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Grace Aguilar

Birthdate: (31)
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Death: September 16, 1847 (31)
Frankfurt, Darmstadt, Hesse, Germany
Place of Burial: Hesse, Germany
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Emanuel Joseph Aguilar and Sarah Jacob Aguilar, (Diaz-Fernandez)
Sister of Emanuel Abraham Aguilar; Joseph Aguilar and Henry Aguilar

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Grace Aguilar

Grace Aguilar (2 June 1816 – 16 September 1847) was an English novelist and writer on Jewish history and religion. She was delicate from childhood, and early showed great interest in history, especially Jewish history. The death of her father threw her on her own resources.

After a few dramas and poems she published in the United States in 1842 Spirit of Judaism, in defence of her faith and its professors, and in 1845 The Jewish Faith and The Women of Israel. She is, however, best known by her novels, of which the chief are Home Influence (1847) and A Mother's Recompense (1850). Her health gave way in 1847, and she died in that year at Frankfurt.

Her other works include Magic Wreath, and Vale of Cedars (1850).

She was the oldest child of parents descended from Portuguese Marranos who sought asylum in England in the eighteenth century. To strengthen her constitution, which from infancy had been feeble, she was taken to the sea-shore and to various rural localities in England. Her love of nature was cultivated by these experiences; and at the age of twelve she devoted herself of her own accord to the study of natural science, augmenting a collection of shells begun by her at Hastings, when only four years old, and supplementing it by mineralogical and botanical collections.

Grace Aguilar was educated mainly by her parents. Her mother, a cultivated woman of strong religious feeling, trained her to read the Scriptures systematically; and when she was fourteen her father read aloud to her regularly, chiefly history, while she was occupied with drawing and needlework. She was an assiduous musician till her health became impaired. Her reading, especially in history, was extensive; her knowledge of foreign literature was wide.

Grace Aguilar

  • Germany Deaths and Burials, 1582-1958
  • Birth: June 2 1816
  • Death: Sep 16 1847 - Frankfurt Am Main, Germany
  • Parents: Emanuel Aguilar, Sara Dias-Fernandes


1816 – 1847

by Michael Galchinsky

When she died in 1847 at the age of thirty-one, Grace Aguilar enjoyed a reputation as a poet, historical romance writer, domestic novelist, Jewish emancipator, religious reformer, educator, social historian, theologian, and liturgist. A Jewish woman in Victorian England, Aguilar produced a body of work that appealed to both Jews and Christians, women and men, religious traditionalists and reformers. Distributed throughout the British Empire, Europe, and the United States, her books—which record the ambivalent encounter of a British minority with the majority culture—were translated into French, German, and Hebrew. She developed new and hybrid literary genres, helped to build the Anglo-Jewish subculture, advocated Jews’ emancipation in the Victorian world, and insisted on women’s emancipation in the Jewish world.

Grace Aguilar was born June 2, 1816, to Emanuel (1787–1845) and Sarah (1787–1854) Aguilar. Portuguese Jews who had fled to England to escape the Inquisition, her parents settled in the northeast London suburb of Hackney, where Aguilar was born. Emanuel served as the Parnas, or lay leader, of London’s Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, and the family were active participants in the Sephardic community. Aguilar’s two brothers were Emanuel (1824–1904) and Henry (1827–1902). As a child, Aguilar contracted an undiagnosed illness that permanently weakened her and left her vulnerable to the other ailments from which she suffered throughout her life. The most serious of these included the measles (at age nineteen in 1835) and her final illness, a spinal ailment that paralyzed her muscles and lungs. These illnesses did not prevent her from keeping a multi-volume journal beginning at age seven, from dancing, from local travel, or from playing the piano and the harp, like other girls of the English middle class.

When Aguilar was twelve, her father contracted tuberculosis and the family moved to the coast in Devon for his health. There she wrote her first completed manuscript, a play called “Gustavus Vasa” about a Swedish king (now lost). For years her mother had provided her with a religious education; now, her father used his enforced rest to educate his daughter in Jewish history. He related the “oral history” of the crypto-Jews, those Sephardim who, to escape the Inquisition, had pretended to convert to Catholicism but continued to practice Judaism in secret. When she later drew on these tales to create her historical romances, her father served as her secretary.

Lacking any Jewish translation of the Bible into English, Aguilar often felt she could satisfy her religious yearnings only by going to hear sermons in Protestant churches. These church visits provided the material for one of her most moving and ironic poems, a reverie of Israel redeemed, entitled “A Vision of Jerusalem, While Listening to a Beautiful Organ in One of the Gentile Shrines.” Her practice of attending church would later provide fodder for her critics. Missionaries claimed to be able to see the light of the gospel in her work; Jewish critics claimed she was a “Jewish Protestant.”

By age fifteen she had started writing a historical romance set during the Spanish Inquisition, The Vale of Cedars; or, the Martyr. Written in reaction against Scott’s (1771–1832) Ivanhoe, this romance took her four years to complete and was published only posthumously in 1850. During the period of composition, her mother Sarah underwent an operation and required her daughter’s bedside care for several years. With both parents ill, the family began to suffer economically, and Aguilar began to think seriously of trying to make a professional career as a writer. Beginning in 1834, she tried her hand at short domestic sketches and poetry in the manner of the poets Lord Byron (1788–1824), Walter Scott, and Felicia Hemans (1793–1835).

In 1835, her brothers were sent away to school and the family moved to Brighton. Here, Aguilar found a publisher for her first book of poems, The Magic Wreath of Hidden Flowers. These slight poems resemble the riddles collected by Emma Woodhouse in Jane Austen’s Emma: each poem contains clues to the name of a particular flower.

Despite her serious bout with the measles, Aguilar now began a ceaseless stream of literary production. In 1836–1837 she drafted the manuscript of her domestic novel Home Influence: A Tale for Mothers and Daughters. In this novel, its sequel A Mother’s Recompense, and the novel, Woman’s Friendship, she offered her ideal model of the domestic woman who cared for husband and home and inculcated religion and morality into the hearts of her children. In the late 1830s she also wrote the liturgy, meditations, and sermons that later appeared in Sabbath Thoughts and Sacred Communings (1853).

In 1838, at her father’s request, she translated Orobio de Castro’s (1620–1687) apologia, Israel Defended, from the French and had it printed for private circulation in Brighton. Here, Aguilar was already striking the ambivalent tone—simultaneously trusting and suspicious of England, assimilationist and resistant—that would become the hallmark of many of her more mature works.

By 1840, Aguilar and her family had moved back to London, and she was writing letters from her new house at 5 Triangle, Hackney, from which she began to launch herself into the British and American literary worlds. She asked the young Benjamin Disraeli (1804–1881), a fellow member of the Sephardic community, to carry a letter to his father, Isaac, in which she requested that the elder D’Israeli help her find a publisher. He eventually secured her an introduction to an editor at R. Groombridge and Sons, the firm that produced most of her work for the English market.

From 5 Triangle, she also contacted Isaac Leeser (1806–1868), the editor of the American Jewish periodical, The Occident, who agreed to publish The Spirit of Judaism, Aguilar’s first major work, as the initial offering of his new series, The Jewish Publication Society of America. Unfortunately, the manuscript was lost at sea; but Aguilar rewrote it from her notes, and Leeser published it in 1842. When her copy arrived, Aguilar was angry to find that Leeser had attached an editorial preface and footnotes to her text in which he set forth “the chief points of difference between Miss Aguilar and myself.” A traditionalist himself, Leeser disliked Aguilar’s tendencies toward religious reform. Despite his critical notes, Spirit was well received by many Jews and Christians on both sides of the Atlantic, and was used as a teaching text in some synagogues and even Protestant churches until the 1950s.

In Spirit of Judaism, Aguilar meditated on the significance of the Shema. She polemicized on behalf of both English tolerance and Jewish religious reform. She called for a vernacular translation of the Bible and changes in Jewish childhood education. And she offered a new vision of the spiritual needs of women in general and Jewish women in particular.

The book brought Aguilar into a steady association with Leeser. Beginning in 1843 and continuing throughout the remainder of her life, he published over thirty of her poems in The Occident, including “Vision of Jerusalem” and “The Wanderers,” the latter a midrash on Hagar and Ishmael generally recognized as her most successful poem. It was not long before she was listed as the highest paid writer among the magazine’s contributors. This steady publishing relationship also enabled her to develop her own poetic style, a fascinating compound of romantic nature poetry, sentimentality, midrash, and prophecy.

Her association with Leeser brought Aguilar a transatlantic friendship with Miriam and Solomon Cohen of Savannah, Georgia. Miriam Cohen was the niece of Rebecca Gratz, Leeser’s associate and the founder of the Jewish Sunday School movement. When Cohen wrote to Aguilar in praise of Spirit of Judaism in 1842, the two women began an important correspondence that continued until Aguilar’s death, after which Sarah Aguilar continued to correspond with Cohen for many years, until 1853. Miriam Cohen’s husband, Solomon, became Aguilar’s chief American distributor, and apparently did a thorough job of it. His work enabled her to influence American Jewish women, such as Rebecca Gratz, who not only used Aguilar’s texts as teaching materials in her Sunday School, but cited Aguilar as an inspiration in her determination to refuse marriage in order to continue with her work.

Aguilar also sought entrée into the British literary world through periodical publishing. In 1841, her poems began to appear in Anglo-Jewish periodicals such as the Voice of Jacob and the Jewish Chronicle. From the first, however, she sought an audience outside the Jewish community, publishing short tales in such popular women’s journals as The Keepsake, Friendship’s Offering, and La Belle Assemblée. Through such work Aguilar came to be acquainted with many writers of Romantic and early Victorian poetry, domestic fiction, and historical romance. Of these, Anna Maria Hall (1800–1881) became her greatest admirer. When Aguilar died, Hall wrote a long essay in memoriam entitled “Pilgrimage to the Grave of Grace Aguilar.” The essay was often reprinted by Jewish periodicals as well as in Hall’s book Pilgrimage to English Shrines (1853), which clearly placed Aguilar in the firmament of English writers.

As a fiction writer, Aguilar produced historical romances through the mid-1840s, culminating with the tales in Records of Israel (1844). Increasingly, however, she found that these romances distanced English readers too much from contemporary Jews. She found the opportunity to describe contemporary Anglo-Jewish life when Charlotte Montefiore (1818–1859), an aristocratic English Jew, invited her to write a tale for a new series, the Cheap Jewish Library. Aguilar’s contribution, The Perez Family, is a sentimental domestic novella that documents Victorian Jews’ ambivalence toward their own modernization and demonstrates Aguilar’s belief in women’s capacity to interpret the dictates of the Bible.

Aguilar spent the last three years of her life writing intensively. In 1844, she produced The Women of Israel, the series of biographical accounts of biblical, Talmudic, and modern Jewish women that critics immediately recognized as her masterpiece. This text packed many of her passions into the space of three volumes. She was able to center Jewish history and midrash on women’s experience, articulate her own versions of domestic ideology and theology, and appeal for Jews’ emancipation and Christian social acceptance. She argued that women should have full educational access to Jewish religious materials, including the Talmud.

Perhaps the success of Women was what enabled her in 1845 to relocate with her family to One Clarence Place, Clapton Square, where she tended to her dying father. At the same time, her own illness became increasingly severe. Still, she continued to produce at a remarkable pace. She wrote The Jewish Faith, a series of letters on immortality from an old woman to a young woman, published in 1846. In the same year, Anna Maria Hall introduced her to Robert Chambers (1802–1871), the radical Edinburgh publisher of Chambers’s Miscellany, who solicited an essay from her entitled “The History of the Jews in England.” This remarkable essay, published months before her death, offered a more radical vision of Jewish-Christian relations than Aguilar had dared to put forward in any previous text. Here Aguilar substantially rejected assimilationism and called English Christians to more stringent account than she had ever done before.

By the spring of 1847 Aguilar’s final illness had taken hold. Perhaps it was their knowledge of its severity that prompted a group of middle-class Anglo-Jewish women calling themselves the “Women of Israel” to present Aguilar with a public testimonial on June 14. Immediately afterward, she traveled to Frankfurt, where her brother Emanuel was studying music, to try to recover her health. For six weeks she took the waters at Schwalbach, but worsened and returned to Frankfurt, where she died on September 16. She was buried in the Frankfurt Jewish Cemetery, the epitaph on her tombstone taken from Proverbs 31 on the “woman of valor”: “Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her from the gates.”

