web analytics
December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Adolphus S. Solomons: Friend Of President Lincoln

Last photo of Abraham Lincoln

Last photo of Abraham Lincoln

Last month’s column sketched the myriad of social programs in which the Orthodox American communal worker and leader Adolphus S. Solomons (1826-1910) was involved. Adolphus married Rachel Seixas Phillips (1828-1881), a descendant of colonial patriot families and together they had eight daughters and a son.

“In 1859, Solomons set up the publishing-house of Philp & Solomons in Washington, D.C. His company held the U.S. government’s printing contracts for several years and he also managed a bookstore and maintained a photographic gallery. The book department became the literary headquarters of General Ulysses E. Grant, Supreme Court Justice Salmon Portland Chase and other dignitaries. His photographic gallery featured prominent individuals, including the last photograph of Abraham Lincoln. As a publisher, Solomons was held in such high esteem, that when Vice President Schuyler Colfax could not appear at the dedication of the Young Men’s Christian Association building in the capital, Solomons was asked to substitute for him.”[i]

Friend of Abraham Lincoln

Adolphus Solomons was a close friend of President Lincoln and met with him often during Lincoln’s presidency. His article titled “Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln” appeared in the February 12, 1909 issue of the newspaper The American Hebrew and Jewish Messenger.[ii] Here are some selections from the article:

To know where to begin and where to end in sorting my recollections of our beloved President Lincoln is a somewhat difficult task. His memory both in gladness and in sorrow lingers with us all so heartfully, I feel as though treading on holy ground, lest my words may appear disrespectful to his sacred memory.

Where so much has been collated and written of this great man, it occurs to me that some little incidents and anecdotes of which I was personally cognizant, might have a greater interest at this time than those facts which have become matters of history.

It is well known how keen was his sense of humor – a humor so gentle and kindly that it never wounded the feelings of the most sensitive.

 

Solomons then goes on to relate several incidents that demonstrate Lincoln’s sense of humor. Below are two:

On another occasion an army officer called upon the President to tender his resignation, whereupon the President said: “All right, I accept your resignation, but nothing can compensate me for the loss of you, for when you retire I will then be the ugliest man in the employment of the government” – and yet Mr. Lincoln was not ugly, for his tall, stooping, ungainly figure was forgotten in the loving expressions coming from a God-given joy of heart, which became instantly contagious.

His love for fun served to hide many an inward pang. One day I accepted an invitation to be present at a review of the First Army Corps of the Potomac under the command of General Reynolds, held near to Washington, and the driver of the ambulance in which he rode, becoming angry at his wild team of six mules, used some rather original “cuss words.” Mr. Lincoln touched the man on his shoulder and said, “Excuse me, my friend are you an Episcopalian?”

The man greatly startled, looked sheepishly around, and replied, “No. Mr. President, I am a Methodist.” “Well,” said Mr. Lincoln, “I thought you must be an Episcopalian, because you swear just like Governor Seward, who is a very strict church warden.”

 

Last Photograph of Lincoln

Solomons describes the circumstances surrounding the last photograph taken of Lincoln before his assassination:

During the [18]60’s our bookselling and publishing firm of Philp & Solomons, located at 911 Pennsylvania avenue in this city, had a large photograph branch in the upper part of the building under the charge of Alexander Gardner, who was well known for his celebrated “Photographic Sketch Book of the War” in two oblong folio volumes, in which Mr. Lincoln was a frequent and conspicuous figure in camp and battle fields.

One day while in his office I casually remarked that I would like very much for him to give us another sitting as those we had been favored with were unsatisfactory to us, and would he permit us to try again, to which he willingly assented.

Not long afterwards he sent word that he could “come on some Sunday,” and a date was arranged, which was the second Sunday previous to the Friday night when the assassin, Wilkes Booth, in cold blood shot to death one of the most beloved men God ever created.

At the time named by appointment, he came and at my first glance I saw, with regret, that he wore a troubled expression, which, however, was not unusual at that eventful period of our country’s fitful condition, and throwing aside on a chair the gray woolen shawl he was accustomed to wear, Mr. Gardner, after several squints at his general make-up, placed him in an artistic position and began his work.

After several “snaps” during which the President, while making jocular remarks had completely upset the operator’s calculations, I followed Mr. Gardner into his “darkroom” and learned to my sorrow that he had not succeeded in getting even a fair expression of his…countenance, and therefore was much discouraged which, however, was but a repetition of former occasions.

