Mary Sachs was a Russian-born immigrant who was only four years old when she came to America in 1892 with her mother, Fanny Rhoads Sachs, and two siblings, Sarah and Emma. The family found husband and father Wolf Sachs in Renovo, a town in the lumber and coal region of northern Pennsylvania. Wolf Sachs was a peddler and shop owner who had immigrated four years before the rest of his family. Around 1900, the Sachs family moved to Baltimore where Lena, Esther, Morris, Yetta, and Hannah were born.
After spending a short time in Baltimore, Mary Sachs moved to Steelton where she worked first in a candy shop and then in an installment store where she was promoted and eventually made manager. After several moves, the rest of the Sachs family joined her in the Harrisburg area around 1916.
Mary’s success and generosity earned her the reputation of being a great philanthropist. She gave money to many charitable organizations, many of which encouraged those who shared her Jewish faith. She was vice president of the Jewish Community Center in Harrisburg. Sachs served as the co-founder of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University in New York and generously donated to Boy Scouts of America, the Girl Scouts of America and many other organizations. Throughout her lifetime Mary Sachs sought new ways to contribute to the community that was the cornerstone of her success. After meeting her at several charity events, Eleanor Roosevelt found in Mary Sachs “a philosophy that filled me with admiration.” Since her death, the Mary Sachs Trust has continued Miss Sachs’ honorable tradition of giving. The latest initiative is a significant college scholarship award for up to four young women in the tri-county area who will be majoring in fashion design, retailing, or general business.