The Joseph Magnin Co. also known later as simply JM, was founded by Joseph Isaac Magnin, (1865-1953), in 1913 after he left the San Francisco based company I. Magnin, founded by his mother Mary Ann Magnin. His brothers John, Grover, and Sam continued on at I. Magnin. Joseph Magnin became one of I. Magnin’s chief competitors in the Bay Area market.
First Joseph partnered with Newman Levinson as Newman-Magnin, then in 1919, the business became Joseph Magnin. It started as a mid-range ladies store eventually going upscale after WWII, as became known as a leader in younger women’s styles.
Joseph’s son Cyril took the reins in 1940 and grew the store to as many as 49 stores at one time throughout San Francisco, Northern and Southern California, Nevada, Salt Lake City, and as far east as Denver, and west to Honolulu.
Cyril sold the company to Amfac, Inc in 1969, and it was resold again in 1977 and 1982. In 1984, Joseph Magnin Co. filed for bankruptcy and closed.
Cyril Magnin, also known as Mr. San Francisco, stayed on until 1970 and died in 1988.
Written by Hollis Jenkins-Evans