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Entrepreneurs

Brothel-keeper Polly Adler jailed

March 5, 1935

Polly Adler, one of America's best-known madams, was jailed after a police raid on her Saratoga Springs brothel.

Birth of Ida Cohen Rosenthal, co-founder of Maidenform

January 9, 1886

Ida Cohen Rosenthal, co-founder of Maidenform, the first company to make modern bras, was born in Tsarist Russia.

Spain

Written histories of the Jews in Spain have rarely included women. When dealing with Jewish women in Spain, the available sources range from poems, letters, and rabbinic literature to Latinate wills, court records and Inquisition documents.

Ida Cohen Rosenthal

Ida Cohen Rosenthal, in partnership with her husband, not only reinvented the modern bra, but launched the company that became the world’s largest bra manufacturer.

Rosanna Dyer Osterman

Rosanna Dyer Osterman was instrumental in the founding of the first Jewish community in Texas. She brought the first rabbi to Texas in 1852 to consecrate the state’s first Jewish cemetery, and the first-known Jewish service in the state was held at the home of her brother Isadore Dyer in 1856.

Florence Zacks Melton

Philanthropist and visionary innovator, a lay leader for over fifty years, Florence Zacks Melton has helped build institutions that have improved the quality and broadened the scope of Jewish education throughout North America.

Regina Margareten

Regina Margareten was known as the “Matza Queen” and the “matriarch of the [jwa_encyclopedia_glossary:347]kosher[/jwa_encyclopedia_glossary] food industry,” according to her obituary in the New York Times. Born in Balbona (Miskolcz), Hungary, on December 20 or 25, 1863, she came to America as a young bride in 1883, with her husband, Ignatz Margareten, and her parents, Jacob and Mirel Chayah (Mary) (Brunner) Horowitz. Regina, also known as Rebush and as Hannah Rivka, was the Horowitzes’ third child and second daughter.

Ruth Mosko Handler

Best known as the inventor of the Barbie doll, Ruth Mosko Handler combined her marketing genius with her husband Elliot Handler’s creative designs to form the toy company Mattel, Inc. Starting in their garage in 1939, the Handlers produced Lucite gifts, wooden picture frames, and dollhouse furniture before developing their first toy, the Uke-A-Doodle, in 1947. The success of the Uke-A-Doodle was followed by a series of rubber-belt-driven musical toys, including the Jack-in-the-Box, as well as toy guns such as a Winchester rifle replica. Yet it was the Barbie doll, created in 1959, that “ran off the counter.” Thirty years later, sales of the doll that Handler named after her daughter exceeded one billion dollars.

Happy 50th birthday, Barbie

I have to admit that I didn't grow up with Barbies. Born to a feminist mom in the 1970s, I only had Skipper, Barbie's flat-chested cousin. But as much as Barbie's boobs kind of frightened me (and still do), Skipper just didn't have her charisma.

"The best goddamn madam in all America"

I've been meeting a lot of interesting Jewish women lately. And all without leaving my computer! No, I'm not trolling JDate or chatrooms for a hot date (my life is complicated enough with a husband and two kids, thank you very much) -- I've been wandering through the couple thousand entries in the new online Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia! 

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Entrepreneurs." (Viewed on July 26, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/entrepreneurs>.

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