Leopold Henry Guldman (1852-1936)

Leopold H. Guldman was born in 1852 to Jewish parents in Harburg, a village in the kingdom of Bavaria. After arriving in the U.S., Guldman eventually made his way to Colorado, where he opened small outlets in bustling mining towns and supplied goods to miners. By 1879, at the age of twenty-six, he founded the Golden Eagle Dry Goods Company, which quickly became one of Denver’s leading popular-price department stores.

Updated: September 10, 2014

Introduction

Leopold H. Guldman (born December 18, 1852 in Harburg, Bavaria; died June 2, 1936 in Denver, CO) was born in 1852 to Jewish parents in Harburg, a village in the kingdom of Bavaria.[1] Like many Bavarian Jews of modest circumstances, young Guldman had to contend with poverty and discrimination in his homeland, where he and his co-religionists were subject to special taxes and even to restrictive laws that governed aspects of private life.[2] By the time Guldman set sail for America at age seventeen, his sister and several other relatives had already established themselves there. The existence of a robust family network aided his integration into American life and played a crucial role in his later business success. After arriving in New York City on June 15, 1870, Guldman headed to Chicago to connect with his maternal uncle. From there, he traveled to Watertown, Wisconsin, where he had been promised a job in his brother-in-law’s dry goods store. He remained in Watertown for seven years, during which time he perfected his English and learned the merchandising trade. In 1877, he migrated to Colorado, having been drawn there by popular tales of quick fortunes made during the gold and silver booms. That same year, he opened small outlets in the bustling mining towns of Leadville and Cripple Creek, where he supplied goods to miners. The following year, he moved to Denver. In 1879, at the age of twenty-six, he founded the Golden Eagle Dry Goods Company, which quickly became one of Denver’s leading popular-price department stores.

Guldman’s success was attributable to a number of factors. Early on, he realized that ready-to-wear clothing would find a customer base in Denver, particularly among middle-class and female shoppers, so he focused on that market and mounted elaborate and ambitious advertising campaigns in the local press. Throughout the years, Guldman employed a variety of strategies to undercut his competitors and keep prices low. These included buying and selling with cash only, purchasing products from close-outs or bankrupt businesses, and utilizing economies of scale to buy popular items in ever larger lots. In addition to offering the lowest possible prices, Guldman also made a point of selling high-quality merchandise. This emphasis, in combination with the interior elegance of his store, drew wealthier clients to the Golden Eagle as well.  

In 1920, the heyday of the store, sales reached nearly $2.5 million (approximately $28.1 million in 2011).[3] The Great Depression eventually set the Golden Eagle on a downward spiral, and the years leading up to Guldman’s death in 1936 were difficult ones for the business. After his death, Guldman’s failure to groom a successor made matters even worse. His son Milton Guldman and his son-in-law J.L. Wolff had long been listed as vice-presidents on the store letterhead, but this was never more than a formality: Leopold had always kept strict control over all aspects of the business and had clearly been the singular force behind its success. In the absence of his leadership, the store finally closed in 1937. The demise of Guldman’s business, however, in no way detracted from his legacy in Denver, where he was remembered both for his commercial success and his civic contributions. That same year, for example, the Denver Post described Guldman as more than a “merchant prince” – a title the writer deemed “inadequate” – and praised him more broadly as one of the [American] West’s outstanding men.”[4]

Family and Ethnic Background

Harburg, Bavaria, where Leopold was born, was a village near the city of Nördlingen. The Guldmann (later spelled Guldman in America) family’s presence in Harburg can be traced back to 1745, when Laemele Alexander Guldmann became the first family member to settle there. Among his great-grandchildren was the butcher Hayum [Haim] Hirsch Guldmann (1804-1886), who fathered eight children, one of whom was Leopold. According to Guldman family history, Leopold was born into a traditionally observant Orthodox Jewish family, and his father, in addition to being a butcher, was also a schochet, a Jewish ritual slaughterer of kosher meat.[5] Leopold’s mother Klara (maiden name and family background unknown) died in 1860, when he was only seven years old.[6] Leopold Guldman attended a public elementary school. His formal education was complemented by work in his father’s butcher shop, where he got an early introduction to business and retailing.[7]

Leopold Guldman was one of tens of thousands of German Jews who immigrated to the United States in the nineteenth century, especially after 1840, in search of greater economic opportunities as well as religious and political freedom. America’s Jewish population, composed predominantly of German Jews, grew from around 15,000 in 1820 to over 150,000 by 1880, at which point it was augmented by a flood of Eastern European “Russian” Jewish immigrants. Crop failures in the “hungry forties” and modernization, industrialization, and the increasing globalization of trade and commerce at mid-century brought deteriorating economic conditions to many residents of the German provinces, but especially to rural Jews, who often faced religious, economic, and social restrictions.[8] At the time of Guldman’s birth, as many as half of Germany’s Jews, primarily those residing in villages and on the land, lived in dire poverty.[9]

For Hayum Guldmann and others in his circumstances, petty trade and commerce were the sole means of survival.[10]

Although Jewish emancipation gained more traction toward the end of the nineteenth century, the situation for Jews was still difficult when young Leopold entered into adolescence. By that time, Hayum Guldmann must have realized that professional restrictions, anti-Jewish sentiment, and economic dislocation were just some of the obstacles standing in the way of his son’s advancement. In fact, these very same circumstances had already prompted other Bavarian Jews to emigrate in disproportionately high numbers – whereas Jews comprised only about 1.5 percent of the general population of Bavaria, they made up at least 5 percent of Bavarian emigrants to the United States.[11] In the end, Leopold Guldman decided to emigrate as well. According to family lore, various relatives pooled their resources and bought him a steerage class ticket to America on the steamship Cimbria.[12]

The Guldman family serves as an excellent example of chain migration, a process whereby members of a family (or residents of a region) follow one another to a new country, city, or region. In the nineteenth century, European Jews frequently migrated to America in successive family groups, with German Jews being especially likely to engage in chain migration.[13] Like so many other European immigrants, the Guldmans were undoubtedly influenced by glowing reports about America “the Golden Land” by relatives who had already settled there. Some members of Leopold’s mother’s family had immigrated to Chicago as early as the first quarter of the nineteenth century. However, within his immediate family, it was Leopold’s older sister, Fanny, who first joined other family members in Chicago, reversing the typical Jewish migration pattern, whereby a son was usually the first pioneer in a family unit.

