Samuel Prager: Early Los Angeles Pioneer Jewish Merchant

Samuel Prager  

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Samuel Prager, early Jewish pioneer merchant


Samuel Prager was born in Prussia in 1831 and became a citizen of the United States in 1858.

Los Angeles

Samuel Prager came to Los Angeles in 1854 after being in business with his brother Charles in the California Gold Rush town of Grass Valley.

In Los Angeles, he operated a dry goods and furniture store, also selling clothing, boots, and shoes.

In 1867, he was one of the first purveyors of oil in Los Angeles.


Prager was active in Masonic Lodge #42 and served as chairman of the Masonic Board of Relief for over 40 years.

He was a member of and served as president of the Hebrew Benevolent Society of Los Angeles.

Mrs. Samuel Prager, née Rosalie Loewenstein

Prager was a member and officer of Kesher Shel Barzel (Band of Iron), a national Jewish fraternity.

The Los Angeles chapter was organized in 1870.

He was known to many around Los Angeles as “Uncle Sam”



Samuel Prager married Rosalie Loewenstein.

They had eight children: five boys and three girls.

The Pragers were friends of composer George M. Cohanwho was a frequent dinner guest at the Prager home at the turn of last century.

Cohen was the composer of “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”

Samuel Prager passed away in 1907.


  • Norton B. Stern, “Samuel Prager & Family,” Western States Jewish History 41/3.
  • William M. Kramer, “Samuel Prager: Host of ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy,'” Western States Jewish History 42/2&3. 

Samuel Prager tombstone at Home of Peace, Los Angeles