While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Natalie Ornish
Solomon Halff
Photograph, Portrait of Solomon Halff. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Halff Brothers Ranch
Photograph, The Halff Brothers Ranch. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Grave of Solomon Halff
Photograph, Grave of Solomon Halff in San Antonio. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

HALFF, SOLOMON (1838–1905). Solomon Halff, merchant, was born in Lauterbourg, Alsace-Lorraine, France, on May 8, 1838, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Halff. In 1857 he immigrated through Galveston to join his brother Mayer Halff in his wholesale dry-goods company in Liberty, Texas. The brothers formed a partnership, M. Halff and Brother. Before Solomon arrived, Mayer, who had been in Texas for seven years, accepted cattle in lieu of cash for payment of bills. Afterward, the brothers divided their business managements. Mayer managed the ranches he had accumulated, and Solomon managed the store. In 1864 the brothers followed the ranching business to San Antonio, where they moved their store, headquartered their ranch, and enlarged their merchandising business. The wholesale dry-goods company became one of the largest of its type in the Southwest, with salesmen covering the state. Solomon became prominent in lodge, society, and religious circles. He served as a founder of Temple Beth El in San Antonio. He was a member of B'nai B'rith. In 1902 he retired from the wholesale dry-goods company to work full-time as vice president of the Alamo National Bank, a bank he and Mayer founded. He became president and controlling stockholder in the A. B. Frank Company, a wholesale dry-goods firm; his son G. A. C. Halff later became president. Solomon Halff married Fannie Levi of Victoria, Texas, on November 15, 1871. They had five children. G. A. C. Halff pioneered in the merchandising business as had his father. He organized one of the first automobile dealerships in Texas and in 1911 founded the first wholesale outlet for auto supplies. In 1922 he founded radio station WOAI, San Antonio, which began broadcasting on September 25, 1922, one of the first broadcasting stations in the United States. Solomon Halff died on May 29, 1905, in San Antonio. He was buried in the Jewish cemetery there.


Natalie Ornish, Pioneer Jewish Texans (Dallas: Texas Heritage, 1989). San Antonio Daily Express, May 30, 1905.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


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

Handbook of Texas Online, Natalie Ornish, "HALFF, SOLOMON," accessed July 13, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fhadz.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on May 26, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...