I courageously named the result of my investigation to Mr. Lincoln, whereupon he, noticing, perhaps, my disappointment, said to me, “Tell Mr. Gardner to come out in the open” – referring to the “darkroom” – and you, Solomons tell me one of your funny stories and we will see if I can’t do better.”

I complied as best I could, and the result was the likeness as reproduced in these memories.

Poignant Recollections of a Dear Friend

Looking back more than fifty years after Lincoln’s assassination, Adolphus Solomons wrote:

….Men now not only recognize the right which he championed, but behold in him the standard of righteousness of liberty, of conciliation and truth. In him, as it were incorporate, stands the Union, all that is best and noblest and enduring in its principles, in which he devoutly believed and served mightily to save. When today the world celebrates the century of his existence, he has become the ideal of both North and South, of a common country, composed not only of the factions that once confronted each other in war’s dreadful array, but of the myriad thousands that have since found in the American nation the hope of the future and the refuge from age-entrenched wrong and absolutism. To them Lincoln, his life, his history, his character, his entire personality, with all its wondrous charm and grace, its sobriety, patience, self-abnegation and sweetness, has come to be the very prototype of a rising humanity.


[i] “Guide to the Papers of Adolphus Simeon Solomons (1826-1910),” undated, 1841-1966 http://findingaids.cjh.org/?pID=364847

[ii] Available for download at http://americanjewisharchives.org/exhibits/aje/details.php?id=688

About the Author: Dr. Yitzchok Levine served as a professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey before retiring in 2008. He now teaches as an adjunct at Stevens. Glimpses Into American Jewish History appears the first week of each month. Dr. Levine can be contacted at llevine@stevens.edu.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Adolphus S. Solomons: Friend Of President Lincoln”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meet in NY late Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, ahead of Netanyahu's speech at UN General Assembly  set for the next day.
India May Change UN Vote; Bibi Says Israel to Protect Citizens
Latest Sections Stories
Games-121914

Here are examples of games that need to be played by more than one person and an added bonus: they’re all Shabbos-friendly.

South-Florida-logo

The incident was completely unforeseeable. The only term to describe the set of circumstances surrounding it is “freak occurrence.”

South-Florida-logo

The first Chabad Center in Broward County, Chabad of South Broward, now runs nearly fifty programs and agencies. T

The NHS was also honored to have Bob Diener as keynote speaker.

Written with flowing language and engaging style, Attar weaves a spell that combines mystery, humor, adventure and Kabbalah in the most magical place in the world, the Old City of erusalem.

There are those who highlight the diversity of these different teachings, seeing each rebbe as teaching a separate path.

Rav Dynovisz will be speaking in Hebrew on Wednesday, January 7, at 7:30 p.m.

Rabbi Simeon Schreiber, senior chaplain at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, saw a small room in the hospital that was dark and dismal but could be used for Sabbath guests.

“The secret to a good donut is using quality ingredients and the ability to be patient and give them time to proof.”

I so desperately want to have a loving relationship with my stepsons.

The Liberty Bell is a symbol of American Independence.

Because you can’t have kids pouring huge jugs of oil into tiny glasses, unless you want to turn your house into an environmental disaster.

Try these with your kids; there’s something for every age group and once all the recipes are made, dinner will be ready!

You children will build the country and you will help restore Israel to her former glory.

More Articles from Dr. Yitzchok Levine
Glimpses-logo-NEW

One might think to attribute the crudeness of the calendar to the fact that it was produced by a frontier community unable to calculate a more precise table.

Hazzan Abraham Lopes Cardozo

“Throughout his life, he observed Tisha B’Ab as the Nahalah (anniversary) for all of his relatives who were murdered, as this is the national Jewish day of mourning.

Practically to his last days the patriarchal founder was at his office almost daily and took an active interest in all matters connected with the business.

In 1787 Jonas wrote a letter to Congress asking that the federal Constitution guarantee religious liberty in the state of Pennsylvania.

Like many of his contemporaries, he went through some hard years, but eventually he earned the rewards of his perseverance and integrity.

These letters give us the privilege of knowing him in his old age when he is mellow, tempered in his judgments, and sagacious from long experience of dealing with people.

The British evacuated New York on November 25, 1783, and Congress demobilized the American army shortly thereafter.

“Simple, modest, altogether unassuming, Gershom spent his happiest hours with his ever-growing family who were never far from his thoughts.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/glimpses-ajh/adolphus-s-solomons-friend-of-president-lincoln/2013/12/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: