University of Texas San Antonio

A Guide to the Joske's Business Records, 1930-1953

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Joske's (San Antonio, Tex.)
Title: Joske's Business Records
Dates: 1930-1953
Creator Abstract: Julius Joske immigrated to San Antonio and established the first Joske's store in 1867. The business developed into a popular statewide department store chain with 26 locations in Texas. The business ended when it was purchased by Dillard's in 1987.
Content Abstract: The records reflect a very small portion of the general business functions of the flagship Joske's department store in San Antonio. The collection is mostly composed of financial and administrative records. Information on a 1942 warehouse fire is also present.
Identification: MS 492
Extent: 0.75 linear feet (2 boxes)
Language: English
Repository University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections

Historical Note

In 1867 Julius Joske emigrated from Berlin, Germany to San Antonio, Texas and established J. Joske store on Main Plaza. The store operated until 1873, when Joske sold it and returned to Germany for his family. He returned the same year with his sons, Siegfried, Albert, and Alexander; together the opened a new store called J. Joske and Sons near the United States Army corral. The store moved to Alamo Plaza two years later and changed its name to Joske Brothers. In 1887 the store moved to a larger facility at the corner of Alamo and Commerce streets, where it remained for the lifetime of the business. Alexander Joske purchased his father's and brothers' portions of the company in 1903 and expanded the store in 1909. Under Alexander Joske's leadership, elevators and new floors were installed, customer service departments and delivery services were established, product offerings expanded to include more attire options for women, and promotional displays were developed. After Alexander Joske's death in 1925, his son-in-law, Dr. Frederic Goldstein Oppenheimer, became president. Hahn Department Stores purchased Joske's four years later, and it was subsequently taken over by Allied Store Corporation in 1932. James H. Calvert served as president from 1932 to 1964. Calvert oversaw additional acquisitions of property and two major store expansions (1939 and 1953). In 1953, the store size was 551,000 square feet. Additional Joske's locations also opened throughout Texas, ultimately reaching a height 26 locations in the state and one in Arizona. After Calvert's retirement in 1964, J.H. Morse became president. Morse retired in 1968, and M.H. "Pat" Segner then became president, followed by William W. Mc Cormick. In 1986 the Campeau Corporation of Toronto, Canada purchased Allied Stores Corporation, and in 1987 Dilliard's Department Stores of Little Rock, Arkansas purchased Joske's from Campeau, at which point all Joske's stores were called Dillard's.

The Joske's chain of department stores was known as an innovator in retail, developing new approaches to advertising and product deployment. Alexander Joske often purchased space in San Antonio newspapers, and the chain cosponsored the first definitive study of radio and television advertising during WWII, when newsprint was rationed. The company had a 500-seat auditorium for civic group meetings, introduced the United States' first teenage beauty pageant, and sponsored charity benefits, art exhibitions, Boy Scout activities, teen advisory boards, and Mexican American trade and heritage events.

Source: Handbook of Texas Online, Damon Arhos, "Joske's," accessed August 10, 2017,

Scope and Content Note

The records date from 1930-1953 and span 0.75 linear feet (2 boxes). The records reflect a very small portion of the general business functions of the flagship Joske's department store, which was located at the corner of Alamo and Commerce streets in San Antonio, Texas (records related to other store locations are not present). The bulk of the records are financial in nature, including purchase orders for office supplies, equipment, remodeling, and repairs; balance sheets, and quarterly employer tax returns. Purchase orders show evidence of installation or repair of a soda fountain and cafe in the early 1930's, and remodeling near the rear of the store in the early 1940's. Names of a few select employees are present in the employer tax returns and the employee identification cards (9 cards), though no comprehensive employee lists are present. Other records in the collection pertain to general administrative functions, including correspondence and insurance policies. Customer sales records largely consist of records of installment payments for Joske's Budget Club. Of note are records pertaining to a warehouse fire which occurred in Seguin on October 23, 1942. These include refunded layaway orders, declaration statements, schedules of lost merchandise, and tallies of dollar amounts lost.

The records mostly originate from the time period in which Allied Store Corporation was in charge of operations and James H. Calvert was president of Joske's of Texas. However, the records do not directly reflect Calvert's role in the company, and do not include information on the addition of air conditioning, the store expansion of 1939, addition of warehouse space in 1946, or the store expansion of 1953.

The collection does not contain information on Fantasyland or other promotional events.

Organization of Collection

Financial Records
Administrative Records
Customer Sales
Seguin Warehouse Fire
Employee Identification Cards


Access Restrictions

This collection is housed at UTSA's Main Campus and must be accessed via the John Peace Library Special Collections reading room. To request access, please use the Collections Request Form.

Original quarterly employee tax returns and employee identification cards are restricted. Redacted photocopies are available in the collection.

Use Restrictions

The researcher assumes full responsibility for observing all copyright, property, and libel laws as they apply.

Index Terms

Joske's (San Antonio, Tex.)
Department stores--Texas--San Antonio.
San Antonio (Tex.)
Balance sheets
Business records
Financial records
Identifying cards
Insurance records
Purchase orders
Receipts (financial records)
Sales records
Tax returns
Local Subjects
San Antonio History

Related Material

UTSA Libraries Special Collections also holds the Joske's Quarter Century Club Collection.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Joske's Business Records, MS 492, University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries Special Collections.

Acquisition Information

The materials were discovered in a basement vault of the original Joske's location at Alamo and Commerce streets during building renovations in 2012 and were subsequently donated to UTSA's Institute of Texan Cultures. The materials were transferred to UTSA Libraries Special Collections in 2017 (Acc. 2017-041).

Processing Information

Processed in August 2017 by Katie Rojas, Manuscripts Archivist.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Financial Records

Box Folder
1 1 Ford de Lux Panel and delivery truck purchases, 1930, 1933
2 Store repair and remodeling purchases, 1930-1934, 1938
3 Office supply and equipment purchases, 1930, 1933, 1938
4 Comparative balance sheets, September-October 1937
5 Monthly valuations of furs in storage, 1939
6 Annual financial audit, 1939-1940
7 Comparative balance sheets, April-May 1940
8 Store repair and remodeling purchases, 1940-1945
9 Quarterly employer tax returns, 1941
10 Quarterly employer tax returns, 1942
11 Quarterly employer tax returns, 1943
12 General ledger receipts, November 1944
13 Office supply and equipment purchases, 1944-1945
14 Cleared checks, 1945-1952

Administrative Records

Box Folder
1 15 Correspondence, 1938-1943, 1949
16 Insurance, 1942-1948
17 Agreements, 1942, 1950, and undated
18 Internal transfer forms, 1943

Customer Sales

Box Folder
1 19 Budget Club contracts and installments, 1939-1949
Box Folder
2 1 Budget account order tickets, undated
2 Lists of customers for rockwool and home appliance installations, 1944
3 Receipts for traveler's checks, 1943, 1945-1946

Seguin Warehouse Fire

Box Folder
2 4 General file, 1942
5 Schedules of lost merchandise, 1942
6 Refunded layaway orders, 1942

Employee Identification Cards

Box Folder
2 7 Employee Identification Cards, 1952-1953