Her death was called “a national calamity” on the front pages of Jewish newspapers in England and the United States, and she was hailed as “the moral governess of the Hebrew family.” Mainstream and evangelical periodicals mourned her. Jews from as far afield as France, Jamaica, and Germany wrote tributes and poems in commemoration of her.

Aguilar’s novel, Home Influence, which was in press when she died, became her most popular work, selling out some thirty editions. Her mother Sarah also edited and published many of her manuscripts posthumously. These included: The Vale of Cedars, Aguilar’s early historical romance (1850); Woman’s Friendship, a domestic novel (1850); A Mother’s Recompense, the sequel to Home Influence (1851); Days of Bruce, a Scottish historical romance (1852); Home Scenes and Heart Studies, an important collection of Aguilar’s short fiction and midrashim (1852); Essays and Miscellanies (1853); and Sabbath Thoughts and Sacred Communings, a volume of Aguilar’s meditations, prayers, and sermons (1853).

Overall, Aguilar published twelve books. She was one of the most important contributors to the Anglo-Jewish enlightenment.


“Sabbath Thoughts,” notes on a lecture on Psalm 32 by Rev. R. A., 1837. Grace Aguilar MSS, University College London; Works. 8 vols. London: 1869; The Days of Bruce: A Story of Scottish History. London: 1852; Essays and Miscellanies: Choice Cullings from the Manuscripts of Grace Aguilar…, edited by Sarah Aguilar, Philadelphia: 1853; “History of the Jews in England.” Chambers’s Miscellany 18, no. 153 (1847): 1–32; Home Influence: A Tale for Mothers and Daughters. London: 1847; Home Scenes and Heart Studies. London: 1852; translation Israel Defended by Orobio de Castro. Brighton: 1838; The Jewish Faith. London: 1846; The Magic Wreath of Hidden Flowers. Brighton: 1839; A Mother’s Recompense; a Sequel to Home Influence.London: 1851; Records of Israel. London: 1844; Sabbath Thoughts and Sacred Communings. London: 1853; The Spirit of Judaism. edited by Isaac Leeser. Philadelphia: 1864; The Vale of Cedars; or, the Martyr. London: 1850; Woman’s Friendship: A Story of Domestic Life. London: 1850; Women of Israel. 3 vols. London: 1845; “A Poet’s Dying Hymn,” Voice of Jacob (February 18, 1842): 87; “A Vision of Jerusalem, While Listening to a Beautiful Organ in One of the Gentile Shrines.” Occident 1 (February 1844): 541–543; “Lucy: an Autumn Walk.” The Keepsake (1844): 199–223; Aguilar/Robert Chambers correspondence, June 30, 1846 and August 2, 1846, National Library of Scotland, Dep 341/96, letter 95 and 341/94, letter 183; Aguilar/Cohen correspondence. Miriam Gratz Moses Papers, Manuscripts Department Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Southern Historical Collection #2639, Series 1, Folder 8; Aguilar/D’Israeli correspondence. Disraeli Papers, British National Trust, Dep. Hughenden 243/1, fols. 3–12, Bodleian.


Abrahams, Rachel Beth Zion Lask. “Grace Aguilar: A Centenary Tribute.” Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England 16 (1952): 137–45.

Aguilar, Sarah. “Memoir of Grace Aguilar.” Preface to Home Influence. London: 1847.

Ashton, Dianne. Rebecca Gratz: Women and Judaism in Antebellum America. Detroit: 1997.

Galchinsky, Michael. The Origin of the Modern Jewish Woman Writer: Romance and Reform in Victorian England. Detroit: 1996.

Galchinsky, Michael. “Grace Aguilar’s Correspondence,” Jewish Culture and History 2:1 (1999), 88–110.

Hall, Anna Maria. “Pilgrimage to the Grave of Grace Aguilar.” Art Journal (May, 1851). Also in Pilgrimages to English Shrines, London: 1853.

