The Davis Family; the Isaacs Family

Biographical notes:

Davids and Isaacs Family

The Isaacs and Davis families were both active members of the Jewish community in Cincinnati, Ohio. The two families were joined together on March 21, 1912 when Ella Davis, daughter of Charles K. Davis and Ida (Fletcher) Davis, married Nathan T. Isaacs, son of Abraham Isaacs and Rachel Rose (Friedman) Isaacs.

The Davis Family

Charles K. Davis was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on April 2, 1854 and died on June 1, 1918. He was born to Adolph Davis and Johanna B. (Sommerfield) Davis. Charles was the first of five children; born after him were Henry, Max, Allen, and a daughter, Ida. Johanna was very involved with the Jewish community in Cincinnati and was the president of the Ladies’ Hebrew Benevolent Society in 1880. In 1872, Adolph founded a cigar company, A. Davis, Sons & Co. In 1882, along with Leo Wise, Charles traveled to Southwestern Kansas to aid in the establishment of the Beersheba Colony. The Beersheba Colony was sponsored by Cincinnati’s Hebrew Union Agricultural Society to establish Jews emigrating from Russia. During this time, Charles kept a diary that would eventually be published in 1965 by the American Jewish Archives. Over the course of his life, he visited Greece, Egypt, Japan, China, and Germany, along with many other places. At times, his brother Max would join him. Charles and his wife Ida (Fletcher) Davis had two children, Ella and John Evan. Ella was born on October 5, 1885 and John was born on June 10, 1892. John served during World War I in the aviation department of the United States Army. Both before and after the war he worked at his father’s and grandfather’s cigar business in the Columbus plant as general manager before establishing the National Guarantee and Finance Company.

Ella Davis met her future husband Nathan Isaacs while attending the University of Cincinnati. After graduating in 1908, she traveled with her father Charles through Europe and around the Mediterranean between 1909 and 1910. She married Nathan in 1912. In 1924, the couple moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts where she became active in the Jewish community. A Life Member of Hadassah, she began attending their luncheons in 1927. The New England Women’s Association of the Hebrew College was founded at her home on March 19, 1931. As such, she was an honorary Vice-President and permanent member of the Board of Directors. She was also a Life Member of the Builders of Congregation Young Israel of Brookline, Beth Israel Hospital Women’s Auxiliary, Daughters of Israel, and the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the Maimonides Educational Institute.

The Isaacs Family

Nathan T. Isaacs came from an influential Cincinnati family, descended from Rabbi Schachne Simon Isaacs and Rabbi Aaron Zebi Friedman. The Isaacs Family was a central part of the Jewish community in Cincinnati, establishing one of the first synagogues in the city. The family produced a number of distinguished academics. Among Nathan’s own ten siblings there was a fair representation of influence in academic and Jewish life. His brother Asher served on the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh and was an editor for the American Jewish Outlook . Raphael received his MD from the University of Cincinnati and served on the faculty of the University of Michigan where he continued his research work and published his findings in hematology, making him one of the leading physicians in his field. Moses received his PhD from the University of Cincinnati in Chemistry and went on to the faculty and then the deanship of Yeshiva College while serving on the board of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations. Nathan himself went on to become a distinguished legal scholar in the first part of the 20th century, eventually becoming a Professor of Business Law at Harvard University.

Nathan was born in Cincinnati on July 10, 1886. He was a graduate of both the University of Cincinnati (BA, 1907; MA, 1908; Ph.D., 1910) and Cincinnati Law School (1910). He became a Professor of Law at the University of Cincinnati until 1918, and was Assistant Dean from 1916-1918. From 1918-1919 during World War I, he served in the Army as a Captain of Military Intelligence. After the war Nathan was the Ezra Ripley Thayer Teaching Fellow at Harvard University from 1919 to 1920. From 1920 to1923 he taught Law at the University of Pittsburgh, returning to Harvard University in 1923 as a lecturer for a year and then was a Professor of Business Law from 1924 until his death in 1941.

