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Archive - Nathan Marcus Adler Papers

Identifier: ARC-5

Scope and Contents Note

The collection includes writings and notes (1868-1889), including derashot, dissertation, responsum, and ethical will. Personal Papers, 1828-1890, including character reference, rabbinical ordination, and will. (Alphabetical by Subject) Correspondence (Alphabetical), 1828-1889. Miscellaneous correspondence, 1837-1882, including drafts of letters. Additional correspondence belonging to: Marcus Baer Adler (father); Ascher Anschel Stern (son-in-law); Henrietta Worms Adler (first wife); Celestine Lehfeld Adler (second wife). Accounting Journals.


  • Creation: 1813-1890 (Bulk 1840-1888)


Language and Scripts Used

Materials are in English, Hebrew, Yiddish, and German.


There are no restrictions to accessing this collection, however researchers need written permission to print or publish from it.


Nathan Marcus Adler was the British chief rabbi. He was born in Hanover, then under the British crown, in 1803 and was educated in Germany. He became rabbi of Oldenburg in 1829 and succeeded his father, Marcus Baer Adler, at Hanover the following year. In 1844 he was elected chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Empire in succession to Solomon Hirschel. He was chosen by a representative gathering of national delegates, and not, as with his predecessors, by the London Great Synagogue alone. S. R. Hirsch was among the other candidates. During his 45 years of office the Anglo-Jewish community developed its modern features, which Adler did much to shape. His firm but enlightened orthodoxy was coupled with a strong and attractive personality. Adler was largely responsible for the failure of the Reform movement, established in England shortly before his arrival, to make much headway there. His wide-ranging and ambitious conception of his office was made clear in his Laws and Regulations for all the Ashkenazi Synagogues in the British Empire, issued in 1847. He was mainly responsible for the establishment of Jews' College in 1855 and was a moving spirit in the organization of the Jewish Board of Guardians in 1859. In 1866 he took the first steps toward the creation of the United Synagogue. His pastoral tours and visits to provincial communities made his influence felt throughout the country, and he was also able to secure recognition of his authority in the British colonies. Outside the community he was regarded as the official representative and public spokesman for Judaism. Ill health curtailed his activity after 1879, when his son Hermann Adler was appointed delegate chief rabbi. His principal literary work is Netinah la-Ger, a Hebrew commentary on the Targum Onkelos (Vilna 1875; published in numerous editions). His Ahavat Yonatan, a commentary on the Targum Jonathan, remains in manuscript (JTSA, Ms. Adler, 1173). (Encyclopedia Judaica)


1.47 Linear Feet (in 3.5 document cases.)


Materials include correspondence concerning family matters, as well as duties as rabbit at Hanover and Chief Rabbi of the British Empire; miscellaneous sermons, prayer, notes, and other writings including dissertation, "On the Idea of Divinity." Also ticket for memorial meeting for Adler, 1890; correspondence of other family members, including Marcus Baer Adler, Asher Anschel Stern, Henrietta Worms Adler, and Celestine Lehfeld Adler; and miscellaneous material regarding the Sir Moses Montefiore Testimonial Fund.

Collection Arrangement

Series 1. Writings and Notes
Series 2. Personal Papers
Series 3. Correspondence
Series 4. Accounting Journals


Materials are available by appointment only at The Special Collections Reading Room, The Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary, 3080 Broadway, New York, NY 10027. Email

Source of Acquisition

Received with the Elkan N. Adler Library, purchase in 1923.

Related Archival Materials Note


Mic 3707A-F - five books belonging to Mrs. Adler.
Mic. 9163 - Poem in honor of the 82nd birthday of Nathan Marcus Adler by A.N. Spier, 1885
Mic. 9188 - Letters sent to Nathan Marcus Adler, July - December 1849.

Archival materials:

MS 8879 Hermann Adler correspondence.

DS135.E5 - A56 1909 Adler, Marcus Nathan. Address delivered at the Jewish Institute...on June 6th, 1909, on the occasion of the Jubilee of the Chief Rabbi by Mr. Marcus N. Adler. London : Office of the Jewish Chronicle, 1909.

MS 8529
SHF 1672:41 - Letter to the Chief Rabbis. United Kingdom.

Additional materials by or about Nathan Marcus Adler may be found in the library catalog using a name search.

Guide to the Nathan Marcus Adler Papers
Daniel Soyer
October 1986
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Language of description note
Funding for the retrospective conversion of the original finding aid documents to produce this guide using Archivists’ Toolkit was made possible by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).
Edition statement
2nd Edition

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections, The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary Repository

3080 Broadway
New York N.Y. 10027 USA