The History of Department Stores

Under the clock: Let's talk



Almost every city had one department store with a big corner clock where people met, perhaps to talk over the events of the day. Do you have opinions about department stores, shopping, about the "olden days" -- or about stores now? How has your city changed since the days when there were one, two, maybe three department stores downtown? Did you used to "meet under the clock?"

Authors Jan Whitaker (JW) and Michael Lisicky (ML) will try to answer your questions ABOUT DEPARTMENT STORES (sorry, not other kinds of stores). On Facebook check out the group called The Golden Age of the Department Store.


Click and type in a question or comment

Do you know of a Robell's department store in Taunton MA? What is its history and when did it close? I remember going there a few times. It was not a big store. It was located on Main street across from Taunton Green. -- I don't know it or find any trace of it in Taunton, although there was a Robell's department store in Roxbury and in Somerville MA, both going out of business in 1962, but later reopening in Roxbury. In a Taunton directory of 1956 the stores listed under department stores were Sears & Penney's, Enterprise Stores, Pober's, The Outlet and The Shepard Co. -- JW
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Does anyone remember the bell sounds that rang at random moments in department stores back in the sixties? Were they alerts to pick up the phone or do a price check or get help to a shopper? -- Often called paging bells, the bell tones used within department stores were used to summon or page managers or security workers. Each manager on duty had its own tone repetition and the bells were seen as a more pleasant way to page than make a loud speaker announcement. -- ML
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What was Columbia fifth ave? I have a compact from there. Is it sax now? -- As far as I can tell Columbia Fifth Avenue was a brand of compact, not a store. They were sold around 1948-1950 for $1. -- JW
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Hello, How are you? My mother worked at Ben Franklin 5 & 10 outside Boston in 1952. I researched a little about the chain.... I am curious about how it compared to Woolworth. I read Ben Franklin was second largest chain with 2500 units at its peak. Where would I find more history on this subject? Thanks, Jim -- Though Ben Franklin assumes the role as a traditional variety store, its structure and size was vastly different than the larger Woolworth, Kresge, Grant, and other national firms. Its Boston roots stem from 1877 as Butler Brothers, a wholesale firm that began offering franchises in the 1930s. Owners bought the rights to the Ben Franklin name and committed to using Butler as a supplier, especially for large sale events. There was no central marketing system, other than logo design, etc for the member stores. The Ben Franklin name and logo helped give a nationally recognized name to the largely independent downtown variety stores. Ben Franklin also helped set itself apart by concentrating on craft goods and notions. It celebrated a system wide anniversary in 1977 and boasted 2100 locations in all 50 states. Butler was soon batted around with ownership changes that lead to a 1997 liquidation. Store count had dropped to 340. The name rights were acquired by Promotions Unlimited who required a hefty name licensing fee. That firm dealt more with special buying events and did not serve as a wholesale supply firm. More longtime franchisees dropped the affiliation but the name still exists in small towns to this day. It is not easy to find solid information on company history. Computer searches using the names Butler Brothers, City Products Corporation, and Promotions Unlimited centered around 1977 and 1997 might help. -- ML
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What can you tell me about Wasson's department store in Indianapolis? It seems like they were always overshadowed by LS Ayres and Blocks. I know they had a branch store at Eastgate Mall and the main downtown store a 2 W. Washington St. This building is still standing and shows the sleek Art Deco remodeling Wasson's performed in the 1940's to keep an up to date look. What type of merchandise did they sell? High quality or lower quality. The stores were purchased by Goldblatt's in Chicago and were closed in the late 1970s? -- Founded in 1870 as the Bee Hive, Wasson’s continually played ‘third chair’ among Indianapolis’ department stores. But that does not mean it was not a serious player or had a loyal clientele. After evolving into H.P. Wasson & Co., the company operated under the Wolf family leadership from 1914 until its 10/67 sale to Chicago based Goldblatt’s. In 1957, its Eastgate store earned the title of Indiana’s first suburban department store. Additional branches were opened in the Eagledale and Meadows centers, along with locations in Kokomo, Bloomington, and Anderson. Unlike Ayres and Block’s, Wasson’s branches were much too small for the suburban customer and were not located in the city’s more progressive centers. When Goldblatt’s acquired Wasson’s, its solidly middle class assortment of merchandise, from basement to French Room, was transitioned more into Goldblatt’s value friendly goods. The new mix and substantial decrease in sales staff alienated customers and sales plummeted in the early 1970s. Goldblatt’s pulled the plug on the downtown store in December 1979 and the suburban outlets followed in April 1980. -- ML
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In 1950 what were store hours for department stores? -- There is no way to easily answer this inquiry about store hours as ‘preferred shopping nights’ differed from town to town. In the 1950s, most downtown stores started their days around 9:15 or 9:30am. A designated shopping nite would keep a downtown store open for possibly one or two nights a week until 8 or 9pm. At Burdines downtown Miami, the store was open until 9:30pm Monday and Friday, 6pm on other evenings; Read’s in Bridgeport was open until 9pm only on Thursdays; Hutzler‘s in Baltimore was 9:15am to 9pm on Monday, 6pm on other nites; Detroit’s Hudson’s was open 9:15 until 8:30 Mondays and Thursdays, until 6pm on other nights; Wanamaker’s Center City was 9:30 to 5:30, noon to 9 on Wednesday; and Bullock’s Los Angeles was 9:30 to 5:30, except Mondays until 9. So there is no standard answer and most cities established a designated night of shopping that lasted well into the 80s and 90s. Just as cities and stores were different, so were their shopping trends. It’s best to check newspapers.com and search a specified store, locate an advertisement, and take information from that hit. -- ML

Just a footnote to what Michael wrote -- where I live in Massachusetts it was the custom for downtown stores to stay open on Thursday nights. This included the local small-town department store. The reason for this was that the town's factories paid workers on Thursdays. I wouldn't be surprised if a similar schedule prevailed in many other towns around the U.S., though big city stores might not have been as sensitive to working-class pay days. -- JW

