Esther Herrman

Esther Mendels Herrman’s generosity helped create many vital Jewish and secular institutions, from Barnard College to the 92nd Street Y. Herrman came to the US with her family at age four and married Henry Herrman in 1843. Herrman ran several businesses as a supplier for sailing vessels, a clothes merchant, and an importer of woolens before dying in 1889 and leaving his family with a large fortune. By this point, Esther Herrman had already had a long career as an activist and philanthropist through Sorosis, one of the first women’s clubs in New York, dedicated to women’s rights and education. She joined Sorosis in 1876 and became chair of its philanthropic committee in 1881. Because of her vital funding of the fledgling Barnard College, Herrman was given the title of founder, and her granddaughter was a member of the first graduating class in 1893. In 1897 Herrman created an educational endowment fund for the Young Men’s Hebrew Association (later the 92nd Street Y). She also supported the Hebrew Technical Institute, a training school for mechanical trade skills, donated a herbarium and an educational fund for the New York Botanic Garden, and funded the New York Academy of Sciences.


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Esther Herrman.
Courtesy of the 92nd Street Y, New York City
Date of Birth


Date of Death

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Esther Herrman." (Viewed on September 25, 2020) <>.


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