Goldsmid

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GOLDSMID

GOLDSMID , English family, descended from aaron goldsmid (d. 1782), who settled in London in the second quarter of the 18th century and was active in the affairs of the Great Synagogue. benjamin goldsmid (1755–1808) and abraham goldsmid (1756–1810), sons of Aaron, became prominent financiers in the City of London during the French revolutionary wars, when their competition with the old-established non-Jewish bankers resulted in the issue of treasury loans on terms much more favorable to the government, and thereby initiated a new era in public finance. The brothers were active in the affairs of the Jewish community and in general philanthropy. They served in all the offices of the Great Synagogue and were associated with the establishment of both the Jews' Hospital and the Royal Naval Asylum. Their close familiarity with the sons of George iii did much to break down social prejudice against Jews in England and to pave the way for emancipation. They were considered by Lord Nelson among his closest friends. Both of the brothers committed suicide. Their activity marked the displacement of the Sephardi element in London from their former hegemony. albert goldsmid (1793–1861), Benjamin's son, entered the army in 1811. He fought in the Peninsular War at Waterloo, and reached the rank of major general. sir isaac lyon goldsmid (1778–1859), son of Aaron Goldsmid's second son Asher, made a large fortune, partly by financing railway construction. He was made a baronet in 1841, being the first professing Jew to receive an English hereditary title. He was prominent in the struggle for Jewish emancipation in England and was one of the founders of the nonsectarian University College, London. He took a leading part in the establishment of the Reform synagogue. In 1846 he was named Baron de Palmeira by the king of Portugal. sir francis henry goldsmid (1808–1878), the eldest son of Isaac Lyon, was the first Jewish barrister in England and for many years a member of Parliament, as was his brother frederick david goldsmid (1812–1866). sir julian goldsmid (1838–1896), the son of Frederick David, succeeded to the title and was for many years a member of Parliament and at one time deputy speaker. Like his father, he was also active in communal affairs as chairman of the Reform synagogue, of the *Anglo-Jewish Association, and others. On his death, the baronetcy was transferred to his cousin, Sir Osmond *D'Avigdor.

anna maria goldsmid (1805–1889), daughter of Isaac Lyon, made a name as philanthropist and poet. sir frederick john goldsmid (1818–1908), who belonged to the baptized branch of the family, was a distinguished Orientalist, a major general in the army, constructed the first telegraph lines in Persia, and established the administrative system in the Congo (see also *D'Avigdor family).

bibliography:

A.J. Prijs, Pedigree of the Family Goldsmit-Cassel of Amsterdam, 1650–1750 (1937); Hyamson, in: jhset, 17 (1951–52), 1–10; Emden, ibid., 14 (1935–39), 225–46; D. Marks and A. Loewy, Memoir of Sir Francis Henry Goldsmid (1882); Cope, in: Economica, 9 (1942), 180–206. add. bibliography: odnb online for Abraham Goldsmid, Benjamin Goldsmid, Sir Isaac Lyon Goldsmid, Sir Francis Henry Goldsmid, Anna Maria Goldsmid, Sir Frederick John Goldsmid; Bermant, The Cousinhood, 17–24, index; Jolles, Directory of Distinguished British Jews (2002), index; Katz, Jews in Britain, index.

[Cecil Roth]