Mina Norton & Jeannette Lazard: Early Professional Teachers in Los Angeles

Mina Norton & Jeannette Lazard

Mina Norton, Early Jewish Teacher in Los Angeles

Value Codes: I-E-L

This page was writen by Rabbi William M. Kramer z”l for Western States Jewish History in 1981.




In the 1880s and 1890s one of the few careers then considered suitable for daughters of the pioneer Jewish families was teaching school.

That is, prior to marriage, seen as the ultimate career.

Thus in the urban areas of California many of the young ladies prepared themselves for a career in education.

In Los Angeles, Jeannette Lazard, Emma Fleishman, Bertha Marx, Mina Norton and her sister Esther, were a few who elected to attend the state teacher training institutions, called “normal schools.”

The Jewish press recorded the graduation from the State Normal School in Los Angeles of Mina and Esther Norton in 1894.

Jeannette Lazard

Mina’s first position was at the newly opened Santa Monica Canyon School, a small frame building.

Mina Norton remained at the Santa Monica Canyon School for only a year, and then taught in Los Angeles from 1895 until the summer of 1903 at the Ann Street School of Los Angeles.

Family tradition has it that while teaching in the Canyon School, one of Mina’s pupils was Leo Carrillo.


Mina Norton was the eighth of the nine children of Samuel and Anna (Landsberg) Norton.

Samuel Norton had arrived in Los Angeles in the 1850s, and for a time was engaged in raising sheep in the San Juan Capistrano area, before engaging in the dry goods and clothing business in Los Angeles.

He was naturalized on November 21, 1859 by the District Court in Los Angeles, having been born in Russian-occupied Poland in 1834.

Mina Norton’s School Assignment in Santa Monica Cyn,. 1894

Samuel and Anna’s first child, their son Mark, was born in 1869. Mina was born about 1877.

On January 4, 1904, Mina Norton married Isidor Cohn.

The Isidor Cohns were members of Congregation B’nai B’rith and the Hillcrest Country Club, and he was a member of the West Gate Masonic Lodge.


Jeannette Lazard was a daughter of Solomon Lazard, one of the very early Jewish Pioneers in Los Angeles.


Jeanette Lazard at Laural Cyn. School


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

  • Norton, Mina. Mina Norton: Jewish Professional Teacher.; 38/3&4.
  • Norton, Mina; Mina Norton; First Teacher at Santa Monica Canyon School: A Picture Story; Los Angeles; 14/1.


More Early Los Angeles Jewish Pioneers

For more Early Los Angeles Jewish Pioneers click here for the Table of Contents.

Some, but not all of the Los Angeles Pioneers, can be reached by clicking on their name on the list near the upper right of this page.