Henry (Heinrich) Oppenheimer (1865-1958) was a successful entrepreneur and longtime president of the Hutzler Brothers Company, a famous Baltimore department store
Born in Walldürn, in the Grand Duchy of Baden in southwestern Germany, Henry was the first of his siblings to leave home in search of better prospects in America. As a teenager, he sailed to America on his own. His final destination was Baltimore, Maryland, where he lived with his uncle, Isaac Strouse (Strauss). Strouse, who was also from Baden, had immigrated to America as a fifteen-year-old in 1850. He had started off as a clerk at a store in Peru, Illinois, and then moved to Baltimore to start his own wholesale clothing business. His business, “Strouse and Brothers High Art Clothing,” was established in 1868. It was located at Lombard and Paca Streets in downtown Baltimore. Strouse also had a branch office at 650 Broadway in New York City.
Henry came from a Jewish family, and he socialized with other German-Jewish immigrants. He met and married Cora Hutzler, whose father operated the famous downtown department store. He and Cora lived in this brick townhouse on Bolton Street. The building still stands today, but it is privately owned.
Henry Oppenheimer wanted to follow in his father-in-law’s footsteps and serve as a leader in Baltimore’s retail community. In 1917, he became a founder and the first president of Baltimore’s Retail Merchants Association (RMA). which was unsuccessful until Oppenheimer took charge and reorganized it. Under Henry’s leadership, the organization became a key player in the commercial life of the city, and during World War I, at the height of anti-German sentiments, President Woodrow Wilson appointed Oppenheimer as the Maryland merchant representative of the Federal Food Administration, a government agency that monitored food distribution and food conservation, a position he held until 1919.
1729 Bolton Street, Baltimore, MD 21217, USA
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