Henry Greenberg: Jewish Pioneer Manufacturer, Banker and Real Estate Broker & Benefactor of San Francisco

Henry Greenberg

Henry Greenberg of San Francisco

Henry Greenberg of San Francisco

Value Codes I – E – L – P


Henry Greenberg was born in Huttenbach, Bavaria, in 1819.

His early education was in his home town.

As a young lad, he came alone to the United States, landing in New York City.


Along the way 

For a while, Henry Greenberg was a peddler in the Southern United States.

In 1854, he headed West by way of the Isthmus, landing in California and first settling in Placerville in the Gold Country.

Henry Greenberg opened his first place of business in what was known as the Round Tent Store.


San Francisco

Later, in partnership with Jonas Adler, Greenberg engaged in the wholesale clothing business in San Francisco.

He eventually tired of the long hours at his store and undertook buying and selling real estate instead.

He was also a partner in the banking firm of Greenberg, Erlenbach & Goldsmithwith their bank and assay office on Sacramento and Leidesdorff Streets.

Henry Greenberg was an original director of the Pioneer and Mission Woolen Mills.



Henry Greenberg was an early member of Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco and served as a trustee.

He later resigned and joined the Ohabai Shalome Congregationwhere he was soon elected president.

As supporters of the Hebrew Orphans’ Asylum, Greenberg and his wife had a tradition of inviting all the orphans to their home for festivities, including their wedding anniversary.

Henry Greenberg was also a director of the Eureka Benevolent Society.

Eureka Benevolent Society, Constitution in German, 1870

Eureka Benevolent Society, Constitution, German, 1870


Henry Greenberg married Marie Bergtheil of New York in 1850.

Mrs Henry Greenberg, San Francisco

Mrs Henry Greenberg, San Francisco

Together, they had five children: Samuel, Abraham, Max, Mrs. William Kaiser, and Mrs. Emma Hilp.


Henry Greenberg died in 1883.

“He was generous to a degree and an idealist.  Among his fellow men he was honored because of his fine character, his keen mind, and was loved because of his boyish heart.  In all the virtues – charitableness, kindness, and fairness – he was a Jew.”

– 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 Henry Greenberg exhibit.