Emil Ganz

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Emil Ganz
Emil Ganz.jpg
Emil Ganz
Born August 18, 1838
Walldorf, Thuringia
Died August 6, 1922(1922-08-06) (aged 83)
San Diego, California
Nationality Sachsen-Meiningen, American
Occupation businessman and mayor of Phoenix, Arizona

Emil Ganz (August 18, 1838 – August 6, 1922) was a businessman and three-time mayor of Phoenix, Arizona.


Ganz was born on August 18, 1838 in the German town of Walldorf, Thuringia in the then Duchy of Saxe-Meiningen, to Meyer and Hannah Ganz.[1][2] He was educated in his home country before being apprenticed to a tailor at age 14.[3] Ganz immigrated to the United States in 1858, working as a journeyman tailor in New York City and Philadelphia before settling in Cedartown, Georgia.[4]

At the beginning of the American Civil War, Ganz enlisted in the Confederate States Army. As a soldier, he saw action at the battles of Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, and well as being assigned to the defense of Richmond, Virginia.[4] Toward the end of the war, he was captured and spent seven months as a prisoner of war at Elmira Prison.[1]

Becoming a naturalized American citizen in 1866, Ganz moved to Kansas City, Missouri. He joined several cousins who operated a clothing and dry goods company and made alterations to ready made clothing.[1] In 1872, Ganz moved to Las Animas, Colorado where he continued to work as a tailor.[5] There he married a non-Jewish woman named Elizabeth.[1] Two years later he relocated to Prescott, Arizona Territory and become manager of a hotel.[4] In May 1876, he was granted a divorce from his wife.[6] Ganz moved to Phoenix in 1879 and became proprietor for the Bank Exchange hotel.[7] The hotel was destroyed by fire in 1885, after which Ganz went into the wholesale liquor business.[4] Ganz married Bertha Angleman of Kansas City, Missouri in 1883.[8] The union produced four children: Sylvan C., Julian, Aileen, and Helen.[9]

Politically, Ganz was a member of the Democratic party.[5] He was elected Mayor of Phoenix in 1885.[7] As mayor, he lobbied for creation of a city fire department. He was initially unsuccessful but a fire in August 1886 convinced the voters to pass a bond issue to improve water supply and purchase fire fighting equipment.[10]

In 1894, Ganz sold his liquor business. The next year he purchased an interest in the National Bank of Arizona and was elected the bank president.[4] He returned to politics in 1896 and was unanimously elected to represent the second ward on the city council.[11] In 1899, Ganz was elected to his first of two consecutive terms as city mayor.[12] He was the Democratic nominee for mayor in 1903 but failed to win reelection.[13][14]

Ganz's wife, Bertha, died on March 20, 1905.[15] Ganz married Elsie Bryson on September 12, 1907.[16] He stepped down as president of the National Bank of Arizona in January 1920 and became Chairman of the bank's board.[17] Ganz died in a San Diego, California hospital on August 6, 1922.[18][19]

In 2001, professional historian Mark Pry wrote a biography of Ganz, Immigrant Banker: The Life of Emil Ganz. The book was commissioned by granddaughter Joan Ganz Cooney, a television producer who co-created Sesame Street.


  1. ^ a b c d Yost, Barbara (March 23, 2001). "Right place, right time". Jewish News of Greater Phoenix. Archived from the original on June 10, 2010. 
  2. ^ McClintock 1916, p. 214.
  3. ^ Conners 1913, p. 233.
  4. ^ a b c d e Chapman Publishing Co. 1901, p. 222.
  5. ^ a b Conners 1913, p. 235.
  6. ^ "District Court". Arizona Weekly Miner. Prscott, Arizona Territory. May 19, 1876. p. 2. 
  7. ^ a b Garcia 2008, p. 56.
  8. ^ McClintock 1916, p. 217.
  9. ^ Chapman Publishing Co. 1901, p. 225.
  10. ^ Garcia 2008, p. 57.
  11. ^ "It's Monihan". Arizona Republican. Phoenix, Arizona Territory. June 3, 1896. p. 1. 
  12. ^ "A Democratic Tinge". Arizona Republican. Phoenix, Arizona Territory. May 3, 1899. p. 4. 
  13. ^ "Smaller News Items". Bisbee Daily Review. Bisbee, Arizona Territory. April 28, 1903. p. 8. 
  14. ^ "Phoenix City is Redeemed". Arizona Republican. Phoenix, Arizona Territory. May 6, 1903. p. 1. 
  15. ^ "Suffering Ends in Death". Arizona Republican. Phoenix, Arizona. March 21, 1905. p. 3. 
  16. ^ "Ganz-Bryson". Los Angeles Herald. September 15, 1907. pp. 2 Part II. 
  17. ^ "Charles F. Solomon is New President of Nat. Bank of Arizona". Arizona Republican. Phoenix, Arizona. January 14, 1920. p. 4. 
  18. ^ "Emil Ganz, Arizona Pioneer, Dies in San Diego, Calif". The Coconino Sun. Flagstaff, Arizona. August 11, 1922. p. 3. 
  19. ^ "Emil Ganz, Pioneer Arizona Resident, Dies in Dan Diego". Bisbee Daily Review. August 8, 1922. p. 6. 

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