Mary Ann CohenMagnin

Mary Ann Cohen Magnin rose to stunning success at the turn of the century as the founder of I. Magnin and Company, an exclusive chain of women’s clothing stores. Magnin immigrated to England as a child and married Isaac Magnin, a fellow Hollander, in 1865. Ten years later, the couple and their children relocated to San Francisco, where Magnin opened a store where she could make and sell baby clothes, lingerie, and women’s clothes. By 1877 she had expanded the store and named it for her husband, though she ran the business alone. After the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, Magnin briefly moved her store to her home while building a larger facility—by keeping the store open, she both ensured salaries for her employees and made clothing available to those who had lost essentials in the disaster. While she herself was a canny businesswoman, Magnin trained her eight children for more traditional roles, teaching the girls to sew while she groomed her sons to manage the business. Despite officially retiring, Magnin continued to inspect and oversee daily operations until shortly before her death.

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Founder of I. Magnin and Company, Mary Ann Cohen Magnin.
Courtesy of American Jewish Historical Society.
Date of Birth


Date of Death
Designer, Entrepreneur, Founder

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Mary Ann Cohen Magnin." (Viewed on March 4, 2021) <>.


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