San Francisco/Bay Area Early Jewish Pioneers

Directory of the Early San Francisco and Bay Area Jewish Pioneers

Pioneers are listed below. Click on each name to be taken to that person’s exibit.

The Early Decades

“The Earliest Jewish Pioneers of San Francisco” focuses on many of these early settlers, how and why they succeeded so well.

More early Jewish Pioneers will be added over time.

Western States Jewish History, the organization creating this Jewish Museum of the American West asks our viewing guests to also send us materials on Jewish Pioneers of San Francisco – as well as other areas of the Wild West. (Go to “Comments” page to contact us. [click here])

We have chosen about 110 of these Jewish Pioneers for this exhibition, focusing mostly on the first five decades – when community foundations were being created.

We have selected Jewish Pioneers from as many different business and professions as possible to give our visitors an understanding of just how important the Pioneer Jews were to this new community of San Francisco.

Just “click” on a name below and be taken to that pioneer’s personal exhibit.


Click on each individual name to see how – using specific Jewish Values – each Pioneer affected the growth and development of San Francisco.

Note how many different professions are included among these early Jewish Pioneers of San Francisco.


Washington Bartlett – California’s Pioneer Jewish Governor

Henry A. Lyons, First Jew to Serve on the California Supreme Court

Joel Noah – Jewish 49er and Respected Masonic “Tiler”

Joshua Norton – Beloved Jewish Emperor of San Francisco

Louis Sloss – Grand Jewish 49er of San Francisco & Alaska

Israel Solomon – Early Synagogue Leader of San Francisco

Abraham Watters – Pioneer Synagogue Founder of San Francisco


Emanuel Berg – Maker of an Historical Mistake

Simon Blum, Pioneer Master Merchant of Martinez, California

Joseph Brandenstein – Pioneer Philanthropist of San Francisco

Aaron Cahn: Pioneer Jewish Merchandiser and Philanthropist of San Francisco and the Northwest

Frederick “Fred” Levy Castle, Pioneer Jewish Merchant and Dried Fruit & Nut Purveyor of San Francisco

Harriet Ashim Choynski, Early Jewish Pioneer Educator of San Francisco

Isidor Choynski – Foremost Jewish Journalist of San Francisco

Lazerus Dinkelspiel: Pioneer Merchant and Philanthropist of San Francisco

Rabbi Julius Eckman – Rabbi and Jewish Newspaper Publisher

Aaron Fleishhacker & Sons, Mortimer & Herbert, Jewish Pioneer Merchants, Manufacturers, Bankers and Philathropists of San Francisco

Morris Greenberg – Brass Foundry Owner

August Helbing, Jewish Pioneer Founder of the Eureka Benevolent Society of San Francisco

Martin Heller – Dry Goods Wholesaler & Longest Synagogue President

Solomon Heydenfeldt – Justice Califonia Supreme Court

Adolph Hullub – Furs, Lamps and Master Mason

Benjamin Hyam – Lawyer and Master Mason

Harry Isaacs, Pioneer Jewish Freighter & Saloon Keeper in Early of San Francisco

Philo Jacoby – Newspaper Publisher and World Champion Sharpshooter

Henry J. Labatt – Lawyer and Statesman

Daniel Levy – Jewish French Intellectual and Educator

Samuel Wolf Levy – Insurance, Retailer, and Philathropist

Henry Lyons – Justice of the California Supreme Court

Hannah Marks Solomons – Active Pioneer Jewish Woman

Sigmund Steinhart – Food Broker & Philathropist

John & Adelaide Steinman – Hotel Owners

David Stern – Partner in Levi Strauss & Co.

Levi Strauss – Founder of Levi Strauss and Co.

Adolph Sutro Engineer, Entrepreneur and Mayor

Daniel N. Walter, Early Pioneer Jewish Home Furnishing Merchant of San Francisco

Simon Wolf, Pioneer Master Merchant of Contra Costa County

Isaac Wormser – Capitalist and Philanthropist



Abraham Anspacher – Grain Merchant and Philanthropist

Julius Baum: A Leading, Successful, Jewish Pioneer Businessman of San Francisco

Samuel Bloom, Early Jewish Pioneer and Quality Tanner of San Francisco

Joseph Rodrigues Brandon, Pioneer Lawyer and Activist of San Francisco

Rabbi Elkin Cohn – Accomplished Early San Francisco Rabbi

Amelia Dannenberg – Clothing Manufacturer

Mendel Esberg: Pioneer Jewish Cigar Merchant and Manufacturer of San Francisco

Benedict Feigenbaum: Early Pioneer Merchant of Northern California and San Francisco

Elizabeth Fleishman-Ascheim – Heroic Radiologist

Lewis Gerstle: Jewish Pioneer of the Alaska Commercial Company and San Francisco Benefactor

Emanuel Lewis Goldstein: Jewish Pioneer Wholesale Grocer of San Francisco

Jacob Greenbaum – Clothing Manufacturer, Importer and Philanthropist

Henry Greenberg: Jewish Pioneer Manufacturer, Banker, Real Estate Broker & Benefactor

