Joseph Meyerhoff

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Joseph Meyerhoff
Born (1899-04-08)April 8, 1899
Died February 2, 1985(1985-02-02) (aged 85)
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Occupation Entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist
Spouse(s) Rebecca Witten
Children Harvey Meyerhoff
Eleanor Meyerhoff Katz
Peggy Meyerhoff Pearlstone

Joseph Meyerhoff (April 8, 1899 – February 2, 1985) was an American businessman, fundraiser, and philanthropist based in Baltimore, Maryland. His son is Harvey Meyerhoff.


Meyerhoff was born in the Ukraine and was brought to the United States as a young boy in 1906. He grew up in Baltimore and graduated from Baltimore City College (which, despite its name, is a public high school); he then attended and completed his law degree at the University of Maryland in the mid 1930s. Meyerhoff practiced law for some years upon graduation from the UM School of Law until he opened a construction company with his brother called Monumental Properties Inc. This firm thrived for nearly 40 years until it was sold for about $180M (making Meyerhoff and his family one of the wealthiest in Baltimore). Monumental Properties was responsible for many buildings in the city, including various shopping centers throughout the west side. In the early 1950s Meyerhoff and other prominent Jewish-American businessmen were chosen to assist Israel during its initial establishment crises. He retired in 1965.

Meyerhoff continued his career as an avid philanthropist serving as president of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in the 1970s, where he personally contributed money and helped raise millions of dollars. He is credited, along with music director Sergiu Comissiona, with re-organizing and revitalizing the group. The BSO's primary home, the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, is named after him. Meyerhoff also supported many other Jewish charities and art museums throughout Baltimore and was eventually inducted into the Baltimore Business Hall of Fame along with Robert Merrick.

Personal life[edit]

Meyerhoff married in the 1930s to Rebecca Witten and they had three children whom they raised in Baltimore:


  • Meyerhoff's legacy lives on through charities and scholarships and through his various contributions to the BSO.
  • Maryland Institute College of Art has a department called "The Joseph Meyerhoff Center for Career Development" that is used to foster the professional growth of students and alumni throughout their lives. [1]
  • The "Joseph and Harvey Meyerhoff Family Charitable Funds" is a group of Baltimore-based family foundations making philanthropic contributions in the local area as well as nationally and internationally. Thus, Meyerhoff's philanthropic legacy continues through his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. [2]
  • A child daycare center in Rehovot, Israel carries Meyerhoff's name as the main donor.
  • His name also lives on with the "Joseph Meyerhoff Library" in several cities in Israel: Jerusalem (2 libraries-in the Katamonim and Ramat Eshkol neighbourhoods), Ashdod, Rehobot and Beersheva.
  • Meyerhoff also donated funds for the establishment of the Tel Aviv Museum's Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Art Education Center, housing over 2,000 art students in Israel.