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What did Dean Wilson ship to stores in a wooden box with holes in it? Was it produce or drink bottles? -- Would need some more clues on this one!
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Can you give me any information about United Department Stores? I know they owned the Outlet, Sattlers and Edw. Malley and the filed bankruptcy around 1981 or 1982. Thanks Scott Nimmo -- United Department Stores owned countless stores in the US throughout the 20th century, many of them bearing the name United Department Store. The company bought up failed or failing stores, such as The Bullock Co. in Cleveland OH in 1907. By the 1930s it had stores in Bridgeport CT, Jersey City NJ, a huge store planned for Boston in 1925, in Miami FL, Fresco CA, Jacksonville FL, Pittsburgh in the 1920s and 1930s. It owned S. P. Dunham in Trenton NJ. (It would be a BIG job to research them all.) In 1980 the Outlet Corp. of Providence sold 91 stores to UDS, yet in 1982 New York-based UDS filed for reorganization, by which time it had closed 63 of its 107 stores, including all of its stores in MA. I suspect the whole story would be complicated. -- JW
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Michael, Do you have plans to write a book about the late Albert Boscov, son of the founder of Boscov's, which is still in business? Do you only write about defunct department stores? Thanks, Dean Moser -- It’s hard to not write about defunct department stores because there are so few in operation these days! I’m still trying to fully process why Hudsons Bay is totally abandoning the Lord Taylor flagship on Fifth Avenue? Yes, Lord & Taylor hasn’t been able to figure itself out for decades but I like to think that its Fifth Avenue presence is part of its brand and cache. It was expensive to operate but the recent plan to reduce it to 3 floors seemed harsh enough. Oh well, so much for being a merchant but Al Boscov was a true merchant, perhaps our last. This time, he trained his family well and the business is poised to survive and thrive, as long as it caters and enhances a loyal customer base. It’s not up to me to write his story, he has many family members who remain moved by his personality, love, and philanthropy. Get the recent book ‘Did You Boscov Today?’ They did a good job. -- ML
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What can you and Michael tell me about the Boston Store in Columbus Ohio? It is not something that has been written about much in Columbus histories. I know their Downtown store was located on N. High st. between Spring and Long and they had branches at the Town & Country Shopping center and the Northern Lights Shopping Center. -- The downtown store was begun in 1913 by Marcus J. Federman of NYC and Charles Levy of Lima OH as part of a multi-state chain. The first address was 208-212 North High Street. There was a wholesale dry goods store in NY which, I assume, supplied the Boston Stores in Ohio, Indiana, and elsewhere. In 1918 Columbus' Boston Store was acquired by Alfred & Jerome Kobacker, of the Kobacker Stores, Inc., a chain which grew to 12 when the Town & Country store opened in 1953. Only the two Kobacker stores in Columbus, however, had the name Boston Store. At some point the downtown store either moved to 168-178 N. High Street -- or that address was the result of renumbering. Near The Boston Store, on N. High between Broad and Spring, were Woolworth's, W. T. Grant, Kresge, The Union, and J. C. Penney. The downtown store closed in the early 1960s. My impression of the store is that it carried basic goods, and was not a fashion store. -- JW

Columbus’ Boston Stores largely carried affordable fashions and pushed its in-store credit plan. “Short of Ready Cash -- Shop the Modern Way!” The downtown store closed in 1964 and its two branches ended in 1973. -- ML

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Allied Stores, City Stores, Federated, and Associated Dry Goods were some of the major Department Store owners in the pre-Robert Campeau years. Could you tell me some of the strengths and weaknesses of each of the chains above? Why did these chains come about? -- These are big questions that could form the basis is a Ph.D. dissertation. I will simply offer some thoughts about why the chains formed rather than final analyses or histories of each group. As popular is the myth of the successful family-owned department store created and run by the genius initiative of a single man, the fact is that the big department stores that had developed by the end of the 19th century needed a great deal more systematic management if they were to survive. Seat of the pants management wasn’t going to work anymore. Economic downturns had a disastrous impact on big stores as was shown in the early years of the 20th century. Federated Department Stores was a response to the need for more sophisticated management. It was almost more of a cooperative arrangement than a public corporation as later developed, and was initially based on sharing information among big stores in non-competing markets. Also, the 1920s was called the “chain store era” for a reason: dime stores, drug stores, cigar stores, food stores were all joining chains or being created by large investors to take advantage of national advertising, organized management, and group buying. Manufacturers, too, were growing larger and more organized – and doing direct-to-consumer brand advertising -- and single department stores were losing their power to compel low prices from manufacturers that they had previously enjoyed. So, overall, I’d say that the formations tended largely to be responses to a changing economy. – JW

Let’s not forget the May Department Stores Company, Mercantile Stores, the R. H. Macy corporation, Carter Harley Hale, Gimbel Brothers, United Department Stores, Gorin Stores, we can keep going. These corporations were usually formed as early acquisitions or as holding companies where stores could pool their funds, make volume purchases, expand as necessary, and take risks. As Jan said, this question can easily form a college thesis. (Let’s not forget about AMC, or the Associated Merchandising Corporation buying cooperative. A very important and essential component to dept store success.) But as to a quickie on these companies: Federated, some of the biggest that operated under solid financial backing; May, slowly strengthened during the 60s and quietly surpassed its competition; Allied, mostly mid size markets that were successful but not largely cutting edge in fashion; Mercantile, dominant store in smaller markets; Associated, nice but stodgy stores with valuable real estate; City, run by a crazy man who almost purposely operated underperforming store in large markets; R. H. Macy, operated successfully under its familiar name with national aspirations that dated back to the 20s and 1940s, Gimbels ran out of family members and were reactive and not proactive... That’s enough for now. I still liked them all. -- ML

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Was there a ever a clothing store called "Marshalls" in Elmira, NY? -- If you can consult a city directory for Elmira for the relevant year, you can probably find the answer. Many city directories have been digitized. We specialize in department stores, a different type of store that deals in a much wider selection of merchandise than do clothing stores, so your question takes us outside our area of expertise.
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What were Bloomingdale's and Gimbels open days/hours 1975 in NYC? -- When department stores were mighty and dominated local newspapers as major advertisers, ads frequently listed all store locations and their respective hours of operation. In some ways, these hours showed the strength of these stores and their surrounding neighborhoods. As stores suffered challenges, city and suburbs, hours were frequently shortened. (Check your local Macy’s and Sears as some are closing at 8 pm. That’s an ominous sign. Some Sears even open now at 11 am!) But the difference may be with the Manhattan stores. As other cities cut back in the 70s, Manhattan stores increased hours as the city polished some of its edges and attracted more immediate residents. In 1975, Gimbels increased its hours of operation to 9:45 am to 8:30 pm Monday and Thursday, 9:45 am, to 7 pm Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, and 9:45 to 6 pm Saturday. Wednesday and Thursday were the late nights for Bloomingdale’s, though the store traditionally operated from 9:45 am to 6 pm. -- ML
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Mr. Lisicky, First, THANK YOU for a wonderful walk down Memory Lane. I just finished "Bygone" with a huge smiles on my face and heart! Second, it's probably already been pointed out, but the 1971 date on the photo on page 51 most likely is in error given the fact that all 7 cars shown are late 40's - early 50's. Finally, while doing your research, did you ever come across anything regarding train gardens as part of the Christmas window displays downtown? I can remember my father taking the family in the 50's-early 60's several times to see them. Just curious! Thank you again for a great read related to Smalltimore! M.L.K.
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What can you tell me about Uhlman's Department stores? They were located in larger towns in Ohio such as Greenville, Wapakoneta, Piqua as well as other towns. They went out of business in the 1980's. -- The F. W. Uhlman Company, headed by Frederick W. Uhlman [1881-1974] was headquartered in Bowling Green OH. The company may have been established in the 1920s, possibly earlier, and have grown out of Frederick’s father’s store in Weston OH (his father was a German immigrant, Henry Caspar Uhlman). In 1965 the Uhlman Company, headed by Frederick’s son, Robert, operated 32 stores in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana under the names Uhlman’s, Plaza U, Just Labels, and Milliken’s, employing about 800 people. The larger Uhlman’s stores were in Piqua, Traverse City, Newark, Disney, Greenville, and Mt. Vernon, in Ohio. I believe the smaller stores concentrated on clothing and were not full-scale department stores. In 1996 the chain was bought by Stage, operating under names that include Peebles and Goody’s. It's likely that some of the stores had been closed previously, as you mention. -- JW

