We’re expanding our Encyclopedia of Jewish Women and we need your help! Know an extraordinary Jewish woman whose story should be told? Nominate her to be included!
Close [x]

Show [+]


You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share

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.

Esther Herrman
Full image
Esther Herrman.
Courtesy of the 92nd Street Y, New York City
Date of Birth
August 7, 1823
Place of Birth
Date of Death
July 4, 1911

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Esther Herrman." (Viewed on March 20, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/herrman-esther>.


Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

The JWA Podcast

listen now

Sign Up for JWA eNews


Discover Education Programs

Join our growing community of educators.

view programs