John Breiner was born in Austria-Hungary in 1880. He was a tailor by trade. With his wife Anna and their young daughter Frances, he came to the US in 1904, settling in Over-the-Rhine. By 1915, the family was living above Breiner’s Dry Goods, their store at 126 Elder St. between Race and Elm, shown here.
Here’s a photo of John Breiner standing in front of his store. According to his grandson, “He sold the first Victrola Record player in Cincinnati and became very wealthy before the Great Depression.”
After Frances, John and Anna had two more children: Gladys and John M. When John passed away in 1941, Anna and Gladys took over the running of the store until it closed in 1957, a year after Anna’s death.
In the words of John Breiner’s grandson, “He helped thousands of immigrants from the Austro-Hungarian empire (Austria, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and other Eastern European nations) settle in the Over the Rhine area by speaking 7 different languages fluently. Many children were named after grandpa (John or Johann) in honor of him helping them.”
As evidenced in Gladys’ obituary below, after World War II, she also “worked with her mother, Anna Breiner, to help hundreds of immigrants from the former Austro-Hungarian empire settle in the Over-the-Rhine area […] Mrs. Deak helped the immigrants by finding shelter, mailing packages to Europe, providing moral and financial support.”
If this ghost tile looks familiar, that’s because I initially posted my photos a month ago, in a post that was interesting but all kinds of wrong. As a result of that post, I was contacted by John Breiner’s grandson with these photos and additional information. Thank you, Internet Gods, for making that connection possible!