About Us

Our History

Some people claim that the history of Mastbaum Area Vocational-Technical School begins with its opening.  Others believe that it has its beginnings in the efforts of a small group of far-seeing men who sought to establish a fully equipped vocational school for the boys and girls of Philadelphia.  Outstanding in that group was Dr. William Ziegler of the Board of Public Education.  Given the privilege of selecting a name for the school he chose Jules E. Mastbaum, whose life he hoped would prove an inspiration to vocational students.

Jules Ephraim Mastbaum was born July 6, 1872 in a well-to-do family.  He graduated at the age of 17 from Central Manual Training School in Philadelphia, and then he attended the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

His first job was working at Gimbel Brothers Department Store in Danville, Illinois.  He worked his way to become a buyer.  In 1901, he left Gimbel and, along with his brother Stanley and Alfred W. Fleisher, he ventured into real estate. In 1905, he invested in the motion picture industry and became president of the famous Stanley Company of America.

While in traveling in Europe, he became interested in the artwork of Auguste Rodin and began collecting originals of recasts of the work of that great sculptor.  The famous collection, assembled during his lifetime and now housed in the Rodin Museum in the Parkway, was his gift to his home city of Philadelphia. He was a great lover of music and a patron to the Philadelphia Orchestra.

A hard-working entrepreneur who left his mark on Philadelphia and on America, Jules E. Mastbaum serves as an inspiration to us all here at his namesake.