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Jewish Research and Education - Cuba Family Archives, Finding Aids

Date Span:  1894-2010

Creator:  The Rosenbush Family

Summary/Abstract: The Rosenbush Family Papers were compiled over three generations beginning with Julius Rosenbush, who was a prominent entrepreneur in the mortuary and furniture businesses in Demopolis, Alabama.  His children also participated in the mortuary and furniture business. The collection includes blueprints, correspondence, deeds, accounting ledgers, photographs, genealogical records, and maps.

Quantity/Physical Description:  10 Linear Feet

Language(s):  English

Repository: The Cuba Family Archives for Southern Jewish History, The Breman Museum, Atlanta, Georgia, 30309.

Restrictions on Access:  There are no restrictions on accessing material in this collection.

Restrictions on Use:  Copyright restrictions may apply.  Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright.  Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation:  Box #, Folder #, Mss 221, Bertram J. Rosenbush Family Papers, The Cuba Family Archives for Southern Jewish History, The William Breman Jewish Heritage Museum, 1440 Spring Street NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30309.

Acquisition:  The Cuba Family Archives accessioned the Bertram J. Rosenbush Family Papers in February, 2012.

Separated Material: Photographs removed to visual arts collections and objects removed to artifact collection.

Related Material: OHC Rosenbush, Bertram Julius, Jr. 012-001 V/F R

Processed by: Jane Leavey, Demece Harvey, and Jeremy Katz (March, 2013)


The collection is arranged into two series:

  1. Series I: Personal files
  2. Series II: Business files


Biographical/Historical Note:  Julius Rosenbush was born in Germany in 1859 and came to America as a young boy with his family which settled in Mississippi. In 1895, he moved to Demopolis, Alabama, and opened a furniture store. The furniture store also included a funeral parlor, because Julius was a licensed undertaker. At first, the store was located on the bottom floor of the Hotel Royal. In 1897, Julius married Essie Baum, affectionately called “Miss Essie”. Soon after, the business moved to larger storefront on West Washington. Fire destroyed the building in 1909, but the structure was rebuilt. Julius and Essie had two children. Doris was born in 1898 and Bertram Julius, Sr., was born in 1902. Following Julius’ untimely death in 1911, Essie continued the business, which made her one of the few women in business at the time. Essie maintained control of the store until Bertram finished school and was able to join the family business. Bertram married Miriam Stein and they had two children. Bertram Julius, Jr., was born in 1929 and Bette Doris was born in 1932. Essie turned over her interest in the family business to Bertram, Jr., in 1950 and father and son ran the company together several years. In 1970, Bertram, Jr., married Mary Louise Bell, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs at the University of Alabama. The same year, they Rosenbushes took a leap and purchased at auction the Merchant’s Grocery building on North Walnut along with a warehouse behind it and a storefront across the street. The buildings dated form 1895, the year Julius Rosenbush first came to the river city. Using special funds to renovate the historic buildings, the Rosenbushes restored the site, adding only air conditioning and a sprinkler system for comfort and safety. Soon after, the building was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage. In 1995, the Rosenbush Furniture Company celebrated 100 years in business. It was recognized the company as the oldest continuing family-owned furniture store in Alabama. With no children to carry on the family business, Bertram, Jr., and Mary decided to close the store in 2002 after 108 years in business. They donated the building to the city of Demopolis for public use and now spend their time taking care of the Jewish cemetery. Bert is recognized as the last Jew in Demopolis. 

Scope and Content: 

Researchers examining the Rosenbush Family Papers can shed light on Jewish life in the South and family-owned businesses in the late 19th century, 20th century, and early 21st century. The collection is arranged into two series: Series I, Family files, contain mostly correspondence between family members. It also contains newspaper clippings and obituaries on various members of the family. Series II, Business files, contain correspondence, ledgers, and receipts from both the funeral parlor business and the furniture store business.

