WILLIAM HAAS AND
William (originally, Wolf)) Haas immigrated to America from Reckendorf, Kingdom of Bavaria, in the mid- 1800s. At that time, there was a law that forbade the sons (except the firstborn) of Jewish families to marry and have children. As a result, many young men emigrated from the region.
Not yet twenty, William sailed to New York with his older brother Abraham. They visited Missouri, Idaho, and Los Angeles before settling in San Francisco in October 1868.
William went to work at Haas Brothers, a wholesale-grocery concern headed by his older cousin, Kalman, the trailblazer in the family. William's brothers and several cousins later joined the firm, quickly making it one of the largest general supply companies of its kind in the American West.
In the span of a decade, William ascended from clerk to salesman and finally to partner. At thirty-seven, he was a highly successful and respected businessman, and, in 1886, as testament to his hard work and good fortune, he built a large house on Franklin Street for himself and his young family.
Bertha was born June 17, 1861, in San Francisco.
As the wife of a prominent businessman, she was an active and influential member of the community, particularly amongst the Jewish-immigrant enclave in San Francisco.
She served as a director of the Temple Emanu-El Sisterhood of Personal Service (est. 1894) which founded a Boarding Home for Jewish working girls. She was also a member of the Council of Jewish Women, and served as a director at Mt. Zion Hospital.
She established the Philomath Club, an organization of Jewish women which sought to promote the general cultural level of its members through lectures and discussions on educational, moral, and social topics.
MARRIAGE AND CHILDREN
Bertha Haas was twelve years younger than William when they married in 1880.
Prior to building and occupying their own home, William and Bertha rented a house on Van Ness, near Pacific, in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco. During this period, they had three children, Florine, Charles, and Alice,