Louis Bamberger

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Louis Bamberger
Louis Bamberger, date unknown
Born(1855-05-15)15 May 1855
Died11 March 1944(1944-03-11) (aged 88)

Louis Bamberger (15 May 1855 – 11 March 1944) was the leading citizen of Newark, New Jersey, from the early 1900s until his death in 1944[1][2][3]. He is noted for co-founding (with his sister Caroline Bamberger Fuld) the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey[1][2][3]. He was a businessman and philanthropist and at his death all flags in Newark were flown at half-staff for three days, and his large department store closed for a day[2].

Early life[edit]

Louis Bamberger was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1855, to German Jewish parents Elkan Bamberger and Theresa Hutzler[1][2].


He came to Newark in 1892 and bought at auction a failing general goods store on Market Street, renaming it L. Bamberger & Company[1][2], with his partners, brothers-in-law Felix Fuld and Louis M. Frank[4][2],. The store was an immediate success, and Bamberger was able to open an ornate chateauesque building in 1912 that covered a whole city block[2]. For decades, Bamberger’s clock was the downtown meeting place for Newarkers[2]. In 1928, the store's sales were $28 million (equivalent to $409 million in 2018), making it the fourth highest grossing store in the United States[5].

In 1929, Bamberger sold his department store to R.H. Macy and Company, which kept the original Bamberger name[2]. Bamberger knew that he owed his success to hundreds of able employees, and split $1 million among 240 employees[2]. The Bamberger name remained in use for the stores in the New Jersey division of Macy's until 1986[2].

Charitable work[edit]

Bamberger supported both secular and Jewish charities[2]. Bamberger personally funded the buildings for Newark’s YMHA, the Newark Museum, and the New Jersey Historical Society[2]. He worked to help persecuted Jews escape from Germany's Third Reich[5]. Bamberger was also a major contributor to the Community Chest and Beth Israel Hospital[5].

Institute for Advanced Studies[edit]

Bamberger and his sister Caroline Bamberger Fuld worked with Abraham Flexner to found the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey[6]. They gave a $5 million endowment to the Institute[3]. Upon Bamberger's death the bulk of his estate was left to the Institute[1].

Personal life[edit]

Bamberger was a shy man who never married and focused on running his store[1][2]. His partner Felix Fuld was the more outgoing of the two, and his sister Caroline Bamberger Fuld was most involve in the charity activities of the family[1].


  1. ^ a b c d e f g impressM. "An Enlightened Life of Selling and Giving". Charles Cummings. Retrieved 2019-04-28.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Forgosh, Linda B. (2016-09-06). Louis Bamberger: Department Store Innovator and Philanthropist. Brandeis University Press. ISBN 9781611689822.
  3. ^ a b c impressM. "An Enlightened Life of Selling and Giving". Charles Cummings. Retrieved 2019-04-28.
  4. ^ Burstyn, Joan N.; Jersey, Women's Project of New (1997). Past and Promise: Lives of New Jersey Women. Syracuse University Press. ISBN 9780815604181.
  5. ^ a b c Jr, Kenneth Bertholf; Dorflinger, Don (2011-04-18). Blairstown and Its Neighbors. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 9781439624227.
  6. ^ Roselló, Joan (2019-02-01). Hilbert, Göttingen and the Development of Modern Mathematics. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. ISBN 9781527527621.