Simon Greenwald: Early Jewish Pioneer & Founder of the Alaska Commercial Co.

Simon Greenwald

Simon Greenwald of the Alaska Commercial Co

Simon Greenwald of the Alaska Commercial Co.

Value Codes I – E – L – P


Simon Greenwald was born in Rheinpfalz, Germany, in 1827.


Along the way . . . .

Simon Greenwald received his education in Germany before coming to the United States, first settling in Brownsville, Tennessee.

In 1850, Greenwood and Dr. Ziele journeyed together to California, sailing around The Horn and arriving in Sacramento, California.

There, he entered into a merchandising partnership with Louis Sloss and M. Wasserman, under the name of M. Wasserman & Co.


San Francisco

In 1860, the firm moved to San Francisco.

Upon the death of Mr. Wasserman, the firm’s name was changed to Louis Sloss & Co.

In 1865, the firm dissolved. Taking its place was Alaska Commercial Co.with business, hunting, and development rights in the newly acquired Territory of Alaska. The company rapidly developed to “vast proportions.”

Alaska Commercial Co Advertisement

Alaska Commercial Co., advertisement

Simon Greenwald’s soon became one of the great financiers of the West.

“In all his dealings, he stood out for the principle of live and let live, and as he was blessed with material success, he gave freely to all who were less fortunate and who had less of the world’s goods than he.”

– Rabbi Martin Mayer, 1916



The Greenwalds were members of Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco.

Simon and his wife, Louisa Greenwald, were active members in the Jewish Charitable Society.


Simon Greenwald was a member of the California Pioneer Society.


Simon Greenwald married Louisa Levi of Cleveland, Ohio, in 1855.

Four children were born to them: Mrs. A. Heilbroner, Mrs. Leon Sloss, Mrs. Louis Greenbaum, and O. H. Greenwald.


Simon Greenwald died in 1880.


  • 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 Simon Greenwald exhibit.