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
Emanuel Meyer Kahn
Photograph, Portrait of Emanuel Meyer Kahn. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Grave of Emanuel Kahn
Photograph, Grave of Emanuel Kahn in Dallas. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

KAHN, EMANUEL MEYER (1849–1923). 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).

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, "KAHN, EMANUEL MEYER," accessed July 06, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fka09.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on June 24, 2020. 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...