Uhlman’s dates back to 1923 and typically classified itself, in its later years, as a junior department store. (Some sources trace the store’s roots to 1867.) After its 1996 purchase by Stage, Uhlman’s 34 locations assumed the parent company’s name, Stage Stores. Stage Stores operated locations throughout the country but over expanded. Stage ran into severe financial problems which ultimately led to a bankruptcy filing in 2001. In March 2001, Peebles purchased 8 former Uhlman’s/Stage Stores out of the remaining 15 Stage Ohio locations. -- ML

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Years ago, many department stores sponsored parades to mark the start of the holiday season. They announced to their communities that on the next business day, the store would be decorated and stocked with holiday merchandise, the mechanical display windows would be able to be enjoyed, and Santa would be ready for the children. They created a magical atmosphere for the kids and even the adults. When did the stores begin to start having the parades? When did most of them end?
Are there any notable parades that really stand out? It seems like this is a subject that is not covered well in some of the department store histories I have read. -- As department stores grew in size and stature, they became responsible for upholding numerous local traditions that entertained customers and built loyalty. With the exception of Eatons Toronto Santa Claus parade, many of the big American holiday parades came into full swing by the mid to late 1920s. Leading the way was Gimbels in Philadelphia (1920) which was followed by Hudson's, Macy's, Bamberger's, etc. But by the 1950s, holiday parades, sponsored by department stores, could be found in Trenton, Reading, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Houston, etc. These parades usually concluded with Santa either walking into the department store, sometimes by fire ladder, in front of thousands of attendees. But these smaller parades were costly. Materials, labor costs, and permits were expensive and as downtowns lost their luster by the late 1960s, many stores chose to spend their advertising budgets elsewhere. In addition, television brought the major parades such as Macy's and Hudson's directly into living rooms. In comparison, local parades seemed almost 'dinky' and the audiences dwindled in size. But make no mistake, once a department store cancelled an expensive tradition, people became irate, as if something was stolen from them. The average person had no idea what type of burden these events placed on a department store's bottom line. There is no one book specifically about department store parades but a number of books cover these parades quite well, including some of my own! There are numerous books on the Macy's parade but I love William L. Bird's book, Holidays on Display. That should suffice. -- ML

Michael has summed it up well and I agree that Holidays on Display is an excellent book, very well illustrated. Usually we think of holiday parades as being outdoors, but Wanamaker stores held them indoors in the teens, according to William Leach in his classic book Land of Desire. He says that the Wanamaker stores had Christmas parades every day at 10:30 when the lights were turned off and a uniformed brass band of employees paraded with storybook characters -- then Santa Claus appeared carried by four Eskimos to Santa Town. This sounds truly magical to me. -- JW

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Do you have any photos or information regarding the Mathews Department Store at 394 Fulton Street, Brooklyn NY 11201? It was converted into the Metropolitan Theater in 1918 and again into the current home of The Brooklyn Tabernacle. -- I don't have an image but there is currently a postcard of the store on e-Bay. The store went into bankruptcy in 1913 and failed in 1915, at which time its full name was A. D. Matthews' Sons. -- JW

Azel Dennis Matthews founded his dry goods business in 1837 which, over the next 78 years, developed into one of Brooklyn's largest emporiums. Matthews was later joined in business by his two sons and constantly expanded the store and moved, along with Wechsler & Abraham, to the new Fulton Street shopping corridor. The store featured "Daily Delivery to Long Island" and special promotions as Clover Day sales (no relation to Philadelphia's Strawbridge & Clothier!) and S&H Green Stamps. Azel passed away in 1900 but his store, that employed upwards of 1000 workers, suffered from high debt and estate issues. By 1913, the store faced liquidation but carried forward under new owners. Its 78th anniversary in April 1915 promised a celebration "with due dignity" but just two months later it entered bankruptcy protection. In late December 1915, a bankruptcy trustee ordered an immediate liquidation of the large store. One year later, the building housed a branch of a Georges clothing store but was transformed into Loews Metropolitan Theatre, the largest motion picture house in the world, in September 1918. -- ML

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Just want to thank Mr. Lisicky for writing back to tell me about the artist at Westview mall
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What American department stores were characterized by providing a quality shopping experience? By this I mean stores which sold good quality merchandise, special tea rooms or restaurants, had quality architectural ambiance, and promoted special holiday traditions? Some store which come to my mind are Marshall Fields, Hudson's, John Wanamaker, and Higbees. Are there any others you or Michael can add? -- This might sound like a cop-out but I think that applies to most of the department stores of the 20th century, before the 1980s (roughly). Certainly every major city, smaller city, and even many smaller towns had department stores that people still remember fondly for their merchandise, service, and special events. Having grown up in St. Louis I would say that all three of the big stores -- Famous-Barr; Stix, Baer & Fuller; and Scruggs, Vandervoort & Barney -- provided a quality shopping experience. -- JW
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WHEN WAS ARNOLD CONSTABLE BUILT ON STATE AND MONTGOMERY STS IN TRENTON NJ? WHAT BUILDINGS WERE TORN DOWN? -- On November 11, 1954, Arnold Constable opened a 90,000 square foot store in downtown Trenton. The firm declared that it was the largest store in the city's shopping district. Eleanor Roosevelt cut the ribbon on opening day, a tradition that Mrs. Roosevelt carried out at other Arnold Constable locations. The new store, located at East State Street and Montgomery Street, replaced a vacant movie theater, the Wilkinson Building, and a series of small shops. In 1952, R.H. Macy purchased the plot of land for a possible Trenton branch but turned the lease over to Arnold Constable about a year later. Arnold Constable remained in Trenton until 1971. -- ML
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High end dept. store in Boston, Massachusetts beginning with the letter P that closed in the late 60's or early 70's. I think it was near Park Street Station????? -- Of the 48 stores listed under "department stores" in the 1962 Boston city directory, only one begins with P and it is in Roslindale. Maybe you are thinking of Conrad & Chandler on Winter Street. -- JW
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Does anyone recall a small store that sold upscale clothing called Robert's or Mr. Robert's in Rhode Island around the 1970's. My Aunt Mary used to take us there and buy clothing for us. And where was it located? -- If I am correct that you are referring to a children's clothing store, and that it might have been in Providence, then you may mean Edith Robert's shop at 184 Wayland Av. -- JW

Thanks! My sister-in-law lives around wayland square and I sensed I recognized the place. It must have been Edith Roberts store at 184 wayland ave. Thanks so much for clearing up this mystery for me! QU

