Maurice Weidenthal

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Maurice Weidenthal

Also Known As: "Moses"
Birthdate: (63)
Birthplace: Hostice, Bohemia
Death: July 19, 1917 (63)
Cleveland, OH (cardiac failure)
Place of Burial: Cleveland, OH
Immediate Family:

Son of Emanuel Weidenthal and Julia (Julie) Weidenthal
Husband of Lida Weidenthal
Father of Edward Weidenthal; William Rosenfeld Weidenthal and Babette Newman
Brother of Rose Weidenthal; Celia Glick; Carrie Weidenthal; Lillie Weidenthal; Evelyn M Sperling and 5 others

Occupation: Publisher, Editor, Founder of the Jewish Independent, Civic Leader
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Maurice Weidenthal

1880 census says he's a clerk in a grocery and lives with his parents.

A vigorous controversy developed over the plan of numbering streets instead of naming them. Leading stores of the city protested against the idea, claiming it would be confusing and costly. The new plan was adopted, March 6, becoming effective, December i. Before long, the idea was con- sidered an improvement over the old system, making it far easier for people to find their way about the fan-shaped city. For years, however, many citizens expressed regret that fine historic names had to give way to mere numerals.

The Jewish Independent was first issued on March 9, and Maurice Weidenthal, one of Cleveland's ablest and best-known newspapermen, became editor on May 25. His brother, Henry, was sports editor of the Plain Dealer, managing editor of the Press, staff writer of the News, and was particularly known for his historical features, "Those Days." A third brother, Leo, served on the World, predecessor of the News, and as political reporter for the Plain Dealer, prior to succeeding Maurice as editor of the Jewish Independent. A son of Maurice, William R., was for a number of years an official of this publication.

Address of residence as an adult:

55 Wallingford Court (which looks like a side street near Orange Avenue and East 40th.)

Note: Published information says Maurice was born in 1856, but his grave stone says 1853.

Born in Hungary on October 3, 1856, and came to America in 1870. He held various newspaper jobs in Cleveland, including that of reporter for the Herald (which became the News), drama critic and editorial writer for the Cleveland Press, and city editor for the Plain Dealer and for the Cleveland Recorder. In 1906 he became the editor of the Jewish Independent, a position he held until his death on July 21, 1917.

Maurice was responsible for changing the street numbering system to named streets in the city of Cleveland.

See the guidebook for the change here:

Source: The Book of Clevelanders, A Biographical Dictionary of Living Men of the City of Cleveland, Burrows Book Company, 1914

Weidenthal, Maurice

The Book of Clevelanders, A Biographical Dictionary of Living Men of the City of Cleveland, Burrows Book Company, 1914

Weidenthal, Maurice; editor Jewish Independent; born, Hungary, Oct. 3, 1856; came to Cleveland as a boy, attending Rockwell Street school; married, Cleveland, Feb. 14, 1883, Married to Lida Brandes; correspondent New York Dramatic News; reporter and critic Cleveland Herald; city editor Cleveland Plain Dealer; reporter and critic Cleveland World (News); city editor Cleveland Recorder; reporter, dramatic and editorial writer Cleveland Press; made politics a specialty, "covering" many national and state conventions for Cleveland Press and Scripps-McRae league of newspaper; accompanied late Senator Hanna on national campaign tours; founded Jewish Independent March 1906, being president of the publishing company; member Independent Order B'nai B'rith, Knights of Joseph, Sons of Benjamin.

Vol. 49, pg 131, Ohio History


Attempts to Preserve National Cultures in Cleveland

by Wellington G. Fordyce

"...................Cleveland has three Jewish publications, the Jewish Review

and Observer, the Jewish Independent, and the Jewish World. The

Jewish World, published in Yiddish, is a daily. The other two are

weeklies. The most important Jewish paper in Cleveland has

been the Jewish Independent. It was founded in 1906 by Maurice

Weidenthal, American-born of Bohemian-Jewish parentage. Un-

der his direction the Jewish Independent became the spear point

of many Jewish policies, both local and national.

