Louis Bamberger

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]

Louis Bamberger
Louis Bamberger, date unknown
Born(1855-05-15)15 May 1855
Died11 March 1944(1944-03-11) (aged 88)
FamilyFelix Fuld (brother-in-law)
Caroline Bamberger Fuld (sister)
Moses Hutzler (grandfather)

Early lifeEdit

Louis Bamberger was born in 1855 to a German Jewish family in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Theresa (née Hutzler) and Elkan Bamberger.[1][2] His mother belonged to the family that ran Hutzler Brothers in Baltimore.[1] His grandfather was Moses Hutzler.[1] He had six siblings: Caroline Bamberger Fuld; Clara "Lavinia" Bamberger; Rosa Bamberger; Julius Bamberger; Pauline Bamberger; and Julia Bamberger.[4]


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[5][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 $417 million in 2020), making it the fourth highest grossing store in the United States.[6]

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 workEdit

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[6]. Bamberger was also a major contributor to the Community Chest and Beth Israel Hospital.[6]

Institute for Advanced StudyEdit

Bamberger and his sister Caroline Bamberger Fuld worked with Abraham Flexner to found the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.[7] 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 lifeEdit

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 involved in the charity activities of the family.[1]

Legacy and honorsEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i 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. ^ Hutzler, Charles S. (January 1980). "Family Tree of the Hutzler Family - Richmond, Virginia". Hutzler Family.
  5. ^ Burstyn, Joan N.; Jersey, Women's Project of New (1997). Past and Promise: Lives of New Jersey Women. Syracuse University Press. ISBN 9780815604181.
  6. ^ a b c Jr, Kenneth Bertholf; Dorflinger, Don (2011-04-18). Blairstown and Its Neighbors. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 9781439624227.
  7. ^ Roselló, Joan (2019-02-01). Hilbert, Göttingen and the Development of Modern Mathematics. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. ISBN 9781527527621.