Fanny Guldman arrived in the United States in the spring of 1861 and immediately joined her maternal uncle Levi Rosenfeld and his family in Chicago. Rosenfeld ran a successful wholesale dry goods business, Rosenfield & Rosenberg, and Fanny likely helped out in the store. It was there that she met one of her uncle’s capable former clerks, Morris A. Hirsh. A fellow Jewish-Bavarian immigrant, Hirsh had opened his own dry goods establishment, with Rosenfeld’s backing, in Wilmington, Illinois, in the early 1860s. He and Fanny Guldman were married on June 17, 1868.[14] After Hirsh’s Illinois store burned down, Rosenfeld helped him rebuild in Watertown, Wisconsin. His new venture was called the “New York Store.”[15] According to Brown’s Gazetter of the Chicago and Northwestern Railway (1869), Hirsh’s store sold “staple and fancy dry goods, clothing, etc.” It was located on Main Street opposite the Robinson House.[16]  

It was to Hirsh’s Watertown store that Leopold Guldman headed after landing in New York City in 1870. During the seven years that he worked for his brother-in-law, Guldman honed his merchandising skills and familiarized himself with the English language and American business norms.[17] Essentially, his family and ethnic network, both in Bavaria and the U.S., provided him with the training and entrepreneurial connections necessary to succeed in America. Even before he set sail, Guldman must have acquired some practical business skills by working for his father and older brother Samuel, who eventually took over the family butcher shop. After settling in Watertown, Guldman benefitted from the commercial expertise of Morris Hirsh, who functioned as a type of mentor. Later on, after settling in Colorado, Guldman found new role models within the larger Jewish community, most notably dry goods magnate David May and real estate developer and insurance agent Louis Anfenger, both of whom were successful Bavarian-born Jewish businessmen.      

The relative absence of anti-Semitism in the early American West, where religious differences were felt less keenly than on the East Coast, and the fluid social structure of Colorado’s newly established boomtowns made it comparably easy for Jewish pioneers to break into social, economic, and political life. By 1877, when Guldman arrived in the newly incorporated silver boomtown of Leadville, Colorado, there were already more than 400 Jews in the state, the vast majority of whom were of German-Jewish origin. These Jewish immigrants often worked, socialized, and worshipped together; moreover, they frequently participated in joint charitable endeavors. Just as family ties served Guldman well, so too did this larger Jewish network, and he proceeded to utilize it to his great advantage.[18]

Business Development

It appears that Guldman moved to Leadville with the intention of prospecting for silver. He quickly realized, however, that it was more profitable to “mine the miners” by supplying them with much needed dry goods. Though successful, Guldman’s Leadville stay was brief. In 1879, after amassing some savings, he moved to Denver, a young and promising city with only a handful of retail enterprises. If the place was auspicious, then so was the time: in post-Civil War America, processes of industrialization, migration, and urbanization combined to open up new avenues of economic distribution and production that stood to benefit ambitious risk-takers like Guldman. Denver was ideally situated as a supply point for goods imported from the East Coast, and commerce flourished as a result.[19] Inspired by successful examples throughout America, Guldman realized early on that ready-to-wear clothing and other mass produced items would find a robust local market there.[20] By 1879, Guldman had enough savings from his first business ventures in Leadville to invest a few hundred dollars in a small store in downtown Denver at Sixteenth and Lawrence Streets. Named the “Golden Eagle Dry Goods Company,” Guldman’s enterprise became Denver’s first bargain department store. An American eagle, possibly a tribute to his adopted country, stood on top of Guldman’s store.[21]

When Guldman opened the Golden Eagle, he took what some would have viewed as a radical move by locating his modest enterprise on Sixteenth Street as opposed to the more customary site of Fifteenth and Larimer Streets. In making this choice, he recognized early on that the commercial potential of Sixteenth Street would grow with the addition of the planned Tabor Opera House and the new city courthouse, both of which were slated for the neighborhood.  Slowly, over course of decades, Guldman acquired much of the real estate between Fifteenth and Sixteenth Streets, as well as property in several key areas of town, thereby becoming one of the city’s leading property owners.

In his first years in business in Denver, Guldman formed two short-lived business partnerships.  In fact, the Golden Eagle, sometimes referred to as Wineman & Guldman, was initially a partnership with fellow German-Jewish businessman Simon Wineman. The relationship proved short-lived, ending a year later in the summer of 1880. Still, it must have been successful, because in August 1879 the Rocky Mountain News listed the two men as part of an elite group of Denver’s “Men of Means” and reported that they were taxed at $5,100 (approximately $119,000 in 2011), a significant amount at the time.[22] A second partnership with Jewish merchant Bernhardt Heller, formed after Guldman and Wineman parted ways, lasted nearly three years.[23] The reasons for the dissolution of both partnerships are impossible to reconstruct. What can be said, however, is that Leopold Guldman was a man who liked to be in control of all aspects of his business and financial affairs. Apparently, he was also reluctant to delegate or share major responsibilities. After those two business relationships ended, he neither acquired another business partner during the remainder of his life nor trained a capable, willing successor.

Guldman’s growing success and his business standing over the next decade was confirmed by two early R.G. Dun & Company reports for 1887 and 1890. The first report observed that Guldman was “doing a good trade” and was “believed to be steadily adding to his resources…” R.G. Dun & Company estimated his worth at $30,000 (approximately $732,000 in 2011) and called him a “first-class” man who “watched his interests closely.” The second report noted that Guldman was “looked upon as one of the substantial merchants in his line…” It also made reference to the Leadville store, which he apparently “conducted successfully.” Furthermore, R.G. Dun & Company mentioned that he was burned out in April 1889 and supposedly made $25,000 (approximately $638,000 in 2011) by selling damaged goods. On the whole, Guldman was described as a “sharp, shrewd, attentive man,” and his net worth was estimated at $140,000 (approximately $3.57 million in 2011).[24]

Much of Guldman’s business success resulted from his ability to leverage cash to purchase merchandise in bulk at bargain prices and from his skill as a promoter, particularly in the area of advertising. According to historian Ida Uchill, the Golden Eagle became popular – and Guldman became a millionaire – through fire sales, expansive newspaper advertisements in the Denver Post, and his ability to purchase bulk merchandise at low prices.[25]The Rocky Mountain News hit up on the store’s strengths as early as 1882, when it observed that the Golden Eagle “fill[s] the wants of the people … [with] the lowest possible prices.”[26]

While the store held great appeal for its mostly middle-class clients, it also attracted wealthy customers who appreciated the exceptional quality of Guldman’s bargain goods. As time passed, Guldman placed greater emphasis on the quality and stylishness of his merchandise in addition to his low prices. He often bought products from close-outs or from bankrupt merchants, and he employed the common trading-up strategy popular with many successful department store owners. A 1900 receipt for two pairs of shoes that were sold to German-Jewish businessman Louis Anfenger for $1.50 each (approximately $42 in 2011) proves that even the city’s wealthiest residents shopped at Guldman’s store.[27]

