Rosenwald

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ROSENWALD

ROSENWALD , U.S. family. julius rosenwald (1862–1932), merchant and philanthropist, was born in Springfield, Illinois, the son of German Jewish immigrants. From 1879 to 1885, he was in New York City, working first at an uncle's clothing store, then opening his own, and finally starting to manufacture lightweight summer clothing. He moved the business to Chicago in 1885, where, as Rosenwald and Weil, it was fairly successful. In 1895 he bought a one-quarter interest in the recently established mail-order firm of Sears, Roebuck and Company for $37,500 and became its vice president. He became company president in 1909. By 1925 his original investment was worth $150,000,000. Rosenwald was responsible for opening factories that produced much of the firm's merchandise; introduced the famous "money-back-if-not-satisfied" guarantee; and expanded distribution of the firm's mail-order catalog to 40,000,000 copies annually. Rosenwald, who was somewhat paternalistic in employee relationships, stressed recreational facilities and introduced a profit-sharing plan. In 1925 Rosenwald became chairman of the board, and remained in that post until his death.

In the area of philanthropy, Rosenwald heavily subsidized the erection of ymca buildings for African Americans in 25 cities and the establishment of thousands of rural schools in the southern U.S. from 1910 on. He served continuously from 1912 as a trustee of Tuskegee Institute, and donated $2,700,000 for the construction of model housing for African Americans in Chicago. The Julius Rosenwald Fund, established in 1917 with a capital of $30,000,000, was Rosenwald's chief philanthropic instrument. He directed that the fund's capital and interest be expended within 25 years of his death.

Rosenwald was president of the Associated Jewish Charities of Chicago (1907); contributed substantially to Jewish war relief during World War i and the post-war period; pledged $6,000,000 to promote Jewish agricultural colonization in the Soviet Union; and gave $500,000 each to the Hebrew Union College and Jewish Theological Seminary. Rosenwald opposed Zionism but contributed modestly to educational and agricultural institutions in Palestine. He served for many years as vice president of the American Jewish Committee. Active in general civic affairs, Rosenwald was a trustee of the University of Chicago, to which he donated $5,000,000; he pledged $3,000,000 for the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry; and he served on the Advisory Commission of the Council of National Defense during World War i.

lessing julius rosenwald (1891–1979), the eldest son of Julius Rosenwald, was a merchant, book collector and philanthropist. Rosenwald, who was born in Chicago, Illinois, entered Sears, Roebuck and Company as a shipping clerk in 1911, and worked his way up through the company's ranks. After naval service in World War i, he took charge of the Sears plant in Philadelphia and, upon his father's death in 1932, succeeded him as chairman of the board until 1939. During World War ii, Rosenwald served as director of the Bureau of Industrial Conservation. In 1943 he led the foundation of the *American Council for Judaism and was its first president. Rosen-wald and the Council campaigned vigorously in the U.S. and before the un against the establishment of a Jewish national state in Palestine. Rosenwald continued the philanthropic tradition of his family through service and contributions to Jewish and general civic causes. In addition, he was noted as a collector of rare books and prints and contributed generously to the National Gallery of Art and Library of Congress.

william rosenwald (1903–1996), the second son of Julius Rosenwald, was a philanthropist and financier. Rosen-wald, who was born in Chicago, Illinois, served briefly as a director of Sears, Roebuck and Company before concentrating on his own investments. These included the American Securities Corporation and Ametek, Inc. and Western Union. Rosenwald was one of the outstanding figures in American Jewish philanthropic activity from the 1930s. He served as chairman of the national United Jewish Appeal campaign, and vice chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee, American Jewish Committee and United hias Service. He also supported Tuskegee Institute, the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry and the New York Philharmonic Symphony Society.

bibliography:

M.R. Werner, Julius Rosenwald (1939); Angell, in: ajyb (1932), 141–76; E.R. Embree and J. Waxman, Investment in People: The Story of the Julius Rosenwald Fund (1949); Current Biography (1947), 551–4; Forbes, 102 (Sept. 15, 1968), 74. add. bibliography: Crisis and Response 1933–1983. Published in Honor of William Rosenwald's 50 Years of Leadership in Jewish Philanthropy (1983).

[Morton Rosenstock]