Sanger, Philip (1840–1902)

By: Natalie Ornish

Type: Biography

Published: July 1, 1995

Updated: April 28, 2016

Philip Sanger, merchant, the third of ten children of Elias and Barbetta (Mandelbaum Heller) Sanger, was born in Obernbreit am Main, Germany, in 1840. In 1856 he immigrated to the United States. From New York he went to work for a cousin, David Heller, in Savannah, Georgia. There in 1857 he met Morris Lasker, then seventeen, who bought from Heller the goods that Morris sold on foot through the Georgia countryside. Lasker later followed Sanger to Texas and at one time was his partner. Sanger remained in Georgia until the Civil War began. He enlisted in the Confederate Army, fought in battles in Florida and South Carolina, and was slightly wounded. After the war he made his way to Texas, where he joined his brothers Isaac and Lehman, who had opened the first Sanger stores in McKinney, Weatherford, and Decatur. Between 1866 and 1872 the Sangers opened stores in nine more towns-Millican, Bryan, Hearne, Calvert, Bremond, Kosse, Groesbeck, Corsicana, and Dallas, as they followed the Houston and Texas Central Railroad. Philip was dominant among the brothers. In 1867 he and Asher Mandelbaum, a cousin, ran the Calvert store. In 1868 Philip married Cornelia Mandelbaum, the daughter of his uncle in New Haven, Connecticut, with whom Isaac and Lehman Sanger had stayed. Lehman and Philip ran the store in Corsicana under the name L. and P. Sanger, and subsequently rented a location on the courthouse square in Dallas for a store. They sent for their brother Alex in Cincinnati. The Dallas store opened in July 1872. Philip, whom the family regarded as a merchandising wizard, dominated the retail operations, the firm's primary source of income. In 1885 he built a home in Dallas about which writer Edna Ferber later wrote, "It's worth a trip to Texas just to see it." Sanger died in Pasadena, California, on April 12, 1902. Sanger Brothers continued to prosper under the momentum given by his management.

Morris Lasker, "Letter from a Texas Pioneer, 1909," Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly 15 (July 1983). Natalie Ornish, Pioneer Jewish Texans (Dallas: Texas Heritage, 1989). Leon Joseph Rosenberg, Sangers': Pioneer Texas Merchants (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1978).

  • Peoples
  • Germans
  • Business
  • 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, “Sanger, Philip,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 23, 2022,

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July 1, 1995
April 28, 2016

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