Abraham Gartenberg: Pioneer Jewish Businessman and Hawaiian Revolutionary

Abraham Gartenberg

Abraham Gartenberg c.1893

Abraham Gartenberg c.1893

Values Codes I – E – L


Abraham Gartenberg was born in San Francisco in 1858.


Along the way

In 1878, Abraham Gartenberg traveled to Honolulu, Hawaii.

He followed his sister and brother-in-law, Henrietta and Charles Fishel.

Gartenberg began working for Phillips Rice Mill as a bookkeeper.

He went on to manage the M. S. Grinbaum and Company sugar plantation.



Abraham Gartenberg received an officer’s commission in the Hawaiian National Guard and helped overthrow Queen Liliokalani in 1893, in what was known as a “friendly revolution.”

This led the way to the formal annexation by the United States, in 1898.

Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii, the last Monarch

Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii, the last Monarch


In 1902, Gartenberg married Cecile Abrahamson (1876-1955).

The ceremony was officiated by rabbinical student Rudolph Coffee, Cecile’s nephew, who came for the wedding.

Abraham and Cecile had two children: Carolyn (1904-1999) and Jean (b.1906).

In 1919, Abraham Gartenberg resettled his family in San Francisco, California.



  • Norton B. Stern, “Abraham Gartenberg: Military Revolutionary and Businessman of Hawaii,” Western States Jewish History 41/1.
  • Rudolph I. Coffee, “The Beginnings of the Organized Jewish Community of Honolulu,” Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly 14/4.

Samantha Silver is Curator of this Abraham Gartenberg exhibit.