From the very start of his business career in Denver, Guldman mounted aggressive advertising campaigns in local newspapers, often composing the copy himself and outshining his competitors in sheer verve and bravado. As one writer put it, he brought a “P.T. Barnum-like attitude to the pages of Denver’s newspapers.”[28] From the day the Golden Eagle opened its doors in March 1879 until it closed in 1937, Guldman advertised heavily in all the local newspapers, reaching out to female customers in particular. For example, right before the store’s grand opening, Guldman ran a large, eye-catching ad that read, “Attention Ladies! Golden Eagle Dry Goods Are Opening the Largest and most Complete Line of Foreign and American Dresses, Shawls, Hosiery, Goods, Linens… Ever Displayed in this Market, and Bed Rock Prices.”[29]

In 1898, Guldman announced “the Greatest Saturday Night Sale Yet” in the Denver Republican, with “prices up to seventy five percent below worth.”[30] An 1899 ad in the Denver Times was typical of the bombastic style that came to define Guldman advertising. The text proclaimed “Competition Completely Outdone… Goods Almost Given Way… The grandest, the greatest, the most sensational of all sales… Every single dollars worth of Summer goods in the house must be sold regardless of cost or loss.”[31] To be sure, Guldman was an active participant in the local price wars among Denver merchants. Apparently, he even introduced the city’s businessmen to the strategy of “dumping,” imitating the successful loss leader tactics that had already become popular in Europe and other parts of the United States. In these instances, Guldman charged outrageously low prices for particular products with the goal of out-maneuvering the competition and perhaps even driving them out of business. Apparently, the practice often paid off, for just two days after the above ad was placed in the Denver Times, the newspaper reported in a dramatic fashion (undoubtedly influenced by the fact that Guldman was a heavy advertiser) that “For an amazing, bewildering, hairbreadth experience the recollection of which is to last a lifetime, one should step in for a moment at the Golden Eagle, where women are simply frantic in their efforts to secure a chance at the ‘dump sale.’”[32]

In 1885, Guldman opened a branch store in Leadville, which stayed open for a few years. That business venture was located at 621 Harrison Avenue and was managed by his nephew Max Guldman. The Leadville Golden Eagle Cloak and Suit House, as it was called, offered outerwear for both women and men. Guldman marked its opening with a week-long advertising campaign in the Leadville Daily Herald. In his typical style, he advertised cut-rate prices on quality products and urged people to rush into the store and “not to wait until the goods have been sold, and then come in and expect to find them.”[33]

Throughout the six decades that Guldman operated the Denver-based Golden Eagle, he always searched for new gimmicks to attract shoppers. One of Guldman’s later and more unusual advertising innovations was the “Good Luck Penny,” a souvenir token that was distributed on a complimentary basis to store patrons during the Great Depression. Embedded in a circular metal token, the penny was stamped with the motto “Golden Eagle D.G. Co Denver Pay Cash Pay Less;” the backside bore the phrase “Keep Me and You Will Have Good Luck.”[34]

Although the Golden Eagle opened in 1879, its first major expansion did not occur until 1888, when Guldman bought the building next door, demolished it, and then erected a new, modern department store on its site. Guldman spared no expense in his efforts to beautify both the store and its surroundings: he added, for instance, a large skylight to illuminate the building by day, and he installed gas and incandescent lights for the night. As one historian observed, the remodeling was primarily geared toward “making the establishment into a more inviting space where its clientele could spend money.”[35]

In expanding and growing his business, Guldman followed the department store concept, which, by that time, had already been developed and perfected by innovative Jewish merchants throughout the world. Like other successful department stores in New York, Chicago, and other urban centers, the Golden Eagle sold a diverse assortment of goods in separate departments, all of which were united under one roof. And like other successful store owners, Guldman (known as “L.H.” to family and friends) understood the value of making his store into an attractive destination – or what historians would call a “palace of consumption.” His business goal was to appeal to a wide variety of consumers, but particularly to female shoppers, to whose tastes the new department stores catered.[36] According to one source, Guldman was the first merchant in Denver to introduce “ladies ready made garments.”[37]

Guldman’s affinity for extravagant promotional events also contributed to his store’s success. In 1899, after completing yet another large renovation, Guldman staged an elaborate reopening celebration that caught the eye of the local press. The Denver Times reported, for example, that “immense crowds” were seen and that “handsome souvenirs” were given to each visitor. The newspaper also commented favorably on the “arch of violets with a violet basket suspended at the entrance [of the millinery department]” and the “network of roses strung across the room.”[38] An article published later that year in the Colorado Exchange Journal, a short-lived financial publication devoted to business news, observed appreciatively that the Golden Eagle’s spacious first floor “stored…a stock of goods second to only one dry goods house in Denver… Here can be purchased anything from a package of needles to a complete costume for a lady.”[39] Indeed, by 1899, the Golden Eagle was selling a wide variety of dry goods, including men’s and boy’s suits, cloaks, seal and other fur coats, women’s apparel, undergarments, corsets, and millinery, as well as some household items such as bedding sheets and blankets.

It is unclear whether Guldman was personally acquainted with various members of New York City’s German-Jewish retail elite, whose ranks included Benjamin Altman, the founder of the B. Altman & Company department store, and the Straus family of Macy’s fame. A relationship or an acquaintance seems likely, however, not least because Guldman deposited significant cash reserves in New York City and eventually opened up an office there. Additionally, he made frequent visits to the city, during which time he almost certainly toured many of its department stores. At the very least, the inside of Guldman’s Golden Eagle strongly resembled the stylish and attractive interiors of Altman’s store and other Jewish-owned emporiums in New York City. This was particularly true after Guldman renovated the Golden Eagle, for the third time, in 1901. After work was completed, the five-story building boasted 100,000 square feet of space and occupied an enormous site on the corner of Sixteenth and Lawrence Streets, an intersection that eventually became the heart of Denver’s bustling downtown business district. Like the leading New York stores, the Golden Eagle featured a modern ventilation system, handsome wood and metal merchandise display cases, and ground-level windows that were designed to catch the eye of passersby on Lawrence Street.[40]

Guldman’s interest in New York department store trends was confirmed by an article in the Denver Times, which reported that he had spent nearly $150,000 (approximately 4.1 million in 2011) on the 1901 remodeling project and had employed architect Frank E. Edbrooke in an effort to render the Golden Eagle “similar to the large department stores of the East.”[41] Regarded as Colorado’s premier architect of the day, Edbrooke was already renowned for his design of the famous Romanesque style Brown Palace hotel. In 1902, a year after remodeling the Golden Eagle, he designed the Temple Emanuel synagogue at 24th and Curtis Street.[42]

In 1916, Guldman expanded and embellished his store for the fourth time. As part of that renovation program, he increased his floor space by acquiring the adjacent Kistler building, added spacious, brightly lit show windows to the Lawrence Street façade, and erected a grand arcade-style entrance that was reminiscent of the elegant portico of the B. Altman & Company store in New York. Guldman spared no expense in making his bargain lover’s paradise as attractive as possible to shoppers, and his efforts paid off – literally. His lavish renovations helped him bring in more business, and, as importantly, they contributed to his prestige within the community.

