text in two columns. iv, 1011, [1, blank]pp., plus pp. family register in the rear accomplished in manuscript. 4to. Leeser's "Magnum Opus": The First English Translation of the Complete Hebrew Bible by a Jew. Contemporary morocco gilt, rebacked with the original spine laid down, yellow endpapers, gilt edges. Restoration at fore-edge margin of first few leaves (without loss of text). Provenance: Benjamin F. Peixotto (signature on front endpaper, family register recording marriages and births of Peixotto and his descendants) Singerman 1271; Goldman 12. J. D. Sarna and N. M. Sarna, "Jewish Bible Scholarship and Translations in the United States" in The Bible and Bibles in America E. S. Freriches ed., 1998; Lance J. Sussman "Another Look at Isaac Leeser and the First Jewish Translation of the Bible in the United States" in Modern Judaism, Vol. 5, No. 2, (May, 1985), pp. 159-190. Item #366471
"Leeser's literary magnum opus and most lasting contribution to Judaism in America was an English translation of the Hebrew Bible (1853-54) complete with 'short explanatory notes' ... Leeser's Bible, as it has come to be known, quickly became 'the standard bible for English speaking Jews, especially in America...'" (Sussman).
Leeser's first biblical translation was his The Law of God, published in five small-format volumes in 1845, with vocalized Hebrew text of each of the Five Books of Moses, together with an English translation and notes, as well as the haftarot. His larger-format Bible of 1853-54 comprised a new English translation of the full "Tanakh", revising his earlier translation of the Pentateuch and translating the remaining parts between April 1852 and September 1853. The first edition would be published shortly thereafter, with a second edition in 1859 and subsequent quarto editions thereafter.
This copy with esteemed early American Jewish provenance to Benjamin Franklin Peixotto (1834-1890) and his descendants. Peixotto was the grandson of Benjamin Mendes Seixas (1747-1817) one of the founders of the New York Stock Exchange, the brother of hazzan Gershom Seixas, and among the notable early members of Congregation Shearith Israel. Peixotte married Hannah Straus (aka Strauss) of Louisville Kentucky in 1858. He worked as a journalist in Cleveland Ohio, and there founded the Hebrew Benevolent Society and a chapter of B'nai B'rith. In 1866 he moved with his family to New York, working as a lawyer. In 1870, he became American consul to Romania, and in 1877 to Lyon, France. The register records the marriages of his children and the births of his children and grandchildren through 1892.
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