The Steinmans, John & Adelaide: Pioneer Jewish Hotel Owners of Early San Francisco & First Known Jewish Photograph Taken in S.F.

The Steinmans

Values Codes: I-E-L

John & Adelaide Steinman, First known Jewish photo taken in San Francisco WS 13/1889

John & Adelaide Steinman, First known Jewish photo taken in San Francisco
WS 13/1889

John Steinman was born in 1827 in the Duchy of Westphalia, later part of Germany.

In 1849 he left Hamburg for America, and on the ship coming over he met Adelaide Heller, who was with her parents, the Kopple Hellers.

She had been born in Bavaria in 1836.


San Francisco

John Steinman soon left New York for San Francisco, where he ar­rived on board the Falcon in 1850.

He sent for Adelaide and her parents, and they were married in 1852.

She was sixteen.

They were married by an officer of Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco, before it had a Rabbi or a building of their own.

This is the first-known Jewish photograph taken in San Francisco.



The Steinmans operated a series of hotels, beginning with one they took over and named Steinman’s Hotel of Pacific Avenue.

Later they had the New Atlantic Hotel at 181 Pacific, and in the early 1860s the Revere House at 325 Pine.



In 1871 the Steinmans moved into their own home at 1827 Howard, and Adelaide’s parents lived with them.

It was one of the first homes in the San Francisco with two bathrooms!


John Steinman brought his younger brother, Bernard Ulmer Steinman, to California in 1858

He lived with the family for a time, later settling in Sacramento.

There Bernard U. Steinman was successful in business and in the 1880s became a Supervisor of Sacramento County, and in 1894 was elected Mayor of the City of Sacramento.


John and Adelaide’s first child was born in 1855.

They had two sons, Adolph and Rudolph, and three daughters, Clara (Bloch), Jennie (Brandt) and Laura (Jacobs).

Clara married French-born Achille Bloch (arrived San Francisco 1871).


John Steinman died in 1872.

Adelaide Steinman passed away in 1888.


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

  • Steinman, John and Adelaide, Pioneer Jews of San Francisco, Part Two, M-Z, Norton Stern, 41/2