Joseph Brandenstein: Jewish Pioneer Philanthopist of Early San Francisco Area

Joseph Brandenstein

Joseph Brandenstein WS 15/2215

Joseph Brandenstein, #WS15/2215

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Joseph Brandenstein was born in Hume, Germany, in 1826.

Brandenstein arrived in California in 1850, and worked with Joseph P. Newmark in dry goods in Placerville (then called Hangtown) in the Gold Country.


San Francisco

Newmark moved south to Los Angeles and Brandenstein moved to San Francisco, where he established a wholesale leaf tobacco and cigar business with Albert and Moses Rosenbaum in 1854.



Joseph Brandenstein was active in the affairs of the German and Jewish communities of San Francisco.

In the 1870’s, he was president of the German Benevolent Society, and selected the site of the German Hospital.

He was also the founder of the Altenheim – a German senior citizens’ home — and was its president for many years.

Brandenstein was on the board of the Pacific Hebrew Orphan Asylum for years and served as president of the Mt. Zion Hospital Association.

He was an active member of the Eureka Benevolent Society and Congregation Emanu-El.

Joseph Brandenstein retired from his tobacco business in 1880 and devoted the rest of his life to philanthropic causes.



WS2216-^Jane Brandenstein (Nee)Rosenbaum ^San Francisco,CA^Stern Article inc.

Jane Resenbaum Brandenstein, #WS 15/2216

He married Jane Rosenbaum, the sister of his partner.

Together they had eleven children.

Their third child, Max, later founded the famed MJB Company.

Max was soon joined by his brothers Manfred and Edward.


Joseph Brandenstein passed away in 1910.

Edward Branson of MJB Coffee & Tea Son of Joseph & Jane Brandenstein WS 14/2037

Edward Branson of MJB Coffee & Tea,
son of Joseph & Jane Brandenstein, #WS 14/2037





















  • Norton B. Stern, “Joseph Brandenstein,” Western States Jewish History 41/1.