A successful silk manufacturer, Nathan Barnert was twice elected Mayor of Paterson, first April 9, 1883 (serving through 1886), then again from 1888-1889, and served with distinction. Barnert, a noted philanthropist and humanitarian, was the original founder or benefactor of many Paterson Jewish institutions (see lede above and details below).
He founded the Daughters Of Miriam Home For The Aged And Orphans in 1921 in a building at 469 River Street in Paterson. In 1921, he purchased the property known as Ashley Homestead on River Street and started this organization, which was named after his late wife Miriam. They moved to 155 Hazel Street, Clifton, New Jersey in 1927. The orphanage was phased out around in 1948. It still operates its Home for the Aged at the Clifton Address.
Barnert is one of three men to be honored with copper statues in front of the Carrere & Hastings designed Paterson City Hall. The other two are former Vice President of the United States and Paterson native Garret Augustus Hobart and former Paterson mayor Dr. Andrew McBride.