"Sig" Schoenagle

SIGMUND "SIG" SCHOENAGLE was born in Vienna, Austria around 1875. He came to America as a young man, and settled in Camden NJ. In 1894 he established a haberdashery at the southwest corner of 3rd and Federal Streets. He then moved to 538 Federal Street, the corner of Hudson Street and Federal Street, where he conducted business for many years. He also became active in the political and civic life of Camden.

In December of 1904 Sig Schoenagle was a founder and trustee of the Merchants Republican League along with fellow Camden businessmen Joseph H. Pfeiffer, Nathan Fuhrman, Jacob Z. Blank, Louis Cades, and William Fox. The League had its offices at 808 Broadway.

Sigmund Schoenagle had been an investor in the Camden Basketball Association, the parent company of the Camden Electrics in the National Basketball Association, the first professional basketball league. In June of 1905 he sued William "Billy" Morgenweck, who had organized and coached the team. Sig Schoenagle was then involved in promoting bowling in Camden. 

In February of 1906 Sig Schoenagle took a trip to visit Washington DC, the purpose of which is not known at this time.

Sig Schoenagle was a charter member of the Rotary Club of Camden. The first regular monthly dinner meeting was held on January 7, 1913, at the Hotel Ridgeway in Camden.

In the early 1920s Sig Schoenagle and his brother William Schoenagle were active participants in the Community Hotel fund raising drive that culminated in the erection of the Walt Whitman Hotel. He placed the advertisement below in the Camden Courier-Post special edition commemorating the opening of the Delaware River Bridge. 

By 1927 he had a building erected at 544-546 Federal Street. Designed by the Camden architectural firm of Lackey & Hettel, the building was known, appropriately enough, as the Schoenagle building. Sig Schoenagle apparently never operated a shop in this building, which was for many years home to the W.T. Grant department store. This building was demolished in the summer of 2003. In 1928 he again employed Lackey & Hettel in the design of alterations to his retail establishment.

Sig Schoenagle was still living and working at 538 Federal Street at the time of the 1930 Census. He moved to 540 Federal Street in 1932, and in early 1938 moved his business once again, this time to 518 Federal Street.

Tragically, Sig Schoenagle took his own life in May of 1940, when he was found hanging in his store at 518 Federal Street. He had been living at 2118 Spring Garden Street in Philadelphia at the time of his death. 

The business and building at 518 Federal Street operated as Kline and Gallimore through 1950, and was known as Brait's Men's Store in 1959. Sig Schoenagle's brother, William Schoenagle was in business in Camden for many years, manufacturing store curtains and valances. William Schoenagle passed away in January of 1950.

Philadelphia Inquirer
January 31, 1903

Judge Charles V.D. Joline
Rev. Dr. J.B. Graw
Frank S. McPherson
Sig Schoenagle
Henry F. Stockwell
Joseph Leonard
Mrs. Emma Menard
J. Willard Morgan
Arthur Stanley
Frank Ford Patterson Jr.

Mahlon F. Ivins Sr.
South 9th Street
Ferry Avenue

Trenton Times - December 20, 1904 

Trenton Times - June 10, 1905 

Philadelphia Inquirer - January 28, 1909

Camden Memorial Day Committee

In order that Camden veterans may have an elaborate celebration on Memorial Day, Mayor Ellis yesterday appointed the following committee of citizens to act in conjunction with them: William D. Vanaman, William Sangtinette, Frank W. Tussey, William Fox, Dr. J.W. Martindale, Walter L Tushingham, Ira E. Lutte, Harry C. Kramer, John W. Coleman, Bernhard Schroeder, Edward H. Nieland, Daniel M. Stevens, W.F. Powell, Abe Fuhrman, Jacob Neutze, Francis B. Wallen, Charles A. Ackley, Louis T. Derousse, James M. Bentley, John K. Newkirk, William Schmid, John Larsen, Sigismund Schoenagle, Charles M. Baldwin, and Harry A Whaland.

