Emanuel Rosenwald: Jewish Pioneer Businessman & Honored Citizen, Las Vegas, New Mexico

Emanuel Rosenwald

Values Codes I – E – L – P


Emanuel Rosenwald was born in Dittenhofen, Germany in 1838.

He had six brothers including, Joseph, the eldest, who shared ownership of the Rosenwald firms with him.

“Hallo, my name is Rita Zeller, Dietenhofen, Bavaria. I send you an old document from the Rosenwald family.”

Along the way …

In 1853, Emanuel Rosenwald came to America on the Isaac Bell and met his uncle, David Goodman, in New York.

He stayed with relatives in Baltimore until he moved to Staunton, Virginia with his brother, Joseph, who had arrived in 1851.

The brothers worked in the family’s clothing business, Goodman & Company.

In the winter, Emanuel Rosenwald studied English in school.

The Rosenwald brothers sold clothing from the H. Goodman and Bros. clothing line of Baltimore.

In 1854, instead of closing the store on Yom Kippur, Emanuel Rosenwald stayed home to pray while Joseph took charge of the business.

The family opened and closed stores based on profitability in Staunton, Richmond, Burlington, Iowa, and Fort Des Moines, Iowa. With each closure, they moved further west.

In 1856, the Rosenwald brothers left Des Moines for Sioux City.

Soon after, they relocated to Wynadotte, Kansas. At that point, they stopped trading under the Goodman & Sons firm.

In 1861, Emanuel Rosenwald traveled on the AT&SF railroad to California Gulch (now Leadville, Colorado).

Emanuel traded with the Indians as far west as Pike’s Peak.


Las Vegas, New Mexico

Around 1863, with his brother Joseph, Emanuel Rosenwald started two businesses: J. Rosenwald & Company and E. Rosenwald & Son

The latter was located at Plaza and Bridge Streets in Las Vegas, New Mexico.

In 1912, Emanuel Rosenwald founded the Rosenwald Realty Company in Las Vegas, New Mexico.

Three of his four sons, Cecilio, Gilbertand Davidtook over the family business, which thrived until 1922.



Emanuel Rosenwald helped found the San Miguel Bank and served as its director.



Emanuel Rosenwald was a member of the Mason of Chapman Lodge, No.2, A.F.&A.M.

He was also a Senior Warden of Fort King Lodge and a member of J.E. Rosenwald Lodge, B’nai B’rith.



Emanuel Rosenwald returned to Germany in 1866 and brought his father, sister Julia, and brother Edward to Las Vegas.

Aron, another brother, was already on his way to America.

Emanuel married Elise (nee Apfelbaum).

They had four sons: Cecilio (1873-1931), David (1877-1952), Gilbert (1885-1944) and Lucien (1875-1957).

Emanuel Rosenwald, bottom row center, surrounded by his sons on his 70th birthday, October 1908, Las Vegas, NM. (Photo courtesy of Joseph T. Silva)


Emanuel Rosenwald died in 1915 and was buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Las Vegas, New Mexico, in row 7, next to his wife, who died in 1913.

“His kindly spirit, his upright life and his sterling worth won him the respect of all who knew him and his example is one that may well inspire others to emulate it.  His work lives after him, a monument to an upright career.  In his business life he was a persistent, energetic and hard worker, possessing strong intellectual powers, keeping his hands steadily upon the helm and strictly conscientious in his dealings with debtor and creditor alike.  His was a progressive spirit, ruled by more than ordinary intelligence and good judgment and his life was the expression of deep earnestness impelled and fostered by indomitable perseverance and a native justice which expressed itself in correct principle and practice.”

— New Mexico State & Record Center & Archives


Las Vegas, New Mexico, Downtown in early 1940's, Postcard

Las Vegas, New Mexico, Downtown in early 1940’s. Vintage Postcard

A little extra Western History on the side:

In the summer of 1879, Doc Holiday rode into Las Vegas, New Mexico and hung out his dental shingle. 

However, due to slow business he purchased a saloon.

Holiday got into an argument with a local gunman and the two “went to the street.”

The local gunman lost and a lynch mob began to form to hang Doc Holiday.  

Doc Holiday quickly left Las Vegas, New Mexico, and went back to Dodge City, Kansas.



  • Floyd S. Fierman, ed., “Westward Movement of Emanuel Rosenfeld: Las Vegas, New Mexico, 1838-1888,” Western States Jewish History 33/3.

Samantha Silver is the curator for this Emanuel Rosenwald exhibit

Thank you to Rita Zeller for the document photo, and to Joseph T. Silva for the photo of Rosenwald and his sons.