Eugene Germain: Pioneer Jewish Purveyer of Fruits and Nursery Products

Eugene Germain

Eugene Germain of Germain Seed, Drawing

Values Code: I-E-L-P


Eugene Germain was born in Movdon, Switzerland, in 1849.

He came to New York in 1868, at the age 0f 19, and soon headed for the West by way of the Isthmus of Panama.



For a while Eugene Germain operated a series of supply stores along the line of construction of the Southern Pacific Railroad in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

In 1870 he arrived in Los Angeles where he first opened a restaurant.

Soon afterwards he opened a grocery and poultry wholesale and retail business, shipping a lot of merchandise to Eastern locations.

This evolved into the Germain Fruit Co., specializing in seed stock, nursery stock and a packing plant.

In 1889 the company’s name changed to the Germain Seed & Plant Company.

Old Germain Delivery Truck, Los Angeles

Civic Life

In 1883 Eugene Germain was elected President of the Los Angeles Board of Trade – for two terms.

He was First Vice-President of the re-activated Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.

In 1893-1897, President Cleveland appointed Germain as U.S. Counsul to Zurich Switzerland for a 4-year term.

His manger handled the business until he returned.



In 1890, Eugene Germain became a member of Masonic Lodge #42 of Los Angeles.

He was also a member of the Jonathan Club and the California Club.



Eugene Germain married Caroline Sievers, in 1872.

They had 5 children; Edward, Clare, Marc I., Henry, and Lillian.


Eugene Germain died in 1908


The company he started in the early 1870’s continued to fuction with the Germain name well into the 1980’s, and his name is still alive in the technical seed business in California


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

  • Germain Family; The Germains of Los Angeles; Los Angeles; Ashby, Harriet; 2/4
  • Germain, Eugene and Edward. Eugene and Edward Germain of Los Angeles; Ashby, Harriet; 38/3&4.


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