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Sakowitz, Tobias (1882–1970)

Natalie Ornish Biography Entry

Tobias Sakowitz, merchant, was born Tevye Kallman Shaikevitch in 1882 in Korosteschev, near Kiev, Ukrainia, the son of Louis and Leah Sakowitz. His father immigrated to New York and around 1890 sent for his wife and three of their four children. Young Tobias was left behind to study and live with his grandparents, who wanted him to become a rabbi. In Texas the family opened a small store near the Galveston Wharves on Galveston Bay. Tobias joined the family when he was around fifteen, in 1897. The brothers worked in the family store and other Galveston stores. In 1900 he was manager of Hauser and Kline Notions in Galveston. Tobe and his younger brother, Simon, opened the first Sakowitz Brothers store in Galveston in 1902. Simon started a second store in Houston. In 1915 a violent storm nearly demolished the stock of the Galveston store. In 1917 Tobias closed that store and moved with his family to Houston, where they opened an expanded Sakowitz store on Main at Preston. In 1929 the store was moved to Main at Rusk. Although originally a men's and boys' clothing store, it grew to sell women's and children's clothing and to serve as Houston's premier clothing store for more than seventy-five years. Tobias married Matilda Littman of Galveston. They had two sons, both born in Galveston. Sakowitz was president and board chairman of Sakowitz Brothers. He was a member of the board of the Houston Chamber of Commerce and the United Fund. He served on the Selective Service Board from 1944 to 1947. He was also a member of Congregation Beth Israel, the Houston Club, the Westwood Country Club, the International Club, and Holland Lodge No. 1. He died on September 20, 1970.

Natalie Ornish, Pioneer Jewish Texans (Dallas: Texas Heritage, 1989). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.


  • Peoples
  • Jews
  • Business

Time Periods:

  • Progressive Era
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • Great Depression
  • World War II
  • Texas Post World War II


  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

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

Natalie Ornish, “Sakowitz, Tobias,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 11, 2021,

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July 1, 1995
November 14, 2017

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