Over the years, Guldman made frequent trips to Europe to see family and friends, and he likely toured European department stores during these visits. In addition to staying on top of international developments, he also kept a very close eye on department store trends in the United States. By the 1880s, department store mail-order catalogs were bringing the latest women’s fashion trends to customers. Likely inspired by Montgomery Ward and Sears Roebuck,[43] two early pioneers of the mail-order business, Guldman became one of the first Denver retailers to introduce mail-order delivery. Starting in 1885, the Golden Eagle began issuing beautifully illustrated seasonal trade catalogs that included hundreds of women’s items from which Guldman’s female customers could choose. Catalogs were sent to anyone who registered with a clerk in the main Denver store. Within a short time, the Golden Eagle was receiving significant mail orders, and, by 1892, as many as five hundred customers in Colorado alone had initiated Cash on Delivery accounts, which enabled them to purchase goods from the comfort of their homes and have them delivered to their doors.[44] Guldman’s foray into mail order helped him expand his base of loyal, bargain-hunting, predominantly middle-class clients within the state of Colorado, and, perhaps even more significantly, it allowed him to reach customers as far away as Texas, New Mexico, and Nebraska.

An original copy of The Golden Eagle 1889-1890 Fall and Winter Catalog is preserved at the Denver Public Library.[45] At over one hundred pages, it offers a glimpse into the wide variety of women’s apparel available at his store. A visual delight, the catalog features attractively drawn ladies dressed in the latest popular styles, all of which were supposedly available at prices 25 to 50 percent lower than those quoted by other houses.[46] Similarly, the beautifully illustrated 1894-95 catalog included a wide variety of lovely women’s items, including fashionable tea gowns and wrappers, shoes and boots, girls’ dresses, gents’ furnishings, as well many bargain priced boys’ clothing items such as “Boys’ Extra Heavy Cheviot Knee Pants” at only 16 cents a pair (approximately $4.50 in 2011).[47] By buying nearly everything with cash and in bulk, often from merchants who were unloading merchandise in the wake of bankruptcy, Guldman would have been able to purchase items such as the boys’ pants very cheaply, and this would have allowed him to pass his savings on to customers.

Guldman’s employees were central to the successful operation of his day-to-day business. His workforce was predominantly composed of sales staff, but also included tailors and seamstresses, drivers, maintenance personnel, cleaners, and porters. By all accounts, he was an exacting and perfectionistic but generally fair employer who earned the respect of his employees. One contemporary account commented favorably on the “kindly relations existing between Mr. Guldman and all his numerous employees.”[48] He took an interest in the lives of his workers, and his paternalism was typical of German-born businessmen in Progressive-Era America. Nonetheless, it is fair to say that Guldman often tried to increase his profits at the expense of his workers, who were very poorly paid. The majority of Guldman’s employees were women, and, according to one historian, they fared the worst, earning $15 a month less than their male counterparts.[49] Guldman employed immigrants from many different countries, but like so many members of the German-Jewish elite, he seems to have been especially sensitive to the plight of poor Eastern European Jews and went out of his way to hire them.[50] Since there was little manufacturing and industry in Colorado, the labor movement was relatively weak in Denver through the 1930s.[51] Before the 1920s, it was easy to import cheap labor.[52]

Guldman’s fortune did not stem solely from his department store. He invested heavily in Denver real estate and eventually became one of the city’s largest property owners. Additionally, he ventured into banking by co-founding the Continental Trust Company of Denver, which was located next to the Golden Eagle. He opened the bank in 1902 with German-Jewish retailer David May and other local businessmen. Guldman served as a member of the board of directors for years. All of these activities, however, were secondary to Guldman’s dry goods business, which remained the focus of his professional life for the nearly sixty years he resided in Denver.

In his later years, Guldman suffered from heart problems, and his failing health, combined with the Great Depression, had a negative impact on the Golden Eagle in the 1930s. Between 1930 and 1933 alone, sales declined from $2.1 million (approximately $28.3 million in 2011) to $1.4 million (approximately $24.3 million in 2011).[53] Ultimately, Guldman’s “cash only” policy, which had catapulted his store to success back in the early days, may have played a part its gradual demise. Unlike David May, who allowed customers to make purchases on credit, Guldman only accepted cash (and only purchased with cash himself), and this, combined with other conservative practices, limited his ability to expand beyond Denver and stymied business, particularly during the Depression, when customers were strapped for cash.[54]

The Golden Eagle closed in 1937, just a year after Guldman’s death. [55] His son Milton Guldman was in a financially comfortable position and was apparently more interested in traveling, socializing, and engaging in philanthropic work than in continuing the family business.[56] Sadly, the Golden Eagle went from a highly visible Denver enterprise to a remnant of historical memory. Still, the store serves as a good case study for the development and growth of department stores across the nation.

Social Status, Networks, Family and Public Life

It would appear that merchandising was Guldman’s chosen path even before he set sail for America, for the confident seventeen-year-old already listed himself as a “merchant” on the ship’s passenger list.[57] After arriving in New York City in 1870, Guldman reconnected with his uncle Levi Rosenfeld, a successful dry goods merchant in Chicago. Shortly thereafter, he left for Watertown, Wisconsin, where he had been promised a job in a dry goods stored owned by his brother-in-law Morris Hirsh, another Bavarian-born Jewish immigrant. Guldman spent the next seven years working in Hirsh’s store. His time there allowed him to amass capital and acquire training – in short, it provided him with a foundation upon which to base his own independent business ventures.

