From the Philadelphia Record Photograph Morgue [V07].
Fleisher, the son of German Jewish immigrants, became vice-president of the family business after graduating from the Wharton School of Business. By that time the family business, the Fleisher Yarn Company, was a major manufacturer of hand-knitting yarns and worsted fabric. Fleisher was extraordinarily concerned for the welfare of the company's workers, their children, and others who lived in the neighborhood. Fleisher started offering free art classes to children in 1898 in the Jewish Union building at 422 Bainbridge Street. Later known as the Graphic Sketch Club, the institution gave free, non-competitive, collaborative classes to both children and adults without discrimination by race or nationality. In 1906 it moved to a larger building at 740 Catharine Street, then in 1916 it moved across the street to Saint Martin’s College for Indigent Boys. The church was purchased and converted into an art gallery in 1922. In 1944, Fleisher died and left his estate in trust to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to continue the Graphic Sketch Club, which was renamed the Samuel S. Fleisher Art Memorial. In 1983 it became a formally independent non-profit corporation with a separate board of trustees, but it is still managed by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The Fleisher Memorial continues to offer free and low-cost classes and workshops to both children and adults, in subjects such as drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography, and dance. Since 1997 they have also offered the "Community Partnership in the Arts" program which places artists in public school classrooms in South Philadelphia.