Isaac Schiffman

From 5 Generations

From Catalogue
 Business man and civic leader

Born:March 29, 1856, Germany
Died:June 12, 1910, Huntsville, Alabama
Buried:Maple Hill Cemetery
Office:The I. Schiffman Building
Nephew of:Daniel Schiffman
Nephew of:Solomon Schiffman
Husband of:Bettie Herstein Schiffman
Father of:Annie Schiffman Goldsmith
Father of:Irma Schiffman
Father of:Robert Lee Schiffman


•  Son of Joseph Schiffman and Caroline Jacoby - 2

•  "Isaac Schiffman, born in Germany in 1856, immigrated to the United States in 1875 to join his uncles, Solomon and Daniel, in business in Huntsville. He married Bettie Herstein in 1895. Mr. Schiffman established I. Schiffman & Company which dealt in investments and cotton." - Maple Hill

•  "Isaac Schiffman, born in Hoppstaedten, German, in 1856, immigrated to America in 1875 and traveled south to join his uncles, Solomon and Daniel Schiffman. Isaac worked with his uncles in the mercantile business and in 1885 married Bettie Herstein, eldest daughter of Rosa and Robert Herstein. They had three children: Robert, Irma, and Annie, my grandmother. After his uncles died, Isaac remained in the mercantile business until 1905 at which time he became engaged in the investment and cotton business. During the year 1908, his son, Robert, and his son-in-law Lawrence Goldsmith, Sr. joined him in business and a partnership was formed. Isaac died in 1910. His wife, Bettie, continued the businggs with Robert and Lawrence until her death in 1932. In 1933 the firm was incorporated under the name 'I. Schiffman & Co., Inc.' Headquarters for the company have remained in the same location for the past fifty years, in a building purchased by Isaac in 1905 on the Southeast corner of the East Side of the Square.
     In addition to his business activities, Isaac was chairman of the building committee of Temple B'nai Sholom when the Congregation erected its own sanctuary in 1898, and served as President of the Congregation at the turn of the century." - 5 Generations

•  Completed religious training (certificate of confirmation) from the synagogue in Hoppstadten, Germany. - B'nai Sholom

•  Family History: "Solomon and Daniel Schiffman came to the United States in 1857, Solomon to Cincinnati and Daniel to Paris, Kentucky. They moved to Huntsville before the Civil War and opened a dry goods and clothing business on the courthouse square. Isaac Schiffman, bom in 1856 in Germany, came to Huntsville in 1875 to join his uncles, Solomon and Daniel. He married Bettie Herstein; their children were Robert, Irma, and Annie. In 1908 son Robert, by then grown, and son-inlaw Lawrence Goldsmith joined the business, which had expanded into cotton and land leasing. Isaac died in 1910. That year, the business incorporated as I. Schiffman & Company. It still operates today at its courthouse square location." - Nilsson

•  Married Herstein Bettie March 5, 1884 in Madison County, Alabama. - MCRC

•  In the 1900 US Census: Isaac was 44 years old and the head of the house (310 West Clinton Street) His place of birth was listed as Germany and his occupation was a Dry Goods Merchant. Also in that home was his wife Bettie (39 years old), his widowed aunt Bertha Schiffman (56 years old) and his children Annie (14 years old), Robert Lee (12 years old), and Irma (10 years old) - 1900 Census

•  In the 1910 US Census: Ike was 50 years old and the head of the house (306 Clinton St.) His occupation was listed as a banker. Also living in the house with his wife Bettie (47 years old), his son Robert (22 years old and a bank clerk), Ike's nephew (Robert's cousin) Leo (18 years old and a bank clerk, Mrs. Saul Schiffman (67 years old, probably Ike's aunt also living with them ten years earlier.) - 1910 Census

•  Stephens, in her bibliograpy, says this of the Isaac Schiffman Papers: " reflective of a multi-faceted involvement with cattle and cotton farming, real estate holdings, investments, automobile sales, and other family interests. - Stephens

•  Business: East Side of Square (14) I. Schiffman & Company, Investments, Mrs. Bettie and R. L. Schiffman and L. B. Goldsmith - Record

•  Buggy Business:
     1901 Added "a new department added to his business operation 'consisting of buggies, scurries, carriages of all kinds, wagons and harnesses to be shown at his warehouse on Franklin Street.'"
     1904 "The Pulley Co. had been engaged in hardware business including wagons, buggies, and farm implements."
     "After Isaac's death, the family business then known as I. Schiffman Co., continued in the buggy business until the early teens, at which time a showroom and car repair shop were built for transition to the automobile business. During the 1960's, the automobile business was discontinued and the property rented for a drugstore and later a theater. The back lot was rented for parking. On August 28, 1967, the Housing Authority acquired the property by eminent domain for the construction of Constitution Hall Village." - B'nai Sholom

•  "Prior to opening an automobile dealership, I. Schiffman & Co., Inc., sold wagons and buggies from this location. The Agency building was one-story facing Franklin Street with a large storage area facing Madison Street. A painted window sign proclaimed us: I. Schiffman & Co., Inc., Dodge-Plymouth Agency." - Bradley

•  "Businessmen saw a new profit maker with the radio and I. Schiffman set up a radio in a show room to display the latest wonder ot the age." - Record