Philadelphia Inquirer - May 28, 1911

Mayor Ellis - Soldiers' Monument - William Thompson - Rev. A.H. Newton
First Methodist Episcopal Church - Isaac T. Nichols - Amos Richard Dease
H.L. Hartshorn - William D. Vanaman - Charles A. Ackley - Charles M. Baldwin
James M. Bentley - John W. Coleman - C.K. Deacon - Malachi D. Cornish
Louis T. Derousse - William Fox - Abe Fuhrman - Harry C. Kramer - Ira E. Lute
Dr. J.W. Martindale - Jacob Neutze - Edward Nieland -
Dr. H.S. Riddle
William Sangtinette -
Bernhard Schroeder - William Schmid
 Sigismund Schoenagle - Daniel M. Stevens - Frank W. Tussey
Walter L Tushingham -
Francis B. Wallen,- Harry A Whaland.

Philadelphia Inquirer - January 24, 1914
Benjamin Natal - Joseph F. Kantor - Max Goldich - Mark Obus
Dr. William M. Lashman - Arnold Weiss - Bertrand Schneeberg - Jacob Furer Broadway Theatre - Sig Schoenagle - Charles H. Ellis

Philadelphia Inquirer - June 27, 1914
Sig Schoenagle - Federal Street - William T. Boyle

Philadelphia Inquirer
October 16, 1916

Samuel Macklin
Fannie Lashman
Harry Greenberg
Harry Teitelman
Meyer Teitelman
Benjamin Natal
Aaron Levin
J.Z. Blank
Julia Silver
Sue Tubis
Florence Frisch
Jacob Weinberg
Meyer Wessel
Louis Mackler
Mark Obus
Jacob Furer
Bernard Bertman
Sig Schoenagle
Israel Heine

Camden Trade Expo - 1918
Sig Schoenagle - George R. Danenhower

Philadelphia Inquirer - October 1, 1921
B'nai B'rith - Sig Schoenagle - Abe Fuhrman - Bernard Bertman

Camden Courier-Post - July 5, 1926


January 30, 1928


Camden Courier-Post - January 9, 1928

Camden Courier-Post * October 29, 1931


David Baird, Jr., Republican nominee for governor, will make his final appearance in the current election campaign Monday night, in his "own home town," when he will address a monster rally at the Hebrew Republican League, at the Talmud Torah, 621 Kaighn avenue.

The Hebrew league reorganized formally at a luncheon in the Hotel Walt Whitman. Lewis Liberman, assistant city solicitor, was elected president; Sig Schoenagle, Samuel Shaner, Israel Weitzman, vice-presidents; L. Scott Cherchesky, secretary, and Samuel Label, treasurer.

Trustees of the league include Hyman Bloom, Mitchell E. Cohen, Benjamin Friedman, Jacob L. Furer, Isadore H. Hermann, Carl Kisselman, Edward Markowitz, Louis L. Markowitz, Harry Obus, Maurice L. Praissman, Samuel Richelson, Meyer L. Sakin, Julius Rosenberg, Jacob Rosenkrantz and Jack Weinberg.

In addition to former Senator Baird, speakers at the Jewish rally will include Mrs. Elizabeth C. Verga, Republican state committeewoman and vice chairman of the county committee; Congressman Charles A. Wolverton, Congressman Benjamin Golder, of Pennsylvania, and State Senator Samuel Salus, of Pennsylvania.

Camden Courier-Post - August 8, 1933

Drive in Camden County Forges Ahead as More Firms Sign

The N.R.A. recovery drive in the Camden area forged ahead on three fronts yesterday.

Clinton L. Bardo, president of the New York Shipbuilding Company, was appointed chairman of the N.RA. campaign committee for Camden city and county.

Two hundred and eight additional employers in Camden and vicinity pledged their aid to the drive yesterday by signing N.RA. certificates of compliance at Camden post office.

Thirty Camden merchants met at Hotel Walt Whitman to organize a retail division of the Camden County Chamber of Commerce with the hope that a united front will better enable retailers to protest non-cooperation of N.R.A. merchants or any situation created whereby specific codes might harm one or more businesses in the city.

The total number of N.RA. employers in the Camden area is now 1342. Among the firms signing the recovery pledge yesterday were the Progressive Garment Company, 60 , employees; S. J. Huntzinger Company, 20; Sinnickson Chew and Sons Company, 16; American National Health and Accident Association, 15, and New Sanitary Laundry, 14.