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I came across a picture of Albany, NY's shopping district. The photo was dated 1956. I noticed a Robinson's and a Leed's department store in the photo. I am certain that the Robinson's store isn't related to the one in California. I have been having trouble finding information on both of the stores in Albany, NY. Would you be able to help me? -- Neither store is listed under Department Stores in the 1960 Albany City Directory. Among the stores that are listed are John G. Myers and W. M. Whitner & Co., both on North Pearl. I did find Robinson's Women's & Children's Wearing Apparel, at 57 N Pearl, listed under Women's & Children's Clothing, but Leed's was not there. -- JW
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Who owned the Plymouth retail stores in NYC? -- Not being a lawyer I'm out of my element on this one, but I'm guessing you are referring to what was once known as Bonwit-Plymouth Stores, Inc., but had many name changes subsequently, one (and maybe the last) being Allied-Stores-East, Inc. -- JW
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Did Macy's Herald Square store ever have a notable tea room or restaurant? If so are they still in business? It seems like The Walnut Room at Marshall Fields/Macy's, Crystal Tea Room at Wanamakers, Silver Grill at Higbees, and the Birdcage at Lord & Taylor among many others are held in high esteem by customers who remember them. I have never really heard anything about the huge Macy's flagship. Am I missing something? Thanks, Dave -- You have named some of the best known and loved tea room restaurants in American department stores, and you are correct in thinking that Macy's has not been known for its restaurants. For much of its history it has been a store that emphasized low prices, thanks in part to the lack of expensive frills such as fancy restaurants (which typically have lost money). In the last few years it has upgraded its food service but it has no tradition of fond customer memories to build upon, plus the era of the department store restaurant is mostly in the past, so I don't know how well it has done. -- JW
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I am trying to find information on some of the first black women to become sales women in department stores, particularly in the South in the 1960's. Do you have any names? Or stories about any of these women. Thank you. -- You should look at the 1971 book titled The Negro in the Department Store Industry. Prior to WWII Black women were hired only as elevator operators or backroom personnel. During the war there was a severe personnel shortage and some Black women were hired in Northern department stores to work as saleswomen during the Christmas rush -- often only at the urging of the Urban League. The first saleswoman (one) hired by a large store that I have seen referenced in a newspaper article was in 1950, in Albany NY. In 1952 a downtown department store hired the first Black full-time, permanent saleswoman. By the late 1950s there were said to be quite a few Black saleswomen in NYC stores, but for most of the country these gains came in the early 1960s as stores' eating facilities were also integrated -- after protests. In the South, two of Wilmington NC's largest department stores were said to hire Black saleswomen in 1963, and Leggett's in Lynchburg VA hired its first two Black saleswomen in 1961. I know of no personal stories or accounts, but at Leggett's the women's names were Amanda Spencer and Edith Chambers, both married. -- JW
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I am looking for information about departments that used to be in department stores, but have gone the way of the dinosaur...so many articles reference how there were 23 departments, 40 departments, etc. -- but so far I have not found any kind of list. -- If you go to Bruce Kopytek's wonderfully thorough website thedepartmentstoremuseum.org and you click on individual stores you will see many listings of departments, floor by floor. Of course each store has a somewhat different mix of departments, and they changed over time. -- JW
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Wanamaker is said to have been the first to install a pneumatic tube system in 1879. Was it a cash rail system invented by Lamson? Or was it a pneumatic tube system? Was it installed in the 1877 Grand Depot? Finally the Grand Depot was not a department store when it opened in 1877 but more of a of men's shop. When did it become a full-fledged department store? -- The Lamson Cash Carrier Co. was formed in 1881 and put its first carrier on the market that year, so it could not have been used in the Grand Depot from the start. John Wanamaker began expanding lines in that store a year after it opened. In 1877 he added some women's clothing and shoes and by 1879 it was a full department store. -- JW

According to corporate records, Wanamaker installed the first department store pneumatic tube system in 1880. But as I've learned, corporate historical records are not always accurate. -- ML

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There was a store in Detroit, Mich,(Delray)-they sold furniture & area rugs among other things....Trying to think of name-believe it was on a corner -in the 50's & probably sooner & latter in the 60's-----thought it started with the letter "K"? -- (I don't know what Delray is.) Probably numerous stores sold furniture and area rugs, so I can't help you with that. As for department stores starting with K, there was Kern's (the Ernst Kern Co.) located at Woodward & Gratiot. -- JW
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I keep finding conflicting information about department stores in Boston during the 1880s. For example, Jordan Marsh is vaguely referenced as having been formed after the American Revolution and then eventually 'departmentalized'. Do you have anymore details about that? Knowing other 'greats' from the 1880s would be really helpful too. Thank you so much. -- I can assure you that Jordan Marsh does not date back to the Revolutionary War era but it is usually referenced as one of America’s first department stores. The term “department stores” is a somewhat loosely based definition but implies a vast variety of merchandise, usually spread over multiple floors, that promoted then-revolutionary business practices such as fixed prices and satisfaction guarantees. It followed a concept of “everything for everybody under one roof,” though the term “everybody” is subject to interpretation. Jordan Marsh traces it roots back to 1851 and much of its centennial advertising centered on a Revolutionary War “observer” character. That may have given you some confusion. But many, many other Boston retailers deserve mention and study. You can best learn who they are and their stories at http://shoppingdaysinretroboston.blogspot.com/2011/03/conrad-chandlers-story-of-1958-retro.html. -- ML
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In medium to larger sized American cities, how many branch stores did it take to destroy the business at the downtown flagship store? Before the shopping malls became popular, it seems many branches were smaller and sold a limited selection of goods, seemingly not posing a huge threat to the main store. As the regional malls became popular and anchor stores larger, the flagships suffered and ultimately closed. I read in an interview with a member of the Lazarus family who stated the downtown flagship with one branch store was great, but as more branches were added, sales were negatively impacted not only downtown, but at other branches. -- This is a much bigger issue than simple suburban overbuilding. In most cases, department stores had to move to the suburbs because that's where the customer moved. It was easier and safer to shop in the suburbs, at least according to perceptions, and you could take your packages home in your own car. The American dream was based on post-war suburban expansion and optimism. Downtown stores peaked around 1955, if I had to give a year. One million square feet, operated by a private family, in a rambling sixty year old building, in a town that closes up at 6pm, was not a recipe for the future. Lazarus' answer could have worked for Columbus, but it wouldn't have succeeded in Detroit or Newark. (Lazarus had very little competition in Columbus.) Every city had its own economic and social reasons for change and so did every store. And branch stores became bigger as the downtown stores became smaller and suburban competition increased. -- ML

Good question, but I agree with Michael's analysis and can only add that in many cities postwar suburban sprawl was so extensive that a trip to downtown became quite a trek, not to mention parking problems when you got there. Downtown stores developed and grew in the era of public transportation; private transportation, i.e., cars, were a problem. Also, the downtown stores -- and downtown generally -- often became shabby looking in comparison to the new suburban stores. And note that it wasn't just shoppers leaving the city; big employers were also moving to corporate and industrial parks on the outskirts so there were fewer daytime shoppers in city centers. -- JW

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Does anyone remember the Palais Royal dept. store on Main st. in Houston TX and the manager Mr. Poulis? He looked like Cary Grant. -- As far as I can determine, the Palais Royal was a women's clothing store. It was located at 706 Main Street. Beyond that, I can't find any information. -- JW
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Any info on Great Eastern Mills? The Mills part was dropped at some point. Location was Route 46 in Totowa NJ. My husband and I shopped there early in our marriage when we lived in West Paterson (now Woodland Park). -- Great Eastern Mills was begun in Paramus NJ in 1956. It was a discount store with general merchandise such as we still have today and was part of a retailing trend of the time in which discount stores located in suburbs and often in old mill buildings, with large parking areas and evening hours, began to become significant retailers. They are not strictly speaking department stores, and in fact they seriously undermined traditional department stores. To offer low prices they cut out fancy buildings, services, and all the extras that department stores were known for. Great Eastern Mills was acquired by Diana Stores in 1962, which became part of another corporation in 1969. By 1975 there were 14 Great Eastern stores: 4 in NJ, 7 in NY, and 3 in GA. The NJ stores were shuttered that year, but I am uncertain whether the others were closed at the same time. -- JW

