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Fanny Brooks

1837–August 21, 1901

by JWA Staff
Our work to expand the Encyclopedia is ongoing. We are providing this brief biography for Fanny Brooks until we are able to commission a full entry.

Entrepreneur Fanny Brooks (1837–1901). Image courtesy of Andrea Kalinowski's Jewish Pioneer Women.

Rather than try her fortune directly through prospecting, Fanny Brooks followed the Gold Rush as a teenager and opened a successful general store and boarding house, creating the infrastructure to support other pioneers. Isabella “Fanny” Bruck married Julius Brooks at sixteen in 1853 and followed him to America, where the pair joined a wagon train headed for California in 1854. After an arduous journey, they opened a store in Marysville, California, then spent the next decade moving from San Francisco to Portland to Boise before finally settling in Salt Lake City in the mid 1860s. Once there, Brooks opened a boarding house with a dining room that could seat 40 people. When Brigham Young passed an edict in 1868 that Mormons could not do business with non-Mormons, many local businesses folded, but Brooks took her case directly to Young, who granted her an exception and allowed his followers to do business with her. The couple then opened a millinery shop and, in 1879, a shopping mall called the Brooks Arcade. Brooks was on one of her frequent visits home to Germany when she died, but was buried in her adoptive home of Salt Lake City.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Fanny Brooks." (Viewed on March 3, 2024) <http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/brooks-fanny>.