Western Jewish Americana

Lilienthal (Samuel) memorial book, 1891

Samuel Lilienthal was born in Munich, Germany, and became a pioneer American homeopathic physician. After he immigrated to the U.S., he was employed as Professor of Mental and Nervous Diseases at the Homeopathic College of New York and as a Professor of Clinical Medicine at New York College for Women. He moved to San Francisco in the late 1880s to stay with family members. Called a "great advocate and determined friend" of women, Lilienthal was instrumental in getting many women admitted to medical school and in furthering their careers.

Magnes collection on Judah L. Magnes, 1870-2004

Judah L. Magnes occupied himself with many endeavors. He was a rabbi; an educator; an organizational leader; an independent-minded social activist and humanist. Although Magnes was born in San Francisco and raised in Oakland, he achieved national recognition as a leader of the Jewish community in New York and, in 1922, after he moved to Palestine, where he played an important role in the creation of a Jewish university and a Jewish national home.

Bransten (Edward and Cathryn) family papers and photographs, 1880-1980

Edward Bransten was born in 1906 to Edward Brandenstein (b. 1870-d. 1948) and Florine (Haas) Brandenstein (b. 1881-d. 1973). Edward spent 56 years working in the family's coffee business (MJB Coffee), serving as the company's president and then as honorary chairman before the company was sold to Nestle in 1985. Edward Bransten married Cathryn Scheeline in 1938. Cathryn's parents were Harry Scheeline and Norma Fox. Edward and Cathryn had three children, Patricia (b. 1940), Carol (b. 1944), and Barbara (b. 1951).

Magnes collection on Levi Strauss and Company, 1950-1974

Levi Strauss, known as the world's largest clothing manufacturer, was founded by Levi Strauss, who arrived in San Francisco in 1850. Strauss started his business making sturdy trousers for miners at the height of the California gold rush and incorporated the business in 1890. By 1984, there were fifty-six domestic and fifty-seven overseas manufacturing plants. The company is known for social responsibility.

Magnes collection on Adolph Sutro, 1858-1993

Adolph Heinrich Joseph Sutro was born in 1830, in Aachen, Prussia. After immigrating to the United States, he moved to San Francisco in 1850. After starting as a merchant, Sutro planned and promoted a tunnel that he designed to drain the water from the mines of the Comstock in Nevada. The Sutro Tunnel faced many obstacles, including a lack of funding and opposition by some miners. Its completion, in 1878, made Adolph Sutro a very wealthy man. This wealth allowed him to buy one-twelfth of the land mass of San Francisco.

Winter (Moritz) papers, 1910-1956

Motitz Winter was a rabbi in Germany for twenty-eight years. After the Nazis burned down his synagogue, he went to Shanghai, China and served the refugee Jewish community there for two years. In 1941, he came to Santa Cruz, California where he led the Beth Israel Synagogue and the Jewish community center. In 1942, he moved to Oakland and conducted services for several Bay Area Jewish communities. In time, he became the director of the Oakland Jewish Welfare Federation's Hebrew school and the librarian of the Jewish community center.

D. N. & E. Walter & Company records and photographs, 1868-1958

D. N. & E. Walter & Company was founded in San Francisco in 1858 by brothers David Nathan, Emanuel, Isadore, Herman, Moritz, and Isaac Walter. The company established itself as an important wholesale and retail firm specializing in carpets and furnishings for the burgeoning San Francisco market. A branch of the company, originally called Walter Brothers, also operated in Portland, Oregon as early as 1865. Other branches would open in Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Fresno, and San Diego.

Pinto-Levy family papers, 1856-1878

Adolph Pinto was born in Prussia in 1817 and immigrated to California in 1852, during the Gold Rush. Adolph set up business as a tailor in Sonora, Tuolumne County, California and made a home there with his wife, Fanny, and their children. In 1858, Emanuel Pinto was born to Adolph and Fanny. In 1874, the Pinto family left Sonora and moved to San Francisco, where they joined Congregation Sherith Israel. Emanuel married Sarah Cohen, who was born in New York in 1862 to Abraham and Caroline Cohen. The Cohens moved to San Francisco sometime in the 1860s or 1870s.


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