Great Eastern Mills operated almost entirely as a group of leased departments grouped together under one unified store name. Its linen department was incorporated under the business name Great Eastern Linens. When then-owner Daylin Corporation filed for bankruptcy in 1975 and closed a number of its stores, including Great Eastern Mills, the linen department went into business for itself and operated its own stores under the name Linens n Things. -- ML

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Were there any department stores managed by women around 1920 in the South? -- I am not aware of any major stores managed by women, though there may have been some small town stores, but even then I am doubtful. It was quite rare throughout the 20th century for women to rise to top management positions in department stores. Exceptions would be Beatrice Fox Auerbach who ran G. Fox in Hartford CT and Dorothy Shaver of Lord & Taylor in NY. Shaver was known for her promotion of American dress designers in the Depression such as Muriel King, Adele Simpson, Elizabeth Hawes, Clare Potter, Helen Cookman, Vera Maxwell, and Sally Victor. -- JW
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In the late sixties I shopped at Macy's in herald square and bought mod shoes but can't remember the brand I bought. -- Tough question! Probably only a shoe buyer from that time could say what they might have been. -- JW

If you are really determined to find what brand of shoe you are searching, you could narrow down the date, including month if possible, and plop yourself in front of the New York Times Archives and read the advertisements. Your local library might very well have microfilm of the Times and/or your local library/educational institution may have it accessible through an electronic database. Just turn off/down the TV. During this time period you are searching, you will get ads and not just text and article citations. It can a fun and painstaking way to find answers sometimes. Always a good way to start any modern historical search, and its index is comprehensive and invaluable. A quick search on my end shows possibly 4500 shoe display ads for “Macy’s shoes” during the 1960s alone. -- ML

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My Mother has some fond memories of the wonderful bean soup served at the Block's Department store in Indianapolis, IN one day of the week. Does anyone have access to that original recipe? We would surely appreciate it if someone who has it would share it with us. THANKS...Mike -- It's possible you might be able to find a recipe if you have access to the Indianapolis Star online (I don't), but you need to search under the store's full name William H. Block. -- JW
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A local theme park has a kiddy carousel that was used as a traveling carnival ride throughout the United States and was also used during each Christmas season from 1922-1980 by Wanamaker Department Store in Philadelphia. I have been searching the internet to verify this statement and possibly locate a photo. -- The Wanamaker store in Philadelphia was known for its monorail ride for children during the holidays. I don't know of a carousel, but it strikes me that one virtue of the monorail is that it ran on the ceiling of the toy department and did not take up valuable merchandise space as would a carousel. You might contact the Historical Society of Philadelphia. -- JW
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Wilson's Department Store in Greenfield MA is the only local department store I know of in New England. I know there is Nordstrom, Von Maur, Belk, Bon Ton. Would you know of any others in the country that are still open? JT -- There are some regional chain department stores (such as Boscov, Bergner's, Dillard's), but if by local you mean a single store that is privately owned, I do not know of any. -- JW

The two stores that come to mind when I think of Wilsons that are somewhat similar and require visits are Dunham’s in Wellsboro, PA and Weaver’s in Lawrence, KS. If I want to go big time, I’ll think of Hall’s in Kansas City. But if I really want to step back in time, I’ll go to Boscov’s (Boston Store) in Wilkes-Barre, PA. -- ML

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I recently acquired a vintage credit card from Gladdings of Providence, RI. It says "since 1766" on it. Was the store really that old and can you give some background on it? Did they have some connection with Shepards department store later on? -- It’s difficult to trace just how old Gladding’s was. A Providence Gazette article from September 13, 1766 advertised a “well-established shop at the Signs of the Bunch of Grapes.” For over 200 years, Gladding’s used its signature “Bunch of Grapes” symbol frequently in its advertising. It wasn’t until 1805 or 1807 when George W. Gladding assumed ownership of the business. Through a series of changing partnerships, the Gladding family left the store in 1880 though the Gladding name was retained. Gladding’s was long regarded as America’s oldest store and was primarily a fine specialty apparel store that also sold gifts, linens, and travel merchandise. It was said that Gladding’s was “where not only the clerks, but the customers were courteous.” Gladding’s was a longtime member of the Frederick Atkins, Inc. merchandising and research organization and operated three branch stores at Wayland Square (1947), Garden City (1957), and Westerly (1969). In 1968, Howard N. Feist purchased Gladding’s and subsequently bought the neighboring Shepard Co. department store in 1970. (Feist had also purchased Worcester-based Denholm’s in 1970.) Feist took on incredible debt with his purchase of the three fading retailers. In the summer of 1973, store shelves became noticeably bare and large sections of both stores were empty. Fall merchandise had not been properly ordered. By October, the combined company filed for bankruptcy protection and both Shepard’s and Gladding’s closed for good in January 1974. -- ML
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Hi there. I have a metal cylinder shaped container about the same size as a shotgun shell that has a picture of a building and under the building it says - Our Home. At the top of the building picture it says -PERKINS DRY GOODS CO. DALLAS. I was just wondering if you could give me any type of info on the store or the item itself. I have had no luck at all and would appreciate any that you may have. Sincerely, L. Johnson -- Perkins Dry Goods began in 1898 as a small dry goods store in Kaufman TX founded by two brothers, Samuel B. and J. J. Perkins; in 1915 it moved its wholesale arm to Dallas and the two brothers split up the retail stores. In 1948, when Samuel Perkins died, the company ran 12 stores in Texas and Oklahoma. As far as I know it never developed into a traditional department store. How long it stayed in business I don't know. I'm not sure what the item you found is, probably some sort of souvenir trinket given out as part of an anniversary celebration. -- JW
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I recently found a coin from JC Penney's with a value of & 5.00 on it. It's an old one. I was curious if it was worth anything. -- I would not think it would have much value but a coin dealer would be the best authority on that question. -- JW
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I am trying to locate any information or history about a furniture store in the 1920s/30s/40s on 5th Avenue in Manhattan called "Stewarts" or "Stewerts" or "Stuarts"? Do you know anything about this? It was supposedly very high end. -- I’m sorry but since this site centers on department store history, we do not research retailers outside of the department store industry. Check the New York Times archives for possible mentions or entries on these businesses. This database is usually available through your local library. Thank you for understanding. -- ML
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I am from Pittsburgh PA and as a child was fully aware of Kaufmann's, Gimbels & Joseph Horne's.....I wasn't aware of Rosenbaums which was downtown Pgh only (or was there a suburban outlet I do not know about?) Can you give any information about Rosenbaum's? I know that the main building was very close to the original Joseph Horne's main store, and that the building may have survived and been resurrected as an office building. Do you know what type of store they were? Who they catered to? -- The exact date of Rosenbaum’s origin tends to conflict within its company records but many sources point to 1867. Its main building was erected in 1915 and grew to 14 stories tall. In the late 1940s, Rosenbaum’s passed out of family hands and was acquired by National Department Stores. National operated Frank & Seder, another department store with a major downtown Pittsburgh presence. Rosenbaum’s, “A Step Ahead,” was located at Sixth Street and Liberty Avenue. It was more of a store more the “masses” than the “classes.” It was a complete, yet fairly promotional store. Rosenbaum’s days were numbered when its owner closed Frank & Seder in February 1959 and signaled their interest in exiting the department store business. Unable to find a buyer, Rosenbaum’s began its final liquidation sale on January 4, 1960. Though it billed itself as a “Tri-State Institution” and “Pittsburgh’s second oldest department store,” Rosenbaum’s operated just one location and stood for “honest values and fine merchandise.” -- ML
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Do you have any idea about what happened with the York clothing store that was located in South Jersey just outside of Philly?. I believe the main store was in Philadelphia. I worked there back in the early 70's and can find no trace of it anywhere. -- No, sorry, my specialty is limited to department stores. The number of clothing stores and shops is massive and an entirely separate research area. Just to give an idea, in Ridgewood NJ alone in the mid 1950s there were 40 women's clothing stores and 10 for men plus a few for children! -- JW
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Jan: I was wondering if you or Michael could provide information on the Adler & Childs department store which was located at the Northeast corner of Main & Fourth Streets in downtown Dayton Ohio? When did the store go out of business? I have seen photographs of this corner in the 1940's with the store sporting an Art Deco styled 2 storey storefront. Any information you can provide would be appreciated. Apparently this is the least known of the 3 large downtown department store. Thanks, Dave -- Adler & Childs, popularly known as Adler's, was incorporated in 1895 and closed in 1950. Other department stores in Dayton around that time were Elder & Johnston, Rike-Kumler, and Johnston Shelton. -- JW
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What is a Compactom and why does it have so many patens. -- I assume you are asking about patenTs. Never heard of a compactom before, but it is easy enough to find it on Google as an old-fashioned traveling trunk divided into compartments for clothing and accessories. I would guess there are a lot of patents because there are an infinite number of ways to divide up a box. I suppose department stores must have sold them once upon a time, although luggage was not a terribly successful department and many stores got rid of it at some point. -- JW

