Financier, Philanthropist. Felix Warburg was one of the five sons of Moritz and Charlotte Warburg, and was educated in Hamburg schools. He came to the United States when he was 23 years old, and became naturalized in 1900 as a citizen. Shortly after his arrival in America he married Frieda Schiff, and in 1896 joined the banking house of Kuhn, Loeb and Company in New York city. He became involved in East Side welfare societies, which were dealing with the problems presented by the large Jewish immigration. He was the founder and first president of the Federation for the Support of Jewish Philanthropic Societies, and was at the time of his death chairman of the board of trustees. He was a founder of the Jewish Welfare Board and was its vice-president, and was a vice director and member of the executive board of the Jewish Theological Seminary. He was also responsible for the establishment of the graduate school for Jewish social work, and was closely connected with the Bureau of Jewish Social Research. When the First World War and post-war effects created hardships for Jewish war victims in eastern Europe, he joined other American Jews in organizing the Joint Distribution Committee to provide aid. He was chairman of its administrative committee, overseeing the tremendous job of establishing credit cooperatives, extending relief and helping to train Jewish youth in productive occupations. The committee helped Jews in Europe in the period leading up to, and especially during, the Great Depression. Some of the other positions he held were: head of the American section of Council for German Jewry, member of the executive committee of the American Jewish Committee, chairman of the United Jewish Appeal, member of the Jewish Agency Council, and honorary chairman of the United Palestine Appeal. In 1925 he served as the founder and first president of the American Friends of the Hebrew University, in Jerusalem, Israel. The Hebrew University was of particular interest to him, and he donated a half million dollars in gifts to the institution. He visited the holy land several times and was one of the organizers of the Palestine Economic Corporation. He played an important part in the agency, of whose administrative committee he was chairman. In the Palestine partition issue he was a supporter of the proposal for a round-table conference between Arabs and Jews as the way out of the difficulties there. He had a considerable influence on the musical life of America, serving as one of the founders of the Institute of Musical Art, as a supporter of the New York and Philadelphia symphony orchestras and a founder of the Warburg quartet. In 1930, he was awarded the Gottheil medal for the greatest service to American Jewry, and he also received in the same year one of the three medals for “distinguished social service to the city of New York” given by Better Times.
Bio by: Pete Mohney
Frieda Schiff Warburg