The Tale of Zale: A 75-Year Retrospective

The Zale saga is a classic American success story, born in Old World persecution and nurtured by New World opportunities. It begins in the early 1900s, when an Orthodox Jewish family – Samuel Zalefshy; his wife, Libby; and their young sons, Morris and William – fled czarist Russia’s violent pogroms for America, settling in Texas. When Libby’s brother, a Fort Worth jeweler, moved his store to Wichita Falls, Texas, Morris Zalefshy accompanied him. It was about then, too, that Morris (known to all as M.B.) shortened his name to Zale. “I’m an American, not a Russian,” he said. “I want my name to reflect that.” In 1922, M.B. started his own business in nearby Graham, Texas, renting a corner in a drug store and setting up a pair of jewelry display cases. His business acumen was already obvious. He put in 16-hour days seven days a week. He was shrewd, marketing to middle-
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