A Guide to the Sanger Brothers Department Store Records, 1869-1966, 1989
Philip, Isaac, Lehman, Jacob, David, Sam, and Alexander Sanger established their wholesale and retail dry goods firm in 1857. Isaac opened the first store in McKinney, Texas, and was joined by Lehman in 1859 and by Philip in 1860. Each of the brothers ran a store and as more brothers joined the business, more stores were added. The brothers opened stores in towns along the Houston and Central Texas Railroad, eventually owning stores in Dallas, Decatur, Waco, Bryan, Hearn, Millican, Calvert, Bremond, Kosse, Groesbeck, Corsicana, and Sherman. In 1868, the firm became the first Texas business to open a buying office in New York, allowing them to obtain a wider selection of stock. The brothers opened a wholesale division in 1874, selling goods to outlying retailers. In response to the Panic of 1873, the firm consolidated, closing stores in numerous locations, such as Bryan, Bremond, and Corsicana. By 1891 the firm ran on a departmental system, extended credit, offered free home delivery, established an advertising department, ran an Employee Savings and Loan Association, published the Sanger Brothers’ Monthly Magazine, and sold through mail order.
By the turn of the 19th century, Sanger Brothers began to decline due to a lack of aggressive leadership. By 1925 all of the Sanger brothers had died, and the company reorganized under Philip Sanger’s son-in-law Clarence Linz. Stifel, Nicholaus, and Company, a St. Louis firm, purchased Sanger Brothers in 1926. In 1951, Federated Department Stores acquired Sanger Brothers and A. Harris Co. and reorganized the companies under the name Sanger-Harris. The company retained the Sanger name until 1987 when Federated Department Stores absorbed it into Foley’s Department Store.
Source: Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "Sanger Brothers", http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/SS/ijsqj.html (accessed July 28, 2010).
Ledgers, correspondence, reminiscences, minutes, photographs, advertisements, and printed materials comprise the Sanger Brothers Department Store Records, 1869-1966, 1989. The records document the history and operation of the Sanger Brothers corporation as a whole as well as pertaining specifically to their Dallas location. The bulk of the collection dates from the firm’s operations in the 20th century; however, the records do contain a few catalogs, magazines, financial material, and correspondence from the 19th century. The records include minutes, statements of operation, and audit sheets from the 1920s to the 1950s, describing the company’s operations and profits. Additionally, much of the collection consists of reminiscences and histories dealing with the firm’s early days.
The collection is open for research.
Sanger Brothers Department Store Records, 1869-1966, 1989, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s “History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project,” 2009-2011.
Detailed Description of the Papers