Alfred Abraham Wagner: Jewish Merchant of Billings, Montana

Alfred Abraham Wagner

Values Codes I – E – L 


Alfred Wagner was born in Bielitz, Austria, in 1886.

In 1901, at the age of 15, he ran away from home because of a strict father, and came to the United States to stay with his uncle.


Along the way . . . .

A few years later Alfred Wagner moved to Chicago and then to Denver, Colorado, where he met and married American-born, Jeanette Posner.

Alfred Wagner worked in a clothing store in Miles City, Montana.

Alfred and Jeanette Wagner with their 4 children.

Alfred and Jeanette Wagner, with their 4 children

As his family grew, he moved to Broadview, Montana, where he opened his own store.


Billings, Montana

After World War I, Alfred Wagner moved to Billings, where he opened a new clothing store — Wagner’s Men’s Wear — on the corner of Montana and North 27th Streets.

His son, Jerome (Jerry), worked with him until he opened his own store in Billings, Jerry’s Wagner’s Men’s Wear, on Montana Avenue.



Alfred Wagner was an active member of Temple Beth Aaron, being one of the first donors to contribute to the building of the synagogue in Billings.



Wagner was an active member of B’nai B’rith Lodge #815 of Billings, and was one of the men who kept the lodge together.

He was also a member of Billings Mason Lodge #113, A.F. & A.M.



Alfred Wagner married Jeanette Posner, in 1911.

Jeanette Wagner of Montana

Jeanette Wagner of Montana

They had 4 children: Bernice, Phyllis, Jacob Jerome, and Marian.

In 1939, Alfred and Jeanette Posner traveled to Austria to attempt to get other family members out, but succeeded with only child, Herta Miller, who married and became Herta Shapiro.

The rest of their extended family was lost in the Holocaust.

Jacob Jerome Wagner's Birth Certificate

Jacob Jerome Wagner’s Birth Certificate

Alfred Wagner died in 1948, and is buried at the Beth Aaron Cemetery in Billings, along with Jeanette and most of their family members who have since passed. Jeanette Wagner died in 1959.



Samantha Silver is curator for this Alfred Wagner exhibit.