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Rosenberg family papers, 1860-1977

Abraham Rosenberg, who was born in Jenny Lind, Calif., was in the shoe business before he and his brothers, Adolph and Max, started a successful dried fruit and nuts export business called Rosenberg Bros. and Co in the early 1890s. He married Alice Greenbaum, born to Louis and Sarah Ackerman Greenbaum in San Francisco, Calif. They had one daughter, Louise, who later married Richard Bransten, of the MJB coffee family, and Lionel Berman. Abraham Rosenberg was an active philanthropist, contributing especially to the San Francisco Symphony, and he and his wife befriended a number of Bay Area artists and performers, including Ernest Bloch, Isaac Stern, Oscar Weil, Charles Erskine Scott Wood, and Imogen Cunningham. Abraham Rosenberg also established the Rosenberg Foundation to help California children. Louise Bransten Berman, active in leftist causes, was indicted for contempt of Congress in the late 1940s for refusing to divulge to the House Un-American Activities Committee whether or not she had contributed money to the Communist party.

The collection consists of family correspondence, providing information about the family’s history, involvement with the arts, and friendships, featuring letters from Abraham Rosenberg, Alice Greenbaum Rosenberg, Louise Rosenberg, Ernest Bloch, Isaac Stern, Oscar Weil, Charles Erskine Scott Wood, Imogen Cunningham, and other well-known personalities. A letter from Sarah Ackerman to Louis Greenbaum from before their marriage describes San Francisco after President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. The bulk of the correspondence is between husband and wife Abraham and Alice Rosenberg and between Louise Rosenberg and her parents during her years attending Vassar College (1926-1929). There is also Louise (Rosenberg) Bransten Berman’s correspondence from after her father’s death regarding memorial scholarships and donations, including exchanges with Albert Elkus at the University of California, Berkeley about the Oscar Wiel Fund. The collection also contains photographs; family papers; a wedding album and invitations; birth notices and obituaries; school albums; scrapbooks; a history of the family business; programs for the theater, concerts, and balls; genealogical information for the Oppenheimer, Rosenberg, Ackerman, and Greenbaum families; and a 1884 issue of the trade journal Shoe and Leather Reporter. Particularly notable among the photographs in the collection are the 1911 photographs of Jenny Lind, a town in Calaveras County, California; photographs of Yosemite, circa 1919; photographs from the Santa Barbara film set of Omar the Tent Maker (1922); photographs of the aftermath of the 1925 earthquake in Santa Barbara, California; photographs of family friends, including Oscar Weil, Charles Erskine Scott Wood; and photographs of Som, the Rosenberg’s long-time family cook. Travel materials pertain to two European trips and a 1906 trip to Japan that coincided with the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.


Rosenberg family


2 cartons, 1 oversize box, and 1 oversize folder (2.90 linear feet)

Collection #

BANC MSS 2010/602

Publication Date

April 28, 1860

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