Biographical Sketch of Miriam Nusbaum Grunsfeld (Ichenhauser)

Biographical Database of NAWSA Suffragists, 1890-1920

Biography of Miriam Nusbaum Grunsfeld (Ichenhauser), 1867-1945

By Nick Tollardo, undergraduate student, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

Miriam Marion Nusbaum was born on November 25, 1867, in Plattsburgh, New York, to German Jewish immigrants, Emanuel and Regina Nusbaum. In 1882, Emanuel Nusbaum moved his eight children to Chicago. Miriam Nusbaum married New Mexican entrepreneur and German Jewish immigrant Alfred Grunsfeld on February 12, 1889, in Chicago. Miriam's sister, Augusta, married Julius Rosenwald of Sears-Roebuck in Chicago, and another of the sisters, Hannah, married Alfred Grunsfeld's brother, Ivan. Both Grunsfeld couples resided in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Alfred and Ivan Grunsfeld owned a dry goods firm, Grunsfeld Brothers, and a store front on Gold Street in Albuquerque. Alfred Grunsfeld ran and served in local politics, and he held an appointment with New Mexico governor, Washington Lindsey. Miriam and Alfred Grunsfeld had two children: Reina, born in 1890, and Hilda, born in 1893.

Miriam Grunsfeld supported women's suffrage, and she received a mention for her contribution to New Mexico in the History of Woman Suffrage. She served as president to the Ladies Hebrew Benevolent Aid Society, a predecessor of the Congregation Albert Sisterhood. During the Great War, the Grunsfelds supported the Council of Defense in New Mexico. In April 1918, Miriam Grunsfeld hosted Deane Lindsey, the chair of the state's National Woman Suffrage Association and the wife of the New Mexico governor. The event was covered in the Albuquerque Journal. Despite a train accident delaying Lindsey's arrival, the suffrage luncheon was held at the Alvarado Hotel, discussing how to coordinate the war work of suffrage women. Miriam Grunsfeld discussed Liberty Loans; other topics included the Red Cross and suffrage work to be done after the war. Deeming the meeting a success, the women planned to meet every three months following.

In 1920, Miriam and Alfred Grunsfeld sold their Albuquerque home and moved to Chicago to seek treatment for Alfred's illness and likely to be close to Hilda and her surgeon husband, Alfred Strauss. Alfred Grunsfeld died on April 6, 1922, in Chicago. Shortly thereafter, Ivan Grunsfeld sold the business. Miriam Grunsfeld remained in Chicago, remarried to Silas Ichenhauser of Evansville, Indiana, and supported local women's efforts like the Chicago women's division of the National Jewish Hospital in Denver and the Chicago Woman's Symphony orchestra.

Alfred and Miriam Grunsfeld were well educated and wanted to give back to the academic community using their acquired wealth. This would be a lasting legacy that Miriam Grunsfeld Ichenhauser would leave to the University of New Mexico. In 1927, she established the Alfred Grunsfeld scholarship for male political science and history majors, and in 1929, she set up the Miriam Grunsfeld scholarship for female political science and history majors. The endowment provided need-based aid to students in their later years of study to encourage these students to complete their degrees. Clearly, Miriam Grunsfeld Ichenhauser deemed it important to invest in the education of women at UNM. Both scholarships continue at the university, but neither are gender specific any longer.

Miriam Nusbaum Grunsfeld Ichenhauser was widowed again in July 1936. She died on April 9, 1945, in Chicago, at the home of her daughter Hilda Strauss.

For photographs of Miriam Grunsfeld, see Naomi Sandweiss, Images of Jewish Albuquerque, 1860-1960 (Charleston, S.C: Arcadia Publishing, 2011), 20 and 63. GoogleBooks.


“Cards Are Out.” Albuquerque Morning Democrat (Albuquerque, N. Mex.). January 26, 1889, p.4.

“Col. Grunsfeld Dies Following Severe Illness.” Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N. Mex.). April 7, 1922, pp.1-2.

Death Notice: Ichenhauser. Chicago Tribune. August 1, 1936, p.12.

Diner, Hasia R. Julius Rosenwald: Repairing the World. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017.

“Grunsfeld Awards at University To Go To 4 Instead of 2.” Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N. Mex.). April 28, 1931, p.9.

Harper, Ida Husted, ed. “New Mexico.” Chapter XXX in History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 6: 1900-1920. New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922, 434-439. [LINK].

“Mrs. Lindsey Is Guest at Home of Mrs. A. Grunsfeld.” Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N. Mex.). April 28, 1918, Society Section, p.2.

“Mrs. Miriam Ichenhauser.” Obituary. Chicago Tribune. April 10, 1945, p.19.

“Pioneer Firm's Business Will Be Closed.” Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N. Mex.). July 2, 1922, City Edition, p.1.

“Plan 3D Jewish Style Show to Help Hospital.” Chicago Tribune. August 20, 1944, Part 3, p.3.

Sandweiss, Naomi. Images of Jewish Albuquerque, 1860-1960. Charleston, S.C: Arcadia Publishing, 2011. GoogleBooks.

“Suffrage Leaders Hold Luncheon to Ensure Cooperation Among All Organization of Woman's Party.” Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, N. Mex.). April 28, 1918, Society Section, p.2.

Tobias, Henry J. A History of the Jews in New Mexico. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1990. GoogleBooks.

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