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GORDON, MEYER MORRIS

GORDON, MEYER MORRIS (1882–1961). Meyer Morris Gordon, founder of Gordon Jewelry Corporation, was born in Vilnius, Lithuania, on July 18, 1882, the son of Anna and Julius Gordon. His mother died young, and his father married her sister Rhoda, who raised Meyer. Rhoda, Meyer, and Meyer's sister Annie left Lithuania shortly before 1900 and traveled through Hamburg, Germany, to Texas. Their father had settled in East Columbia, sixty miles southwest of Houston near Wharton. In 1897 Gordon moved to Galveston, where Julius's cousin had settled earlier. He worked there three years and left after the Galveston hurricane of 1900. In 1905 he married Ida Sampson; they had two sons and a daughter. Annie Gordon married S. P. Finger of the Finger Furniture Company.

In Houston, with $400 capital, Gordon opened a store that sold groceries, shoes, and hardware. In 1916 he launched his first jewelry business as a partnership, McGaughon and Gordon, at 808 Preston Avenue in Houston. Around 1920 Dennis McGaughon moved to California and Gordon bought him out. In 1930 Gordon's sons Harry B. and Aron S. joined the company. In 1934 Gordon's daughter Bertha and her husband, I. L. (Isidore) Miller, joined the firm. During World War II, while Harry and Aron were in the military, Gordon and Miller ran the company. At that time the firm consisted of seven stores in Texas and Louisiana. When the brothers were discharged in January 1946, they began opening new stores. Between 1946 and 1950 they opened five-in Houston, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Dallas, and Jackson, Mississippi. They looked for cities with oil refineries or other growth factors. Beginning in 1950 they started a planned program of expansion and opened three to six stores a year. The growth accelerated; in one year in the 1970s the firm opened forty-one stores in the United States and Puerto Rico. Between 1950 and 1982 it opened between 450 and 500 new stores. At one time Gordon Jewelry had 6,000 people on the payroll. At the end of the firm's fiscal year 1982, the chain operated 636 units in forty-four states and Puerto Rico; Gordon Jewelry was at that time the second largest retail jewelry chain in the world.

Gordon was a founder of the Westwood Country Club and a member of the board of the National Jewish Hospital in Denver. He was a member of Temple Beth Israel in Houston. He died on November 3, 1961, in Houston and was entombed at Temple Beth Mausoleum.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Houston Post, November 5, 1961. Natalie Ornish, Pioneer Jewish Texans (Dallas: Texas Heritage, 1989).

Natalie Ornish

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Natalie Ornish, "GORDON, MEYER MORRIS," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fgo47), accessed September 16, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.