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Leopold Morse Papers

 Collection
Identifier: JHCP-013

Scope and Content Note

Leopold Morse was a philanthropist, businessman, and politician born in Germany and based in Boston, Massachusetts. This collection contains a number of items related to his personal life and political work, including his naturalization certificate, German vaccination paperwork from 1832, a scrapbook containing newspaper clippings and photographs, documents from 1882 and 1886 signed by Massachusetts Governors John Davis Long and George D. Robinson, respectively, officially naming him as a Massachusetts representative to the U.S. House of Representatives, an 1876 letter from then House Speaker Samuel J. Randall of Pennsylvania, as well as two certificates from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in Woburn.

Dates

  • undated, 1832-1886

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for researcher use. Please contact us to request access or to make an appointment to view this collection at jhcreference@nehgs.org.

Conditions Governing Use

There may be some restrictions on the use of this collection. For more information contact jhcreference@nehgs.org.

Biographical Note

Leopold Morse was born on August 15, 1831 in Wachenheim, Rhenish Palatinate, Bavaria, Germany. He immigrated to the United States in 1849 and eventually settled in Boston in 1851. There, he worked as a peddler and later established the successful Leopold Morse & Company, a wholesale and retail clothing store, which he operated until his death. In 1870 and 1872, Morse unsuccessfully ran as a Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, but successfully was elected in 1876, serving five terms (from 1877-1885 and 1887-1889) and becoming the first Jew in Massachusetts elected to U.S. Congress. He also was a delegate to the Democratic National Conventions in 1872 and 1876.

During his break from serving in Congress, he was elected president of the Post Publishing Co. (publisher of the Boston Post) in 1884. In 1889, Morse founded the Boston Home for Infirm Hebrews and Orphanage after donating funds to purchase a 32-room house in Milton, Massachusetts (near Mattapan Square) to house both Jewish seniors and orphans. It operated as part of the Federation of Jewish Charities of Boston (later known as the Federated Jewish Charities and currently known as the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston). After Morse's death, by an act of the legislature of Massachusetts, the home was renamed the Leopold Morse Home for Infirm Hebrews and Orphanage.

In 1864, Morse married Georgiana (Georgie) Ray (1845-1924), and the couple had six children: Lottie Ray (1864-1865), Leopold Woodbury (1865-1869), George (1868-1873), Bardwell (March 1870-May 1870), Isidore (1873-1932), and Tyler (1875-1933.). Leopold Morse died on December 15, 1892 and is buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

References

  1. History, Art & Archives, U.S. House of Representatives, “MORSE, Leopold,” https://history.house.gov/People/Listing/M/MORSE,-Leopold-(M001012)/ (November 18, 2020)

Chronology

August 15, 1831
Leopold Morse is born in Wachenheim, Rhenish Palatinate, Bavaria, Germany.
1849
Leopold Morse immigrates to the United States.
1877-1885
Leopold Morse served as a Massachusetts representative to the U.S. House of Representatives.
1884
Leopold Morse becomes president of the Post Publishing Co.
1887-1889
Leopold Morse serves another term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
1889
Morse founds the Boston Home for Infirm Hebrews and Orphanage, later renamed the Leopold Morse Home for Infirm Hebrews and Orphanage
December 15, 1892
Leopold Morse dies.

Extent

0.25 linear feet (1 half-manuscript box)

Language of Materials

English

German

Abstract

Leopold Morse was a philanthropist, businessman, and politician born in Germany and based in Boston, Massachusetts. This collection contains a number of items related to his personal life and political work, including his naturalization certificate, German vaccination paperwork from 1832, a scrapbook containing newspaper clippings and photographs, documents from 1882 and 1886 signed by Massachusetts Governors John Davis Long and George D. Robinson, respectively, officially naming him as a Massachusetts representative to the U.S. House of Representatives, an 1876 letter from then House Speaker Samuel J. Randall of Pennsylvania, as well as two certificates from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in Woburn.

Physical Location

Located in Boston, Mass.

Acquisition Information

Purchased in 2020.

Related Materials

Processing Information

Processed by Lindsay Murphy, 2020.
Title
Leopold Morse Papers
Author
Lindsay Murphy
Date
2020
Language of description
English
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center at New England Historic Genealogical Society Repository

Contact:
99-101 Newbury Street
Boston MA 02116 United States
617-226-1245