Isaac Harby of Charleston, 1788-1828: Jewish Reformer and Intellectual
Between the years 1795 and 1815, Charleston, South Carolina, experienced prodigious economic growth resulting in a remarkable period of cultural efflorescence. After 1815, however, the city entered a period of economic decline, the effects of which were perceived in every aspect of Charleston's communal infrastructure. This revealing new biography of Isaac Harby (1788-1828) sheds much light on the rise and fall of Charleston during this period.
As a newspaper editor and publisher, a playwright of some distinction, a highly regarded drama critic, an essayist, and a political and social commentator, Harby earned a position of respect and prominence within the thriving cultural milieu of antebellum Charleston. Harby, together with a small group of contemporary litterateurs, spent considerable energy trying to establish and legitimate letters as a profession. Unfortunately their desire to make a living in the world of the literary arts - the leitmotiv of a generation of literati - was a dream that went largely unfulfilled. Nevertheless, these individuals struggled to stimulate the growth and development of a native literary tradition in this country.
By studying Harby, one of the few Jews in his city's literary circle, we add significantly to our understanding of Jewish life in the South during the early national period. Harby's active role in the establishment and advancement of the Reformed Society of Israelites (incorporated in 1825), the first formalized effort to reform Judaism in North America, has attracted considerable scholarly attention. Zola demonstrates that Harby's particular interest in the reformation of Judaism was very much related to his lifelong desire to improve society through the cause of intellectual enrichment.
Drawing from local newspapers, government documents, and other contemporary sources, together with the newly discovered contents of Harby's personal library and papers, this book constitutes an entirely new analysis of Harby's life.
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Abraham Moi'se adjunta Alberti American Jewish Archives Antebellum August Biography of Harby Calhoun Cardozo Carvalho Charles Charleston City Gazette Charleston Courier Charleston Mercury Christian city's Cohen December December 27 Deism Denmark Vesey Dramatic Criticism Duane early national period Edisto editor Elzas English Gilfert Gilman Gordian Knot Harby wrote Harby's Harby's Academy Harby's Discourse Hebrew Hebrew Orphan Society Hebrew Union College-Jewish History Ibid Institute of Religion intellectual Isaac Harby File Isaac Harby Library Jackson Jacob Rader Marcus John journal Judaism July KKBE L. C. Moi'se Langdon Cheves Levy literary Miscellany Moi'se and Pinckney Moi'se's Mordecai Mordecai Manuel Noah Napoleon newspaper Noah noted October paper Philomathean Philomathean Society play political published Quiver readers Reformed Society religious Sarna Society of Israelites society's Solomon South Carolina Southern Patriot Southern Urban Adult synagogue theater tion Union College—Jewish Institute United States Jewry William worship Writings of Harby York Evening Post York Mirror young