I equate compactoms more with 1920s era Australian furniture stores and than American department stores. Even in a nice broad generalized advertisement search, I have never seen a compactom promoted in an American department store advertisement. Perhaps the Australian relationship to the furniture piece required more than average patents? But Australia is not the most respectful to American copyright laws. Target Australia and Woolworths Australia are prime modern day examples of Australian retailers who have had no prior relationship with their American nameplates. -- ML

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I am looking for any information about my Great Grandfather's shoe store in Santa Fe New Mexico in the early 1900s. He was an Italian immigrant, Nicolas Igalo. He was a shoemaker and his shop was on San Francisco St. I don't know the name. Thank you -- You might try Ancestry.com. I think that is your best bet. Keep in mind that it's likely his shop had no name. I hope you will understand that we are kept busy answering questions about department stores and can't really do research for individuals about all kinds of stores and businesses from the past 150 years. Good luck in your searches. -- JW
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What store was on quackerbridge rd nj -- When? Where exactly? Trenton? So many possible answers to such a vague question. When the Quakerbridge Mall opened in 1976, Macy's, Bamberger's, and Hahne's were planning to be there. In 1989 Lord & Taylor moved in. Probably others. At anther mall on that road a Clover Store opened in 1978, one of Strawbridge & Clothier's low-price stores. -- JW

I think Jan hit all of the possible big stores around Lawrenceville NJ’s Quakerbridge Mall. However, you may be thinking more of Clover. Clover, not located in the mall, usually used Quakerbridge Rd. as its address. It was also the only Philadelphia-based Clover location in central New Jersey. -- ML

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Hi, I am trying to find out when the department stores started using paper bags with logos. I guess it was around the 1960s, but was not able to locate a reliable source so far. Any suggestions would be very welcome. Thanks! Katarzyna Cwiertka -- There is no definitive source to answer this that I know of, but as far as I can tell department stores (and specialty stores) introduced shopping bags ca. 1950 to discourage requests for store delivery. Some stores began to decorate the bags, such as Halle's in the late 1950s (a pink geranium), and Bloomingdale's in 1954 (a gloved hand, an umbrella, a rose, and a sheet of paper with a large red B on it). By 1963 Bloomingdale's was giving away 3 million bags a year. Decorated bags were becoming common in the early 1960s, but in the 1970s some stores eliminated them because of rising rates of shoplifting. Exhibitions of decorated shopping bags took place in the late 1970s and I believe the Smithsonian Institution had a collection of them. -- JW
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Does anyone know when the Edgar A. Stevens store in Evanston, IL closed its doors? I bought a vintage coat that originated there and am trying to date it. Thanks very much! Also, I don't know if you've ever heard of it, but there was a family-owned department store called MOBUDS in the tiny town of South Houston, Texas. I believe it closed in the early sixties; we shopped there up from the mid-50s until about 1962 (I think), when we moved across town into Houston proper. I've never been able to find any reference to it online. -- I can find no trace of Edgar A. Stevens, basically a women's apparel store, after 1964 and I would doubt it was in business much longer than that given the decline of retailing downtown and the beginning of urban redevelopment activities. As for Mobud's, I can find no trace at all. -- JW
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I found what appears to be an old brass charge coin fob but it says compliments of THE W.E. MILLER CO. Winchester, IND. it also has return to address on opposite side No. 339 on it. Do you have any information on this store and with the word compliments on it, do you think it's legit? Thanks in advance! -- The W[illiam] E. Miller store was founded as a dry goods store in 1880 in Winchester. He died in 1916, and I don't know what the store's fate was after that. Charge account coins were common around that time and, even if the store continued beyond his death, I would guess the coin dated from before 1916. I can't see any reason why someone would fake it. -- JW
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Hello again, In regards to the Danbury clothing line, the information I have on the sales receipt is Greene street, New York city. Thanks for looking into this. 619 -- Ok, that is important to know. When I thought you were looking for a store in Danbury CT, I noticed that there were many clothing workers in that city. I can easily imagine that there might have been a business with its production facilities in Danbury but its wholesaling done out of NYC since that's where buyers from stores all over the US went to acquire fashion merchandise. But beyond that, I don't know, as clothing production and wholesaling is pretty much outside my scope of knowledge. -- JW
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Was there a specific time period that Department Stores begin to differentiate themselves with merchandise and service in terms of the economic classes of their shoppers? Many larger cities had a department store(s) which catered to the "carriage trade", the middle class and the working class. I live near Cincinnati where the carriage trade shopped at Pogues or Mabley & Carew, the middle class shopper at Shillitos and the working class shopper at Mc Alpins or Alms & Dopke. It seems like the higher end department stores had to shift down to cater to a more middle class shopper in the 1970's. -- Not a simple question to answer! From the start in the 1800s, department stores were somewhat stratified in terms of which classes they aimed for. One big change that came along was the demise of many (but not all) of the "popular" rock-bottom bargain department stores of that era that were designed for lower-income shoppers. In the 1920s many department stores scaled up because of fierce competition. But, overall, they needed many, many customers, so most wanted to draw from as many social and economic classes as possible, and their departments reflected that, from the basement stores that had lower-priced merchandise to the custom dress salons that tried to lure high income customers. Department stores faced quite a challenge from small dress shops that offered very individualized and personalized service to affluent customers. Many wealthy people were said to avoid department stores because they were viewed as for the masses, and displaying mass taste, with multiples of every style. On the whole the "carriage trade" notion, though it was not entirely absent, has been overemphasized. The basic customer for department stores was always the middle class shopper who ranged from the better paid industrial working families to the upper middle professional class. Teachers formed a core customer base. In the Depression and thereafter many stores downplayed the the fancy, ornate interiors, and cut back somewhat on services to keep costs down. This was in line with the entire culture which was becoming more informal, with less pretension and need for fancy trappings. Part of the crisis of the 1970s was that the big box "discount" stores of that decade were stealing away a lot of business from traditional department stores. Also, young people weren't too interested in department stores. What you noticed may have been an attempt to face these challenges. -- JW

