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Jules E. Mastbaum, Phila. Jewish Leader and Philanthropist, Dies at 54

December 9, 1926
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

(Jewish Daily Bulletin)

Jules E. Mastbaum, leading Jewish citizen of Philadelphia, died at the Jefferson Hospital here yesterday at the age of 54, following an illness of one week.

He was president of the Stanley Company of America and head of the Stanley Company of America and head of the real estate firm of Mastbaum Brothers and Fleisher. He was a member of the Board of Governors of Dropsie College. He headed the $3,500,000 building fund campaign of the Federation of Jewish Charities last year and the United Jewish Campaign in this city.

Today an entire city is shrouded in mourning for the man who, having attained the utmost rung on the ladder of success, never forgot those who stood on the lowest level of that ladder. In his own life he symbolized the highest conception of charity. Jew and Gentile alike found him a generous contributor to every worthy cause. He dispensed charity liberally. Numerous as were his public benefactions, his private benevolences were conducted on a tremendous scale of which the public was never aware.

The news of his death, following an operation for abdominal infection, was a tremendous shock to the community. Funeral services will be held Thursday at 2 P. M.

Mr. Mastbaum died at 4.35 yesterday afternoon, in the arms of his mother, Mrs. Fannie Mastbaum. He is survived by his wife and three daughters.

Jules E. Mastbaum was born July 7. 1872, the son of Levi and Fannie Mastbaum. He attended the public schools of the city, then went to the Central Manual School from which he was awarded a scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania, and first displayed the love of sketches and sculpture which was to become one of his principal hobbies as a wealthy man and which led to his gift of the Rodin museum to the city of his birth.

After completing a course in Finance at the university, he decided to learn merchandising from the bottom. He was not quite twenty-one when he went to Danville, Illinois, where he earned $10 a week as a clerk in the Gimbel Store. He rose rapidly through the Gimbel Milwaukee store, came to the Philadelphia Gimbel Store and became its European representative, earning $7,500 a year, the largest amount ever paid to any Gimbel employee.

In 1901 he entered the real estate business with Felix Isman at $50 per week and commissions. Fifteen years after he had gone as a boy to Illinois with the Gimbels, he with his younger brother Stanley, and Alfred W. Fleisher, bought out Felix Isman and founded the present firm of Mastbaum Brothers and Fleisher.

It was through real estate that Mr. Mastbaum first became interested in the exhibition of moving pictures. Out of a temporarily unoccupied store, at 8th and Market Street, Mastbaum made a moving picture house with a five-cent admission charge. He had faith in the future of the movies.

In 1911, Mr. Mastbaum became interested in the Regent Theatre of this city. From small beginnings it grew. first into the Motion Picture Company of America, and later the Central Market Street Company.

Stanley Mastbaum, the younger brother, died in 1918. A year later Mr. Mastbaum’s company became a $15,000,000 corporation operating thirty-four theatres. He named the new firm after his brother. Soon he was building movie houses throughout the city, branching out into Southern New Jersey, Eastern Pennsylvania and New York.

In May 1926 came his largest financial move. An $80,000,000 merger added two hundred and twenty-five theatres to his chain and the Stanley Company of America became the largest organization of its kind in the world.

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