Raphael Weill was a pioneer San Francisco merchant who emigrated from France and arrived in San Francisco in 1855. Within three years, he had become a partner of the J. W. Davidson Dry Goods Store. By 1885, the Davidson Dry Goods Store became Raphael Weill and Company, and the store became known as the White House.
Widely known for its fine merchandise and excellent employer-employee relations, the White House moved three times before it closed in 1966. Weill, noted for his civic and philanthropic activities, helped found the Bohemian Club; contributed clothing for victims of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake; was a member of the San Francisco Board of Education; and supported San Francisco’s French Hospital, where a wing in the building bears his name. He also contributed to the French community in San Francisco, as well as those living abroad, and he received the French Legion d’Honneur. A San Francisco public school was named in his honor, and a Rodin statue at the San Francisco Palace of the Legion of Honor was also dedicated to him.
The collection contains documents relating to Weill’s business and personal history; honors received; photographs relating to Weill’s business, his family, friends, and acquaintances; a resolution of appreciation to the management of Raphael Weill and Company that was signed by over 700 employees (1931); a resolution from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors commemorating the White House’s centennial (1954); and shopping bag with advertisements for the White House. (Collection Guide unavailable).
Read more about the Western Jewish Americana archives here.