Lewis Rosenstiel

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Lewis Rosenstiel
Lewis Solon Rosenstiel

July 21, 1891
DiedJanuary 21, 1976
Known forFounder of Schenley Industries,
Spouse(s)Dorothy Heller
Leonore Cohn
Louise Rosenstiel
Susan Kaufman
Blanka Wdowiak
ChildrenLouise Rosenstiel Frank
RelativesSidney Frank (son-in-law)

Lewis "Lew" Solon Rosenstiel (July 21, 1891 – January 21, 1976) was the founder of Schenley Industries, an American liquor company, and a philanthropist.[1][2] The Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award is named after him; the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science is named after him and his wife.


Rosenstiel was born to a Jewish family[3] in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Elizabeth (née Johnson) and Solon Rosenstiel.[4] He attended University School and Franklin Prep. He then went to work at his uncle's business, Susquemac Distilling Company in Milton, Kentucky. Rosenstiel organized Schenley Products Company in the 1920s. The company bought numerous distillers, including one in Schenley, Pennsylvania, that had licenses to produce medicinal whisky. In 1933, when Prohibition ended, Schenley Distillers Company was formed as a publicly owned company. (The name was changed to Schenley Industries in 1949.) Schenley became one of the largest liquor companies in the United States. It was one of the "Big Four", which dominated liquor sales, and included Seagram, National Distillers, and Hiram Walker. Rosenstiel retired from Schenley in 1968 and it was acquired by Israeli financier Meshulam Riklis. The company was sold to Guinness in 1987.[4]

Rosenstiel was a friend of attorney Roy Cohn, and together they formed the organization American Jewish League Against Communism. Rosenstiel was also friends with Federal Bureau of Investigation director J. Edgar Hoover, and was the primary contributor to the J. Edgar Hoover Foundation.[5][6]

Personal life[edit]

Rosenstiel was married five times: to Dorothy Heller, Leonore Cohn (niece of Harry Cohn, founder of Columbia Pictures), Louise Rosenstiel, Susan Kaufman and Blanka Wdowiak. His daughter, Louise, married Sidney Frank, who well after her death in 1973, became a billionaire promoting American sales of Jägermeister and Grey Goose.

In December 1975, attorney Roy Cohn entered the hospital room of a dying and comatose Lewis Rosenstiel, forced a pen to his hand and lifted it to a will in an attempt to make himself and Cathy Frank—Rosenstiel's granddaughter—beneficiaries. The resulting marks were determined in court to be indecipherable and in no way a valid signature. This later resulted in Cohn being disbarred for unethical and unprofessional conduct.[7]


  1. ^ Mitenbuler, Reid (2015-05-12). "How Bourbon Became "America's Native Spirit"". Slate.
  2. ^ "LIQUOR: The Schenley Reserves". Time. September 29, 1952.
  3. ^ "Lewis Rosenstiel Gives $2,500,000 to Jewish and Christian Charities". Jewish Telegraph Agency. July 27, 1966. Lewis S. Rosenstiel, a prominent Jewish philanthropist and head of Schenley Industries
  4. ^ a b Sloane, Leonard (January 22, 1976). "Lewis Rosenstiel, Founder Of Schenley Empire, Dies". The New York Times.
  5. ^ The Director and the Foundation The Washington Post June 1, 1969
  6. ^ The Breaking of a President 1974 - The Nixon Connection by Marvin Miller; Classic Publications; 1975 [1]
  7. ^ "Roy Cohn disbarred for legal misconduct". The Milwaukee Journal. June 24, 1986.