Home > PublicationsEncyclopedia >  May Brothers Department Stores

MAY BROTHERS DEPARTMENT STORES.

Originally named Madanic, the May family moved from Illinois to Tulsa, Oklahoma, after hearing about the Glen Pool oil discovery and the subsequent economic boom. In 1908, one year after Oklahoma statehood, the May family opened their first clothing store, known as Model Clothiers, in Tulsa. The Madanics, Russian Jews who fled Imperial Russia in 1889, changed their name to Madansky and finally shortened it to May in 1921 due to the "Red Scare" after World War I. Hyman Madanic and his eldest son, Benjamin, became tailors after arriving in the United States.

By 1910 a second department store, Madansky Clothing Company, opened in Bartlesville. Established by Benjamin May, the business was turned over to his youngest brother, Jacob. Six years later another clothing outlet opened in Oklahoma City at 225 West Main Street, near the John A. Brown Company. Hyman May's grandsons, Solomon, Samuel, and Milton, operated the Oklahoma City business. By 1955 a second Oklahoma City store opened in Penn Square Mall. Hyman May's son Paul managed a fifth store in Muskogee from 1922 until his retirement in 1955.

Of five May Brothers department stores, the Bartlesville outlet, managed by Michael May, remained open at the turn of the twenty-first century, making it one of the longest-running Oklahoma businesses in the same location. The story of Hyman Madanic's coming to America and his descendants' business successes exemplifies how one immigrant family fulfilled the American dream.

Linda D. Wilson

See also: ANTHONY STORES, HAROLD'S STORES, IMMIGRATION, JEWS, OKLAHOMA ECONOMY, OTASCO, T.G.&Y. STORES

Bibliography

Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 10 April 1988 and 14 July 2002.

"Paul May," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City.

Gary Lynn Watters, "From Russia to Oklahoma: A Case Study of the Immigrant Experience" (M.A. thesis, Oklahoma State University, 1974).

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society. This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia and part or in whole.

Photo credits: All photographs presented in the published and online versions of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture are the property of the Oklahoma Historical Society and are held in the agency's Research Division Photograph Archives (unless otherwise stated).


Citation

The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Linda D. Wilson, "May Brothers Department Stores," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org (accessed November 19, 2017).

About the Encyclopedia | Terms of Use | Using the Encyclopedia