Isaac Wormser Family, San Francisco Jewish Pioneers & Founders of S&W Fine Foods

Isaac Wormser

Isaac Wormser WS 13/1911

Isaac Wormser
WS 13/1911

Values Codes  I-E-L-P

Isaac Wormser was born in 1822.


Along the way

Isaac Wormser came to the United States in the late 1840s.

For a number of years he lived in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, where he was natural­ized in 1854.


San Francisco

Shortly after that Isaac Wormser came to San Francisco, and established himself as an importer and jobber of liquors.

He was the President of the Golden Gate Distilling Company.

Isaac Wormser did considerable business with firms in Honolulu.

When Wormser retired from the liquor trade to manage his investments, and he was listed as a “Capitalist” in the city directories.



The Wormsers, Isaac and Louisa, were members of Congregation Emanu-El

In 1871, Rabbi Elkan Cohn of that Congregation Emanu-El led a drive to establish the first organization in the West to care for or­phans and the aged. The effort was originated by B’nai B’rith.

At a community meeting on July 25, 1871, fifteen San Franciscans were elected to serve as a Board of Trustees for what was to be the Pacific Hebrew Orphan and Home Society. One of the fifteen was Isaac Wormser.

At the first meeting of the board in August 1871, Isaac Wormser was elected President, an indication of the high regard in which he was held.

Wormser’s interest in the Pacific Hebrew Orphans’ Home continued through his lifetime. He was a patron of the Society and for many years was an active board member.

In 1880, he was Chairman of the Committee on Building and Furniture and a member of the Committee on Real Estate of the orphans’ Home..

His wife, Louisa Wormser, was similarly involved in the efforts for the orphans and aged, and she was one of the eight members of the Ladies’ Auxiliary group in the 1870s and 1880s.



Isaac Wormser and his wife Louisa  had one son, Samuel I. Wormser, who was born in 1859 in San Francisco.

When of age, Samuel Wormser, started work as a clerk in a commission merchant’s firm and soon became a partner of Albert Ehrman in a wholesale business dealing in dried and canned fruits.

By the late 1880s Samuel I. Wormser was operating his own company in the same line.

Gustave Wormser WS 15/2194

Gustave Wormser
WS 15/2194

In 1896, he and a first cousin, Gustav Wormser, together with Samuel Sussman, established Sussman, Wormser & Co. This is known today as S&W Fine Foods.



Isaac Wormser, was a member of the California Lodge No. 163 of B’nai B’rith formed in 1871 in San Francisco.


Isaac Wormer died in 1895.





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

  • Wormser, Isaac., Pioneer Jews of San Francisco, Part Two, M-Z, Norton Stern, 41/2

Photo Gallery [New photos always welcome]

Note: To enlarge any photo, click on the middle of it.