I. Cohen & Son

Merchant
1923-1987

Main Street
Latta, SC

FAMILIES:

Isadore Cohen (1896-1967) immigrated from Lithuania in 1910 and initially established himself in Baltimore, Maryland. He later followed his brother, Harry Cohen, to South Carolina and settled near Dillon, South Carolina, where he worked as a peddler. Max Blum offered him a job at his Latta store, and after marrying Hannah Horowitz in 1923 he opened his own dry goods business with backing from the Baltimore Bargain House. His son, Leonard Barry Cohen, (1924-2012), served overseas during World War II before returning home and joining the business. He later married Mildred Friedman Cohen (1926-1999). After Isadore’s death in 1967, Leonard and Mildred continued to operate the store, often called Cohen’s Department Store, until 1987.

“His business catered to mostly the rural area and, at that time, Latta was very prosperous
because people from outlying communities would come into Latta to do their shopping. My
father made good friends with the people who he was dealing with. We catered more to the
farmers themselves, not the landlords, but the people who were tenant farmers or people— We
were selling middle-to popular-priced merchandise.

My father would go to Baltimore. That would be the best area to find clothing at that
time. Baltimore was noted for men’s clothing and good values. He built up his business under
good conditions.” – Leonard Cohen discusses I. Cohen & Son

Link: http://lcdl.library.cofc.edu/lcdl/catalog/lcdl:23363
Oral history interview with Leonard Cohen and Mildred Friedman Cohen

The Jewish Merchant Project is supported by the generosity of the Norman and Gerry Sue Arnold Foundation and the Stanley B. Farbstein Endowment at the Coastal Community Foundation. Longtime members of the JHSSC, Mr. Arnold obm, a merchant himself, and Mr. Farbstein obm were both children of South Carolina Jewish merchants.

JHSSC Office
Sylvia Vlosky Yaschik Jewish Studies Center
96 Wentworth Street
Charleston, SC 29424
Phone: 843 953 3918
Email: jhssc@cofc.edu