Women of Valor


Family Roots

Hannah Greenebaum Solomon, 1858 - 1942

"The Greenebaum home has always been a social and cultural center for the Jewish settlers in Chicago."

Hannah's father, Michael Greenebaum, was part of the earliest group of Jews to settle in the frontier city of Chicago. He had left his small German village at the age of twenty, planning to return after a few years of plying his trade as a tinsmith in America. But after arriving in Chicago in 1847, he realized the young city's immense opportunities, and sent word for two of his brothers to join him. Michael Greenebaum began work as a salesman in the hardware business, and would later become a successful merchant. In 1848, he married Sarah Spiegal, whom he had met in New York while visiting distant cousins. By the time Michael had coaxed the rest of his family to Chicago in 1852, Sarah had already given birth to the first Greenebaum child born in America.

The Greenebaum clan was large, prosperous and very close. Hannah was born on January 14, 1858, the fourth of ten siblings. She grew up in a lively home, always busy with the "coming and going of grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles and cousins." Michael and Sarah Greenebaum were also a vital part of the community, and well known for their hospitality. As Hannah remembered, "Our dining table was seldom surrounded only by members of the family."

  1. "The Greenebaum home has always ..." quote from Herma Clark, The Elegant Eighties. (Chicago: McClurg, 1941) 59.
  2. On Michael Greenebaum's early life in America, see Hannah Greenebaum Solomon, Fabric of My Life (New York, Bloch Publishing Company, 1946) 6-8.
  3. On the Greenebaum brothers Michael, Henry and Elias as part of Chicago's earliest Jewish settlers, see Irving Cutler, The Jews of Chicago (Urbana, Illinois : University of Illinois Press, 1996) 12.
  4. "coming and going of grandmothers..." quote from Fabric 10.
  5. "Our dining table was seldom surrounded only by members of the family." quote from Fabric 21.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Women of Valor - Hannah Greenebaum Solomon - Family Roots." (Viewed on April 24, 2014) <http://jwa.org/womenofvalor/solomon/family-roots>.