Jun 21, 2016 - Sale 2420

Sale 2420 - Lot 159

Price Realized: $ 8,125
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 3,000 - $ 4,000
(JUDAICA.) Manuscript family register tracing eight generations of the extended Harby family of South Carolina. 18 manuscript pages in a variety of hands, most of them disbound; moderate wear, one leaf cropped. Vp, circa 1827-1930

Additional Details

the multigenerational family history of an important charleston family. The Harby family were prominent in the Jewish community of Charleston, SC for more than a hundred years. The most notable family member was author Isaac Harby (1788-1828), regarded as a forefather of Reform Judaism. His brother Levi Myers Harby (1793-1870) was an officer in the United States and Confederate navies. This family register, written partly in Isaac Harby's hand, covers eight generations of the family, from Isaac's grandfather Myer Moses (1735-1787), described as "a rich and patriotic Israelite who assisted his country during the Revolutionary struggle," to his great-great-great-grandchildren born in the 1910s. Often the entries go far beyond a listing of dates. Isaac lauds his father Solomon Harby (1762-1805) for "his indefatigable spirit, his godlike generosity, his aspiring genius" and mentions that his father-in-law Samuel Mordecai of Savannah was "a faithful soldier in the American Revolution." For his own children, he records not only their dates of birth, but also the time and some of their astrological readings. He records a short poem on the death of his wife in 1827. Upon Isaac's own death, his sister wrote a eulogy reading in part "The star of Israel hath set." She also wrote a two-page memoir of her late brother Captain Levi Myers Harby in 1870. Isaac's granddaughter Leah Cohen Harby added a long poem in 1876 titled "Little Mother," signed LCH.
The earliest section of this register is on 4 leaves of octavo laid paper; it includes events dating back to 1778. The handwriting on the first four pages appears consistent through events of 1827, suggesting that it may have been written in one sitting at that time. The first page begins in mid-word, suggesting that an earlier leaf may be missing. The handwriting and paper are consistent with the 1827 date. Isaac Harby was apparently the author; he refers to Samuel Mordecai as "my wife's father."
After that point, births, deaths, marriages, and other notes are added in a variety of hands on a variety of paper. Most of the next 6 pages were apparently by Isaac's unmarried youngest sister Caroline de Litchfield Harby (1801-1876), who recorded the families of her siblings. From that point, the register apparently went to Isaac's granddaughter Leah Cohen (1849-1918), who married Isaac's nephew Jacob Delamotta Harby (1848-1916), thence to their daughter Lily Harby Isaacs (1870-1921), and her two sons and grandchildren. The final entries are the death of Arthur Harby in 1920, and the death of his wife Ella (mentioned without a date; other sources show she died in 1930).