Mayer, Max

A cartoon depicting Max Mayer holding a football and an Iowa bullhorn with a Good Clothes Store mannequin in the background asking him what the score is. There is a set of golf clubs on the floor.
Max Mayer as depicted in a political cartoon. Source: Dr. Melissa Stewart
A close up color photograph of the Mayer family head stone. It is a pointed oval shape made of gray stone. The Mayer name is carved into it along with a decorative circular carving.
Mayer family headstone photographed close up. Source: Dr. Melissa Stewart
A close-up color photograph of Julia B. Mayer's gravestone. The inscription says Julia B / Sept 28, 1872 / April 14, 1945.
Julia B. Mayer’s gravestone, photographed in color. Source: Dr. Melissa Stewart
A close up color photograph of Max Mayer's grave stone. Inscripted on it is Max / Jan 13, 1853 / Sept 20, 1939.
Max Mayer’s gravestone, photographed in color. Source: Dr. Melissa Stewart

Max Mayer

Max Mayer served on the Library Board from its creation in October 1896 through the creation and early growth of the Carnegie Library.[1] Max was one of the least active members of the original board, never holding office and only attending meetings irregularly, but he was always there for important decisions and events such as the hiring of new librarians or financial issues.[2]

A native born Iowan, Max was the son of Leon and Teresa Lippman Mayer, both German immigrants who came to Washington, Iowa in 1855 where Leon Mayer engaged in the clothing business. Max was born in Washington on January 13, 1858 and he received his primary education in the public schools there. He furthered his classical education in New York before returning to Iowa to continue his father’s clothing business in 1882. In 1886, he moved from Washington to Iowa City to establish his own clothing mercantile with great success.[3] On February 18, 1885, he married Miss Laura Bloom, daughter of Senator Bloom of Iowa City. They had two children together, Florence and Lawrence. Laura Mayer died November 10, 1889 and six years later, Max married the younger half sister of his first wife. Miss Julia Bloom became the 2nd Mrs. Mayer on March 20, 1894 and they had one son, Edward Mayer. Max was a great sports fan and donated many cups and scholarships to the University Athletics Department over the years. He also donated the old Mayer Field, the University’s first athletic field, and in the early day of college sports, he even accompanied teams on trips paying their expenses.[4] The Mayer family were members of the Hebrew Church and resided at 714 East College St. Mr. Mayer served as the Postmaster for Iowa City from 1919-1924 then moved to Des Moines after his retirement from that post. He died at the Iowa Lutheran Hospital on September 20, 1939 and his body was returned to Iowa City for burial.[5]

-Dr. Melissa Stewart

[1] Aurner, Clarence Ray, Leading Events in Johnson County, Vol. 1, p. 576.

[2] Eggers, Lolly Parker, A Century of Stories, The History of the Iowa City Public Library, p. 54.

[3] Aurner, Leading Events in Johnson County, Vol. 2, pp. 71-72.

[4] Des Moines Tribune, 20 September 1939, p. 9.

[5] Iowa State Department of Health, Certificate of Death, Max Mayer #77C-39-1379.