Jan pretty much hit the nail on the end when it came to the evolution of the department stores and how they assumed their various clienteles. Early successful department stores were regarded for their selections, services, and sales guarantees. They were geared toward the middle class, an everything for “everybody” business. Successful department stores allowed the shopper to feel that they were “trading up,” at least on the upper floors. I like looking at the physical layout of Manhattan in terms of the progression of the department store. Many early retailers centered at or below 14th St. As the city grew north, large stores moved “up” to the 34th St. area. But the higher end retailers went farther north, to the carriages and countryside of Central Park. “Higher end" stores were located around 50th St. and higher. By the 1920s and 1930s, the once rich fertile ground of 14th St. area stores, were now home to “lower” retailers such as Klein’s, Ohrbach’s, and Hearn’s. The middle of Manhattan’s shopping district, home of some the city’s major subway and train stations, became home to the major and massive middle class retailers such as Macy’s and Gimbels. -- ML

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Just wondering if you have any information on Danbury Clothing in the 1920's? -- I have not heard of it. Was it in Danbury CT? It does not sound as though it was a department store. There was a department store in Danbury called John McLean, Inc.
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I have an old bottle and box of Jasmine perfume. It says Nelson Detroit.Was that a department store? Thank you so much. Not that I know of, but if I learn more I will report back. -- JW
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This might not be exactly in your purview--but I recall a Dapper Dan's discount men's clothing store in Elizabeth New Jersey through the 70's. Does this ring a bell with you? JS -- I, for one, can find no trace of it. -- JW
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To answer the question about a department store on Springfield Avenue in Newark. Field's was a junior sized department store located on Springfield Avenue and S. 6th Street. Like many retail stores it as heavily damaged during the July 1967 riots, but unlike most stores they rebuilt and reopened, and remained in business through the late 1970's. Today the building hosts a discount furniture store. Most of Newark's major department stores were located downtown (and avoided damage during the riots), the exception was Sears, which operated a large multi level store on Elizabeth Avenue in Newark's South Ward. Sears closed this store around 1976, KA. -- Thanks, Ken.
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I live in Georgia and Belk stores used to sell chocolate candy and I am trying to find out what is was called and who made it. In the 1980s I used to buy individually wrapped candy that was a chocolate disk about the size of a medium pancake with cashews in it. They had these on the counter beside the cash registers. Anyone remember that candy? -- I lived in Savannah during the late 1980s so I have a faint idea of what candy you are talking about. Besides Godiva, many large Belk stores carried chocolates, especially when there was still such a thing as candy counters, made by the “Sweet Shop.” The company still seems to exist and is operated by Price’s Chocolates, a longtime candy maker that supplied many department stores. Go to www.sweetshopusa.com and see if anything seems familiar. -- ML
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Do you have any information on a department store called Haggerty's? My grandmother worked for them in southern California as a millinery buyer. I believe they had a store in San Jose too. -- Haggerty's was not a department store but an upscale women's specialty store. Consequently I don't know a whole lot about it, but it was evidently founded by J. J. Haggerty in Los Angeles in the early 20th century. By 1915 there were 4 in LA and one newly opened in Sacramento. They were known by various names then, such as the New York Cloak and Suit House and Palais des Modes. By 1961 there were 10 stores in S. California, with two opening in 1960, one of them in Palm Springs. -- JW

J.J. Haggarty established the New York Cloak and Suit House in 1905 but relocated the business to 7th and Grand, opposite the J.W. Robinson flagship store. Haggarty coordinated the opening of its new store with that of Robinson’s in May 1915. Haggarty’s downtown Los Angeles store conceded its flagship status to Beverly Hills and fell off of the store roster by the early 1960s. By 1968, the "prestige fashion stores” were located in Beverly Hills, Pasadena, Santa Ana, Lakewood, Downey, Canoga Park, Bakersfield, and Palm Springs. However drowning in $4.4 million in debt, Haggarty’s threw a going out of business sale in May 1970. In August 1970, San Francisco fashion store Roos-Atkins acquired the Beverly Hills store’s lease. -- ML

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The Hudson store was running in 1951. On Saturday what time was the store open? -- Saturday hours in 1951 were 9:15 to 5:00, closing one half hour earlier than on other days. -- JW
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Has anyone ever heard of Malone's department store? I believe it was in the Midwest..... There was a Malone's department store in deKalb IL (also one in Tacoma WA), but I don't know anything about it and haven't discovered any sources of information. -- JW
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Can you provide history of Legett's Department Store? -- Fred Bennett Leggett founded the first Leggett store in Danville, Virginia, in 1918. In 1921 the Leggett stores then existing (not sure how many) joined Belk's, becoming the first to partner with Belk's, a chain that grew through partnering. It seems that thereafter the stores were referred to either as Leggett's or Belk-Leggett's. Many in the chain were small stores in small towns, primarily selling moderately-priced clothing for the whole family. By 1956, when F.B. Leggett died, there were 54 Leggett stores in 5 states, reportedly VA, WV, NC, MD, and OH. In 1963 when Leggett's celebrated its 75th anniversary, it was part of a chain of 400 stores under the Belk's umbrella. In 1978 there were 67 Leggett stores, in the same 5 states as 1956 except for Delaware instead of Ohio. In the late 1


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Available directly from Jan for $20 postpaid.




