Portrait of Henry Greenebaum (1833-1914), head and shoulders, facing slightly to the right. He has brown hair and a moustache; he is wearing a black suit, white shirt and black tie; seated in a red chair
Henry Greenebaum left Germany at age fifteen in 1848 to join two older brothers living in Chicago. He worked in a hardware store and as a bank clerk before establishing his own bank in 1854. Greenebaum, who reaped a fortune, fulfilled a central tenet of Judaism by giving back to his community. He helped found Sinai Reform Congregation and organized the United Hebrew Relief Association to unify competing Jewish charities. He was a Chicago alderman and raised the only all-Jewish regiment to serve in the Civil War. In 1877, a worldwide recession and failed real-estate investments caused his banks to collapse. Greenebaum repaid all creditors but never recovered his financial standing.