The Kallison family name has resonated amongst Texans for generations.
It’s the name of the department store in San Antonio crowned by a cowboy carrying a saddle on his right shoulder. It’s also the of the Kallison Ranch, the place that brought Texas ranching into the 20th century.
“The Harness Maker’s Dream” recounts the story of Nathan Kallison, the Jewish Russian who escaped persecution and later became a successful rancher in Texas.
The author of the book, Nick Kotz is a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter for the Washington Post and the Des Moines Register. He’s also the grandson of Nathan Kallison, and nephew of brothers Perry and Morris Kallison.
Kotz tells KUT’s David Brown, host of the forthcoming daily news show Texas Standard, the story of how Nathan Kallison escaped the Cossacks in Russia to the ghettos of Chicago where he became a harness maker.
“The automobile was starting to roll on the streets of Chicago,” Kotz says. “[Nathan Kallison] had vision, and he saw if there were harnesses and saddles that were still going to be used any place, Texas was the best place to go.”
And Texas is where Nathan Kallison went. Listen to their interview in the Soundcloud player above.