Harris, Daniel. “Hagar in Christian Britain: Grace Aguilar’s ‘The Wanderers’.” Victorian Literature and Culture 27 (1999): 143–169.

Kuzmack, Linda Gordon. Woman’s Cause: The Jewish Woman’s Movement in England and the United States, 1881–1933. Columbus: 1990.

Leeser, Isaac. Statement of Accounts for the Occident, 1843 to 1847. Leeser Collection, Box 9, FF1, University of Pennsylvania Center for Judaic Studies.

Leeser, Isaac. Review of Women of Israel. The Occident 2 (Dec. 1844); 3 (June 1845).

Leeser, Isaac. Review of Spirit of Judaism. The Jewish Herald and Record of Christian Effort for the Spiritual Good of God’s Ancient People 2, no. 13 (1847): 39.

Leeser, Isaac. Review of Jewish Faith. Howitt’s Journal 1 (February 6, 1847): 84.

Leeser, Isaac. Review of Works. The Jewish Chronicle (September 1, 1871).

Scheinberg, Cynthia. Women’s Poetry and Religion in Victorian England: Jewish Identity and Christian Culture. New York: 2002, 146–189.

Scheinberg, Cynthia. “'Measure to Yourself a Prophet’s Place': Biblical Heroines, Jewish Difference and Women’s Poetry.” In Women's Poetry, Late Romantic to Late Victorian: Gender and Genre, 1830–1900, edited by Isobel Armstrong and Virginia Blain, 263–291. New York: 1999.

Solis, S. “Remarks on Miss Aguilar’s ‘Women of Israel’” Occident 4 (April–June 1846).

Grace Aguilar (1816-1847)

By Michael Dugdale

Grace Aguilar was born of Spanish-Jewish parents at The Paragon, Hackney, London, on June 2, 1816. Grace was the first child of Emanuel Aguilar (8th June 1787 - 18th January 1845) and Sarah (nee Dias Fernandes) Aguilar (9th June 1787 - 29th April 1854) Emanuel and Sarah were married on 7th June 1809. Sarah was the third daughter of Jacob Dias Fernandes and granddaughter of Benjamin Dias, a Portuguese Merchant of Jamaica.

Grace's Grandfather, Joseph Aguilar (1765 - 17th December 1822) had married his first cousin Grace Aguilar (1764 - 28th February 1823) The generation of Aguilar's before this had owned sugar plantations in Jamaica, their forebears having fled Jewish persecution in Spain.

From birth Grace Aguilar was a delicate child and was mainly educated at home. At the age of four she was taken to Hastings on the south coast of England for her health. It was here that she started collecting and arranging shells. Already a keen reader, Grace would prefer a book to any other present. At the age of seven, Grace commenced a journal, that she was to keep for most of her life. During her childhood she only spent 18 months at school her tuition given mainly by her parents.

On 23 August 1824 her first brother, Emanuel Abraham Aguilar was born. Emanuel was to later become a gifted composer and musician. On 26th August 1827 Henry Aguilar her second brother was born. Henry was later to become a sailor working for the West India Company and later joining the Royal Navy.

In 1828, when Grace was twelve years old, her parents moved to the Tavistock and Teignmouth areas of Devon for the health of her father, Emanuel Aguilar. Here she was able to continue her collection of shells, stones seaweed and mosses.

Always a semi-invalid, she began writing in her childhood, her first poems at the age of nine being collected in Magic Wreath. At the age of twelve she wrote a small drama called ‘Gustavus Vasa’. Grace was much influenced by; ‘Josephus’ a book dealing with the history of the Jewish people, this book seemed to have had a long lasting effect on her. This was the beginnings of what was going to be her life’s passion.

As part of her education, Grace went on a tour of English towns (1835) She visited Oxford, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Worcester, Ross, and Bath, including visits to a porcelain works and pin factory.

So strong were her feelings that she translated a small French book called ‘Israel Defended’ by the Marano, Orbio de Castro, which she printed for private circulation and wrote ‘The Magic Wreath,’ a collection of poems which she published anonymously in 1835. ‘The Vale of Cedars’ was written about this time and published in 1850. It was twice published in German and Hebrew. This was followed by two larger projects ‘Home Influence’ (1835) and ‘The Spirit of Judaism.’