Bardo Is Named

Other members of the N.R.A. campaign committee will be named by Bardo, he announced, in time to participate in their first meeting Friday at 3 p. m. in the offices of the Camden County Chamber of Commerce in Broadway-Stevens Building.

The committee of public, civic and industrial officials was requested to be formed by Gen. Hugh S. Johnson, National Recovery Act administrator, in a telegram to Loyal D. Odhner, chamber executive secretary, several weeks ago.

The purpose of the committee, Odhner explained, is to make a city, and county-wide canvass of all industries and stores to discover whether they have signed the pledge. Furthermore they will also canvass the neighborhoods to determine if possible whether re-employment of men and women out of work is going on as rapidly as expected by N.R.A. officials.

The offer of the merchants to organize a retail division for the local Chamber of Commerce was made in a resolution which will be presented immediately to the board of directors of the chamber for action. Sig Schoenagle, president of the Central Association of Merchants of Camden, presided at the meeting.

Merchants Explain Hours

 Considerable discussion developed over the limitation of retail store hours as provided in the President's recovery agreement. S. Lester and Joseph Fuhrman, Broadway merchants, declared some smaller stores were under the impression they could not remain open beyond the 52 hours prescribed as minimum and at the same time justify display of the "Blue Eagle" symbol.

Both of these merchants said there were no restrictions under the recovery act other than a statement that a store must not operate less than 52 hours and further provided any store did not work its employees more than 40 hours a week.

Opening for longer than the minimum number of hours set forth in the recovery act, in their opinion, was thoroughly in harmony with the President's drive since it would create work for more people to complete all store service over and above the minimum of 52 hours.

"Many of the smaller stores," said Lester, "have for years extended service beyond the minimum of 52 hours. Many of their customers live outside the city and are used to these long-established hours of service. It would be not only a hardship to reduce suddenly these hours of service, but it would also keep out of employ­ment extra help that will be needed for the extra hours."

Retail Code Outlined

Odhner in response to several Camden merchants as to the statement he would make covering the N.R.A. regulations, said;

"A merchant in order to display a 'Blue Eagle' must pay his employees not less than the minimum wage prescribed by the code,

"Nor must he keep his store open less than the minimum hours prescribed by the code.

"All agreements between merchants of various communities regarding opening and closing hours are purely voluntary and are not required by the code.

"If those agreements on opening and closing hours are designed either to cut down the number of workers in the stores or to avoid taking on additional employees, then these agreements are a direct violation of the spirit of the code.

"If on the other hand these agreements are made to eliminate a chaotic condition in the trade and will result in the hiring of additional employees and in increased wages, they are within the spirit of the act and should be supported."

Camden Courier-Post - February 3, 1933


Purchase or the three-story building at 538 Federal street for $40,000 was announced yesterday by Lionel Freeman. Inc., representing Linton's Lunch. The purchase was made from William M. Flinn Realty Co., Inc., agents for the Prudential Insurance Company of America.

Linton's has engaged Israel Demchick, architect, to make plans for a restaurant there, it was said. The building formerly was occupied by Sig Schoenagle.


February 14, 1936


January 19, 1938

Camden Courier-Post - January 28, 1938


community effort for the erection of the Hotel Walt Whitman 14 years ago, Schoenagle took a leading part.

Camden Courier-Post
January 29, 1938

Schoenagle Opens New Clothing Store

Photo  above shows the new haberdashery and clothing store of Sig Schoenagle at 518 Federal Street, which opened officially yesterday. Schoenagle, who has been in business in Camden for 42 years, all of the business years spent on Federal Street, is shown on the right. "I believe in the future of Camden and South jersey just as much today as when I first came to Camden." observed the veteran merchant and civic worker, who has been in the forefront of every movement designed to help Camden and South jersey. "In fact, I feel that the future is even brighter," he added. The new store, which compares favorably with any store in any larger city, has 9000 square feet of floor space. 

