Henrietta Ancker: Charitable “Woman of Valor” of San Bernardino, California

Henrietta Ancker

Values Codes I – H – E – L – P


Young Henrietta, San Bernardino, WS#1557

Young Henrietta Ancker, San Bernardino

Henrietta Ancker was born in 1835 in Loebau, Prussia.

There she married Louis Ancker.


San Bernardino, California

The Anckers arrived in San Bernardino in 1868, with their first son, Louis, Jr.

Louis Ancker operated a general merchandise store in San Bernardino.

In San Bernardino they had three more children, Stella, Sauland Abraham.




Lewis Ancker, San Bernardino, WS1555

Louis Ancker, San Bernardino

In 1888 the Anckers moved to an elegant home which became the center of social life in San Bernardino.

Henrietta’s social skills and hospitality brought her a host of friends and she was greatly admired.



In 1886 Henrietta Ancker urged the Jewish women of San Bernardino to establish a charitable society.

That year the Ladies Hebrew Benevolent Society came into being.

Henrietta, a founding member, refused to hold an office, but was truly the leading mover of the organization.

This was similar to Rosa Newmark, who created the Ladies Hebrew Benevolent Society of Los Angeles, did not serve as a specific officer, but quietly directing the group.

The Ladies’ Hebrew Benevolent Society of San Bernardino carried on their charitable activities with funds raised at social events.

In 1890, the Society joined with the Associated Charities of San Bernardino to raise funds for an agricultural fair.

The Ladies’ Hebrew Benevolent Society supported a camp for tuberculosis patients in the Cajon Passas well as the Jewish Orphan and Jewish Senior Citizen Homes in both Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The Society also collected funds to the Kaspare Cohn Jewish Consumptive Hospital, which was forced to move from Los Angeles to Duarte, where it evolved into the City of Hope.

Henrietta Ancker continued to arrange special fund raising evenings and special events.

Diabetes caught up with her, and she passed away in 1890, after just completing plans for another fund raising event.

Henrietta Acker in Her Later Years, WS#1556

Henrietta Acker in Her Later Years,

One year later, in 1891, the members of the Ladies Hebrew Benevolent Society of San Bernardino changed the name of their organization to the Henrietta Hebrew Benevolent Society.

“Mrs. Ancker was one of the most charitable women in San Bernardino, always making it a point to seek out the poor and needy irregardless of creed or color, and many families in this city whom she has helped, will regret to learn of the death of their benefactress.  There are hundreds of cases in this city where she has dispensed charity that the public has never known of, as she was not a person who paraded her charity.  In public matters of charity, Mrs. Ancker was always to the fore, and her last act was in getting up the entertainment of the Ladies Hebrew Benevolent Society on last Friday evening.” 

– The Times-Index of San Bernardino


  • Norton B. Stern, “Charitable Jewish Ladies of San Bernardino and their Woman of Valor,” Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly 13/4.