Solomon Nunes Carvalho: Early Jewish Community Pioneer, Artist & Photographer

Solomon Nunes Carvelho

Values Code: I-H-E-L-P


Solomon Nunes Carvalho was born, in 1815, to a Jewish family of Spanish-Portuguese descent in Charleston, South Carolina.

Solomon Carvelho, Self-Portrait, 1848, Library of Congress


He was trained as an artist, then as a photographer – as this new art form developed.


Fremont’s 5th Western Expedition

In 1854, he joined John Charles Fremont’s Fifth Expedition to the West as its artist and photographer.

The expedition arrived in Los Angeles in mid-1854.


Short time in Los Angeles

Solomon Carvalho took up residence on the second floor of “La Tienda de China,” a building and store owned by two Sephardic Jewish brothers, Samuel K. Labatt and Joseph I. Labatt.

Carvalho also set up his painting and photography studio on the second floor.


First non-Profit Organization in Los Angeles

Very quickly, Solomon Carvalho and the Labatts started discussing the lack of any organization in the small Jewish Community.

The result was the creation of the first, Non-profit Charity Organization chartered in Los Angeles: The Hebrew Benevolent Society, today known as the Jewish Family Service.


The Hebrew Bevevolent Society

The society had five listed purposes:

  1. A Jewish Cemetery and burials
  2. A Jewish Fraternal Club
  3. Jewish Philanthopy
  4. General Charity Giving
  5. High Holy Day Services


Once started, in the later months of 1854, Solomon Carvalho made his way back to the East Coast of America where he became a well known artist..


Solomon Nunes Carvalho passed away, in 1897.


More information can be found in the following issue of Western States Jewish History:

  • Carvelho, Solomon Nunes; Solomon Nunes Carvalho Helped in Founding the Los Angeles Jewish Community; Los Angeles; Kramer, William M.; 28/4, 38/3&4.


More Early Los Angeles Jewish Pioneers

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