As mentioned previously, the Guldman family serves as an excellent case study for chain migration, or the migration of family members in successive groups. Chain migration confers significant advantages upon newcomers, who benefit from access to contacts, credit, and information, as well as opportunities for on-the-job training, all of which contribute to entrepreneurial success.[58] As two prominent sociologists have noted, immigrants like Guldman who could rely on established family or ethnic networks (and who enjoyed the attendant benefits) were more likely to advance to ownership.[59] Chain migration was common among Jews, in general, but especially common among German Jews, in particular, and some scholars see this as the reason for the exceptionally high rates of family entrepreneurship among members of that group.[60]

From Watertown, Wisconsin, Guldman moved to Leadville, Colorado, in 1877, and finally to Denver in 1879. Soon after arriving there, Guldman met and married Sarah Schoyer of Milwaukee. Together, the couple had one son, Milton L. Guldman (born 1882), and one daughter, Helen Guldman (born 1884).[61] Unfortunately, Guldman’s marriage to Sarah lasted only a decade, for she died in 1889. Two years later, Guldman married her sister Bertha G. Schoyer. Leopold and Bertha became the parents of three daughters: Corinne Guldman (born 1893), Florence Guldman (born 1896), and Louise Guldman (born 1898).[62]

Milton Guldman, Leopold’s only son, appears to have been involved in the Golden Eagle from early on, or at least starting in 1900, when he was just eighteen. The year before he joined his father’s business, Milton took a fifteen-month trip to Europe, where he spent time in Nuremberg.[63] According to his obituary, Milton served as a vice-president of the Golden Eagle until it closed in 1937.[64] During Milton’s tenure at the store, Leopold Guldman made frequent trips to Europe himself, and during those times Milton oversaw operations. In 1908, in an article about Denver’s Jewish community, the widely-read Chicago-based Reform Advocate reported that Leopold Guldman had been making frequent trips abroad and that Milton was in charge of “the active management of the business.”[65] However active Milton’s management may have been, his leadership was always only temporary, and it never prepared him to take over as Leopold’s permanent successor. 

In addition to his children, Leopold Guldman left behind eleven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He was a patriarch in the traditional German mold, one who presided over his family with strictness, affection, generosity, and high expectations.[66] He remained a family figurehead even in death, for one obituary described Guldman’s passing as follows: “in true patriarchal fashion he said good-bye to his wife and children, gathered about his bed, and then closed his eyes.”[67]

A staunch and loyal family man, Guldman remained in touch with family members back in Germany throughout his lifetime. As he grew older and more economically secure, he made regular trips back to his homeland to visit friends and relatives. He also made trips to Côte d’Azur during the winter months, stopping over in Paris to experience the fashion capital of the world firsthand. Guldman’s generosity also extended to his relatives in Germany, and he helped bring two nephews, Max and Rudolph Guldman, to America to work for him. After Leopold Guldman opened a branch of the Golden Eagle in Leadville in 1885, Max Guldman became its manager.[68] In the 1930s, as the steady rise of the Hitler regime brought worsening conditions for German Jews, Leopold and Bertha Guldman sought to help family members who remained in Europe. After Leopold’s death, his son-in-law Jacob L. Wolf did what he could to help close relatives resettle in America. [69]

Leopold and Bertha Guldman were highly visible members of Denver’s commercial elite. Leopold was especially well known for his philanthropy and for his role in the founding of four charitable institutions, two of which were devoted to fighting tuberculosis. Among Denver’s ethnic groups, the Jewish community had taken the lead in addressing the medical and social problems posed by the arrival of first hundreds, and then thousands, of indigent tuberculosis victims in the 1880s. In 1899, the National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives (NJH) opened; the Jewish Consumptives’ Relief Society (JCRS) followed in 1904. Both institutions were formally non-sectarian, but until the late 1930s, the vast majority of their patients were Eastern European Jewish immigrants. Guldman supported both the NJH, which was founded and largely funded by affluent acculturated German Reform Jews, as well as the JCRS, which owed its existence primarily to contributions from large numbers of Eastern European immigrants of modest means from around the country.[70] Guldman served on the NJH Board of Directors for over thirty years, and even supplied the hospital with blankets from the Golden Eagle when it opened in 1899.

Additionally, Guldman personally contributed $50,000 (approximately $561,000 in 2011) to a third organization, the Beth Israel Hospital and Old Folks Home. His contribution allowed the institution to open in 1920. Lastly, he donated the principal funds for the Guldman Jewish Community Center, which was founded in honor of his daughter Louise, and which originally functioned as a kind of Jewish settlement house for Eastern European Jewish immigrants and their children. He left generous bequests to all four organizations in his will as well as legacies to Temple Emanuel and the Beth Medrosh Hagodol (BMH) synagogue. Aside from his formal philanthropy, Guldman was also known for his personal generosity to countless individuals, and he often handed out store merchandise to Jewish women who collected for the local poor.[71] As a Jewish immigrant, Guldman appears to have been sensitive to the plight of other immigrants who experienced discrimination. According to an oft-told story, during the anti-Chinese riots in Denver in 1900, Guldman rescued a Chinese man who was being pursued by a mob by hiding him in a box of merchandise. Apparently, his actions and the attendant recognition earned him the loyal patronage of the city’s small Chinese community.[72]

According to family accounts, Guldman upheld some traditional Jewish observances while following a number of Reform Jewish practices that he deemed more appropriate for a successful and acculturated American. Bertha Guldman apparently recited the traditional Jewish blessings over candles to usher in the weekly Sabbath, and Guldman himself recited the Kiddush blessing over wine each Friday night. He also conducted a yearly Passover Seder. As a young man, Guldman had brought a Jewish memorial Yahrzeit lamp with him from Germany, and he kept a careful list of the yearly observed dates, both in Hebrew and English, to mark his mother’s and father’s deaths, a document that exits to this day.[73] While he observed some traditions, he disregarded others: he was not scrupulous, for instance, about keeping kosher, nor did he eschew work on the Sabbath.[74]

As a prominent member of Denver’s German-Jewish elite, Guldman served on the board of the city’s prestigious Temple Emanuel, whose membership consisted primarily of prosperous businessmen and professionals and their families. At the same time, he also belonged to the Beth Medrosh Hagodol synagogue, a modern Orthodox institution. His ongoing involvement with this synagogue may have reflected a nostalgic connection to the religious affiliation of his parents in Germany.

