ROCKY MOUNTAIN JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY
A Legacy of Caring: Jewish Women in Early Colorado: Frances Wisebart Jacobs – Mother of All Charities
”...I know that whenever women lead in good work, men will follow”
Frances Wisebart Jacobs, as quoted in the Rocky Mountain News, August 27, 1888
Frances Wisebart Jacobs achieved a special distinction in philanthropy and became known as Denver’s “Mother of Charities.” She tended to the widows and children of miners living on the banks of the Platte River and in later years worked tirelessly to aid tuberculosis victims.
When her husband Abraham became a prominent merchant and active in Denver politics, Frances became active in charity work. In 1872, she helped organize the Hebrew Ladies’ Benevolent Society and in 1874 she held found the nonsectarian Denver Ladies’ Relief Society, primarily to aid Denver’s ill and impoverished. In 1885, through her efforts, the first free kindergarten was opened in Denver for children of working mothers. Frances Jacobs was also one of the primary founders of the early United Way of America.
By the 1880s, Denver had earned the nickname of the “World’s Sanitarium” and thousands of people with tuberculosis began to pour into Colorado, many without funds. The Jewish community was the first to step forward with aid and Frances Wisebart Jacobs served as the imputes behind the founding of National Jewish Hospital for Consumptives, which opened in 1899.
In 1900, when sixteen stained glass portraits of pioneers were selected to be placed in the windows of the dome of the Colorado state capitol building, Frances Wisebart Jacobs was the only woman chosen as one of the small elite group.
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Jacobs | Pisko | West Colfax | Legacies