Jacob & Libbie (Batkowsky) Butler

In 1899, following the death of his wife, the former Minnie Sanders, Louis Batkowsky admitted his three youngest children (Jacob, 5, Libbie, 7, and Leo 9) to the Home with the endorsement of Houston’s B’nai Brith’s Lone Star Lodge #210.

After three years, Louis remarried and reclaimed his children, legally changing the family name to Butler. In 1910, at age 15, “Jake” began working at the Houston Chronicle as an office boy, and soon sold want ads at the front counter, standing on a box to see his customers. Within five years, Jake was running the classified department and — by offering attractive multi-day rates — was on his way to developing the South’s largest classified ads operation. A national reputation followed, reflected by his election in 1932 as president of the Classified Managers’ Association of America. His prominence within the paper grew as well, assuming the post of general manager in 1934, and executive vice president in 1952, positions he held until his retirement in 1965. In honor of his father’s lengthy service, Butler’s son established the Jake H. Butler Scholarship in Advertising at the University of Texas school of journalism.

In 1966, after reading an article about Jake Butler’s success, Home president Judge Louis Yarrut arranged a meeting with his former fellow Home inmate — the first get-together for the 71-year-old men since Butler left the Home. “Orphans Who Made Good Recall Days in N.O. Home,” reported the Times-Picayune about the heart-warming event for the two 71-year-old men, while the States-Item noted, “Two Orphanage-Reared Men Hold Reunion After 63 Years.” 

In Her Own Words

In 1983, at age 91, Libbie participated in the Jewish Children’s Home Alumni Project. Read Libbie’s recollections here.

Alumni Louis Yarrut reuniting with Jake Butler in 1966

Court of Appeals Judge Louis Yarrut (left) with J. H. “Jake” Butler, retired general manager of the Houston Chronicle, both Home alumni, reuniting in 1966 for the first time in more than six decades. Courtesy JCRS.

Jake Batkowsky Butler, c. 1910

Jake (Batkowsky) Butler, c. 1910, when he started working at the Houston Chronicle as an office boy. Unattributed photo from “Story of Orphan in Knickers,” Houston Chronicle, Feb. 4, 1962.

A black and white photo of a man in a suit and tie.

Jake H. Butler, 1962, Houston Chronicle Managing Editor and Executive Vice President. Unattributed photo from “Story of Orphan in Knickers,” Houston Chronicle, Feb. 4, 1962.