Missing Stores

Abraham & Straus – Adler's -- Addis & Dey -- Alexander's -- B. Altman – AM&A -- Anderson-Newcombe -- Arbaugh's -- Auerbach's -- L.S. Ayres – Bacon's -- Bamberger’s – Battelstein's -- Bendel's -- L. L. Berger -- Bergner's -- Bernheimer-Leader – Best & Co. -- Blach's -- James Black Co. -- Gus Blass -- Block’s – Block & Kuhl -- Boggs & Buhl – Bon-Marche [WA & NC] – Bonwit Teller -- Boston Store -- Boylan-Pierce -- H. H. Bowman -- Brach Thompson -- Brandeis -- Braunstein's -- John Bressmer -- Brett's -- Brintnall's -- The Broadway – Brock's -- Brody's -- John A. Brown -- Brown's -- Buffums -- Bugbee's -- Bullock’s – Burdines – Burger Phillips -- Bush & Bull -- Cain-Sloan -- Calendar, McAuslan & Troupe -- The Carl Co. -- Carlisle's -- Castner-Knott -- Chappell's -- T. A. Chapman -- City of Paris -- Clark's -- M.M. Cohn -- Arnold, Constable -- Craig's -- Crosby Bros. -- Cox's -- The Crescent -- Crowley-Milner -- Dalton's -- Daniels & Fisher – Davidson's -- Davison’s – Dayton’s – De Lendrecie -- DeLoach -- Demery & Co. -- Denholm’s – Denver Dry Goods – Desmond's -- The Diamond -- Donaldson’s – Dunlap's -- Dunnavant's -- Eastman Bros. & Bancroft -- Edgar's -- E.W. Edwards & Son -- Ellis, Stone & Co. -- Emery, Bird, Thayer – Emporium-Capwell – Epstein's -- Espenhain's -- The Fair [multiple] – Famous-Barr – Filene’s – Flah's - Foley’s – Forbes & Wallace -- Fowler, Dick & Walker -- Fowler's -- B. Forman -- Fox – Frank & Seder – Franklin-Simon -- Frederick & Nelson’s – H. Freedlander Co. -- Frost Bros. -- Froug's -- Furchgott's -- Wm. F. Gable Co. -- Gabriel's -- Garfinckel's -- Gayfer's -- John Gerber Co. -- Gertz -- Gilchrist's -- Gilmore Bros. -- Gimbels – Gladdings -- Glass Block -- The Globe Store -- Godchaux's -- Golds -- Goldblatt’s – Goldenberg Co. -- Goldsmith’s – Goldstein-Migel -- Goldwater’s – Gottschalk's -- Goudchaux -- W. T. Grant -- Grieve -- Grossman's -- Gutman's -- Bisset & Holland -- Hahne’s – Hale Bros. -- Halle’s – Halliburton's -- Hamburger & Sons – L.Hammel -- Harris -- Harris-Emery -- Harvey's -- Harzfeld's -- Hearn’s – Hecht’s – Heer's -- S.H. Heironimus -- Hemphill-Wells -- Hengerer's -- Hennessy's -- Hens & Kelly -- Henshey's -- Herberger's -- Herbst -- Herpolsheimer’s – Hink's -- Hinkle's -- Hinshaw's -- Hochschild-Kohn – D.H. Holmes – Hudson’s – Hutzler’s -- Innes – Iszard’s – Ivey's -- Jacobson's -- Jacome's -- Jellefs -- Jenss -- The Jones Store – Jones & Jones -- Jordan-Marsh – Joseph Horne – Joske's -- Joslin's -- Kahn's -- Kann’s – Karroll's -- Katz -- Kaufman's -- Kaufmann’s – Kennington's -- Kerr's -- Kessler's -- Killian's -- Kilpatrick's -- S. Klein -- Kline's -- J.W. Knapp -- Korrick's -- Krauss's -- Lamont's -- Lamson's -- Lane's -- Lansburgh's -- LaSalle’s – F&R Lazarus – Leggett -- H. Leh & Co. -- Leonard's -- Levy's -- J.R. Libby -- Liberty House – Lintz -- Lion -- Lipman's -- Lit Brothers -- Frederick Loeser’s – Loveman's -- B. Lowenstein -- A. W. Lucas -- Maas Brothers – Mabley & Carew -- I. Magnin -- Joseph Magnin -- Edward Malley -- Mandel Brothers – Manchester's -- J. Mandelbaum & Sons -- Maison Blanche – Marshall Field’s – Marston’s – Martin's -- May Company – May-Cohen -- Mays -- McAlpin's -- McClurklan's -- McCreery's - McCurdy's -- G. M. McKelvey -- McRae's -- R.A. McWhirr -- Meier & Frank – Meis -- Meyers-Arnold -- I. Miller -- Miller & Paine -- Miller's -- Miller & Rhoads – Mills Dry Goods -- Edward C. Minas -- Missoula Mercantile Co. -- Monnig's -- Montgomery Fair -- Muller's -- Myer's Bros. -- Namm’s – Neusteter's -- Newman's -- O'Connor-Moffatt -- Ohrbach's -- M. O'Neil -- O'Neill's -- Orr's -- The Outlet -- The Palace -- Palais-Royal -- The Paris -- Parisian Stores -- B. Peck -- Peck's Dry Goods -- Peerless -- Pelletier's -- Penn Traffic -- People's Department Store -- Perkins-Timberlak -- Pfieffer -- Pizitz -- H&S Pogue – Polsky's -- Pomeroy's -- Popular Dry Goods -- Porteous, Mitchell & Braun -- Porter's -- Powers -- H.C. Prange -- Proffitt's -- Walter Pye's -- Quackenbush -- Read's -- J. Redelsheimer -- Regenstein's -- Rhodes -- Rices-Nachmans -- Rich’s – Richard's -- Rike’s – Rines Bros. -- Robeson's -- J.W. Robinson’s – Rogers -- Ronzon's -- Root's -- Rorabaugh-Buck -- Rose's -- Rosenbaum's -- Rosenwald's -- Roshek's -- Rothschild & Sons -- Rubenstein's -- Russell's -- Sage-Allen -- Sakowitz -- Sanger-Harris – Scarborough's -- Scranton Dry Goods -- Schreiner's -- Schuneman & Evans -- Schuster's -- Scruggs, Vandervoort, Barney – Selber Bros. -- Shepard’s – Shillito’s – Shriver’s – Sibley’s – Siegel-Cooper -- Thos. Smiley & Co. -- Smith & Welton -- Smith & Wilkins -- Snellenburg’s – Ben Snyder Co. -- Jos. A. Spiess -- Steiger's -- Steinbach -- R. H. Stearn's -- Steinfeld's -- Steinmart's -- Stekete's -- Sterling-Lindner -- Stern’s – Charles A. Stevens -- Stewart's [MD & TX] -- Stix, Baer, & Fuller -- Stone Thomas – Strawbridge & Clothier – Stripling's -- Strouss-Hirshberg – Swanson's -- Tapp's -- John Taylor Dry Goods -- W. Taylor Co. -- Thalhimer’s – Tichte-Goettinger – Tiedtke's -- Troutman's Emporium -- The Union -- Upton's -- Van Arsdale's -- Vandever's -- Walker's -- Walker Bros. -- Walker-Scott -- John Wanamaker – H.P. Wasson -- Watt & Shand – Week's -- Weichmann's -- Weinstock’s – Chas. V. Weise -- J.B. White -- The White House [CA & TX] -- White & Kirk - R.H. White’s – Whitner's -- Wieboldt's -- Wilkin's -- Wilmington Dry Goods -- Woodward & Lothrop -- Wolf & Dessauer -- Woolf Bros. -- Wolff & Marx -- Edward Wren Co. -- Wurzburg's -- Yetter's -- Young Quinlan -- Younkers -- ZCMI -- Zollinger-Harned

Jacobson's, Dearborn MI

Webers, Zanesville

Stern's, NYC

Miller & Rhoads, Richmond

Snellenburg's, Philadelphia

Loveman's, Birmingham

Forbes & Wallace, Springfield, Mass.

Cain-Sloan, Nashville

Stewart & Co., Baltimore

Rotunda at Hess Brothers, Allentown PA.

Maison Blanche, New Orleans.

The famous Tiffany mosaic dome at Marshall Field's, Chicago.

Schuneman & Evans, St. Paul.

The corner clock at L. S. Ayres, Indianapolis, is barely visible.

Bamberger's -- "Bam's" -- expanded rapidly in the 1920s. Macy's bought it in 1929.

Logo sent by a generous site visitor.

Joske's, San Antonio, billed itself "Largest Store in Largest State."

For more information on department stores, see my other sites listed below.