Lesson Plan

Inspect an 1870’s Charity Ledger

Students learn about a German community that worked together through an 1870’s Charity ledger.

This lesson is part of our Upper Elementary Unit Plan.


Students piece together an immigrant community’s struggles by delving into a charity ledger from 1873.  They are introduced to the Gumpertz family, who immigrated from Germany and struggled through the panic of 1873.  By reading the family article, “The Gumpertz Family Story,” students understand how Natalie Gumpertz worked together with her family and community to get by.


Working Together

Important Information

What will students understand through this lesson?

  • Im/migrants adapt to new living conditions and types of communities, often with creativity and resourcefulness. Communities help people meet their needs in a new place.
  • Neighborhoods with many immigrants and their children develop because they provide work, support, access to culture, less racism and discrimination, and friendship. While adult immigrants often spend time with people who speak their home language, children often make friends across difference.


How do we do history detective work with a document to learn about a family?


1-3 Class Periods

Related Museum Program

This tour feature the families highlighted in this resource. Click the link below to learn more.

Hard Times

Primary Sources

  • United Hebrew Charity Ledger – Investigate how an immigrant family in the 1870’s got help in a time of need. (See below)
  • Gumpertz Family Story article (See below)

United Hebrew Charity Ledger

Investigate how an immigrant family in the 1870’s got help in a time of need.

Middle School: 6-8th Grade, Upper Elementary: 4-5th Grade

The Gumpertz Family Story

Learn about the Gumpertzes, a German American family who lived in 97 Orchard Street in the 1870s.

Read More

Questions on lessons and activities?

The materials on this page can enrich a visit to the Museum or help you teach about immigration. If you have questions or comments, please e-mail us.

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