Bernard Ulmer Steinman: Jewish Pioneer Businessman, Civil Servant and Mayor of Sacramento, California

Bernard Ulmer Steinman

Mayor Bernard U. Steinman, Sacramento,CA [1894], #WS1703

Mayor Bernard U. Steinman, Sacramento,CA [1894], #WS1703

Values Codes I – E – L – P


Bernard Ulmer Steinman was born in Cologne, Germany, in 1848.


Along the way

In 1848, Bernard Steinman’s parents brought their 9-month-old son to America.

They first settled in New York.

Bernard’s 20-years-older brother, John Steinman, moved to California in 1850.

[Click here to see our John & Adelaide Steinman exhibit.]

In 1858, Bernard Steinman left home and headed West to join John, who owned and operated hotels in San Francisco.

Bernard worked for John’s hotels, one of which was called Steinman Hotel.

During the 1860’s, Bernard moved to Sacramento.

There, he worked as a page in the California State Legislature.

State Capital in Sacramento late 1890s, Vintage Postcard

State Capital in Sacramento, late 1890’s, vintage postcard

His work ethic impressed Governor Leland Stanford, and led to Steinman becoming the proprietor of the hotel and restaurant in the Southern Pacific Railroad depot.

Bernard Steinman's Business Card for the Silver Palace in the Sacramento Railroad Station.

Bernard Steinman’s business card for the Silver Palace, Sacramento Railroad Station

In 1891, Steinman was elected president of the Sacramento Gas and Electric Company.

In 1892, he organized the Farmers and Mechanics Bank, of which he was elected president.



Bernard Steinman served two terms as Sacramento County Supervisor from 1883 to 1891.

In 1892, he was elected Mayor of Sacramento, and served until 1896.



Bernard Steinman was a member of Congregation B’nai Israel of Sacramento and Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco.



Steinman was a Royal Arch Mason in the Sacramento Chapter, No.3 and the Union League Cluband a charter member of the Sutter Club of Sacramento.

Politically, he was a member of the Republican party.



Bernard Steinman married Fanny Sachs (b.1877).

Together, they had four children: Irving I., Henrietta, Lillian, and Ulmer.


Bernard Ulmer Steinman died in 1914.


  • Norton B. Stern, “Bernard Ulmer Steinman: Mayor of Sacramento, 1848-1914,” Western States Jewish History 41/4.

Samantha Silver is curator of this Bernard Ulmer Steinman exhibit.

Thanks to Bob Staples, of the State of Maine, for sending us the photo of Bernard Steinman’s business card.