Collection Inventory

Series I : Family Files
Box File Description Date
1 1 Correspondence from Essie Baum to Julius Rosenbush 1894
  2 Correspondence from Essie Baum to Julius Rosenbush 1895
  3 Correspondence from Julius Rosenbush to Essie Baum 1895-1896
  4 Correspondence from Essie Baum to Julius Rosenbush 1896
  5 Correspondence from Julius Rosenbush to Essie Baum 1897
  6 Correspondence from Essie Baum to Julius Rosenbush 1897
  7 Essie and Julius wedding invitation and telegrams 1897
  8 Correspondenc from Julius Rosenbush to Essie Baum 1897-1901
  9 Correspondence from Julius Rosenbush to Essie Rosenbush 1905-1909
  10 Correspondence from Bert Rosenbush to Essie Rosenbush 1914-1930
2 1 Horoscope for Essie Rosenbush 1870, 1906
  2 Correspondence to Julius and Essie 1896-1956
  3 Telegrams concerning Julius’ death 1911
  4 Condolence letters concerning Julius’ death 1911
  5 Correspondence from Essie Rosenbush to Bert in ROTC at Camp Jackson, S.C. 1920
  6 Correspondence to Essie and Bert 1910-1956, Undated
  7 Correspondence to Essie Rosenbush from grandchildren 1954-1956
  8 Doris Rosenbush correspondence 1913-1920
  9 Correspondence from Dorris to family 1908-1917
  10 Correspondence related to death of Doris Rosenbush 1920
  11 Correspondence to Essie related to death of father Daniel Baum 1926
  12 Correspondence to Essie from nieces 1916, 1929, 1956
3 1 Correspondence from Essie Stein to her cousin Essie Baum Rosenbush 1896-1901
  2 Correspondence from Betty Baum to Doris Rosenbush 1901
  3 Correspondence related to building house 1914, 1952
  4 Correspondence from Daniel and Betty Baum to Essie and Julius 1897-1925
  5 Correspondence from Eva Baum Lipowski to sister Essie Baum Rosenbush 1901-1954
  6 Correspondence from Godfrey and Irene Baum to Essie Baum Rosenbush 1914-1952
  7 Correspondence from Gussie and Joe Baum to Essie Rosenbush 1911-1956
  8 Correspondence from Henry Baum to Sister Essie Baum Rosenbush 1900-1926
  9 Correspondence from Alice Baum to Essie Rosenbush 1917-1955
  10 Correspondence from Rose and Max Baum to Essie Rosenbush 1901-1926
  11 Correspondence from Sara Baum Strauss to sister Essie Rosenbush 1900-1956
  12 Correspondence from Miriam Stein to Bert Rosenbush 1929, Undated
  13 Correspondence from Miriam Stein Rosenbush to mother-in-law (Bert) Essie Baum Rosenbush 1926-1936
  14 Correspondence related to Marion Institute, Ala., and Bert Rosenbush 1919-1920
  15 Correspondence to Bette and children 1964
  16 Order of the Easter Star 1929-1937
  17 War Rationing book 1943
  18 Demopolis Jewish Cemetery records 1991
  19 Newspaper clippings and obituaries 1911-2011
  20 Maps of Demopolis, Alabama Undated
4 1 Genealogy and family tree Undated
Series I : Business Files
Box File Description Date
4 2 Calendar Rosen’s Kosher Delicatessen, Memphis, Tenn. 1949
  3 Ledger book 1911
  4 Ledger book 1906-1908
  5 Ledger book 1906-1907
5 1 Ledger book 1899-1902
  2 Ledger book 1905
  3 Ledger book 1909
  4 Ledger books 1911, 1912
  5 Ledger books (rent) 1915
  6 Ledger book 1921
6 1 Ledger book Undated
  2 Inventory 1911
  3 Inventory 1912-1915
  4 History of Rosenbush funeral business Undated
  5 Funeral register 1921
  6 Funeral register 1922
  7 Funeral register 1925
  8 Funeral register 1926
  9 Funeral register 1927
7 1 Funeral register 1928
  2 Funeral register 1929
  3 Funeral register 1930
  4 Funeral register 1931
  5 Funeral register 1932
  6 Statement of assets 1911-1916
  7 Monthly sales records 1916-1920
  8 Monthly sales records 1920-1925
  9 Tax returns 1914, 1958
8 1 Business correspondence and receipts 1880-1910
  2 Business correspondence and receipts 1910-1920
  3 Business correspondence and receipts 1920-1930
9 1 Business correspondence and receipts 1930-1940
  2 Business correspondence and receipts 1940-1950
  3 Business correspondence and receipts 1950-1960
  4 Business correspondence and receipts 1950-1960
10 1 Business correspondence and receipts 1960-1970
  2 Business correspondence and receipts Undated
  3 Business cards and membership cards Undated
  4 Joseph Rosenbush Manufacturing Company Healing Salve and letter 1900
  5 Congratulatory letters for Rosenbush Furniture 31st Anniversary 1926
  6 Congratulatory letters for Rosenbush Furniture 40st Anniversary 1935
  7 Rosenbush Furniture Certificate of Incorporation February 16, 1960
  8 Awards and proclamations 1995-2003
  9 National Register of Historic Places 2010


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