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Leopold Meyer Papers

Identifier: MSS 0067


  • 1908-1978

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish or reproduce materials from the Leopold Meyer Papers must be obtained from the Houston Metropolitan History Center or the appropriate copyright holder.

Biographical Note

Leopold L. Meyer was a pace-setter in charitable affairs in Houston for more than half a century, raising funds and providing leadership for innumerable humanitarian causes. He founded, organized, and devoted his dynamic leadership, time, and money to numerous activities designed for the betterment of the cultural, social, and economic welfare of the community. His ability to inspire others resulted in attracting thousands of volunteers to participate in working for the good of the community.

Born in Galveston, Texas, June 21, 1892, he was the sixth son in a family of nine children (8 brothers and 1 sister). His father, Achile, came to the United States from Alsace-Loraine about 1870, married Malline Kahn around 1870 in New Orleans, and moved to Galveston.

Leopold Meyer graduated from Galveston's Ball High School in 1909 and enrolled at Tulane University from which he received a B.A. degree in 1912. He worked for a time at E.S. Levy & Co., in Galveston and then moved to Houston in 1918 to join Foley's Dry Goods Co. as an office and credit manager. He worked his way up to executive vice president. After severing his long association with Foley's in 1945, Meyer and four of his brothers established a multiple store operation in 1946, known as Meyer Brothers Inc., where he served as chairman of the board.

He married Adelene Goldman in 1931, with two children, Alan and Fan Harriet, by a previous marriage. The tragic death of Fan Harriet at the age of sixteen was perhaps one of the incentives in Meyer's lasting interest in children's welfare.

Leopold Meyer is especially well known in the field of retail credit. Starting with the Houston Chapter of the Retail Credit Men's National Association, as early as 1921, he became president of the National Retail Credit Association (now International Consumer Credit Conference) in 1928-1929, and in 1953 was nominated to the Hall of Fame in Distribution. For ten years (1936-1946) he was a member of the advisory committee of the Bureau of Business Research of the University of Texas and Director of the Texas Statistical Council. Meyer initiated the nation-wide survey of retail credit and its operation, through the U.S. Department of Commerce in 1930 that is still in use today.

Meyer was President of the Houston Amateur Baseball Federation in 1927, 1928, and 1929, when he drafted a new constitution and by-laws for the Federation. In 1929, he was also chairman of the Athletic Committee of the City of Houston's Recreation Department.

He was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Bureau of Mental Hygiene, later the Guidance Center for about 25 years. During World War II he served as a member of Houston and Harris County War Finance Committee, the War Price and Rationing Commission, and was chairman of the Retailers Division for the Sale of Defense, Bonds, and Stamps.

He was one of the original seven founding members of the Houston Community Chest (later United Fund) in 1922, and in 1948 served as Chairman of the Chest Campaign.

President of Congregation Beth Israel for three terms and member of the Congregation's Committee, which he chaired in 1951, the Houston Campaign for the United Jewish Appeal. Meyer was one of the organizers in 1953 of the Annual Peace Officers Awards Banquet. He founded and served as President of the Hundred Club and the Houston Crime Commission. In 1954, Meyer formed and organized a governing board of the Houston Council for the Retarded Children (later Harris County Center for the Retarded), and served as chairman of the board.

Meyer was one of the founders and charter members of the Houston Music Association, and its president for over 20 years. He also served as treasurer of the Houston Symphony for several years. He is one of the original organizers of the Friends of the Library of the University of Houston, and for many years donated books to the Little Folks Library of Faith Home as memorials to, and in honor of, his friends.

Perhaps one of Meyer's greatest achievements was being one of those largely responsible for building and maintenance of the Texas Children's Hospital. The idea conceived in 1947 by only a handful of people became a reality in 1954. Meyer was President of the Texas Children's Hospital from its inception. He was ex officio member of the Board of Trustees of the Texas Heart Institute, and member of the Board of Trustees of the Baylor College of Medicine.

Millions of dollars for the Texas Children's charity fund were raised by the Houston Horse Show Association of which Meyer was the President for some 25 years, as well as the Annual Pin Oak Charity Horse Show and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

Other past affiliations included: University of Houston, Rice University Associates, Tulane University, Holly Hall, Houston Symphony Society, Heart Association, City of Hope, Lighthouse for Blind, Hebrew Union College, and others.


66 Linear Feet (42 boxes and 50 scrapbooks)

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

Box Inventory:

Boxes 1-20: Papers and Documents; Boxes 21-42: Photos and Negatives; Box 43: Documents and Construction Plans

Photo Database

To request the full inventory of photographs in this collection, please contact the HMRC Photo Archives,

Acquisition Information

Donated by Leopold Meyer, 1978.

Processing Information

Processed by Imrich Immer, 1981.

Leopold Meyer Papers
Finding aid revised March 2023 by Terrin Rivera.
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Houston History Research Center Repository


African American History Research Center
Houston Public Library
1300 Victor Street
Houston, Texas 77019
Houston History Research Center
Houston Public Library
550 McKinney St.
Houston, Texas 77002