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New History Revives Interest in Famous American Jewess

(Jewish Daily Bulletin)

An interesting controversy, revolving around the burial place of Rebecca Gratz the model for the Rebecca who figures so conspicuously in Sir Walter Scott’s novel “Ivanhoe,” arose here with the publication of “Little Journeys Around Philadelphia.” by George Barton.

Barton spoke of the famed Rebecca as being buried in the old Mikve-Israel burying ground, on Spruce Street, one of the oldest cemeteries in Philadelphia. in which are the graves of many of the members of the original Jewish colony here.

The Barton monograph was seen by a resident of Lancaster, who brought to the author’s attention the following statement in a booker published by the Stevens House of Lancaster containing historical faces about the city:

“In the Jewish Cemetery is buried the greatest of Jewish characters. Rebecca Gratz the prototype of the heroine of “Ivanhoe, the intimate friend and companion of Siz Waiter Scott.”

The assertion that Miss Gratz, who was the friend of Washington Irving and was acquainted with and esteemed by such men as Henry Clay was buried in Lancaster. Pa. sent many Jewish residents and students of Philadelphia history on a visit to the Mikve-Israel Cemetery where they found that Barton was right. As recently as last March ###th school children of Philadelphia placed a wreath on the prave, and seven years ago, on the semi-centennial anniversary of the death of Rebecca. Jewish welfare societies several of which the kindly woman was instrumental in founding held services there.

The mistake made by the Lancaster historical society evidently arose from the fact that Michael Gratz, father of Rebecca and prominent Philadelphia merchant married Miria### Simon of Lancaster.

The memory of Rebecca Gratz instead of ###ding since her death in August. 18### has moun### steadily not because of her good works, and they were considerable, but because of her lummous, witty mind, and her charitable generous character. Keeping pace with the growth of the memory of her benevolence is the tradition of her ###

### Unexpectedly at an early age, the author turned to Rebecca. Matilda’s closest friend for solace. Barton is authority for the statement that as the years went on Irving’s esteem for Miss Gratz become stronger. ### that she was his ideal for perfect womenhood, and he often spoke of her high character to his friends.

During Irving’s ling residence abroad in a diplomatic position he visited Sir Walter Scott, and in their conversations about their art the American informed Sco###ch novelist about his charming and brilliant friend in Philadelphia. Irving told Scott that he had hoped to introduce Rebecca into one of his own stories, but that he felt his powers were insufficient to do her justice. Scott said be would consider placing her in one of his histrorieal novels. and jRebe### the beautiful Jewess who was so strong in her fuith. Became the noble character in “Ivanhoe.”

Rebecca was founder and active officer in various philanthropic enterprises. and in addition did much charitable work in private, and when she dead at the age of eighty-eight but by the entired city and by numerous ###ble men and women throughout the nation, who were her friends.

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