You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share
Jewesses with Attitude

The American Jewess: The Modern 19th Century Jewess (and The Ape)

Cross-posted on Jewess. The beginning seems like a good place to begin our exploration of The American Jewess archives. The first issue of TAJ, from April 1895, proves to be varied in its area of coverage, likely reflecting the varied interests and education of its intended readers. And that 19th century language sure is something!

The issue includes a treatise on "The Position of Woman in America"; a short story by renowned author Kate Chopin (The Awakening); a profile of Nahida Remy, a convert who became a Judaic scholar and author of the book "Jewish Woman"; a "Report of the National Council of Jewish Women" by the NCJW's first president Hannah G. Solomon; the premiere installment of "The Woman Who Talks" column ("I hope, dear ladies," she writes, "whenever you find me talking through my hat ... you will, without unnecessary ceremony, call me down promptly."); a music and art column ("In no community of the world is the impulse of generous support of musical and dramatic art stronger than it is among the Jewish people."); several poem and, last but not least, an extensive study of "The Ape Family" ("They resemble men both too much and too little" - watch out for progressive 19th-century racism)!

As interesting as the above-mentioned articles are, for now we'll focus on the essay called "The Modern Jewess," in which Emil G. Hirsch (again, a man!) reflects on the unique opportunity of the then-contemporary Jewess to partake in the future of the Jewish community and its place in society as she never had before. Below are the original magazine pages (scanned). Since 19th century language tends to be ... oh ... flowery, key ideas are highlighted and choice phrases underlined for your convenience and amusement.


How to cite this page

Namerow, Jordan. "The American Jewess: The Modern 19th Century Jewess (and The Ape)." 8 April 2008. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on April 28, 2017) <>.


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

The JWA Podcast

listen now


What Does America Need Right Now?

Sign Up for JWA eNews



3 hr
Thank you for writing such a passionate and important book!
3 hr
And we just mentioned the book in a post on the history of abortion access: