American essayist; born March 23, 1846, in New York city, where she has always resided; daughter of Moses and Esther (Nathan) Lazarus. The first piece of work to bring her into prominent notice was the biographical sketch of her sister Emma Lazarus, which first appeared in "The Century Magazine," Oct., 1888, and was afterward prefixed to "The Poems of Emma Lazarus" (New York and Boston, 1889). Between 1890 and 1893 she wrote articles on "Marie Bashkirtseff" in "Scribner's Magazine," and on "Louise May Alcott" and "Margaret Fuller" in "The Century Magazine." In 1895 six of her essays on Jewish subjects, which had appeared from 1892 to 1895 in "The Century Magazine" and "The Jewish Messenger," were collected and published in book form under the title "The Spirit of Judaism." The plea addressed to Jews in these essays is to acquire a larger knowledge of the Jewish situation, to emerge from their spiritual isolation, and to enter into fellowship with those among whom they live; and the plea addressed to Christians is for a more liberal attitude toward Jews and Jewish thought.
Between 1897 and 1902 Josephine Lazarus wrote, in "The American Hebrew," "The New World," and "The Maccabæan," four articles on aspects of the Zionist movement, with which she is in sympathy. Besides, she published, in 1899, a book entitled "Madame Dreyfus"; and for many years she has been a contributor of numerous book-notices to "The Critic."