A Blast from the Past: News from Bywaters Special Collections

Question: What do Queen Noor of Jordan and the catalogue from the 1923 Fourth Annual Exhibition of the Dallas Art Association have in common?
Halaby GalleriesAnswer: Queen Noor’s grandparents owned Halaby Galleries, originally located in the Majestic Theatre Building, where the Dallas Art Association’s Fourth Annual Exhibition was held in 1923. Her grandfather, Najeeb Elias Halaby, migrated from Beirut to New York when only 12 years old with his older brother, Habib. Together, the two young men learned how to survive in the city by selling Oriental rugs, damask fabric, copperware, and jewelry from their homeland. Najeeb eventually moved to Texas in search of oil and cotton money and there met and married his future wife, Laura Wilkins, the daughter of a local rancher, in 1914. With her interior decorating skills and his import-export knowledge they established Halaby Galleries in the early 1920s. Due to the success of their business, the Halabys were asked to move their gallery to the top two floors of the newly expanded Neiman Marcus store in downtown Dallas. Unfortunately, Najeeb died soon after opening the gallery in the new location and the business did not continue.

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