Colonel Marcus H. Hecht, Pioneer Boot & Shoe Manufacturer of San Francisco

Marcus Hecht

Marcus Hecht of San Francisco

Marcus Hecht of San Francisco

Values Codes I-E-L

Marcus Hecht was born in 1844 in Hainstadt, in the Duchy of Baden, Germany.

At the age of four, in 1848, Marcus Hecht left with his parents Helene and Elias Hecht, and his brothers and sisters.

The Hecht family came to America via Rotterdam, London, and on to New York City.

Along the way . . .

From there they proceeded to Baltimore where the older of the Hecht sons Isaac, Abraham and Jacob soon found jobs which sup­ported the family and allowed their younger brothers Marcus and Louis, Jr. to go to school.

In the early 1860s, Marcus Hecht opened a shoe store in Balti­more, and later he moved to Boston where he also operated a shoe store.

San Francisco

By 1860 the older Hecht Brothers had established them­selves in San Francisco as importers and jobbers of boots and shoes.

By the late 1860s Marcus Hecht joined them.

Marcus and his brother Louis were made partners and the five broth­ers soon built a very prosperous business.

Hecht shoe advertisement

Hecht shoe advertisement

By the early 1870s Hecht Brothers & Company and another firm they established with Thomas Buckingham, Buckingham & Hecht, were major manu­facturers of boots and shoes, and wholesalers of the same products plus leather and shoe findings.

They had both a manufacturing plant and a wholesale display showroom.

For several years Marcus Hecht was the President of The Emporium Company, as well as President of Buckingham & Hecht.

The Emporium, Vintage Postcard

The Emporium, Vintage Postcard

He was also a Director of the Merchantile Trust Company.

Hecht Brothers & Co. became a bond and investment securities firm by the 1890s, while the shoe manufacturing was carried on in the name of Buckingham & Hecht.


Marcus H. Hecht was active in Republican politics, and in 1884 he was chosen as a Presidential Elector by the Republican conven­tion.

He also was a candi­date for Congress on the Republican ticket.

One commentator described him, “a self-made man, who has risen from an humble sphere by dint of hard work and tireless energy.”

Marcus Hecht became a Colonel in the California National Guard.

During the administration of Mayor Phelan, he served as a Fire Commissioner of San Francisco.


In 1871, Marcus Hecht married Alice Arnold.

Together they had four daughters; Mrs. Mark Gerstle, Mrs. William Gerstle, Mrs. John Rothchild, and Mrs. Julian S. Stein.


Colonel Marcus H. Hecht died in 1909,

Marcus Hecht was interred at Home of Peace in Colma, south of San Francisco.

“Marcus Hecht was widely known as a great extemporaneous speaker, a charitable man, and was associated with many Jewish organizations.” –Rabbi Martin Meyer, 1916



  • Hecht, Marcus, Pioneer Jews of San Francisco, Part One, A-L, Norton Stern, 41/1
  • The Jews of San Francisco, by Martin A. Meyer, Ph.D., Emanu-El, San Francisco, June 1916. David Epstein is the Curator for this Marcus Hecht Exhibit


    Jews in the News

    –About This Time–

A Conversion in San Francisco — 1865

Admitted — On Monday last, the respected wife of Mr. (Simon) Appel, a co-religionist, was received into the Holy Covenant by the Rev. Dr. (Henry A.) Henry. The lady has been married to Mr. Appel about a year, and her amiable qualities have endeared her to all who have had the pleasure of her acquaintonce. (sic.)

—The Hebrew, San Francisco, Wednesday, September 20, 1865, WSJH Vol. 6, #2.

(Rabbi Henry A. Henry was spiritual leader of Congregation Sherith Israel of San Francisco.)