At about this time (1835) both her brothers Emanuel aged eleven and Henry aged eight were sent away to private school. Her mother became seriously ill and had a serious and dangerous operation from which recuperation was slow, with Grace caring for her day and night.

In 1836, Grace wrote ‘Home Influence’ and its sequel, ‘The Mother’s Recompence,’ both first published after her death in 1850. 'Woman’s Friendship' written at this time was published in 1851.

What was to happen next was a fundamental turning point in Grace’s life and would have a long lasting and devastating effect on her. In the Spring of 1838, at the age of 21, she contracted the measles. Following this illness she lost weight and became considerably physically weakened.

Grace, although ill, continued to write and completed ‘The Records of Israel,’ 'The Women of Israel,' and ‘The Jewish Faith.’‘The ‘Records of Israel’ was not well received by English Jews. These books published in America however were very successful and Grace received many letters of thanks and congratulation. Many of her poems were also published in America at this time. Her lasting popularity, however, came from her sentimental domestic novels which were mostly edited and published posthumously by her mother, Sarah Aguilar

Emanuel Aguilar, her eldest brother, was fast becoming a talented musician and pianist and was sent to Germany for tuition. In 1843, Henry, her younger brother, left home to go to sea on a West Indiaman at the age of sixteen. Later, whilst Second Master, Navigating Officer, on H.M. Gunboat ‘Grappler,’ his name was adopted by Capt. Richards’ chart of 1861, who named ‘Aguilar Point,’ at Barkley Sound, on the west coast of Canada after him.

The family had now returned to London following their stay in Devon and were living at 5, The Triangle, Hackney, London.

On 18th January 1845, Grace's father (Emanuel Aguilar) died of consumption in Grace’s arms. Henry returned home from sea soon after his fathers death and decided never to go to sea again. Henry attempted with great difficulty to obtain a job in the City. Grace's health was now considerably worse. Around this time, Grace and her mother Sarah Aguilar moved to 1, Clarence Place, Clapton Square, Clapton (between November 1844 and September 1845) After her father's death, Grace wrote for a profession, publishing her controversial attack on the formality of contemporary religion, The Spirit of Judaism, in 1842, followed by a more popular work, The Jewish Faith, 1845.

Much of Grace's popularity in America was due to the philanthropist Miriam Moses Cohen who acted as an agent for her publications in America. There was much correspondence between the two, but April 2, 1846, the last letter was sent. Toward the end of January 1847, Grace went to to a friend in Peckhamfor her health as a change of air was recommended. During this time she had difficulty speaking and swallowing; her doctors advised her to rest and she was not allowed to write. She had planned to write ‘Men of Israel.’

Grace's last publication was an article for Chambers called ‘History of the English Jews.’ Following it’s writing, Grace was persuaded by her musician brother, Emanuel, to visit Frankfurt, to consult an eminent German Physician. Emanuel returned to England to accompany his family to Germany. On the June 17, 1847, Emanuel, Grace, their mother Sarah and a friend of Grace, a Miss Samuelson, left to catch the steamer 'Sir Edward Banks' at Blackwall for Ostend.

The family journey through Belgian to Germany is documented in Grace's Frankfort Journal of 34,000 words, which has recently been transcribed by Michael Galchinsky. During her stay in Germany, Grace became weaker and weaker, with depression and intense headaches. The last entry in her Frankfort journal was made on July 29, 1847. After sxi weeks she was advised to go to the spa at Schwalbach, where she stayed for three weeks. The spa had no remedial effect and she returned to Frankfurt for the final three weeks of her life. She died in Frankfurt on September 16, 1847, and was buried in the Jewish cemetery there. On her gravestone were carved five stars representing her faith and a butterfly.

Dr. Daniel A. Harris,* Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life; Professor of English & Jewish Studies, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick NJ wrote:

Popular as a novelist, important as a theologian, but ignored as a poet: an English Jew of Sephardic extraction fixated on themes of exile and as similation at just the point that British Jews were seeking full civil rights, Aguilar is the first Anglo-Jew to write midrashic poems about Hebrew characters. She is also among the first to jump the boundaries of Victorian women's 'domestic sphere' to write explicitly political poetry. Her work is vigorous, stark, subtle in its critique of British Christian culture. Some of her most powerful work is clearly proto-Zionist.