Although Guldman’s philanthropy focused on Jewish causes, such as the NJH, the JCRS, Beth Israel Hospital, and the Guldman Jewish Community Center, he also supported a number of general charities, including the Denver’s Children’s Hospital and the Community Chest. Jewish tradition emphasized responsibility for the sick and the indigent and had informed Jewish community life for millennia. To be sure, Guldman’s philanthropy was an expression of his Jewish identity and was certainly motivated by genuine altruism. On its tenth anniversary, Beth Israel Hospital lauded Guldman as the Denver Jewish community’s “first citizen in philanthropy and humanitarian achievement.”[75] Still, it must be said that Guldman’s charity was probably also informed by a desire shared by many acculturated and affluent German-Jewish immigrants – namely to demonstrate his commitment to American ideals and to prove his value as a loyal and productive American citizen. As Naomi Cohen observed in Encounter with Emancipation, German-Jewish immigrants of this era believed that philanthropy and charity were twin expressions of the strong civic responsibility of Jews in American society at large. As individuals who hoped to expand and enhance their position in American society, German Jews felt they could not help but gain from “chalking up an impressive record in philanthropy.”[76]

A combination of patriotism, civic responsibility, and business acumen prompted Guldman to help shore up Denver commerce during the economic panics of 1893 and 1907. Silver mining had been essential to Colorado’s early growth and economy. After the United States adopted the gold standard in 1893, silver prices sharply declined and generated an economic depression around the country. Denver was hit especially hard because of its close ties to silver: the city witnessed the closing of at least a dozen banks and the loss of personal savings for many citizens. A cash-solvent Guldman stepped in to help stabilize the local economy by redeeming numerous promissory notes and certificates for gold. Many years later, in Guldman’s obituary, the Denver Post praised his efforts and concluded that they “brought about their [the banks’] stabilization.”[77]

Over the years, Guldman and his family occupied several residences in Denver, but the two houses he commissioned himself were by far the most impressive. As a wealthy businessman and member of the local elite, Guldman aspired to create homes befitting the lifestyle of a merchant “prince.” In 1891, at a cost of $15,000 (approximately $383,000 in 2011), he hired the well-known Denver architectural firm of Lang and Pugh to design and build a Victorian mansion in the Romanesque style at 1549 Washington Street in the fashionable Capitol Hill district. The house featured an ornate foyer decorated with a twelve-foot-high mirror, six huge bedrooms, a spacious dining room and parlor, as well as a library and “modern” kitchen facilities. Leopold and Bertha Guldman lived in the house for twenty years, during which time they became famous for throwing lavish parties for Denver’s elite society. The invitees ranged from business colleagues such as David May and Denver Post owner Frederick G. Bonfils to Rabbi William Friedman, the spiritual leader of Congregation Emanuel.[78]

Guldman’s second mansion, an elaborate three-story edifice on Humboldt Street and Ninth Avenue, overlooking Cheesman Park, was even more impressive than the Washington Street home. It included forty rooms, a solid marble staircase in the entryway, a swimming pool, a billiard room, and a bowling alley in the basement.[79] Situated on six lots, it was designed by local architect Glen W. Huntington at a cost of $50,000 (approximately 1.4 million in 2011). Guldman’s friend Bonfils was so impressed with the mansion that he eventually purchased it from him in 1918. After their children were grown, the Guldmans lived in a spacious apartment.

Guldman’s children, their spouses, and grandchildren upheld Leopold’s commitment to community leadership and philanthropy in Colorado. For example, daughter Florence Schlesinger served as a longtime board member of the Children’s Hospital, and Louise Friedman entertained servicemen and women during World War II with the weekly Friedman Variety Show. Louise was also the founder and first president of the Columbine League Ladies Auxiliary of the JCRS.[80] Milton Guldman continued his father’s involvement in the Beth Israel Hospital and Home and served as a vice-president of its support society.[81]

Conclusion

As historian Rebecca Kobrin has noted, “Immigration and entrepreneurship are two central themes in the history of Jews in the United States.”[82] Leopold Guldman’s rise from an immigrant store clerk in a small family business in Wisconsin to a highly successful department store owner in Denver reflects some general patterns of German-Jewish entrepreneurship, which was heavily influenced by chain migration, kinship, and ethnic networks. Like so many German Jews who had immigrated before him, Guldman arrived in the United States with a marketable skill – in his case, experience in retailing. After getting his bearings and gaining additional expertise at his brother-in-law’s dry goods store in Watertown, Wisconsin, Guldman headed to Colorado to strike out on his own. In 1879, a twenty-six-year-old Guldman moved to Denver, which proved the right place at the right time. As a young and prosperous mining town, the city was more open to outsiders than established East Coast metropolises, and Guldman and his German-Jewish immigrant peers found it comparatively easy to break into commercial life there.

By the time Guldman arrived in Denver, the ready-to-wear clothing industry had become increasingly attractive to customers, particularly middle-class and working-class women, and Guldman recognized that profits were to be made by catering to that clientele. In 1879, he founded the Golden Eagle Dry Goods Company and began selling a vast array of merchandise for both the individual and the home. By organizing his merchandise in separate departments in an attractively designed interior space, Guldman helped introduce the relatively new department store concept to Denver. The store’s appeal, combined with Guldman’s low prices on exceptionally high quality merchandise, helped him build a loyal base of middle-class customers. He was able to offer sought-after products at low prices because he purchased wholesale items in huge quantities and paid in cash for all transactions. By emphasizing low prices, Guldman followed the same path as many other German-Jewish immigrants who built robust careers by conforming to American style-capitalism.[83]

Guldman’s pricing was just one key to his success: others included his bombastic and creative advertising campaigns, his flair for elaborate promotional events, and his ongoing efforts to expand and renovate his store to make it as attractive as possible to customers, particularly women. The Golden Eagle may have been located in the West, but it aimed to offer its customers a shopping experience reminiscent of New York or other American metropolises. 

As a trendsetter in the Denver retail world, Guldman was one of the city’s richest and most influential citizens. The Golden Eagle was not his only source of income, however. His farsighted real estate investments in the district that eventually became the commercial heart of Denver brought significant riches and also served as a kind of economic insurance policy. During the Depression, for example, they helped him weather business setbacks. That real estate, coupled with store profits, enabled him to amass considerable wealth, which he poured back into the city through his philanthropy. When Guldman died, the Denver Post described him as both the “patriarch of Denver merchants” and as a “kindly, millionaire philanthropist.”[84] Likewise, an obituary in the Intermountain Jewish News highlighted not only his wealth but also his philanthropy, and even suggested that his charitable undertakings were his most important contribution to the community.[85]

Leopold Guldman was one of several German-Jewish immigrants whose entrepreneurial and philanthropic efforts helped transform Denver from a mining camp into one of America’s leading urban centers. During his early years in Denver, Guldman’s ties to the Jewish community helped him establish a successful business. Later, his Jewish faith served as the basis for his generous philanthropy. Still, his lifelong identification with both his Jewish – and more broadly, his German – heritage did not prevent him from embracing and excelling at American-style capitalism. In fact, the very name of his store, the Golden Eagle, may have been a tribute to his adopted country and an expression of his loyalty as an American-made entrepreneur.  

Notes

[1] Obituary, Denver Post, June 3, 1936, 3.

