German Jews began to settle in Southern Arizona. In the earliest days, the Jewish community helped develop infrastructure and business practices in the region.
Born in 1838 in Hanover, Germany, Louis Zeckendorf became one of the Southwest's most prominent businessmen. In 1868, after a string of successful general store operations in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, Louis and his brother Aaron opened a store in Tucson, selling a wide range of goods and supplies for new settlers. After opening the store in Tucson, Louis returned to live in New York City, where he was the buyer for L. Zeckendorf & Co. Albert Steinfeld, Louis' business partner, took over management of the Tucson store. This letter dated from Steinfeld in 1904 apologizes to a customer for lack of shoe supplies.
Jacob Samuel Mansfeld arrived in Tucson. Mansfeld founded and owned Pioneer News Depot and Bookstore, the region’s first. Mansfeld was integral to the development of Tucson. He went on to found the area’s first public library, Masonic Lodge, and was a key figure in the formation of the University of Arizona.
Charles Moses Strauss became the first Jewish mayor. Strauss helped establish the University of Arizona, was part of the Arizona legislature, and started a street improvement program in Tucson.
The University of Arizona opened. Known today as “Old Main,” the campus’ first building held its first class in 1891; classes consisted of 32 students and six teachers.
Eva Mansfeld served as Vice President for the Ladies Hebrew Benevolent Society in 1884; in 1900, she purchased a lot for construction of the first synagogue in the Arizona Territory. A German-born opera singer living in New York, Eva gave up her opera career to marry Jacob Samuel Mansfeld in 1878. They settled in Tucson, where eventually her brother, photographer Leo Goldschmidt, also settled.
Albert Steinfeld, a prominent Tucson businessman, opened a large-scale supply warehouse in downtown Tucson. Steinfeld was also the president of the Consolidated National Bank for many years and helped establish many businesses in Southern Arizona.
The Hebrew Benevolent Society granted citizenship to S.H. Drachman, April 1910. Drachman left for Arizona on August 18, 1867 and arrived on September 4, 1867. He was a charter member of the Masonic Order in Tucson as well as the Pioneer's Society.
President Taft signed a bill granting statehood to Arizona on February 14.
World War I broke out across Europe. At the close of the war, the US government called on Jewish citizens to aid in relief efforts after the Great War in the United War Work Campaign.