Henry Lehman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Henry Lehman
Born Hayum Lehmann
Rimpar, Lower Franconia
Kingdom of Bavaria
Died November 17, 1855 (aged 33)
New Orleans, Louisiana
United States
Nationality United States
Other names Hayum Lehmann
Occupation Merchant
Known for co-founder of Lehman Brothers
Family Mayer Lehman (brother)
Emanuel Lehman (brother)

Henry Lehman (born Hayum Lehmann; c. 1822 – November 17, 1855) was a German-born American businessman and the founder of Lehman Brothers financial services, which declared bankruptcy in 2008.

Life and work[edit]

Lehman was born under the name of Hayum Lehmann to a Jewish family,[1] 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.[2] He settled in Montgomery, Alabama, and opened a dry goods store named, "H. Lehman".[3] 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.[3] 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.


  1. ^ Jewish Americans and Political Participation: A Reference Handbook, (ABC-CLIO, 2002), By Rafael Medoff, page 333
  2. ^ Flade, Roland (1996). Die Lehmanns und die Rimparer Juden: zur Dauerausstellung im Rathaus Rimpar (in German). Königshausen & Neumann. p. 13. ISBN 3826012739. 
  3. ^ a b Lehman Brothers.com