Guide to the George S. Cohen personal and business papers, 1924-1961 MS 063
George S. Cohen was born on Galveston Island, November 14, 1885, to Robert I. and Agnes Cohen. As a young boy, Cohen worked in his father’s store and as a cabin boy or deckhand on steamers sailing between Galveston and New York. He was educated at Ball Public High School in Galveston and later at Peeksill Military Academy in New York, but he left college to pursue a career in business. He went to work at every major department store in New York, as well as a few smaller stores, to gain business experience. Cohen returned to Galveston in 1904 to again work in his father’s store. Three years later, he and his father became business partners and they eventually bought Foley Bros. Dry Goods in 1917. After its purchase by the Cohens, the store’s sales volume increased by 50% annually for several years. By 1927, it was Houston’s largest department store in size and volume of business. George Cohen became head of Foley’s, which was still one of Houston’s leading department stores in 1945. Cohen married Esther Regina Meyer (also from Galveston) in 1921. He and his wife gave several large, unrestricted gifts for loans and scholarships to Rice University. He donated $125,000 to Rice to erect a faculty club in honor of his parents, Robert and Agnes Cohen. Cohen House was finished in 1927, and a new wing was added to it in 1959. He was also the President of Nehoc Land Company, a supporter of the Houston Symphony Society, and board member of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. He chartered and brought to Houston its first passenger liner from Europe in 1925 and helped develop the first airline connections for the city. George Cohen died at the age of 86.
This collection contains the personal and business papers of George S. Cohen from 1924-1961. Included are tax returns, bank statements, financial records, receipts, and a checkbook. Also included is a green silk tie, a large button, and a photograph of Cohen and several other men.
This material is open for research.
Conditions Governing Access
Stored off-site at the Library Service Center. Please request this material via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 713-348-2586.
Restrictions on Use
Permission to publish material from the George S. Cohen papers must be obtained from the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library.
George S. Cohen personal and business papers, 1924-1961, MS 63 Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University
This collection was donated in 2000 by George McCracken, son of Margaret Doyle, who was Cohen’s secretary for fifty years.
Detailed Description of the Collection