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Hirsch, Maurice (1890–1983)

Diana J. Kleiner Biography Entry

Maurice Hirsch, lawyer and patron of the arts, was born on January 13, 1890, in Houston, the son of Jules Hirsch of Alsace-Lorraine and Alabama singer Theresa Meyer, who was a member of the first board of directors of the Houston Symphony Society. He attended public schools and received his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Virginia in 1910. In 1913 he received an LL.B. degree from Harvard Law School, where he served as case editor of the Harvard Law Review. He received an LL.M. degree from the law school at the University of Texas in 1914 and entered private practice at Houston in the law firm Hirsch and Westheimer. Hirsch served as secretary of the priorities committee of the War Industries Board from 1917 to 1918. Between 1942 and 1944 he served with the renegotiation division of the War Department Price Adjustment Board. In 1944 he was summoned by the secretary of war and entered the Judge Advocate General's Department with the rank of colonel. He was shortly transferred to the General Staff Corps, where he served until the end of the war as chairman of the War Department Renegotiation Board. He was promoted in 1946 to brigadier general and awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by the War Department for his work in handling war-industry profits. He continued in renegotiation activities until 1947 and served in the army reserve until 1958.

Back in Houston he served as chairman of the board of the Falstaff Distributing Company and Wald Transfer and Storage Company and as a director of the Houston National Bank. He was a leader in community service and a supporter of Rice University, the Houston Grand Opera, the University of St. Thomas, and the Houston Society for the Performing Arts, as well as a member of the International Council of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He served as chairman of the Houston Civil Service Commission and the San Jacinto Park Commission and was president of the Houston Symphony Society from 1956 to 1970. With his wife, Hirsch gave numerous paintings to the Museum of Fine Arts, where a wing was later named in the couple's honor. The Italian government conferred an award on him for promoting Italian-American relations, and he was founding president of the Japan American Society in Houston. Hirsch married Winifred Busby in 1947. He was a Mason, a Shriner, and a member of Congregation Beth Israel. He retired in 1970 and died in Hong Kong, on one of his many trips around the world, on August 5, 1983. He was buried in Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery, Houston.

Houston Metropolitan Research Center Files, Houston Public Library. Marguerite Johnston, Houston, The Unknown City, 1836–1946 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1991). Who's Who in America, 1982–83.


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

Diana J. Kleiner, “Hirsch, Maurice,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 21, 2021,

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January 1, 1995
March 2, 2017

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