Kahn, Emanuel Meyer (1849–1923)

By: Natalie Ornish

Type: Biography

Published: February 1, 1995

Updated: June 18, 2020

E. M. Kahn (rhymes with can), merchant, was born in Alsace-Lorraine, France, on November 10, 1849. At age fourteen, when his parents died, his relatives enrolled him in rabbinical school, and he served as cantor and schoolteacher before immigrating to America. He sailed on a packet to Georgia, where he worked as a merchant before moving to Mississippi and then on to Dallas. In 1872 he founded E. M. Kahn and Company, which continued for ninety-two years as a family-owned business and had the distinction of being the oldest retail store in Dallas, as well as the city's first air-conditioned store. Kahn built his first store on the courthouse square and established the first store west of the Mississippi with fixed prices. On February 20, 1878, he married Lilly Belle Hurst; they had six children, five of whom lived to maturity. Kahn became one of the founders of Temple Emanu-El of Dallas, the State Fair of Texas, and the Phoenix Club, which became the Columbian Club. He was a founding stockholder of the American National Bank, which later became InterFirst Corporation, and of Southwestern Life Insurance Company. He reached the thirty-third degree in Masonry. For fifty years Kahn served as president of his business. He died on August 4, 1923. His son Lawrence and his grandson Eugene Sanger followed as president. The company was sold to Eagle Clothes in 1969.

Natalie Ornish, Pioneer Jewish Texans (Dallas: Texas Heritage, 1989).

  • Peoples
  • French
  • Business
  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Jews
  • North Texas
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas

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

Natalie Ornish, “Kahn, Emanuel Meyer,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 05, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/kahn-emanuel-meyer.

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February 1, 1995
June 18, 2020

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