Outside of academia, Nathan was active in his business and religious activities as well. He served on the Board of Directors of Gimbel Brothers Department Store starting in 1933 and was a member of the Advisory Council of the American Arbitration Association. Nathan also served as a delegate to the first Jewish World Conference in Geneva in 1936. On August 5, 1920 his daughter Carol was born. Carol was born with hearing but became hearing impaired during her childhood. She went on to become a valued employee of Filene’s and married Paul Wotitzky of Brookline. They remained married until her death in 2006.

Footnotes 1Information used in this finding aid is from the following sources: Galbreath, Charles Burleigh. History of Ohio. American Historical Society. 1925. Web. 26 March 2012. <> Marcus, Jacob Rader. United States Jewry, 1776-1985. Wayne State University Press. 1985. Schwartz, Julius, and Solomon Aaron Kaye. Who's Who In American Jewry. New York: The Jewish biographical bureau, inc, 1927. Web. 26 March 2012. <> Materials from the collection.

Isaacs Family selected genealogy

[Note: The collection contains significant amounts of material on the individuals whose names are listed in italics.]

Abraham Isaacs (1860 April-1928 Sep 21) and Sadie Isaacs Friedman were children of Schachne Simon Isaacs (1811-1887) and Reitza Rita R. Kashan (b. 1817).

Rachel Rose Friedman Isaacs (1861 Jul-1929) and Abraham Isaac Friedman were children of Rabbi Aaron [Tzevi, Zebi, Zivei, Levi] Friedman (1822-1876) and Rebecca Lieberman, daughter of Grand Rabbi Lieberman of Frankfurt.

Abraham Isaacs married Rachel Rose Friedman Isaacs in 1878. Sadie Isaacs Friedman married Abraham Isaac Friedman.

Aaron Z. (b. 1879 May) Isac (b 1881 Jul) Rebeca F. (b. 1883 Aug) Nathan (1887 Jul-1941) Schachne (1888 Dec-1952 Aug 12) Raphael (1891 Aug 29-1947), m. Agnes Wolfson Nesha (1894 Apr-1988 May 8), m. Harison I. Rothfield Elcanon (b. 1896 Dec) Moses (1889 Jan-1970 Feb) Asher (b. 1902) Judah M. (1906-1959 Mar 20) Nathan Holyday, m. Sadie Mae Stone Israel Moses Shirley

Nathan Holyday Friedman and Sadie Mae Stone are the parents of Robert S. Friedman. Robert S. married Edith Sheldon and had one child, Rachel Friedman. Rachel became Rachel Friedman Albert when she married Michael P. Albert. Rachel is a double cousin of Nathan Isaacs, twice removed. She donated the genealogical materials associated with this collection

Davis Family selected genealogy

Charles K. (1854-1918 Jun 1) Henry C. (b. 1858) Max X. (b. 1861) Allen (b. 1865) Ida (b. 1871) Victor (b. 1850) Samuel (b. 1853) Ida (b. 1855/56) Benjamin (b. 1857) Abraham (b. 1860) Hyman (b. 1864) Ella (1885 Oct 5-1975 Jun) John Evan

Davis-Isaacs Family selected genealogy

Carol (b. 1920 Aug 5 in Cincinnati, OH - d. 2006 Nov 23 in Brookline, MA), m. Paul Wotitzky (1927 Dec 15-2008 Nov 22)

From the guide to the The Davis and Isaacs Family, Papers, Undated, 1882-1987 [Bulk 1900-1941], (American Jewish Historical Society)


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Constellation Information

Ark ID:


  • Business law


not available for this record


  • Berlin (Germany) (as recorded)
  • Cincinnati (Ohio) (as recorded)
  • Greece (as recorded)
  • Cambridge (Mass.) (as recorded)
  • Japan (as recorded)
  • Puerto Rico (as recorded)
  • Hawaii (as recorded)
  • Boston (Mass.) (as recorded)
  • Egypt (as recorded)