[2] There were limits, for instance, on how many of Bavaria’s Jews were allowed to marry. More liberal political currents had already begun to emerge there in the 1860s, but it was not until 1871, the year after Guldman’s departure for America, that Bavaria became a pioneer in the legal emancipation of the Jews in Central Europe. For a detailed account of the situation of the Jews in the German provinces at the time, see Avraham Barkai, Branching Out: German Jewish Immigration to the United States (New York, NY: Holmes & Meier, 1994).

[3] Cash Ledger for 1919-1920, Bound Records 204, Leopold H. Guldman Collection, Beck Archives, Special Collections, University Libraries, University of Denver. All current values (in 2011 USD) are based on Samuel H. Williamson, “Seven Ways to Compute the Relative Value of a U.S. Dollar Amount, 1774 to present,” MeasuringWorth, using the Consumer Price Index.

[4] Denver Post, June 30, 1937, 13.

[5] This information comes from Leopold Guldman’s great-granddaughter.

[6] Rolf Hofmann, “Family Sheet Hajum Hirsch Guldmann of Harburg” and “Guldman Memorial Certificate,” Guldman Collection, Beck Archives, University of Denver.

[7] Dayle Friedman Rabinowitz, “The Saga of Leopold Henry Guldman, An American Success Story,” Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Notes 6 (Spring 1984): 4.

[8] Only a small, privileged group of urban Jews was allowed to enter the professions and achieve rising middle-class status.

[9] Jonathan Sarna, ed. The American Jewish Experience (New York, NY: Holmes & Meier, 1994), 41-43.

[10] Phyllis Dillon and Andrew Godley, “The Evolution of the Jewish Garment Industry, 1840-1940,” in Rebecca Kobrin, ed., Chosen Capital: The Jewish Encounter with American Capitalism (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2012), 42.

[11] Hasia R. Diner, The Jews of the United States (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2004), 87.

[12] Rabinowitz, “The Saga of Leopold Guldman,” 4.

[13] Moreover, chain migration was far more common among German Jews than among gentile German immigrants. See Dillon and Godley, “The Evolution of the Jewish Garment Industry,” 42.

[14] Michael Lee, “The Patriarch of Denver Merchants, Leopold Henry Guldman and the Golden Eagle Dry Goods Company of Denver, 1879-1936,” Colorado History (2009): 56.

[15] Many stores in the early American West bore the name “New York.” This was part of an effort to persuade customers that they offered the same stylish and modern clothing available in the nation’s fashion capital.

[16] Charles Exera Brown, Brown’s Gazetter of the Chicago and Northwestern Railway, and Branches, and of the Union Pacific Railroad (Chicago, IL: Bassett Bros. Steam Print House, 1869), 177.

[17] Obituary, Denver Post (June 3, 1936), 3.

[18] Jeanne Abrams, Jewish Denver, 1859-1940 (Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia Press, 2007), 7-9.

[19] David Brundage, The Making of Western Labor Radicalism: Denver’s Organized Workers, 1878-1905 (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1994), 11.

[20] His stiffest future competitor, David May, founder of the May Company chain in Leadville, did not open a store in Denver until a decade later in 1889.

[21] Guldman was formally naturalized in 1890. Allen Breck, A Centennial History of the Jews of Colorado (Denver, CO: Hirschfeld Press, 1960), 69.

[22] Rocky Mountain News (August 24, 1879), 3. The names of a number of other prominent Jewish businessmen of German extraction also appeared on the list.

[23] Rocky Mountain News (August 19, 1889,: 7; Rocky Mountain News (July 14, 1883), 4.

[24] R.G. Dun & Company Reports, October 18, 1887, and January 24, 1890, Guldman Biographical File, Beck Archives, University of Denver.

[25] Ida Uchill, Pioneers, Peddlers, and Tsadikim (Denver, CO: Sage Books, 1957), 94.

[26] Rocky Mountain News (April 9, 1882), 8.

[27] “Bill of Sale,” Guldman Golden Eagle, Photograph Collection, Beck Archives, Special Collections, Penrose Library, University of Denver. As a fellow Bavarian-Jewish immigrant, Anfenger may have also consciously patronized the business of his co-religionist and fellow supporter of the National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives. Once again, this would have reflected the strong commercial and social networks that existed within the German-Jewish immigrant community. 

[28] Michael Lee, “The Patriarch of Denver’s Merchants,” 62.

[29] Unidentified Golden Eagle news clipping (March 19, 1879), Guldman Family File, Beck Archives.

[30] Denver Republican (June 11, 1898), 2.

[31] Denver Times (August 22, 1899), 2.

[32] Ibid.

[33] Leadville Daily Herald (March 14, 1885), 2.

[34] An original Golden Eagle Penny is deposited in the Beck Archives at the University of Denver Libraries.

[35] For a detailed overview of the Golden Eagle’s interior and expansion, see Michael Lee, “The Patriarch of Denver’s Merchants,” 59-61.

[36] See, for example, Susan Porter Benson, Counter Cultures (Chicago, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1986), 82; and Jenna Weissman Joselit, “Department Store Lore: A History,” Forward.com, October 1, 2004 (accessed October 6, 2013). During the second half of the nineteenth century, fashionable women’s clothing became an important symbol of the middle-class urban lifestyle, and Guldman’s interest in female consumers must be viewed against this backdrop.

[37] Reform Advocate (Chicago) (October 31, 1908), 21.

[38] Denver Times (March 24, 1899), 7.

[39] Colorado Exchange Journal (October 1889), 30. The store referred to was probably the popular Daniels and Fisher Department Store. Founded in Denver in 1864, it was the city’s most “prestigious” establishment for well over fifty years.

[40] Denver Times (June 23, 1901), 2.

[41] Denver Times (September 2, 1901), 7.

[42]Colorado Architects Biographical Sketch”: Frank E. Edbrooke.

It is likely that Guldman was involved in awarding Edbrooke the commission, since he was a member of the synagogue’s Board of Directors at the time.

[43] Julius Rosenwald, the son of German-Jewish immigrants, was instrumental in the development of Sears Roebuck’s famous mail-order business. His biography also appears in the present collection. 

[44] See Bound Journals #46 and 68, passim, Guldman Collection, Beck Archives, University of Denver.

[45] The Golden Eagle 1889-1890 Fall and Winter Catalog, Western History Department, Denver Public Library.

[46] The Golden Eagle Dry Goods 1889-1890 Fall and Winter Catalog, 1, 4-5, Western History Department, Denver Public Library.

[47] The Golden Eagle Dry Goods 1894-1895 Fall and Winter Catalog, Guldman Family Biographical File, Beck Archives, University of Denver.

