The Pioneer Meyer Brothers of Omaha, Nebraska, 1866+

The Meyer Brothers: Max, Julius, Adolph & Meyer

Values Codes I – E – P


The Meyer Brothers were born in Bromberg, Prussia.

They arrived in the United States in the 1860’s.


Omaha, Nebraska

Max Meyer first worked in New York City, then Pennsylvania oil country, and Omaha, Nebraska, where he arrived in 1866 and went into the tobacco business.

Max Meyer of Omaha, #WS5680

Max Meyer of Omaha, #WS5680

Julius Meyer arrived in 1867. Adolph and Moritz Meyer joined their brothers in Omaha in 1869\

Their firm became known as Max Meyer & Brothers Co.

Omaha was Booming in 1867.

15,000 residents and transients. 20 churches. 3,000 attending. 127 saloons attracting more than the churches.”

— Omaha Morning Bee, July 21, 1867

Max Meyer & Brothers Co. expanded to jewelry and musical instruments, becoming the largest business of its kind in the West for many years. It was also the first Omaha store to install a telephone.

A branch of Max Meyer & Brothers Co. was later opened in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Five salesmen traveled the territory west of Omaha.

By the 1880’s, Max Meyer & Brothers Co. had 25 employees, with ¾ million dollars in sales.


Julius Meyer had an additional business called the Indian Wigwamselling trinkets, souvenirs, and Indian artifacts.

He learned several Indian tongues and was a good friend of Indians.

Julius was known among Indians as Box-ka-re-sha hash-ta-ka, and was made their official interpreter.

Julius Meyer, friend of the Indians, #WS5691

Julius Meyer, friend of the Indians, #WS5691

He was highly trusted by chiefs Spotted Tail, Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, and Swift Bear.

Julius closed the Wigwam in 1880, but retained his close association with the Indians.

In 1883, he was hired by French government to accompany a group of Indians to Paris.



In 1885, Max Meyer and local Jewish architect, Louis Mendelssohn, organized a company to plan for an opera house and exposition building which, after building and a number of events, was leased to the city for office space and a police station.

“As a citizen and businessman, Mr. Max Meyer is conceded to be one of the most active and valuable to Omaha.  There is nothing in the shape of a business enterprise calculated to benefit Omaha that does not secure his attention and such aid as he can give it.”

– from a local publication

Julius Meyer was a founder of the Omaha Musical Union.

 Julius Meyer as Interpreter for Indians

Julius Meyer as Interpreter for Indians


Max Meyer was a 32nd degree Mason, a Shriner, an Elk, and Chief Patriarch of the Odd Fellows.

Adolph, Julius, and Albert Meyer were active in the Concordia, the German singing society.

Julius Meyer was a founder of the Omaha Symphony.



Max and Julius Meyer were two of the founders of Nebraska’s first synagogue, known today as Temple Israel.

Max Meyer & Brothers Co. business failed in the 1893 Depression.

Max & Adolph Meyer left Omaha.

Julius Meyer, who never married, was found shot dead in a park 1909.

Whether it was murder or suicide was never firmly established.



  • Carol Gendler, “The Jews of Omaha: The First 60 Years,” Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly 5/3&4, 6/1-4.
Julius Meyer at the Wigwam Store in Omaha

Julius Meyer at the Wigwam Store in Omaha