About the Collection

The Thomas J. Tobias Papers collection consists of various documents, diaries, and letters related to members of the Tobias family. Notable in this collection are a number of Bills of Sale for enslaved peoples belonging to Abraham Tobias, letters from Marx E. Cohen to James Tupper regarding the death of one of his slaves in service, an Oath of Allegiance signed by Emily Minis, and six diaries written by three members of the same family from the mid-19th century. The Joseph Lyons diary (1833-1834), written when he was between the ages of 19-21, contains Lyons’ ruminations on his future career, his beliefs on state’s rights, some poetry, and his thoughts on his Jewish faith. Joseph Lyons’ nephew, David Henry Mordecai, wrote in four diaries between 1849 and 1858, detailing his travels to Cuba and the Florida Keys, in addition to extensive travels through Europe, and his treatment for tuberculosis. After David Henry Mordecai’s death from tuberculosis in 1859, his sister Hortensia journalized her travels in Europe with her family and her diary records her thoughts on art and other sightseeing in Italy, Germany, and France.

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