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The Whole Spiel

Food for Thought: Power Lunches with Milton Kronheim

by Lisa Del Sesto, Museum Educator, and Jonathan Edelman, Curatorial Assistant
October 21, 2022

Milton Kronheim grew up in DC in the neighborhood around L and 4 ½ St. SW. He came from a liquor family—his father Jacob owned a saloon on Capitol Hill. He dropped out of high school and opened a liquor store in 1903, but when Prohibition put him out of business he worked as a bail bondsman. For more than half a century, from 1933 to 1986, Kronheim worked as a liquor distributor, and he also hosted power lunches around town and at his warehouse on V Street NE. Kronheim’s obituary in the Washington Post noted, “When Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was invited to lunch…the New York Times took notice, observing that [she] ‘has finally passed muster.’”

What kinds of conversations do you think were happening amongst this group of people?

Black and white photo of a group of men seated at a table in Kronheim’s lunchroom. Counterclockwise: Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg (on phone), Senator Abe Ribicoff, developer Charles E. Smith, Judge David Bazelon, attorney Arnold Shaw, sportswriter Morrie Siegel, Judge J. Skelly Wright, Milton S. Kronheim, Sr., February 20, 1951. / Capital Jewish Museum Collection. Gift of the Estate of Milton S. Kronheim, Sr.