Jacob Greenbaum: Lifelong Jewish Pioneer Manufacturer, Importer, Stockbroker & Benefactor of San Francisco

Jacob Greenbaum

Jacob Greenbaum of San Francisco

Jacob Greenbaum of San Francisco

Value Codes:  I – E – H – L – P

Jacob Greenbaum

“He was a fine type of the cultured Jewish gentleman, and was one of the noble pioneers who have made history in California.

“To know Jacob Greenbaum was to love and admire him Representing, as he did, a generation of Jewish thought and activiety, his life was characterized by liberality in thought, generosity in action, Jewishness in loyalty and hope.”  –Rabbi Martin Meyer, 1916

Jacob Greenbaum was born in Reinfalls, Bavaria, in 1831.



Jacob Greenbaum arrived in Sacramento in 1851, at the age of 20.

His merchandising business flourished and he began his long career in Jewish organized life.

He became a Charter Member of the Etham B’nai B’rith Lodge #37 of Sacramento.

Greenbaum also served a term as President of the pioneer Congregation B’nai Israel of Sacramento.


San Francisco

In 1860, Greenbaum moved to San Francisco and was made a partner and resident manage of H. Cohn & Co., importers and jobbers of clothing, hats, etc.

Later, Jacob Greenbaum was a partner of Greenbaum, Helbing & Co., stockbrokers.



Jacob Greenbaum became a Director of Temple Emanu-El in 1863, a position he held for 42 years, until 1905.

He also served as President of the Congregation.



Jacob Greenbaum was the first Grand President of District #4, International Order of B’nai B’rith.

His local San Francisco Lodge was Columbia Lodge #127.

He was also a member of the Odd Fellows.


Greenbaum also served as Treasurer of the Eureka Benevolent Society, as-well-as the Director of the Pacific Hebrew Orphans’ Home and the Jewish Educational Society.

In 1891, he joined with other Jewish leaders of California and Oregon in organizing the International Society for the Colonization of Russian Jews.

Pacific Hebrew Orphan Asylum, #WS1945

Pacific Hebrew Orphan Asylum, #WS1945

Jacob Greenbaum was lovingly nicknamed “Father Jacob” by his contemporaries.



Jacob Greenbaum married Miss Elizabeth Mayer of Savannah, Georgia in 1856.

Together they had 4 daughters.



Jacob Greenbaum died in San Francisco in 1914



  • The Jews of San Francisco, by Martin A. Meyer, Ph.D., Emanu-El, San Francisco, June 1916.
  • Visions of Reform, Congregation Emanu-El and the Jews of San Francisco, 1849- – 1999, Fred Rosenbaum, Judah L. Magnus Museum, Berkeley, CA, 2000.
  • Greenbaum, Jacob, Pioneer Jews of San Francisco, Part One, A-L, Norton Stern, Western States Jewish History, Vol. 41, #1

David Epstein is the Curator for this Jacob Greenbaum Exhibit

Other family information and pictures would be greatly appreciated.