Lemuel Goldwater: California Garment Industry Jewish Pioneer

Lemuel Goldwater 

Values Code: I-E-L-P


Lemuel Goldwater was born in San Francisco in 1865.

His father, Joseph Goldwater, was the brother of Michael Goldwater, who, in turn was the father of Barry Goldwater, of Senator and Presidential Candidate fame.

Lemuel’s mother died when he was a young.

His father sent him to a Military Academy near San Jose.

After graduation he joined his father in the family store in Tombstone, Arizona.

In 1893, Lemuel Goldwater sold his interest in the store, moved to Anaheim, California where he bought an interest in a local bank.

Emuel Goldwater at Cohn-Goldwater Anniversary

Los Angeles

In 1899, Lemuel Goldwater joined Morris Cohn as partner in his Los Angeles garment business.

Cohn needed a partner with financial skills while he would handle the manufacturing and sales.

They were a good team.

Cohn-Goldwater & Co. specialized in workmen’s clothes and became famous for their Boss Brand of overalls.

Cohn-Goldwater & Co. was the pioneer firm of today’s giant garment industry in Los Angeles.

Lemuel Goldwater took over the Presidency of the company which he held until his death in 1942.


Lemuel Goldwater was a Vice President of Congregation B’nai B’rith (now Wilshire Boulevard Temple).

He was President of the Kaspare Cohn Hospital.

This was important to him because he believed it was necessary for there to be a hospital where Jewish doctors could practice – a sign of problems at that particular time.

Lemuel Goldwater was an effective fund raiser, donor, and advisor in the construction of Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, where most Jews, born in Los Angeles, who are 75 years or older, saw their first light of day.

He also served as President of the hospital for many years.

Isidor Eisner, Joseph Y. Baruch, Lemuel Goldwater at Cedars of Lebanon Groundbreaking, Los Angeles, CA  [1929], #WS2992


Lemuel Goldwater belonged to the Concodia Club, Hillcrest Country Club, and the Santa Monica Swim Club.

He was also a member of the Elks (very active) and the Masons, West Gate Lodge, (not too active).



Lemuel Goldwater married Hortense Levy in 1898.

They had two sons, Jerrold, “Jerry” and Richard.


Lemuel Goldwater passed away in 1942.


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

  • Goldwater Family; Interview with Jerrold Goldwater; LA; 1967; Norton Stern; 41/3


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