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Lilienthal (Sophie and Theodore) letters and photographs, 1870-1910

Sophie Gerstle Lilienthal was the daughter of Lewis (Lob) Gerstle and Hannah (Johannah) Greenebaum of San Francisco. On 27 Aug. 1879, she married Theodore Max Lilienthal. Lilienthal was the director of Lilienthal Brothers’ hops and grain of New York.

The collection consists of two hundred and fifty-two letters exchanged between Theodore Lilienthal and Sophie Gerstle Lilienthal between 1877 and 1889 as well as eight letters exchanged between Theodore and other members of his family and his personal friends. Theodore’s letters to Sophie illuminate his deep love and devotion to her and his beliefs that a woman’s place in society and within her own marriage should be determined by her husband and that a wife should practice frugality and order. Among the letters is also a menu from Theodore and Sophie’s wedding, a bill from San Francisco’s Palace Hotel, many poems that Theodore wrote or gave to Sophie, and one poem Theodore sent to his father, Rabbi Max Lilienthal, in 1880, on the occasion of Max’s twenty-fifth jubilee as rabbi of Cincinnati’s Congregation Bene Israel. The collection also includes the pages of two photo albums. These albums contain photographs (circa 1870-1910) of members of many prominent Bay Area Jewish families. Surnames documented in the albums include the following: Arnold, Bibo, Bissinger, Bransten, Braverman, Bucki, Cauffman, Cohn, Dinkelspiel, Ehrman, Esberg, Falk, Fecheimer, Felsenthal, Feinstock, Fleishhacker, Frank, Frankel, Gerstle, Gerstley, Glassman, Glazier, Greenbaum, Greenebaum, Greenewald, Guggenheim, Guggenhime, Haas, Harmuth, Hecht, Heilbronner, Heller, Herscheimer, Hillyer, Hirsch, Jacobi, Kauffman, Koch, Koester, Kohl, Lebenbaum, Lehmeier, Levison, Lilienthal, Livingston, Mack, Meyer, Mooser, Niebaum, Ottenheimer, Reese, Regensburger, Rosen, Seligman, Seligsburg, Sloss, Stepbacher, Sternau, Strauss, Sussman, Tanhauser, Walter, Wasserman, Weil, Weinstock, Wiel, Wormser, Wornum, Wunsch, and Zinn. The photographs in these albums include portraits of individual adults and children as well as group portraits take indoors and outdoors. Among these are portraits of the families of Lewis Gerstle and Louis Sloss.

Organization: Box 1: Letters, loose photographs. Oversize Box 1: Photo Album #1 pages. Oversize Box 2: Photo Album #2 pages, boards from photo album #1.


1 box and 2 oversize boxes (1.2 linear feet)


BANC MSS 2010/732

Publication Date

December 28, 1870

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