Maurice Weidenthal fostered an attack upon the teaching of

The Merchant of Venice in the public schools, and the movement

spread to all Jewish America. One of the Jewish societies, B'nai

B'rith, took the matter up and made it a national affair. The

motive was not antagonism to Shakespeare as literature, but seems

to have been inspired by the Jewish fear that plastic minds would

receive a picture of Jewish character from Shylock that might

later lead to prejudice and persecution. For similar reasons this

paper has opposed all plans to incorporate religious instruction

into the public school curriculum. Any movement which brings

any hint of a state and church union receives their opposition.

Leo Weidenthal succeeded his brother in the editorship and con-

tinued these policies. Under Leo Weidenthal the Jewish Inde-

pendent has become distinguished for its literary excellence...."


Maurice Weidenthal deserves a permanent niche of fame among Cleveland citizens, newspaper men and civic leaders.

He was born in Hungary in October, 1856, and died at Cleveland July 21, 1917, at the age of sixty-one. He came to America at the age of thirteen and after varied other experiences took up newspaper work. He was a reporter on the old Cleveland Herald, now the News, and was dramatic critic and editorial writer for Cleveland Press. While he did and did well every manner of editorial and newspaper work, it is said that he especially excelled as a theatrical critic. In 1906 Mr. Weidenthal founded the Jewish Independent, a weekly, and was its editor until his death. A number of years previously he had been for a time city editor of the Plain Dealer. As editor of the Jewish Independent he crusaded actively against stage characterizations which he believed ridiculed or created prejudice against the Jews. One definite result of this crusade was a protest made to the Cleveland Board of Education requesting that the "Merchant of Venice" be no longer read in the Cleveland public schools. This request was acceded to and the movement gradually spread over the United States.

He was also well known in politics and had the confidence of many political leaders. He bore a strong personal resemblance to the late Senator M. A. Hanna and as a political writer he followed Hanna in many campaigns about the country. Mr. Weidenthal is credited with having suggested to the late Mayor Johnson a change of a number of old street names which had been outgrown. He was a member of the Independent Order of B 'nai B 'rith, the Knights of Joseph and the Sons of Benjamin.

He was survived by two brothers, Leo and Henry J. Weidenthal, and five sisters, Mrs. A. Kline, Mrs. S. Glick, Mrs. E. M. Klein, Miss Lillie and Mrs. E. Sperling. His immediate family consisted of Mrs. Weidenthal, two children, William R. and Mrs. Joseph S. Newman, and one grandchild, Robert Newman.

This brief sketch of a Cleveland citizen should be concluded with a brief editorial that appeared in one of the local papers under the title "In Appreciation of a Man." The editorial reads: "No man's face was more patent a badge of character than Maurice Weidenthal's. Kindliness, sympathy, intelligence, broadmindedness, all were written there. And it did not take a physiognomist to find them. Maurice Weidenthal probably knew personally more people than any other man in Cleveland. Half of his years he spent in this city as a newspaperman—general reporter, stage critic, political writer, editorial writer, editor. At the time of his death he was editor of the Jewish Independent, which he founded in 1906. His work brought him into contact with all the elements of the community. He held the confidence and respect of high and low alike. His honesty, his humaneness, his sincerity, his knowledge of men and affairs made his counsel wise and worth seeking. Maurice Weidenthal was esteemed as a citizen and a newspaper worker. He was loved as a friend and a man."

A History of Cleveland and Its Environs VOL II page 155

By Elroy McKendree Avery, Lewis Publishing Co.



We have a great number of letters written between Maurice and Lida as they were courting and beyond. Robert Newman created a video in which he read aloud these letters long with his wife Jane.

They were sweet and loving...They were married on Valentine's Day.

We have the letters if anyone wants to see them.

Also of interest:

-Susan Weidenthal Saltzman

view all

Maurice Weidenthal's Timeline

October 3, 1853
Hostice, Bohemia
November 29, 1884
Age 31
Cleveland, OH
October 7, 1888
Age 35
Cleveland, OH, USA
May 1891
Age 37
Cleveland, OH, USA
July 19, 1917
Age 63
Cleveland, OH
April 27, 1944
Age 63
Cleveland, OH