Simon Koshland: Pioneer Jewish Wool Merchant of San Francisco

Simon Koshland

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Simon Koshland, Wool Merchant, San Francisco

Simon Koshland, wool merchant, San Francisco

Simon Koshland was born in Ichenhausen, Baveria, in 1825.

Simon Koshland came to America at an early age with an older brother, traveling West by way of the Isthmus of Panama.

“Ardent both in religious belief and civic opinions, he won the respect and admiration of Jew and Christian alike.  His friends were numbered among all people.”

– Rabbi Martin Meyer, 1916

San Francisco

Simon Koshland arrived in Sacramento in 1850, where he succeeded in the general merchandise business, although he was flooded and burned out through the years.

In 1862, he moved to San Francisco.

With his brother, he opened Koshland Bros.

The firm eventually evolved into Koshland & Sons, the leading wool house in America.

After his retirement in the early 1890’s, his sons and son-in-law took charge of the business, although he remained their guide and counselor until the last.

The Koshland Building, San Francisco, #WS2296

The Koshland Building, San Francisco, #WS2296


For years, Simon Koshland was one of the leading members of Ohabai Shalome Congregation.

In later years he affiliated with Congregation Emanu-El.

Koshland gave generously to many charities.



Simon Koshland married Rosina Franenthal of Philadelphia.

Together, they had 8 children: Mrs. H. Sinsheimer, S. Koshland, Mrs. H. Sinsheimer, Mrs. E. Greenebaum, Mrs. A Haas, Montefiore Koshland, Abraham Koshland, and Jesse Koshland.


Simon Koshland died in 1896.


  • Martin A. Meyer, The Jews of San Francisco (San Francisco: Emanu-El, 1916).

David Epstein is curator of this Simon Koshland exhibit.


Jews in the News

–About This Time–

Benevolence for Palestine — 1865

Aid for Palestine — A committee has been appointed by the Congregation Emanu-El to make collections for our distressed brethren in Palestine. Famine, pestilence and distress are now ravaging the entire country, and it becomes the solemn duty of each and every Israelite to contribute his mite in behalf of so noble and holy a cause.

Do not refuse the committee, and say we have enough poor here requiring relief. Our poor are not as needy and in such distress as our impoverished brethren in the Holy Land.

Do not let us lose the honor and fair name which the Israelites of San Francisco have always had for their charities; but let us willingly, cheerfully and bountifully assist the committee as far as lies in our power, so that a large amount may be quickly raised and forwarded without delay to our suffering brethren.

We would suggest that our co-religionists in the country districts should also make up subscriptions, and proceed at once about the matter in an earnest spirit.

—The Hebrew, San Francisco, Nov. 17, 1865 [WSJHQ 3/2]