Select Rosenthal Miscellany

Here are some Rosenthal stories and accounts over the years:

Rosenthal and Other "Rose" Ornamental Names

"Rose” ornamental names include: 
  • Rosenbaum, or "rose bush"  
  • Rosenberg, or "rose mountain" 
  • Rosenblatt, or "rose leaf" 
  • and Rosenfeld, or "rose field"  
  • as well as Rosenthal, or “rose valley."

The Rosenthal Family in Hungary

Naftali Rosenthal was one of the most important lay national figures of 18th century Hungarian Jewry.  A learned, wealthy merchant who lived in the small community of Mór west of Budapest, Naftali Rosenthal and his family came to the fore in the frequent assemblies of Hungarian Jewry held during the reigns of Emperor Joseph II and his successors. 

In addition to being wealthy political leaders, the Rosenthal family also played key cultural roles in Hungary as pioneers of the Haskalah.  Their links with the German Jewish Enlightenment had begun with Naftali himself.  At the age of 13 he had been sent by his learned father Yitsak Yehudah Lewin (Naftali adopted the surname Rosenthal later in his life) to study in Germany.  In the relatively open intellectual setting he found there, Naftali befriended a fellow student, the future philosopher and father of the Haskalah movement, Moses Mendelssohn.  As for Shelomoh Rosenthal, Naftali’s younger son, his network of acquaintances was such that he was easily the most influential layperson in Hungary during the early 19th century. 

The vast correspondence of the Rosenthal family was fed to flames sometime around the middle of the 19th century.  But the fraction that survived has proven to be an invaluable historical source, especially the manuscripts of Shelomoh Rosenthal that were deposited in the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw.

Rosenthal Emigration to America by Country of Origin

Rosenthals emigrated to America in the 19th century from a number of countries.


Rosenthals in Philadelphia

Four of the five Rosenthal brothers in Poland - Max, Morris, Louis, Simon, and David - were each sent abroad by their father Wolf on their thirteenth birthday - to prevent them being conscripted into the Polish army. Morris was sent to Berlin to a rabbinical school, Louis and Simon to London to apprentice as lithographic printers, and Max to Paris where he studied lithography under Martin Thurwanger. 

Sometime in 1849 or 1850 these brothers, without David, reunited in Philadelphia.   Their family firm seems to have begun in 1852 when they were listed in directories as doing business at the corner of Third and Dock Streets in Philadelphia.  Louis acted as their publisher and printer and Max was the principal artist of the company. 

In 1870 Max Rosenthal received a commission from a group of print collectors to create lithographic portraits of famous Americans for whom no engraved portrait existed.  Max later engraved on copper images of the First Continental Congress and the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. 

His son Albert carried on his father’s work and was the only artist engaged to paint copies of historical portraits for Independence Hall in Philadelphia.  He in fact became curator of the Hall in 1902, a position he held for more than a decade.

Ida Rosenthal and Maidenform

The history of Maidenform, Inc. began at Enid Frocks, a small dress shop in New York City owned and operated by Enid Bissett.  Ida Rosenthal was a Russian Jewish immigrant and seamstress at Enid's shop. 

In 1922 Ida and Enid decided that the fit and appearance of their custom-made dresses would be enhanced if improvements were made to the bandeaux style bras then in vogue.  They gathered the bandeaux in the middle in a design modification that provided more support in a manner they believed enhanced, rather than downplayed, a woman's natural figure. Ida's husband, William, added straps and further refined the style. They called their bras "Maidenform", in counterpoint to the "Boyish Form" brand then in vogue. 

Initially, the bras were given away with each dress they sold. As the bras gained popularity they began selling them.  Eventually the bras became so popular they stopped making dresses altogether and shifted to full-scale brassiere manufacturing.  The first Maidenform plant opened in Bayonne, New Jersey in 1925. 

When her husband William died in 1958, Ida Rosenthal became the chief executive officer of the company. She moved from her large estate on Long Island to a small apartment in the lower part of Fifth Avenue.  She went to her office every day until she died in 1973 at the age of

Abe Rosenthal's Path to the New York Times

Abe Rosenthal was born in 1922 in Ontario, the son of was a farmer named Harry Shipiatsky who had emigrated to Canada in the 1890s and changed his name to Rosenthal.  Harry was an unlikely frontier fur trapper who mushed huskies to Hudson Bay in search of ermine. 

When the Depression slowed demand for fur, the family, including five sisters, moved to the Bronx, where Rosenthal senior became a housepainter.  When Abe was nine, his father fell from a scaffold and died after three agonizing years.  Four of his siblings died from various causes and Abe himself spent much of his teenage years on crutches, hobbled by osteomyelitis, a bone infection. 

Rosenthal attended City College in New York where he discovered a love of journalism while working on the school paper.  He began working as a campus news stringer for the New York Times and in 1944 was hired by the paper.  He dropped out of college and finished his degree several years later by piecing together classes in night school. 

It was a year before he had his first byline, over a story about the last voyage of the battleship New York visiting its eponymous city destined to be either demolished by "the cutter's torch or sacrificed in research to a test of the atomic bomb."  But after that he rose steadily through the ranks to become managing editor of the New York Times in 1969.

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