Click on Images to Enlarge

Camden Courier-Post - February 2, 1938

Jury List Prepared for Coroner's Action in Holdup Fatality

The coroner's inquest to decide the cause of death to Angelos Magalas, Greek chef, who was shot during a card game holdup at 725 Penn Street on January 11, will be held today at 10 a. m.

Coroner Franklin P. Jackson III, of Collingswood, will conduct the inquest and will select his jury of 12 from a list of 15 persons prepared by the office of County Prosecutor Samuel P. Orlando.

Detectives already have subpoenaed 20 witnesses for questioning at the inquest, including players who were the victims in the holdup and three Camden physicians who attended Magalas prior to his death.

The witnesses will include Samuel and Mabel Ermilios, tenants of the Penn Street house where the holdup occurred; George and Annette Mastros, who room at the house; Samuel Bosco, Broadway barber; George Summers, Ross Pantel, Michael D' Andrea. and William Caras, who according to police were participants in the card game.

All of the men were held as material witnesses in the shooting when arraigned today before Police Judge Gene R. Mariano.

Doctors to Testify

Other witnesses will include Dr. Paul Mecray, Dr. A. S. Ross and Dr. Edwin R. Ristine and Miss Sophia MacAfee, a Cooper Hospital nurse. Police who will testify include Detectives Thomas Murphy, Harry Kyler and William Boettcher and Patrolmen Richard Powers, Frank Clements, George Nicktern and Sergeant Jack Deith.

The jury will be selected from Guy Clokey, Collingswood; Lawrence Ball, Haddonfield; Howard Friant, Collingswood; Harry Chew, Collingswood; Sig Schoenagle, Camden merchant; Raymond Hanly, real estate broker; Benjamin Brest, Raymond Worrel, John Eby, all of Camden; William H. Lorigan, Merchantville; David B. Robinson, Collingswood; Rev. James Pemberton and John McGowan, of Camden, Earl Jackson, of Collingswood and Morris B. Clark, of Haddonfield.

Coroner Jackson refused to give a certificate of death until the chemical test of Magalas' brain was made by Philadelphia experts. The re suit will not be revealed until the inquest.

Assistant Prosecutor Isaac Eason and County Physician David S. Rhone gave it as their opinion that Malagas died of natural causes rather than, the bullet wound. Coroner Jackson then ordered an inquest to be held.

Police are searching for Frank Luggi, 21, of 322 Penn Street, who they say was one of the holdup bandits and the one who fired the bullet that struck Magalas.

The last coroner's inquest held in Camden county was in 1933, in the death of Thomas Timothy Sullivan, and previous to that none had been held here in 25 years.

Sullivan was 57 years old and lived at 401 State Street. He was employed as a detective by the Pennsylvania Railroad. He was found shot to death in a shack in the rail road yards on August 28, 1933.

At that time, County Physician Edward B. Rogers issued a certificate of death that Sullivan had committed suicide. The decision of the county physician enraged members of Sullivan's family and they demanded an inquest.

The inquest was ordered by then Coroner Arthur H. Holl, who presided. All the evidence in the case was presented to the jury of 12 men, and after deliberating for less than an hour, they returned a verdict that Sullivan had been murdered by persons unknown.

Under state law, the county physician may order an inquest; with 12 persons on the jury of the coroner's choosing. The jurymen may be taken from the present panel of the petit jury or be picked at ran dom. The Grand Jury does not have to indict on the basis of the inquest. At the inquest Coroner Jackson will be assisted by attaches of the prosecutor's office.

Malagas, the father of three children, lived at 1110 Langham Avenue. He was shot when several armed bandits held up a card game and he died several days later.

Camden Courier-Post - February 19, 1938

Is Zat So!

Two substantial and thoughtful citizens of Camden were discussing the peculiarities and oddities of circumstantial evidence in the presence of the writer the other day. One of them was Sig Schoenagle, the other Pat Harding, assistant county prosecutor. 

Neither rejected circumstantial evidence as holeproof, nor did they accept it as inconsequential. There was much to be said on both sides, they agreed.

Finally to point a moral and adorn a tale, Merchant Schoenagle related the story which follows, which is good enough to pass on to others who may read this column. 

