2. Early Life


Born July 1849 in New York City, she was a Sephardic Jew, which means her
family way back in the 1600’s landed in lower Manhattan, at the Battery, and
settled here. They had originally come from Portugal and from Brazil which was
a Portuguese possession. She is a fourth generation American, meaning her GREAT,
GREAT, GREAT GRANDFATHER first arrived and out of this family came her GREAT,
GREAT, GRANDFATHER; followed by her GREAT GRANDFATHER, followed by her
GRANDFATHER, followed by her father and finally EMMA LAZARUS.

Being wealthy she had a very comfortable life, but during her life there were many
crises, which Emma Lazarus took very seriously: CIVIL WAR, RISE OF THE LABOR
UNIONS, WAVES OF IMMIGRATION, and Emma Lazarus involved herself in all these


Emma was one of seven children. They were a cultured family, all well educated
and an extensive library at home, and of course they were all well-read.

Emma started writing when she was 14 and when she was 17, her father published
her book of poetry entitled: Poems and Translations.