CWRU Links

ANISFIELD, JOHN

ANISFIELD, JOHN (5 March 1860-22 April 1929) was a successful clothing manufacturer, real estate executive, and civic leader who devoted his wealth to a variety of philanthropic projects in Cleveland. Born in the capital of the Austrian Empire, Vienna, to Israel and Amelia (Geldwerth) Anisfield, John acquired his primary and technical education in the city's schools. Arriving in the United States at the age of 16, he headed to Cleveland where his uncle, Dr. James Horowitz, secured him employment at the D. Black Cloak Company. After six years at the company, during which he attained the position of manager, Anisfield started his own clothing manufacturing company, John Anisfield Company, located at East 22nd Street and Superior Avenue. By the early 1900s, he was employing more than 700 workers in his factory. In 1909, he erected the Anisfield Building at East 9th Street and Huron Road. In addition to his clothing business, which garnered him national distinction, Anisfield also served as president of the Garfield Realty, Anisfield Realty, and Broadway Hamm Realty companies.

After his official retirement from active business in 1923, Anisfield devoted his time to philanthropy and community service, especially with Jewish organizations. His many civic distinctions included serving as president of MT. SINAI HOSPITAL and JEWISH INFANT ORPHANS' HOME; treasurer of the Cleveland Hospital Council; chairman of the Association for Crippled Children; and member of the HEBREW FREE LOAN ASSOCIATION. At the time of his death, he was treasurer of the FEDERATION FOR JEWISH CHARITIES and one of two Jews appointed to the Committee on Benevolent Associations of the CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. He also founded Camp Anisfield, a camp for working girls, and provided interest-free loans to people in need as well as worthy students seeking college education. He was also a member of the Royal Arch Masons, OAKWOOD and EXCELSIOR Clubs.

Anisfield was married twice. He married Daniela Guttenberg on March 26, 1886, and they had a daughter together, EDITH KAROLYN. Daniela passed away on February 14, 1902. He married Alice Strauss, the daughter of Adolph Strauss, an influential Jewish leader in New York City, on January 17, 1904. Anisfield died in New York City and is buried in Mayfield Jewish Cemetery.