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GOMPERTZ , English family, closely associated with the Hambro Congregation in London and known in the synagogue as Emmerich, after the family's place of origin. joseph gompertz (1731–1810) was an early member of the *Board of Deputies of British Jews. The sons of his brother solomon barent gompertz (1729–1807) attained distinction in different spheres. benjamin gompertz (1779–1865) was a mathematician of genius, Fellow of the Royal Society, and writer on astronomy. When he was refused the post of actuary to the Guardian Insurance Office because of his faith, his brother-in-law N.M. *Rothschild established the Alliance Insurance Company (1824) in which he filled that position until 1848. He developed a mathematical law of human mortality which is still used in actuarial calculations. He proposed a plan for the amalgamation and reorganization of the Jewish charities in London. His brother ephraim gompertz (1776–1876) wrote Theoretic Discourse on the Nature and Property of Money (London, 1820), a pioneering work in the field of economics. isaac gompertz (1774–1856) was among the earliest Anglo-Jewish poets and was compared in his day to Dryden and Pope. His works include Time or Light and Shade (London, 1815), The Modern Antique or, the Muse in the Costume of Queen Anne (London, 1813), and Devon, a Poem (Teignmouth, 1825). He spent his last years in Devonshire and is buried in the Jewish cemetery of Exeter. lewis gompertz (1784–1861), the youngest of the Gompertz brothers, was an inventor who devoted himself to the cause of the humane treatment of animals. His Moral Enquiries on the Situation of Men and Brutes (London, 1824) led to the foundation of the Society (later Royal Society) for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which he served devotedly as secretary. However, when it was reorganized on Christian sectarian lines in 1832, he resigned and then founded the Animals' Friend Society, with its influential periodical, The Animals' Friend, which he managed successfully until 1846, when his health failed and the society was disbanded. Gompertz was responsible for a number of patented inventions, many designed to lessen the sufferings of animals. His expanding chuck is still widely used in industry. In more recent times, the Gompertz family, no longer attached to Judaism, produced many army officers and the violinist richard gompertz (1859–1911).


D. Kaufmann and M. Freudenthal, Familie Gompertz (1907), 318–25; Roth, in: jhset, 14 (1935–39), 8, 10, 14; P. Emden, Jews of Britain (1943), 167–74; Roth, Mag Bibl, index; The Times (July 12, 1965). add. bibliography: odnb online for Benjamin Gompertz, Lewis Gompertz; T. Endelman, The Jews of Georgian England (1989), 261–64, index.

[Cecil Roth]

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