By Dawn’s Early Light, Princeton, February 13 – June 12, 2016


For Jews, a tiny minority in the early Republic, freedom was both liberating and confounding. As individuals they were free to participate in the new nation’s political and social life, but America’s dawn also signaled the twilight of an earlier age. Constraints that had maintained social cohesion loosened, and once-rigid boundaries became porous. Synagogues, accustomed to enforcing discipline, were challenged by indifference and individualism.

The Princeton University Library announces the opening of the exhibition By Dawn’s Early Light: Jewish Contributions to American Culture from the Nation’s Founding to the Civil War, on Saturday, February 13, 2016, in the galleries of the Princeton University Art Museum. The Center for Southern Jewish Culture at the College of Charleston has had a big hand in the project. Co-curated by CSJC founding director Adam Mendelsohn and current director Dale Rosengarten, with major contributions from associate director Shari Rabin, the exhibit includes substantial material from the American South and features the work of Charleston-born artists Theodore Sidney Moïse and Solomon Nunes Carvalho. Among more than 170 objects on display are some of the earliest novels, poems, religious works, paintings, photographs, newspapers, and scientific treatises produced by Jews in the United States.

By Dawn’s Early Light is accompanied by a 345-page catalogue with 12 scholarly essays and 73 full-color illustrations. The show continues through June 12, 2016 and is open to the public free of charge. For more information, contact: Darlene Dreyer,, (609) 258-5049.

Online at

Click here for a walk-through of By Dawn’s Early Light by exhibit curators Adam Mendelsohn and Dale Rosengarten, past director and current director, respectively, of the Center for Southern Jewish Culture.


Updated information regarding the paintings of Carvalho
Since the closing of the exhibition, curator Dale Rosengarten has discovered new findings about the paintings of Carvalho.  See her document ‘Crediting Carvalho.’

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