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Lichtenstein, Gaston

by Alice R. Cotten, 1991

17 Dec. 1879–16 Jan. 1954

Title page of Gaston Lichtenstein's <i>From Richmond to North Cape,</i> published 1922 by William Byrd Press, Richmond, Virginia.  Presented by HathiTrust. Gaston Lichtenstein, researcher, writer, and historian, was born in Tarboro, the son of David and Hannah Zander Lichtenstein. The oldest of seven children, he attended Tarboro Male Academy from September 1890 to February 1895. He was graduated from Hughes High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1897. Afterwards, he studied at both the University of Cincinnati (1897–1900) and Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, from which he received the degree of bachelor of Hebrew Letters in 1899. In 1903 Lichtenstein moved to Richmond, Va., with his parents, who had lived there before going to Tarboro. He remained in Richmond until his death.

Lichtenstein was fluent in seven languages and tutored Douglas Southall Freeman in Hebrew. His research at the Virginia State Library aided in the discovery of letters that Patrick Henry wrote while governor of Virginia. Lichtenstein was a frequent contributor of historical articles to The Tarborough Southerner. A Mason, he was a member of Beth Ahabah Temple in Richmond, the B'nai B'rith Lodge, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the American Historical Association, and the Richmond Musicians' Association.

Among Lichtenstein's many publications are "Early History of Tarboro . . . " (1908), "Early Social Life in Edgecombe" (1904), "Edgecombe and the Revolution" (1912), "For Whom Was Edgecombe County Named?" (1918), From Richmond to North Cape (1922), "George Washington's Lost Birthday" (1924), "Louis D. Wilson . . . " (1911), "Recollections of My Teacher . . . " (1953), "Thomas Jefferson as War Governor . . . " (1925), "When Tarboro Was Incorporated. . ." (1910), "A Visit to Young's Pier . . . " (1908), and "The Virginia Lichtensteins" (1912). He compiled Repatriation of Prisoners of War from Siberia. . . (1924), and he was the coauthor of the History of the Jews of Richmond (1917).

Lichtenstein never married. He died in the hotel that was his home in Richmond and was buried in the Hebrew cemetery.


"Gaston Lichtenstein," New York Times, 18 Jan. 1954.

"Gaston Lichtenstein, Historian, Dies Here," Richmond Times-Dispatch, 17 Jan. 1954.

Gaston Lichtenstein, The Virginia Lichtensteins: Amplified by Historical and Biographical Data (1912).

"Tar Heel Native Dies in Richmond," Raleigh News and Observer, 18 Jan. 1954.

Who's Who in American Jewry, 2d ed. (1928).

Additional Resources:

List of works by Gaston Lichtenstein from World Cat (searches multiple library catalogs). (accessed June 12, 2014).

Houston, Charles. "Erudite Gaston Lichtenstein, Historian and Researcher, Authority on Many Subjects." [Richmond News Leader (Richmond, V.A.), April 14, 1948].  (From the vertical files of the Government & Heritage Library, State Library of North Carolina.) [Portrait.]

Image Credits:

Lichenstein, Gaston. 1922. From Richmond to North Cape. Richmond, Va: William Byrd Press. (accessed June 12, 2014).

Origin - location: