Lemuel Goldwater: California Garment Industry Jewish Pioneer

Lemuel Goldwater 

Values Codes I – E – L – P


Lemuel Goldwater was born in San Francisco in 1865.

His father, Joseph Goldwater, was the brother of Michael Goldwater, who, in turn, was the father of Barry Goldwater, of Senator and Presidential Candidate fame.

Lemuel’s mother died when he was a young.

His father sent him to a military academy near San Jose.

After graduation, he joined his father in the family store in Tombstone, Arizona.

In 1893, Lemuel Goldwater sold his interest in the store and moved to Anaheim, California, where he bought an interest in a local bank.

Emuel Goldwater at Cohn-Goldwater Anniversary

Los Angeles

In 1899, Lemuel Goldwater joined Morris Cohn as a partner in his Los Angeles garment business.

Cohn needed a partner with financial skills, while he would handle the manufacturing and sales. They were a good team.

Cohn-Goldwater & Co. specialized in workmen’s clothes and became famous for their Boss Brand of overalls.

Cohn-Goldwater & Co. was the pioneer firm of today’s giant garment industry in Los Angeles.

Goldwater eventually took over as president of the company, which he held until his death in 1942.


Lemuel Goldwater was a vice-president of Congregation B’nai B’rith (now Wilshire Boulevard Temple).

He was also president of the Kaspare Cohn Hospital.

This was important to him because he believed it was necessary for there to be a hospital where Jewish doctors could practice — a sign of problems at that particular time.

Goldwater was an effective fundraiser, donor, and advisor in the construction of Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, where most Los Angeles-born Jews over 75 years or older saw their first light of day.

He also served as president of the hospital for many years.

Isidor Eisner, Joseph Y. Baruch, and Lemuel Goldwater at Cedars of Lebanon groundbreaking, Los Angeles, CA  [1929], #WS2992


Lemuel Goldwater belonged to the Concordia Club, Hillcrest Country Club, and the Santa Monica Swim Club.

He was also a member of the Elks (very active) and the Masons, West Gate Lodge (not too active).



Lemuel Goldwater married Hortense Levy in 1898.

They had two sons, Jerrold (“Jerry”) and Richard.


Lemuel Goldwater passed away in 1942.


  • Norton B. Stern, “Goldwater Family,” Western States Jewish History 41/3.