[48] Colorado Exchange Journal (October 1889), 30.

[49] Michael Lee, “The Patriarch of Denver Merchants, 65-66.

[50] Interview with Rebecca Rich conducted by Jeanne Abrams (1998), Beck Archives, Oral History #99.

[51] Various mine and smelter workers’ unions did, however, engage in frequent and sometimes violent agitation.

[52] Stephen J. Leonard and Thomas J. Noel, Denver, Mining Camp to Metropolis (Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado, 1990), 178. See also David Brundage, The Making of Western Labor Radicalism: Denver’s Organized Workers, 1878-1905 (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1994).

[53] Bound Journals, 119 for 1927-1930; 141, 1931-34. Guldman Collection, University of Denver.

[54] Interview with Leslie Davis conducted by Jeanne Abrams (April 2006) in the film From Peddlers to Merchant Princes: Colorado’s Early Jewish Entrepreneurs, 2006.

[55] In contrast, the May Company developed into one of the largest department store chains in America. For a detailed study of Guldman’s very successful contemporary David May, see Jeanne Abrams, “David May,” on the present website. 

[56] Immediately after the closure of the Golden Eagle, Guldman’s son-in-law Lester Friedman opened another store on the same site. The venture was relatively short-lived, however, and Friedman declared bankruptcy in 1941.

[57] Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Year: 1870; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 330; Line: 23; List Number: 537.

[58] See Dillon and Godley, “The Evolution of the Jewish Garment Industry,” 44, and Howard E. Aldrich and Roger Waldinger, “Ethnicity and Entrepreneurship,” Annual Review of Sociology 16 (1990): 128.

[59] Aldrich and Waldinger, “Ethnicity and Entrepreneurship,” 128.

[60] A case study of 126 early Jewish-American entrepreneurs found that family entrepreneurship was significantly higher among German Jews than among Eastern European Jews and non-Jewish entrepreneurs in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, due in part to extremely strong patriarchal and chain migration traditions among German Jews; Bernard Sarachek, “Jewish American Entrepreneurs,” The Journal of Economic History 40 (June 1980): 366-73.

[61] Just as Guldman married within the German immigrant community, so too did his children. Milton married Amy Friedman in 1907, and Helen later married Max Oberdorf.

[62] Birthdates obtained from Leopold Guldman’s Passport Application, 1907. Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2007. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925; Collection Number: ARC Identifier 583830 / MLR Number A1 534; NARA Series: M1490; Roll #: 36. Again, Guldman’s daughters from his second marriage also married within the German-American community. Corinne married Jacob L. Wolff; Florence married Melvin H. Schlesinger, and Louise married Lester Friedman.

[63] Passport application (1899) for Milton Guldman at Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2007; National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Emergency Passport Applications (Issued Abroad), 1877-1907; Collection Number: ARC Identifier 1187503 / MLR Number A1 515; NARA Series: M1834; Roll #: 38; Volume #: 69.

[64] Obituary, Intermountain Jewish News (July 12, 1968), 2.

[65] Reform Advocate (Chicago) (October 21, 1908), 21.

[66] Evidence of his generosity can be found in a turn-of-the-century newspaper clipping, which reported that he had presented his wife with a handsome $10,000 (approximately $273,000 in 2011) silver tea service to celebrate the winter holidays. The same article also noted that he had presented his son and four daughters with checks. Undated Denver newspaper clipping, c. 1901, Guldman Family Biographical File, Beck Archives, University of Denver.

[67] Obituary, Intermountain Jewish News (June 5, 1936), 1.

[68] Rabinowitz, “The Saga of Leopold Guldman,” 6.

[69] “To Flee Hitler’s Germany: Some Guldman Family Correspondence, 1937-39,” Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society Notes 5 (Spring/Fall 1983): 9-13.

[70] For detailed information on tuberculosis and its impact on the growth of Colorado, see Jeanne Abrams, Blazing the Tuberculosis Trail (Denver, CO: Colorado Historical Society, 1990), and Dr. Charles David Spivak, A Jewish Immigrant and the American Tuberculosis Movement (Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado, 2009).

[71] Ida Uchill, Pioneers, Peddlers, and Tsadikim, 94.

[72] Ibid.

[73] The certificate, pictured in this essay, was donated by Guldman’s great-grandson and is on deposit in the Beck Archives, Special Collections, University of Denver.

[74] Rabinowitz, “The Saga of Leopold Guldman,” 5.

[75] Beth Israel Hospital, Tenth Anniversary of Beth Israel Hospital (Denver, CO: October, 1934), Beck Archives, Special Collections, University of Denver.

[76] Naomi Cohen, Encounter with Emancipation (Philadelphia, PA: Jewish Publication Society, 1984), 114, 117.

[77] Denver Post (June 3, 1936), 3.

[78] Denver Times (February 12, 1901), 3.

[79] Rocky Mountain News (April 20, 1912), 5.

[80] A Colorado Jewish Family Album (Denver, CO: Rocky Mountain Jewish Historical Society and Beck Archives, University of Denver, 1992), 26.

[81] Obituary, Intermountain Jewish News (July 12, 1968), 2.

[82] Kobrin, Chosen Capital, 4.

[83] As historian Rebecca Kobrin has observed, “During the long century in which industrialization and mass migration reshaped the United States, Jews, like many immigrants groups were transformed by their encounter with America’s ever-expanding and ever-evolving system of capitalism.” Kobrin, Chosen Capital, 2.

[84] Denver Post (June 3, 1936), 1.

[85] Obituary, Intermountain Jewish News (June 5, 1936), 1, 6.

 

Cite this Entry

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"Leopold Henry Guldman ." (2018) In Immigrant Entrepreneurship, Retrieved February 23, 2018, from Immigrant Entrepreneurship: http://www.immigrantentrepreneurship.org/entry.php?rec=206

Chicago Style

Abrams, Jeanne. "Leopold Henry Guldman ." In Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies, 1720 to the Present, vol. 3, edited by Giles R. Hoyt. German Historical Institute. Last modified September 10, 2014. http://www.immigrantentrepreneurship.org/entry.php?rec=206

MLA Style

"Leopold Henry Guldman ," Immigrant Entrepreneurship, 2018, Immigrant Entrepreneurship. 23 Feb 2018 <http://www.immigrantentrepreneurship.org/entry.php?rec=206>

Portrait of Leopold Guldman, ca. 1915

  • Golden Eagle Souvenir Penny, ca. 1930s
  • Leopold Guldman’s Humboldt Street Mansion, Exterior View
  • Leopold Guldman’s Humboldt Street Mansion, Interior View
  • Portrait of Leopold Guldman with a Pistol, ca. 1925

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