The Remarkable Harris Family: Inland Empire and Los Angeles

The Harris Family

The Herschkowitzs, parents of the Harris Family, WS#2772

Morris & Johanna Herschkowitz, parents of the remarkable Harris family, #WS2772

Values Codes I – H – E – L – P


The eleven children of Morris and Johanna Hirschkowitz were born in a small Polish town in the province of Posen, then under control of Prussia.


Along the way . . .

The first of the children to immigrate to the United States was Lewin Hirschkowitz, who arrived in Los Angeles in 1853. He changed his name to Leopold Harris.

With the exception of Leopold’s eldest brother, Lesser, each of the siblings also adopted the Harris name.

Leopold Harris became a clothing merchant, eventually developing Harris & Frank, one of the leading stores in Los Angeles. [Click here for Leopold Harris’ Los Angeles story]


Southern California

Stella Harris married Rudolph Anker of San Bernardino, who operated a dry goods and clothing store.

Zara Harris married Maurice Diego Katz of San Bernardino.

Emma Harris married Simon Goldsmith, who ran a country store in San Bernardino, and later a shoe store in Santa Ana.

Herman Harris and Philip Harris worked for Simon Goldsmith in Santa Ana for a time, and then opened their own clothing store in the same city.

Leo Harris established a country store in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, along with a ranch and a freight business.


The Harris Department Stores

Harris Store, San Bernardino, 1997, #WS0102

Harris Store, San Bernardino, 1897,

In 1905, Herman, Philip, and Arthur, with the help of Leopold, opened the Harris Department Store of San Bernardino.

The store quickly became the principal emporium of that city, and remained under family ownership and management well into the 1970’s.

Although Philip served as president of The Harris Company in the early years, he spent most of his time at the Redlands Harris Department Store.

The Redlands store was devastated by a fire in 1925. Wasting no time, merchandise was transferred to Redlands from the other stores, and the store was back in operation the very next day.

Herman Harris went on a buying trip to Europe, where he met a charming woman who represented a button company. Family legend recalls that he was so “charmed” that he purchased enough buttons to keep The Harris Company stores supplied for most of the 20th Century.


The Harris Bros.: Philip, Leo, Arthur, Dr. Lessor Hirschkowitz, & Herman Harris, #ws1586

The Harris Men: Philip, Leo, Arthur, Dr. Lessor Hirschkowitz, & Herman, #ws1586

More members of the Hirschkowitz-Harris family arrived in California in the 1890’s – cousins, uncles, and aunts.

It is said that San Bernardino Country would have been better named Harris County – each Harris adding so much to the growth of the surrounding communities.

Lesser Hirschkowitz had received his medical degree in Germany and moved to San Francisco, where he became a prominent medical practitioner.

He served three years as a member of the California State Board of Medical Examiners.

The Harris Family of the Inland Empire, 1909, #WS0989

The Harris Family of the Inland Empire, 1909, #WS0989

Harris Department Store, San Bernardino, circa 1970, #WSPostcard Collection

Harris Department Store, San Bernardino, circa 1940, WSJH postcard collection


  • Rowena Lipman, “Issac and Rebecca Harris Family of San Francisco,” Western States Jewish History 23/1.
  • Hope Anker Gray, “Remarkable Harris Family of Southern California, Part 1,” Western States Jewish History 26/1.
  • Hope Anker Gray, “Harris Family; Remarkable Harris Family of Southern California, Parts 2 & 3,” Western States Jewish History 26/2.
  • “Isaac Harris Family of Independence, Inyo County, California,” Western States Jewish History 19/1.
  • Norton B. Stern, “Interview with Mr. Leslie Harris,” Western States Jewish History 41/3.
  • Norton B. Stern, “Harris Family and Dr. Lesser Hisrchkowitz,”Western States Jewish History 41/4.
  • Norton B. Stern, “Dr. Henry Harris,” Western States Jewish History 41/1
  • Norton B. Stern, “Leslie Harris,” Western States Jewish History 41/3
  • “Leopold Harris: Men’s Clothier of Los Angeles,” Western States Jewish History 38/3&4.
  • Norton B. Stern, “Leopold & Herman Frank,” Western States Jewish History 41/3.
  • Norton B. Stern, “Meeting with Mrs. Joseph Kustiner, née Irma Katz,” Western States Jewish History 41/3.
  • William M. Kramer, “Leopold Harris, 18360-1910,” Western States Jewish History 42/2&3.
  • Norton B. Stern, “Mrs. Leslie Harris,” Western States Jewish History 41/4.