"When I was a young fellow in Philadelphia," said Sig, "I was interested in a certain young woman who lived in the neighborhood where I worked. Her father had a leather finding store on the ground floor of the building while the family resided in the rooms upstairs. 

"Several blocks away was another store, the rooms above, being rented to boarders and lodgers. One night while I was calling on the young woman and we were sitting, in the parlor the rear of the second floor was visited by a burglar. 

"He escaped with considerable loot including all the young woman's jewelry. We didn't hear a sound yet the burglary must have been committed while we were sitting in the parlor. It wasn't discovered, either, until the next day.

"The young woman informed me of the burglary. I suggested that she give me a list of the articles stolen. I knew the pawnbrokers in the neighborhood and I told her I would give each of them a list for them to be on the watch for the goods and learn who pawned them.


"I did this. The pawnbrokers agreed, to watch for any disposition of the stuff that might come to their attention. Months passed, not a sign of the gems could be found, nor the least intimation as to any disposition that might have been made of them. 

"One of the boarders in the other building to which I have referred, was a young fellow, good looking; who appeared to have no business, yet acted in no way suspicious. He seemed. to be modest in. his manner of living, made no splurge and appeared to have enough money to live according to tastes that appeared simple.

"August 4 is my birthday. On that day I was standing in front of the store beneath the boarding house, talking to the proprietor and this nice-looking young fellow to whom I have already referred. 

"'Today is my birthday', I told the shopkeeper, 'and tonight you and I will celebrate.' The good looking fellow said then: You seem to be a pretty good sort of fellow. I think I should make you a present on your 'birthday;' I've got some stuff' upstairs,'" come ahead up and I'll give you a present'. 

 "I went along", narrated Schoenagle;" and we went into his room. he went to a trunk, he had there and opened it. He took out a handkerchief all knotted together and when he untied the knots he showed me a bunch of jewelry. It was my girl's gems, I almost keeled over when I saw them but I managed to keep my head. "'Go ahead,' the good-looking fellow said to me: 'pick out anything' you like for a present', I made the usual pretense of not wanting any gift, just, to keep him from being suspicious. He insisted, though, that I take something. Finally I chose a little ring and put it in my pocket. 

''When I left the fellow I went straight to my girl's house. I showed her the ring and asked her if she recognized it.


"'Why,' she said, 'that's my ring!' I told her I was sure she was right, then up and gave her the whole story. She suggested that we notify the police at once. Right away I considered the situation. Suppose the police should believe that I was in on the job, had really 'fingered' the job for the thief? Wouldn't that put me in a nice jam, especially if the good looking, fellow should name me as an accomplice? 

'''I explained this plight of mine to my girl. She had the good sense to see my point. 'I'll tell you what we will do,' I suggested. 'I'll go to the fellow, tell him he has ,your jewels and say to him that if he will return the stuff we'll keep quiet about the whole business. After all, the main thing is to, get back the jewels, isn't it?' 

"That's right,' my girl said, 'you do just that very thing.' I, went back to the good-looking fellow and told him the whole circumstances. 'That stuff belongs to my girl,' I ,said. 'I don't know how you got it, or why you have it, or anything else. I don't care. I don't want to appear in any false light, and suspicious persons might put me in just that position if a call is made to the police. Put back the stuff and get yourself out of a jam that you certainly are in, and get me out of one that I might innocently find myself in.'

"He was a pretty good scout, at that. 'I see your point,' he said, 'and I don't want to put you, in any jam, whatsoever. I'll give the stuff to you and you return it to the girl.' He rolled up every article in that handkerchief again and I brought it back to my girl and nobody ever was the wiser.''' 

"I found out later that he was a notorious fence for all the thieves who frequented the Tenderloin. The police believed sometimes he went on such jobs himself. I don't know whether he stole the stuff' or whether he was holding it to sell in some other place, after the heat had died down. "A friend, of mine in the police department told me sometime afterward that, the good-looking fellow was killed while robbing a hotel in Pittsburgh." , 

"And so, Pat," smiled Sig, "you can see one case. where circumstantial evidence might have been pretty tough on a fellow named Sig Schoenagle."