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Business

Ellen Lehman Mccluskey

Ellen Lehman McCluskey, a firm believer that quality design is a result of close communication between architect and interior designer, built her own design firm into a business with national, international, and professional respect.

Etta Wedell Mastbaum

Etta Wedell Mastbaum was the scion of a prominent nineteenth- and twentieth-century Philadelphia family. A philanthropist, department store executive, art collector, and director of a national chain of motion picture theaters, Mastbaum donated a collection of Rodin sculptures and ephemera to the city of Philadelphia.

Lane Bryant Malsin

Lane Bryant Malsin was a fashion entrepreneur and pioneer in the best sense of the word, long before Donna Karan or Liz Claiborne. She pioneered niche marketing and mail-order merchandising, as well as innovative work practices and progressive advertising.

Mary Ann Cohen Magnin

Energetic, stubborn, with an outstanding intuition for business—this was Mary Ann Cohen Magnin, the founder of I. Magnin and Company. Until her death at age ninety-four, Magnin took an active interest in the stores, which specialize in exclusive women’s clothes. Mary Ann Cohen, the daughter of a rabbi, was born in Scheveningen, Holland, in 1850. She immigrated with her parents to London, England. On October 8, 1865, in the Great Synagogue in London, she married Isaac Magnin, born in Assen, Holland, in 1842, a carver and gilder. They had eight children: Samuel, Henrietta, Joseph, Emanuel John, Victor, Lucille, Flora, and Grover.

Licoricia of Winchester

Licoricia of Winchester, daughter of Isaac, was the most notable English Jewish woman of her time. She was born sometime towards the beginning of the thirteenth century and was married twice. After the death of her first husband, Abraham, son of Isaac, of Kent and Winchester, Licoricia continued living in Winchester with her three sons, Cokerel (Isaac), Benedict (Baruch) and Lumbard. The first documented evidence of Licoricia’s lending activities is from the early 1230s when the records show that she lent money in association with other Jews as well as by herself with an attorney. By the end of that decade she was one of the richest Jewish moneylenders in Winchester.

Belle Levy

Belle Levy was a private detective, an unusual profession for a woman. Crime-solving, however, ran in her family, since her father was a lieutenant with the New York City police force. Belle Rosenfeld Levy was born in New York City on December 29, 1898, to Ray and Monroe (Wieser) Rosenfeld. She progressed through the city’s public school system and married Charles Levy before her eighteenth birthday. Her first independent job was designer of children’s clothes, but at age twenty-five, she began working for a private detective agency.

Judith Leiber

“Hitler put me in the handbag business,” Judith Leiber recalled in Enid Nemy’s book, Judith Leiber: The Artful Handbag. She was born Judith Peto in Budapest, Hungary, on January 11, 1921. Her well-to-do parents, Emil and Helen Peto, originally planned that she make a fortune in skin creams. Instead, she enrolled in the Hungarian Handbag Guild as its first woman member. Judith, her older sister Eva, and her mother survived the Nazi occupation of Budapest by staying in a building designated for Jews and then in a house set aside for Swiss citizens. Her father, an Austro-Hungarian who managed the grain department of a bank, obtained a pass for himself and forged the words “and family,” using the same typewriter used to issue the pass.

Tillie Leblang

Tillie LeBlang is known as a businesswoman, philanthropist, and mother. When her husband, Joseph, died in 1931, she took control of a family business valued at $12 million to $15 million. During their thirty years of marriage, the LeBlangs built a small retail cigar shop into a cultural empire that operated three ticket agencies and controlled five theaters, three in New York City and two in Newark, New Jersey. LeBlang worked with her husband while raising three daughters. She continued to manage the business until just a few months before she died, with the help of her second husband, William Jasie, who had been the LeBlangs’ business lawyer.

Estée Lauder

Estée Lauder’s name connotes beauty and healthy skin through her profitable cosmetics lines: Estée Lauder, Clinique, Aramis, Lauder for Men and Prescriptives. An astute businesswoman, she made a fortune manufacturing, marketing and distributing cosmetics to women around the world.

Matilda Steinam Kubie

Born in the Midwest, Matilda Steinam Kubie spent her adult life as a resident of New York City. Although often identified as Mrs. Isaac Kubie, she created a public persona distinct from that of her husband, becoming actively involved in a large array of civic and welfare organizations.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Business." (Viewed on December 11, 2017) <https://jwa.org/topics/business>.

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