Shwayder Family Papers and Samsonite Corporation Records
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 changed to Shwayder Brothers, Inc. and finally became Samsonite Corporation. In 1961 Jesse Shwayder’s son, King Shwayder, became president of the Samsonite Corporation, and the company continues to operate in the 21st century. The collection consists of materials containing Shwayder family history dating back to the late 19th century as well as information about the founding and development of the Samsonite Corporation through the 1970s.
- Berry, Hannah Shwayder, 1895-1986 (Person)
Biographical / Historical
The Shwayder family of Denver, Colorado is best known for the luggage company Samsonite Corporation, which was founded and operated by the family over the course of the 20th century. The Denver Shwayders can be traced to Abraham Kobesky and Miriam Rachofsky of Poland, who married and later migrated to Manchester, England (where the name ''Kobesky'' 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. Isaac Shwayder first came to Central City, Colorado, in 1879 to find work, and after two years the rest of his family joined him. The Shwayders later moved to Nevadaville (Black Hawk), Colorado, and in 1888 they settled in Denver, where Isaac Shwayder owned a grocery store and later started a second-hand furniture business. The Shwayder children attended Franklin School and West High School in Denver, and Solomon Shwayder, the oldest brother, attended the University of Denver. 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. Isaac Shwayder died of a stroke in 1916. Most of the Shwayder siblings held executive positions in the family business. In 1961 Jesse Shwayder’s son, King Shwayder, became president of the Samsonite Corporation.
Samsonite Corporation, the world-famous maker of luggage, started in Denver, Colorado, in 1910, when Jesse Shwayder opened a small luggage factory in Denver with his father, Isaac Shwayder, and brothers, Mark, Maurice, Benjamin, and Solomon Shwayder. The operation became incorporated as the Shwayder Trunk Manufacturing Company in 1912 and counted many members of the Shwayder family among its employees. All of the Shwayder brothers held executive positions in the company in the 1920s: Jesse was the company's president, Mark Shwayder was in charge of sales, Maurice and Ben Shwayder were in charge of manufacturing, and Solomon Shwayder served as the company’s lawyer. Samson was the first trade name for the company’s luggage, and this was later changed to Samsonite. Shwayder Trunk Manufacturing Company started to diversify its product offerings in the 1930s by manufacturing folding furniture, and the company changed its name to Shwayder Brothers, Inc. in 1931. As sales increased throughout the 20th century, the company moved into gradually larger facilities in Denver, and at various stages in the business’ history, it opened additional plants in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Arizona, Mexico, and Japan. In 1961 Jesse Shwayder’s son, King D. Shwayder, became president of the company, and in 1965 the Shwayder Brothers, Inc., changed its name to Samsonite Corporation. The corporation continues to operate in the 21st century.
8.0 Linear Feet (4 containers)
Scope and Contents
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- Denver (Colo.)
- Jewish businesspeople -- Colorado -- Denver
- Jewish families -- Colorado
- Jewish men -- Colorado -- Denver
- Kobey, Miriam Rachofsky, 1840-1921
- Shwayder Art Building (Denver, Colo.)
- Shwayder Family (Contributor)
- Shwayder, Isaac, 1855-1916
- Shwayder, Jesse, 1882-1970
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Code for undetermined script