•  I. Schiffman company established in 1906 - Record

•  Member of the Huntsville Elks Lodge 698. - Elks

•  "The Alabama Elks swarmed into Huntsville in 1906 for their state convention and used the new Elks building (Opera House), just completed, in part. The old buildings on the site had been torn down in 1905, and the foundation walls had been put up in January. W. W. Knowles was the chief architect and local Edgar L. Love was the supervising architect. The Elks' were now neighbors of Ike Schiffman, who had bought the Southern Building and Loan Association building, corner Eustis Street and East Side Square in 1905 for $9,000." - Record

•  "As President of this Congregation during construction and Chairman of the Building Committee, Isaac Schiffman, perhaps most among our esteemed Founders, is responsible for the structure in which we now are privileged to worship. He was born in 1856 in Hoppstaedten, Germany, and came to America as a young man. Memories of the graceful old synagogue in his native town and the religious training he received there, may have inspired him to his task in Huntsville. We know that Isaac Schiffman never forgot Hoppstaedten. He built a school for Jewish children there and gave a water system to the town. The old synagogue still stands but as an apartment house. Its windows were destroyed on Kristallnacht. There are no longer Jews in Hoppstaedten." - B'nai Sholom

•  President of Temple B'nai Sholom, 1898-1901, 1908-1910 - B'nai Sholom

•  Founders of Congregation B'nai Sholom-1876 - B'nai Sholom

•  Isaac "returned to Hoppstadten around 1900 with his family for a visit. By then he had become a successful businessman. On the occasion of that visit, I had been told that Isaac had given the village of Hoppstadten funds to build a water system. Later he sent funds to the Jewish community for a school building. During his visit Isaac granted each of his nieces and nephews a request or gift. One nephew, Leo, asked to come to America. Isaac granted his request and Leo lived with his aunt and uncle until adulthood." - B'nai Sholom

•  "Isaac died from diabetes in 1910, relatively young; for during those days there was no treatment for that condition." - B'nai Sholom

•  June 15, 1910: "The newspaper reported that Isaac Schiffman, 54, of W. Clinton Street, died of acute indigestion. A native of Hopstetten, Germany, he came to Huntsville to join his uncles in the mercantile business, which he inherited, then sold and opened a banking business. He married Bettie Herstein, and had one daughter, Mrs. Lawrence Goldsmith. He was reputed to be a millionaire and gave Huntsville a complete set of modern water works. Merchants closed their stores during the hour of Schiffman's funeral." - Eden

•  Margaret Anne Goldsmith tells of her visit to Hoppstadten Germany, the childhood home of Isaac Schiffman in this Quarterly article. She was better able to understand the life and motivations of her great-grandfather. It is difficult to summarize the content without loosing the tone of the piece, so we encourage you to read it. - B'nai Sholom

Related Links:

•  1900 Census - As viewed through an paid subscription (Originally found at

•  1910 Census (Originally found at

•  5 Generations - Article titled "5 Generations of Life: 'My Family and the Huntsville, Alabama Jewish community' 1852-1983" by Margaret Anne Goldsmith Hanaw for Huntsville Historical Review, Volume 12, #3 & #4, Jul-82, Huntsville-Madison County Historical Society. The entire volume is connected to this family.

• 1 - Page owned by Jen White and can be viewed only with an paid subscription (Originally found at

• 2 - Page owned byJack Kaufman and can be viewed only with an paid subscription (Originally found at

•  B'nai Sholom - Historic Huntsville Quarterly, Vol. XX, #4, Winter, 1994, Historic Huntsville Foundation. The entire Quarterly focused on the Congregation B'nai Sholom. Pages iii, 200, 205, 208-222

•  Bradley - Article titled "I. Schiffman & Company, Inc., Dodge-Plymouth Agency 314-316 Franklin Street, Huntsville, Alabama" Interview with Mrs. Maggie Whitt Bradley for the Historic Huntsville Quarterly, Vol. XXIV, #4, Winter, 1998, Historic Huntsville Foundation, Historic Huntsville Foundation. pages 15 - 17

•  Catalogue - The Bernstein, Herstein, Schiffman and Goldsmith Collection: A Catalogue by Margaret Anne Goldsmith, 2014 draft.

•  Eden - Eden of the South: A Chronology of Huntsville, Alabama, 1805-2005, by Raneé G. Pruitt, Editor, 2005, page 127

•  Elks - Great Elks in Madision County?? You Better Believe It!! A History of Madison County, Alabama, Elkdom, by James Record, 1972, pages 75, 82,

•  Find A Grave - Page created by Leigh Ann

•  Maple Hill - Maple Hill Cemetery, Phase One, by Diane Robey, Dorothy Scott Johnson, John Rison Jones, Jr., & Frances C. Roberts (Huntsville-Madison County Historical Society), 1995, pages 74, 78, 80

•  MCRC - Madison County Records Center, Marriage Licenses.

•  Nilsson - Why Is It Named That?, by Dex Nilsson, 2005, page 109

•  Record - A Dream Come True: The Story of Madison County and Incidentially of Alabama and the United States, Volume II, by James Record, 1978, pages 125, 171, 181, 221, 547

•  Stephens - Historic Huntsville: A City of New Beginnings, by Elise Hopkins Stephens, 2002, page 234.

•  The Goldsmith Family Album

The Following Pages Link to this Page:
•  Daniel Schiffman
•  Solomon Schiffman
•  Bettie Herstein Schiffman
•  5 Generations
•  Annie Schiffman Goldsmith
•  B'nai Sholom
•  Bradley
•  Catalogue
•  Eden
•  Irma Schiffman
•  Maple Hill
•  Nilsson
•  Record
•  Robert Lee Schiffman
•  The Goldsmith Family Album
•  The I. Schiffman Building