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Fleisher


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FLEISHER, Philadelphia family originating in Memelsdorf, Germany. Members of this family and the related Liveright family arrived in the United States in the 1830s, and ultimately established prosperous yarn and clothing manufacturing businesses. Many descendants of BENJAMIN WOLF FLEISHER (1810–1845) and HANNAH TUCHNOR (1810–1903), who settled in Meadville, Pennsylvania, before moving on to Philadelphia, became leaders in Philadelphia Jewish and general affairs. Their sons SIMON B. (1840–1919) and MOYER (1842–1924) were partners in a yarn business in Philadelphia. They were both active in the Hebrew Education Society, and Moyer succeeded Moses A. Dropsie as its president in 1892. A son of Simon, BENJAMIN WILFRED (1870–1946), achieved distinction in Japan where he spent 40 years, becoming dean of American journalists there before the outbreak of World War II. SAMUEL STUART (1871–1944), brother of Benjamin Wilfred, was the founder and sole supporter, beginning in 1899, of the Graphic Sketch Club. Willed to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the club nurtured the artistic talents of more than 40,000 young people. In 1923 Samuel became the first Jewish recipient of the prestigious Edward Bok Philadelphia Award. EDWIN ADLER (1877–1959), another brother, founded the Symphony Club of Philadelphia in 1909 and created a world-famed collection of music. The collection, eventually numbering over 11,000 pieces, was donated to the Free Library of Philadelphia, of which Edwin was a trustee. He had bought a large proportion of the scores on trips to Europe in which he scoured publishers' warehouses for long-neglected compositions. The Philadelphia Orchestra and the city's music academies have frequently used the collection. Samuel and Edwin, both members of Reform Congregation Knesseth Israel, were generous contributors to Jewish philanthropies, as was their cousin, ALFRED W. (1878–1928), prominent Philadelphia realtor. A partner in the firm of Mastbaum Brothers and Fleisher, Alfred was at least once the largest individual contributor to the Federation of Jewish Charities campaign. He was best known for his leadership in the field of progressive penology. For five years, beginning in 1923, he was president of the Board of Trustees of Eastern State Penitentiary and personally guided the construction of the prison at Gratersford. Edwin's nephew, STUART F. LOUCHHEIM, carried on the family tradition as president of the Academy of Music, which he rescued from potential bankruptcy and demolition. Louchheim was not a practicing Jew.


Sources:H.S. Morais, Jews of Philadelphia (1894), 263–6; M. Stern, Americans of Jewish Descent (1960), 52–53; Bess, in: Saturday Evening Post (Feb. 6, 1943), 22ff.; Woolf, in: New York Times Magazine (April 4, 1937), 12ff.

[Bertram Wallace Korn]

Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.

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