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Shwayder Family



The Shwayder family of Denver, Colorado is best known for what became the world-famous luggage company Samsonite Corporation, which was founded and operated by the Shwayder family. The Denver Shwayders can be traced to the Polish town of Suwalk and the Rittmaster and Rachofsky families. Abraham Rittmaster was the father of Joseph, Alexander and Dora. Alexander Rittmaster arrived in Central City, Colorado around 1860. He carried a large sack on his back with notions and dry goods up and down the mountains to supply the miners and their wives up at Blackhawk and Nevadaville. Moses Rachofsky married Dora Rittmaster and they raised sons Abraham, Levi, and Harry and daughter Miriam in Poland. Alexander Rittmaster prospered in Central City and in a few years opened a dry goods store there. He encouraged his nephew Abraham Rachofsky to come to Colorado and paid for his passage to New York. Abraham Rochofsky landed in New York in 1865 and earned enough money to relocate to Central City. Abraham took over the job of taking the sack of notions and supplies up and down the mountain sides. Alexander Rittmaster became wealthy and he and his family went back to New York. He sold the store and business to Abe Rachofsky who sent for his brothers Levi and Harry to help run the business in Central City. Miriam Rachofsky married Abraham Kobesky in Poland and settled Manchester, England around 1871 with children Rachel, Betsy, Mark, and David. Their sons Harris and Ben were born in Manchester and the last name was shortened to Kobey. Their daughter Rachel Kobey married Isaac Shwayder, who had also migrated to Manchester from Eastern Europe. Rachel and Isaac Shwayder had 11 children: Solomon, Dora, Jesse, Raschelle, Mark, Gertrude, Florence, Maurice, Hannah, Benjamin, and Liebe. Rachel Shwayder’s uncle, Abraham Rachofsky, encouraged and helped finance her husband’s emigration to Colorado. Isaac Shwayder first came to Central City, Colorado in 1879 and took over carrying the sack of supplies up and down the mountains. After two years, the rest of his family joined him in Black Hawk, Colorado. In 1888 they settled in Denver, where Isaac Shwayder owned a grocery store and later started a second-hand furniture business. The Shwayder children Franklin School and West High School in Denver and were musical. Solomon Shwayder, the oldest brother, was awarded a scholarship to the University of Denver and later graduated top of his class at DU law school. In 1910, Jesse Shwayder opened a small luggage factory in Denver with his father, Isaac, and brothers, Mark, Maurice, Benjamin, and Solomon. The business became incorporated as the Shwayder Trunk Manufacturing Company in 1912, and it eventually changed its name to Samsonite Corporation.

Found in 17 Collections and/or Records:

Shwayder Family, 1893

Identifier: B063.05.0041.00084

Ten members of the Shwayder family pose for a formal studio portrait.

Dates: 1893

Shwayder Family Histories and Genealogical Material, 1967-2002

Identifier: B245.02
Scope and Contents The series includes 20th-century materials detailing Shwayder family history. including two copies of the book "The Tale of a Little Trunk and Other Stories" by Hannah Shwayder Berry (1977 and 2002), a transcript of an oral history by Hannah Shwayder Berry (1981), a newspaper clipping of Hannah Shwayder Berry's story The 'pied piper' of West Colfax (1967), and a booklet describing the genealogy of the Shwayder family that includes family members born as early as 1876 and as late as 1943....
Dates: 1967-2002

Shwayder Family Papers and Samsonite Corporation Records

Identifier: B245
Abstract The Shwayder family of Denver, Colorado, is best known for the luggage company Samsonite Corporation, which the family founded and operated. Isaac and Rachel Shwayder had migrated from Manchester, England to Colorado in 1881 and eventually settled in Denver. In 1910 their son, Jesse Shwayder, opened a small luggage factory in Denver with his father along with his brothers Mark, Maurice, Benjamin, and Solomon Shwayder. The company started as Shwayder Trunk Manufacturing Company, was later...
Dates: 1896-2002

Shwayder, Friedland, and Weitz, 1977-1987

Identifier: B433.02.0001.0013

File contains notes, a copy of "The Tale of the Little Trunk and Other Stories" by Hannah Shwayder Berry, 1977; articles on the Shwayder Art Building and on King Shwayder, DU Trustee. Also contains a Shwayder Listing with vital statistics and notes on each individual person.

Dates: 1977-1987

Shwayder Photographs

Identifier: B245.02.0005.0002

Contains eight photographs of the Shwayder family. One of the photographs was not digitized.

Dates: 1967-2002

The Denver Clarion, vol. 81, issue 28, 1976 October 22

Identifier: clarion_v081i28_19761022

Faculty, Students Addressed at University Convocation. US Candidates Unsatisfactory – Soviet Officials Irritated. New Art School - $1.7 Million Given to DU by Shwayders.

Dates: 1976 October 22

Additional filters:

Archival Object 15
Collection 2
Denver (Colo.) 10
Photographs 8
Colorado 7
Jewish women 6
Jewish children 4