Lazerus Dinkelspiel: Pioneer Merchant and Philanthropist of San Francisco

Lazerus Dinkelspiel

Lazarus Dinkelspiel

Lazarus Dinkelspiel

Values Codes I – E – L – P


Lazerus Dinkelspiel was born in Michelfelt, Baden-Woerttemberg, Germany in 1824.

He came to the United States at the age of nine and was schooled in New York and New Hampshire.


San Francisco

Arriving in California at the age of twenty-one, Dinkelspiel became a merchandiser in the mining regions of the Gold Country.

In 1853, Lazerus Dinkelspiel moved to San Francisco, where he gained success in wholesale dry goods under the name of L. Dinkelspiel & Co. – which became one of the largest dry goods companies in California.

He retired from his business in 1893.



Lazerus Dinkelspiel served as vice-president of Congregation Emanu-El.

He was a member of the International Order of B’nai B’rith and many other Jewish charity organizations.



Dinkelspiel was a member of the International Order of Odd Fellows.



Lazerus Dinkelspiel married Pauline Hess in 1861.

Together, they had eight children: Henry, Samuel, Joseph, Leon, Melville, Edgar, Theresa, and Frieda.


Lazerus Dinkelspiel died in 1900.

Pauline Dinkelspiel died in 1907.

“Lazerus Dinkelspiel was a careful student of Judaism, an ardent . . . supporter of its institutions.  He believed in the integrity of Judaism . . . as the fundamental rule of conduct.”

— Rabbi Martin Meyer, 1916


  • Martin A. Meyer, The Jews of San Francisco (San Francisco: Emanu-El, 1916).
  • Fred Rosenbaum, Visions of Reform: Congregation Emanu-El and the Jews of San Francisco, 1849-1999 (Berkeley: Judah L. Magnus Museum, 2000).

David Epstein is curator  of this Lazerus Dinkelspiel exhibit.