(photo: public domain via wikipedia)

(photo: public domain via wikipedia)

By Beth Kissileff - March 27, 2015

Originally appeared here in the Times of Israel 

JTA – A whopping 16,000 books have been written about President Abraham Lincoln. But a new book and an exhibit at the New York Historical Society tell a previously untold story about Lincoln: his relationships with Jews.

Benjamin Shapell has been collecting documents relating to Lincoln and the Jews for over 35 years, housing them in the in the archives of the Shapell Foundation. For the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination, Shapell persuaded Jonathan Sarna, the Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History at Brandeis University, who had authored a book about Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and the Jews and co-edited a Civil War reader, to help organize the material so it could be shared with a wider audience.

Interestingly for a project connected with physical archives, the Internet proved a boon. The American Jewish newspapers from Lincoln’s time are all online now, so for any name mentioned in a document, a search could be made in contemporary newspapers. Read More