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July 02, 2009 - Image 51

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2009-07-02

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Arts & Entertainment


Celebrating Patriotism

Family history represents the American Jewish experience
from its early colonial beginnings.


Sandee Brawarsky
Special to the Jewish News

of many Jews claim mem-
bership in the Sons of the
Revolution, but Ambassador
John L. Loeb Jr. is a proud member of the
New York State organization. His four-
times great-grandfather Jacob Phillips, a
Jewish immigrant from England, fought
with the South Carolina militia during
the War of Independence. From that war
onward, a member or descendant of the
Phillips family has served in the United
States armed forces in every war.
Loeb, a New York financier and phi-
lanthropist who served as ambassador to
Denmark, can trace his patriotic family
back for more than seven generations,
over 300 years, going back to 1690. His
family tree is full of influential and color-
ful individuals who've left their mark on
American life and on the Jewish com-
munity. Very proud of his lineage, Loeb
has been very active in documenting
American Jewish history.
This season, Loeb has helped to bring
out a new book, An American Experience:
Adeline Moses Loeb (1876-1953) and
Her Early American Jewish Ancestors,
with an introduction by Eli N. Evans and
contributions by John L. Loeb Jr., Kathy

L. Plotkin, Margaret Loeb Kempner
and Judith E. Endelman (Sons of the
American Revolution of the State of New
York/Syracuse University Press; $49.95).
Illustrated with photographs, portraits
and detailed genealogical trees with
impressive graphics, the handsome book
is "American history at its most intimate
as historian Endelman writes.
This is a story about the strength of
family and its pull on individuals, about
triumphs and defeats over many decades,
about Southern Jewish traditions and
about loyalty to America. As Endelman
points out, there can't be more than a
handful of Jewish families whose ances-
tors have been in this country for as long
as the family of Adeline Moses Loeb
— John L. Loeb's grandmother — and of
this handful, many died out, intermarried
or were otherwise lost to history.
She explains that each generation of
Loeb's family is "uncannily representative
of the American Jewish experience of its
respective period!' Loeb's extended family
includes Supreme Court Justice Benjamin
Nathan Cardozo; 19th-century philanthro-
pist Rebecca Gratz; Major Alfred Mordecai,
a West Point professor and author; silver-
smith Myer Myers, a peer of Paul Revere
who was one of the most accomplished
craftsmen in early America; Col. David
Salisbury Franks, a military office during
the War of Independence; and influential
Boston banker Moses Michael Hays.

Adeline Moses Loeb

Ambassador Loeb recalls having lunch
with his grandmother at New York's Plaza
Hotel, where she held court and regaled
him with family stories, in her Southern
accent. She grew up in Montgomery, Ala.,
where her father, who was involved in
real estate and banking and fought in the
Confederate Army, was a prominent citi-
zen and her uncle was the longtime and
well-liked mayor. In 1891, the family lost
their fortune.
After 100 years in the South, Alfred
Huger Moses moved his family to St.

Ambassador John L. Loeb Jr.: "This

narrative and genealogical portrait of

one Jewish family will bring meaning

to all whose families have lived, and

are living, the American dream."

An American Experience


C "/"



and Her Early American Jewish Ancestors

With an introduction by


A portrait of Adeline Moses Loeb (1876-1953), whose ancestry dates back to
pre-Revolutionary America, graces the book's dust jacket.

Louis, where Adeline sewed her own cloth-
ing and gave piano lessons to help the
family. Her aunts ran a boarding house
and, in their parlor, her life changed.
Carl Loeb had left his native Frankfurt
in 1892, when he was promised a job with
the American Metal Company, a branch
of a German company. He arrived in the
United States with $250, advanced to him
by the firm. He began work as a runner, or
gofer, in New York City, and was then sent
to St. Louis.
There, in the boarding house where he
lived, the always-elegant Loeb met Adeline
Moses; they were married in 1896.
Adeline's story is one of riches to rags
and back to riches, as she and her hus-
band moved to New York City in 1907,

where they gained a prominent role in
Manhattan society. Throughout their mar-
riage, the gregarious Adeline referred to
her husband as Mr. Loeb, a "southernism:'
as her daughter Margaret Loeb Kempner
points out in her unpublished book,
Recollection, which is excerpted in this
After his retirement from American
Metal, Carl Loeb joined his son John in
forming the investment-banking firm Carl
M. Loeb and Co., which morphed into
Loeb, Rhoades & Co. and became a major
New York financial firm.
The family belonged to Manhattan's
Temple Emanu-El; and while they were

Celebrating Patriotism on page C2

July 2 2009


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