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Entrepreneurs

Blanche Wolf Knopf

Blanche W. Knopf was one of that small group of women who were major book publishers. Married to Alfred A. Knopf in 1916, she became a vice president of the firm in 1921 and president in 1957. During her tenure, the firm was noted for publishing such authors as André Gide, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, Elizabeth Bowen, Ilya Ehrenburg, Mikhail Sholokov, Thomas Mann, and Sigmund Freud. Her intellectual interests, flawless French, and sensitivity to emerging literary trends were matched by her personal style and social prowess.

Lillian Ruth Kessler

In 1982, when she retired from the presidency of Kessler International Corporation, Lillian Kessler prepared a brochure listing the principal export items of the company she had founded in 1946. The list included abrasives, adhesives, locomotive parts, chemicals, navigational and meteorological instruments, tank and jeep bearings, crankshaft and camshaft grinders, and many other automotive parts.

Lillian Kasindorf Kavey

Lillian Kasindorf Kavey was a banker, a community activist, and an advocate for Conservative Judaism and Ethiopian Jewry. She was born in New York City on July 19, 1889, and married Abraham H. Kavovitz, an itinerant clothing merchant and shoe salesman, in 1908. They settled in Port Chester, New York.

Chaile Raphael Kaulla

“Here rests a woman who was outstanding among her people and in her fatherland” is written on the gravestone of “Madame Kaulla” in the Hechingen Jewish cemetery. This refers to her charity as a wealthy and pious Jewish woman and to her significant achievements in serving the Grand Duke (later King) of Wuerttemberg and the imperial army (Reichsarmee). Chaile Raphael Kaulla was the most influential Jewish woman entrepreneur and one of the last Court Jews in eighteenth-century Germany.

Donna Karan

Not just an ordinary fashion designer, Donna Karan has proved she is an extraordinary New York designer. She has stretched her role as “artist” in the high-paced designer world to include aspects of life far beyond the typical wardrobe.

Lizzie Black Kander

“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” In 1901, Lizzie Kander and Mrs. Henry Schoenfeld used this adage in the title of a cookbook produced for the benefit of the first settlement house in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. By 1984, nearly two million copies of The Settlement Cook Book: The Way to a Man’s Heart had been sold. Its success can be attributed to the determination and ingenuity of a woman known as the “Jane Addams of Milwaukee.”

Anna Held

The date and place of Anna Held’s birth are shrouded in mystery, confusion or vanity. They range from March 18, 1865, in Warsaw, Poland, to 1878 in Paris, France, a thirteen-year difference. That she was born in Warsaw on March 18, 1873, may be most accurate. Held was the youngest and only survivor of eleven children. Her parents were Maurice (or Shimmle), a glovemaker, and Yvonne (or Helene) Pierre. Some sources suggest that both her parents were Jewish, while one source states that her mother was Catholic.

Sylvia Hassenfeld

Sylvia Hassenfeld is one of the most important American Jewish communal leaders and philanthropists of the twentieth century. Born in Philadelphia, the only child of Sophie and Joseph Kay, Hassenfeld has been an international leader in business, philanthropy, Jewish communal service, and non-governmental organizations.

Edith Gregor Halpert

Art dealer, collector, and influential businesswoman, Edith Halpert changed the way Americans perceive their art. Born in Odessa, [now] Ukraine, on April 25, 1900, she was the daughter of Gregor and Frances (Lucom) Fivoosiovitch. Her father died when she was very young and when she was six years old, her mother brought her and her sister to New York City. While in high school, at age fourteen, Edith took classes at the National Academy of Design after convincing the instructors she was really sixteen.

Jean Gordon

Jean Gordon had two successful careers in her lifetime, as a founder of the Advance Pattern Company and as the owner and publisher of Dance Magazine.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Entrepreneurs." (Viewed on December 23, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/entrepreneurs>.

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