Michael Galchinsky. Ph.D., Associate Professor 19th Century British Literature, Cultural Studies, Jewish Studies and Narrative Theory at Georgia State University, wrote:

Modern Jewish Women's Dilemmas, Grace Aguilar's Bargains' argues that Victorian Jewish women were the first Jewish women anywhere in the world to begin publishing books in a thoroughgoing way. Grace Aguilar, by far the most prominent spokesperson for English Jews during the period, attempted to strike bargains, both with Christians, and with Jewish men. If Christians would tolerate Jews, Aguilar agreed that Jews would keep their different practices within the domestic sphere. Similarly, if Jewish men would provide women in the community with the education they lacked, women would agree to restrict their use of this education to training children in the home. Aguilar's bargains, articulated in romances, domestic fictions, and midrashim, enabled her to break centuries' old exemptions on women's participating in the intellectual life of the Jewish community, and enabled her to create a new Jewish novelistic from scratch.

Short Writings

A Vision of Jerusalem (February 1844)

Amete &Yafeh

An Hour of Peace (September 1843)

An Infant's Smile (1842)

Angels (March 1844)

Communings With Nature - Address to the Ocean (October 1847)

Communings With Nature - Autumn Leaves (November 1844)

Communings With Nature - Autumn Winds (January 1846)

Communings With Nature -The Evergreen (May 1846)

Communings With Nature - Night (April 1844)

Communings With Nature - Ocean (May 1845)

Dialogue Stanzas (Purim - August 1845)

Funeral Hymn (July 1844)

Hymn to Summer (August 1842)

'I Never Loved a Flower' (December 1844)

Memory and Hope (September 1845)

Ode on Charity (1840)

Past, Present and Future (1842)

Sabbath Thoughts (August 1843)

Sabbath Thoughts II (January 1844)

Sabbath Thoughts III (June 1844)

Sabbath Thoughts IV (1839)

Sabbath Thoughts V (1841)

Sabbath Thoughts VI (1847)

Song of the Spanish Jews (September 1843)

The Chamber of the Dying (May 1843)

The Hebrew's Appeal (January 1844)

The Importance of Religion to Genius (1839)

The Jewish Year: Sabbath Bereshith (1847)

The Jewish Year: Sabbath Noah (1847)

The Rocks of Elim (1840)

The Wanderers (1838)

The Widow (March 1846)

Source: Grace Aguilar Info © Michael Dugdale - Aguilar Papers 2000.


Daniel R. Langton

ABSTRACT: Grace Aguilar was an early nineteenth-century Anglo-Jewish writer who concerned herself with the reform of Jewish religion and its relationship to Christianity in her theological works, novels, and poetry. She was interested in challenging the ways in which Jews and Christians represented each other in their teachings, tried to present both perspectives on the vexed question of Christian mission to the Jews, and sought to demonstrate that the theological barriers constructed between the two faiths were often less immoveable than tradition would have it. As a female Jewish theologian writing well before her time, she offered a remarkably innovative conception of female spirituality that allowed her to cross and re-cross the boundaries between the Jewish and Christian religious cultures she inhabited.

Grace Aguilar

Birth: Jun. 2, 1816 Hackney Greater London, England

Death: Sep. 16, 1847 Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Writer. Prolific and influential English contributor to the Anglo-Jewish Enlightenment, internationally recognized poet, historical romance writer, novelist, educator, social historian and liturgist of the Victorian Romantic Period. Her best known works include Vale of Cedars, A Mother's Recompense, and Home Influence.

Inscription: Epitaph on tombstone read - "Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her from the gates." (Proverbs 31

Burial: Jewish Cemetery Friedhof Eckenheimer Landstrasse Frankfurt am Main Frankfurter Stadtkreis Hessen, Germany

Created by: Librarian Jessie

Record added: Dec 25, 2009

Find A Grave Memorial# 45784897

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Grace Aguilar's Timeline

June 2, 1816
London, United Kingdom
September 16, 1847
Age 31
Frankfurt, Darmstadt, Hesse, Germany
Hesse, Germany