N. Rosenthal: Jewish Pioneer Merchant of Madera, California, an 1891 Description

N. Rosenthal

Values Codes I – E – L


Curator’s Note: We recently found part of a large book that appears to have been published in 1891, titled Memorial and Biographical His­tory of the Counties of Fresno, Tulare, and Kern, California

The book lists many of the German-born Jewish merchants and professionals played an important and interconnected role in the economy of the San Joaquin Valley.

In reading these biographical sketches, please note the language of the time, as well as the affection given to the subjects. The author is unknown.

Below is one of the entries, edited slightly for our museum.


N. Rosenthal was born in Germany in 1853.

After attending the common schools of that country, he was apprenticed to learn the mercantile business beginning with the handling of wools, etc., in the manufactory, and studying every department to the sales room, thus acquiring a theoretical as well as practical knowledge.

In 1875, N. Rosenthal emigrated direct to California in Fresno, engaging in the firm Kutner & Goldstein, where he learned the English language and the American meth­ods of doing business.

After one year N. Rosenthal started a small business in Fresno, keeping cigars and Yankee notions.

After a little experience he tended his business to general merchandise, upon a cash principle, and after two years sold out to Kutner & Goldstein.

N. Rosenthal then went to Phoenix, Arizona, where he started a small store, and after one year took Mr. Kutner, of the firm of Kutner & Goldstein, as partner, and they then extended their business.

For seven years were very prosperously engaged.

They sold out in 1887, and came to Madera, North of Fresnowhere they established their present busi­ness, Rosenthal & Kutnerfirst, first in a temporary building while engaged in erecting their fine two-story brick store, 30 x 100 feet, on the corner of YoSemite [sic] and D Streets.

They filled their new store with a large and general assortment of household goods, furniture and farm­ing implements.

They also do a general business in grain and farm produce.

Mr. Rosenthal manages the business, while Mr. Kutner, who lives in San Francisco, attends to the buying.

Mr. Rosenthal is treasurer of the Madera Irrigation District.

Mr. Rosenthal is a member of the Masonic Madera Lodge, No. 280, F.& A.M.

N. Rosenthal was married to Hattie Price, in 1883, in San Francisco.

The new Mrs. Rosenthal is a native of California, and of German descent.

They have one child, Thekla, born in 1884.


  • “Jewish Businessmen of the Counties of Fresno, Tulare & Kern Counties,” from Memorial and Biographical History of the Counties of Fresno, Tulare & Kern, California (1891), reprinted in Western States Jewish History 34/4.