From Aaron Lopez’s Library
Signed Book. Remarks on the Life and Writings of Dr. Jonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patrick’s, Dublin, in a Series of Letters from John Earl of Orrery to His Son, the Honourable Hamilton Boyle. Fifth Edition. London: For A. Millar, 1752. From the library of Aaron Lopez, signed on the verso of the portrait by Ravenet. “Aaron Lopez’s Book / New Port Novr. 18th. 1772.” Contemporary sheep, heavily worn, front cover detached, front endpaper lacking.12mo. 4 x 6½ in., 250 pp.
Aaron Lopez (1731-1782), a Jewish merchant, was born in Lisbon, Portugal, to a family of converses who secretly practicing Judaism while publicly professing Catholicism. In 1752 Lopez moved to Newport, Rhode Island, where he became a successful merchant, a founder of the Touro Synagogue, and the wealthiest person in town. Despite a history of religious freedom in Rhode Island, Lopez was denied the opportunity to become a naturalized citizen there. He temporarily moved to Massachusetts, became a citizen, and returned to Newport. Lopez was likely the first Jew to become a naturalized citizen in Massachusetts. Books from the libraries of colonial American Jews are rare.