Hirshhorn, Joseph H.
- Judith Zilczer
Hirshhorn, Joseph H. (11 August 1899?–31 August 1981), financier and art collector, was born Joseph Herman Choneh Hirshhorn in the village of Jukst, near Mitau (now Jelgava), Latvia, the son of Lazar Hirshhorn, a grain broker and owner of a general store, and Amelia Friedlander. One year after Joseph’s birth (which some sources list as 1900), his father died of heart disease. His mother and two of his sisters fled Latvia for the United States in 1906. By 1907 Amelia Hirshhorn could afford to send for Joseph and her five other children, who joined her in Brooklyn. She supported the family by working in a sweatshop. Hirshhorn was raised in a succession of railroad flats in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. After his mother was injured in a tenement fire, he learned to fend for himself. Determined to escape poverty, he left school at age twelve or thirteen to make his fortune on Wall Street. Employed initially as an office boy and Western Union messenger, Hirshhorn took his first step into the world of finance by charting stock for the influential ...