The Gumps: From Picture Frames to San Francisco’s Most Exclusive Store

Joseph Haber: Pioneer Jewish Jeweler of San Francisco

Abraham Elias Hecht, Jewish Pioneer Partner of Buckingham & Hecht Shoe Co. of San Francisco

Isaac Hecht, Jewish Pioneer Partner of Buckingham & Hecht Shoe Co. of San Francisco

Marcus Hecht – Shoe Manufacturer and Retailer

Julius Jacobs, Pioneer Merchant, Insurance Salesman, and Assistant United States Treasurer

Simon Koshland, Pioneer Jewish Wool Merchant of San Francisco

The Liebes Family – Fur Importer and Manufacturer

The Roos Family: Pioneer Merchants of San Francisco & Virginia City

Lippman Sachs – Dry Goods and Clothing Wholesaler

Dr. Max Sichel – First Known Dentist in California

Isaac Stone – Early Dairyman of San Francisco

Oscar Weil: Jewish Music Teacher, Composer, and Critic of San Francisco

Cantor Alexander Weisler of Temple Emanu-El, San Francisco



Charles Louis Ackerman, Successful Jewish Pioneer Barrister of San Francisco

David Belasco: America’s Gold Rush Bred Impresario

Abraham Galland, the “Best Mohel on the Pacific Coast,” Rabbi/Cantor – Jackass Bar & San Francisco

Simon Greenwald: Early Jewish Pioneer a Founder of the Alaska Commercial Co.

Moses Gunst – United Cigar Stores

Samuel Hart, Jewish Pioneer Businessman of San Francisco and the Gold Country

Herman Heyneman, Pioneer Jewish Tobacco Merchant of San Francisco

Gabriel M. Kutz, Pioneer Jewish Manufacturer of Shoes in San Francisco

Samuel Lachman & Sons, Leading Jewish Winemaker/Merchants of the American West

David Livingston, Dry Goods Merchant of San Francisco & San Bernardino

Rabbi Aron Messing – Too Orthodox for Congregation Sherith Israel

Daniel & Jonas Meyer: Pioneer Jewish Bankers of San Francisco

Julius Platshek: Jewish Pioneer Real Estate and Wool & Hide Merchandiser

Emanuel Raas: Jewish Pioneer Wool Merchant and Philanthropist

Toby Rosenthal – Californias Early Famous Jewish Artist

Henry Sinsheimer, Early Jewish Pioneer Merchant of San Luis Obispo, while Living in San Francisco

Rabbi Henry Vidaver – Orator and Patriot

Cantor Max Wolff of Temple Emanu-El, San Francisco, 1874 – 1884 


1880′s & 1890’s

Dr. Albert Abrams – Contoversial Doctor of San Francisco

Simon Bachman, Pioneer Jewish Purveyor of Cigars & Tobacco in San Francisco

Joseph Bartlett Choynski: Foremost Jewish Boxer of San Francisco

Isaac F. Bloch, Pioneer Jewish Merchant and Quality Leather Manufacturer of San Francisco

Jennie Rosenthal Ehrman: Pianist, Teacher, & Music Critic of San Francisco

Abraham Haas Part#2 – Food Wholesaler and Industrialist

Isaias W. Hellman Part #2 California’s Eminent Banker

Sir Henry Heyman – Knighted Jewish  Violinist of San Francisco

Samuel & Albert S. Lavenson: Two Generations of Jewish PioneerMerchandisers

Solomon Levinson, Jewish Boxing Glove Manufacturer of San Francisco

The Levy Brothers: Pioneer Chiropodists/Podiatrists of San Francisco & Aurora

Phillip N. Lilienthal, Jewish Pioneer Banker and Philanthropist

Adolph Mack, Jewish Pioneer of the San Joaquin Valley & San Francisco, California

Isaac & Mary Ann Cohen Magnin, Early Jewish Pioneer Fashion Leaders

Joseph Naphtaly: Pioneer Jewish San Francisco Lawyer and Public Servant of California

Jacob H. Rosewald: Jewish Conductor and Music Teacher of San Francisco

Julie Eichberg Rosewald: “Cantor Soprano” of Temple Emanu-El, San Francisco, 1884 – 1893

Adolph A. Son and the Spitz Brothers, Pioneer Jewish Tobacco Merchants

Cantor Edward Stark: Esteemed Cantor of Congregation Emanu-El, San Francisco

Rabbi Jacob Voorsanger – Outstanding Rabbi of San Francisco

Anthony Zellerbach, Jewish Paper King of the American Wild West


Early 20th Century

Flora Jacobi Arnstein: Educator, Poet, and Musician of San Francisco

Albert Gustave Lansburgh – Architect: Movie Theaters, Synagogues and Other Buildings


If you are a member of an Early San Francisco Jewish Pioneer Family and have photos, documents, etc., please contact us.