Rimpar, Lower Franconia
Kingdom of Bavaria
|Died||November 17, 1855 (aged 33)
New Orleans, Louisiana
|Other names||Hayum Lehmann|
Lehman was born under the name of Hayum Lehmann to a Jewish family, the son of Abraham Lehmann, a cattle merchant in the small Franconian town of Rimpar near Würzburg, Lehman emigrated to the United States in 1844, where he changed his name to Henry Lehman. He settled in Montgomery, Alabama, and opened a dry goods store named, "H. Lehman". In 1847, following the arrival of his younger brother Emanuel Lehman, the firm became, "H. Lehman and Bro." With the 1850 arrival of Mayer Lehman, the youngest brother, the firm became "Lehman Brothers".
In those years, cotton was the most important crop of the Southern United States. Capitalizing on cotton's extremely high market value around the world, the Lehman brothers became cotton factors, accepting cotton bales from customers as payment for their merchandise. They eventually began a second business as traders in cotton. Within a few years, this became the major part of their firm.
In 1855, Henry Lehman died from yellow fever while travelling in New Orleans. Later, his brothers moved the company's headquarters to New York City, eventually building it into an important American investment bank, which was in operation for over 150 years until its September 15, 2008 collapse.