Robert Schoenhof Weil

Robert Schoenhof Weil

Robert Schoenhof Weil [cite web|year=1998-09-02|url=|title=Robert Schoenhof Weil|publisher=Alabama academy of honor|accessdate=2006-05-11] (born November 29, 1919 in Montgomery, Alabama) is chairman emeritus of Weil Brothers-Cotton, Inc. He was President and Director of the American Cotton Shippers Association, and has served on the Boards of the Atlantic Cotton Association, the Liverpool, England, Cotton Association, and the New Orleans Cotton Exchange. He has also served as a delegate to the National Cotton Council, International Federation of Cotton and Allied Textile Industries at London, International Cotton Advisory Committee, and the White House Conference on Export Trade Expansion. Weil has worked with the United States Congress and the Department of Agriculture in developing legislation and cotton policy.

His civic affairs background includes work with or philanthropy for: the American Cancer Society, Salvation Army, United Way, United Negro College Fund, Eye Foundation Hospital of Birmingham, St. Margaret's Hospital in Montgomery, Auburn University, Huntingdon College, Dartmouth College, and Wheaton College, Massachusetts. He is a founder of the Montgomery Academy.

He has been on the boards of both the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts and the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra.

In 1994 Weil, along with his brother, was named co-"Citizen of the Year" by the Montgomery Advertiser. [cite web|url=|title= Montgomery Advertiser Article from 1994 Citizen of the Year]


Robert Weil is one of four children of Adolph Weil and Rossie Weil ("née" Schoenhof). Adolph was a second generation partner and principal of Weil Brothers-Cotton, Inc. Rossie was the daughter of a bookstore owner from Boston. Schoenhof's Foreign Books was founded in 1856. Located in Harvard Square, it is the oldest foreign-language bookseller in the United States. It is reputed as having been a rendezvous point of Longfellow, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Thoreau. Regardless of whether this was the case, Carl Shoenhof, owner of Schoenhof books, took pride in corresponding regularly with Charles Dickens.

Early life

Weil graduated from Culver Military Academy at 16 and entered Dartmouth College in 1936. (He had skipped second and fourth grades.) In 1940, he began study at Harvard Business School. Upon completion of the business program, he joined the US Army as a second lieutenant. He married Virginia Loeb of Montgomery, Alabama in January 1942.


Weil joined Weil Brothers-Cotton, Inc. not long after the end of the Second World War. At the time, he was to work for his father and his uncle. As the story goes, Weil had to negotiate his salary with his uncle rather than Adolph. This caused a bit of a stir. But it also initiated Weil into the trading aspect of the business. "Cotton men" are notoriously difficult negotiators.

By taking a position at WBCI, Weil joined his brother, Adolph Jr., as the third generation of Weils at the company. The two brothers were made to start as "squidges;" essentially janitors for the sample room. A sample room is a room in a cotton trading firm's building where cotton samples are handled and evaluated. A large amount of loose cotton makes its way to the floor and must be cleaned sometimes several times in a day.

Weil's handling of the broom eventually changed into handling of samples and then into handling of accounts and sales. By 1949, he was making calls on mills overseas. And in 1968 he and Adolph, Jr. took over the business as president and chairman, respectively.

Notes and references

External links

* [ Weil Brothers-Cotton, Inc.]
* [ Shoenhof's Bookstore]
*Wikipedia article on cotton
* [ American Cotton Shippers Association]
* [ National Cotton Council]
* [ International Cotton Advisory Committee]
* [ United Way]
* [ UNCF Website]
* [ Salvation Army]

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