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Who was Robt. I. Cohen?

Luc

"To Wiki or Not To Wiki, That's The Question".
Seeing all the information and specially the history of the razors here, I decided to check one of mine as I had it for a few months and didn't really look at it. It's one of my favourite makers: John Heiffor - (1861-1919).

What I have is a nice 6/8 - John Heiffor - 3 Paradise Square - Sheffield - Half Hollow - Made in Sheffield for Robt. I. Cohen, Galveston, Texas.
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(excuse the poor picture)

So, working on the magic of the web and a bit of cyber-stalking, I found this...

From this link (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fcobw)

COHEN, ROBERT I. (1856–1934). Robert I. Cohen, merchant, was born in 1856 and reared in London, England. At age thirteen he left school and began working in his father's art and antique shop. Three years later, in 1872, he left London and immigrated to the United States through Boston. He joined a mercantile firm there and traveled throughout the United States and Canada for several mercantile firms over the next five years. In 1877 he arrived in Galveston, where he worked for merchants Levy and Weiss for four years before starting his own business. In his first business Cohen formed a partnership, Cohen and Schram. A year later the firm became Levy and Cohen, and subsequently Cohen and Michael. In 1889 Cohen founded Robert I. Cohen, a men's clothing store. He became the first Galveston merchant to branch into new techniques of selling, including advertising and window displays. He organized Galveston's first retail merchants' organization and added new merchandise in his own store, which eventually became a leading department store. In 1917 he purchased with his son, George S., the Foley Brothers Dry Goods store of Houston, which became one of the largest department stores in the South and Southwest, with branches in several major Texas cities. In 1919 Cohen became secretary and treasurer of the Houston Mill and Elevator Company; he eventually became president. He was treasurer of the Hebrew Benevolent Society and of the United Charities of Galveston. He was president of Congregation B'nai Israel for thirty years. Cohen married Agnes Lord in 1882; they had three children. He died on October 15, 1934, and was buried in the Hebrew Benevolent Association Cemetery.

So, I'm guessing the razor was made between 1877(Arrival in Galveston) and 1919(John Heiffor last year) at this stage.

From the American Hebrew and Jewish messenger: Volume 121, Issue 1 - 1927
Mr. and Mrs. (Agnes) Robert I. Cohen have two sons and one daughter, George S. Cohen of Houston, Robert I. Cohen, Jr., and Mrs. Jack M. Blum, both of Galveston.

I then found a good booklet in PDF (thank you google) hosted by the Rice Historical Society Organisation (http://www.ricehistoricalsociety.org/images/cornerstones/Cohen_booklet_F_W08.pdf)

In this booklet, I could finally meet the owner, Robt. I Cohen in a picture (aged 70).
View attachment 151027

The Robert I. Cohen Department Store, SE corner of 22nd and Market, unfortunately, demolished today... The slogan of the store was "The Customer Must Always Be Satisfied"
(http://www.galvestonhistory.org/Lost_Galveston/pages/20_Cohen Dept Store.htm)
View attachment 151028
(http://www.galvestonhistory.org/Lost_Galveston/pages/20_SE corner-22nd and Market.htm)
View attachment 151029

The store is listed in the Galveston City Directory 1906-1907
(http://www.archive.org/details/galvestontexasci19061907polk)

Page 243 in the book. Noted 244 in the hard copy
Cohen Rob't I. [Inc.],

Robert I. Cohen, prest; Samuel J. Williams, 1st vice-prest, George S. Cohen (his son), 2nd vice-prest, Samuel Zander, secy; men's and boys' outfitters. clothiers, hatters, clothing and shirts to order, sole agts Dunlaps hats, 2121 2123 Market. Ph 347.

Cohen Rob't I. Trunk & bags Factory. Robert I. Cohen, prest; Sam Zander secy-treasr; mfrs and dealers trunks, bags, leather novelties, 2120 Market. Ph. 569

Robert was part of the Census of 1900 (0127 Galveston city Ward 7) as seen in here: (https://www.familysearch.org/search....org/records/pal:/MM9.1.r/M9TM-Z2S/p_90947902)

Born in England, both parents from England. Profession of Merchant. 43 years old at the time of the census.

I found the grave on findagrave.com (I didn't even know it existed). (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/f...y=2603&GScntry=4&GSob=n&GRid=40157248&df=all&)
Robert Isaac Cohen
Birth: Nov. 27
London
Greater London, England
Death: Oct. 15, 1934
Galveston
Galveston County
Texas, USA

Married to Agnes Lord Cohen 1882-1931

Burial:
Hebrew Benevolent Society Cemetery
Galveston
Galveston County
Texas, USA

Created by: Patti Zapalac
Record added: Aug 01, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 40157248

Now, I know the user a bit more but didn't find anything about the order of the razor itself... :laugh:
 
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Wow, Luc, this is a great human interest story! It stands to reason not just anybody would have his name on his razor. Good work!
 

Luc

"To Wiki or Not To Wiki, That's The Question".
Thanks Gents! I was hoping to find more information such as a family picture. However, I'm happy with what I found. The razor was bought from Texas in eBay so it makes me wonder if it was the family selling it...
 

Luc

"To Wiki or Not To Wiki, That's The Question".
Updated pictures of the razor
 
Very cool razor history. Nice job on the research.

I lived in Galveston for 34 years. I had friends in the Levy family mentioned in your history.

In 1900 Galveston was hit by a Cat 4 hurricane and suffered 6,000 fatalities out of a population of 37,000. So a resident during that time would have been fortunate to survive. This disaster is the subject of Erik Larson's book "Isaac's Storm" a great read.
 
Awesome. One of my favorite things about old straights is wondering who bought them when new.

Are you sure this wasn't made for resale at his shop though?
 

Luc

"To Wiki or Not To Wiki, That's The Question".
Awesome. One of my favorite things about old straights is wondering who bought them when new.

Are you sure this wasn't made for resale at his shop though?

I'm unsure about that. The Jno Baker razor is a good example of a razor made for the shop not for the owner... I haven't seen any other Robt I. Cohen razors but then, I was not able to locate his catalog either...
 
Nice research Luc!
I bet it makes an already cool act of straight shaving a bit cooler when the history is attached.
Keep em coming.
 
Cool little research project!

I'm kind of of the opinion that the razor was made to be retailed by his store, rather than used by him personally, but who knows?

I have one of those W Jno Baker Bengall razors. Same deal. Big manufacturers personalise items to be resold by department stores. They offer to etch the stores name on the item if they order X amount of units at a time. A bit like a B&B Ltd. Ed. brush.:w00t:
 

Luc

"To Wiki or Not To Wiki, That's The Question".
Cool little research project!

I'm kind of of the opinion that the razor was made to be retailed by his store, rather than used by him personally, but who knows?

I have one of those W Jno Baker Bengall razors. Same deal. Big manufacturers personalise items to be resold by department stores. They offer to etch the stores name on the item if they order X amount of units at a time. A bit like a B&B Ltd. Ed. brush.:w00t:

A Jno Baker is part of the list that I would like to investigate as I found a few things that were interesting and worth mentioning about it...

However, I got another research before that... :tongue_sm
 
A Jno Baker is part of the list that I would like to investigate as I found a few things that were interesting and worth mentioning about it...

However, I got another research before that... :tongue_sm

Looking forward to it. :wink2:
 
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