FrouFrou 4 YouYou

Chicago Millinery History: Martha Rahl March 11, 2017

pullmanbldg2

Martha Rahl had quite the location for her millinery establishment at 202 S. Michigan Ave, the Pullman Building, seen above, at the corner of Michigan and Adams. This is the west side of the street, across from the Art Institute of Chicago. The block west of Michigan was Wabash, and on that entire block north of Adams were the millinery meccas of Gage Hat and Edson Keith, primarily wholesalers. It was an excellent location, her last location.

downtown street building drawing of lots

Looking at the drawing of the Pullman Building in block 5, https://chicagology.com/goldenage/goldenage067/, one sees the western half of the block north, block 4, with the Palmer House across from it. The Pullman building had been built in 1893, by the Pullmans who built rail cars, with two other mega buildings south of the downtown area. They put their executives in offices of this ten story building, and included the first floor of shops. At the time of this map it shows the south edge of the Pullman building butting the Palmer House stables,(Red arrow), probably an unpleasantly fragrant place. By the time Martha had her shop in the Pullman Building the stables had been replaced in 1904 by the Chicago Orchestra Hall, now known as Symphony Center. The other shops in the Pullman building in 1926 included linens, gloves and corsets, books, cigars, the Tip Top Café, and best of all, Fannie May Candy.

Fannie May candy has been around since their first shop in 1920 at 11 N. LaSalle, north of the financial district, several blocks west of Michigan Ave. By the time we find Martha’s shop listed in a directory in 1923, Fannie May had 22 shops, making their $.70/lb candy quite the draw for anyone near the building. That foot traffic could only have augmented the foot traffic into Martha’s shop as well.

Backtracking to the earlier years for Martha and we find her listed in a directory for Houston, TX in 1900, as a trimmer at Miss Katie G. Welch, located at 615 Main St, and rooming at 818 Main St. Katie also roomed at the same location.

Sometime after that she came to Chicago, as the first ad we find is in 1905.The shop was at 30 N. Michigan and remained there till she moved a block away, sometime after 1917.

Martha does not appear in the 1900 Polk directory, the 1904, 1906, 1910 Blue Book, nor oddly the 1910 directory, yet she advertised in the Blue Book back in 1905. The same ad appears in the 1915 issue of the Blue Book, so she did not give up on it entirely.She appears in a 1917 Directory still at 30 N. Michigan, suite 615.

The 1910 census has Martha, 26, as a milliner living as a lodger at 2018 Independence in Chicago. A residence address in 1923 is given for 4462 Woodlawn, and her occupation is listed as ladies ready to wear. http://www.chicagoancestors.org/sites/default/files/downloads/1923ra-re.pdf

ChicagoBB1915_0820

It seems likely Martha read thru the 1904 issue and looked at the millinery competition, thinking she could do well in reaching out to the biggest spenders. Maison Novelle ran a full page ad just inside the cover. The ten milliners with ads were scattered around the city. None had shops on Michigan Ave, tho two had locations in the Masonic Temple. Many other shops existed, they just did not advertise in the Blue Book.

The Masonic Temple was built in 1892, and was considered the tallest building in Chicago from 1895-1899 at twelve stories. It’s location on the northeast corner of Randolph and State is now a Walgreens, across from Macy’s store, the former Marshall Field store.

Chicago_Masonic_Temple_Building

The two milliners from the Masonic Temple were Mrs. Marguerite Prucka on the fifth floor, and Madam Hunt on the twelfth floor. Madam Hunt’s ad also included her title as President of the National Milliners Association.

Hats were sold in department stores, apparel shops and millinery shops. Knowing who your overall competition is remains a fundamental aspect of successful marketing, especially in the immediate vicinity, including apparel stores and department stores.
Two of the big players nearby in the high end fashion apparel stores would be Blum’s and Leschin.

Blum’s Vogue

624 S. Michigan Avenue was built in 1908 for the Chicago Musical College,  headed by Florenz Ziegfield Sr. Mr. Ziegfeld was the father of the Broadway Follies producer Flo Ziegfield, Jr. Topping off at 15 floors  in 1922 they had the building renamed the Blum Building.

Leschin

318 Michigan Ave South.
In 1916 Jack Leschin, who had handled the millinery department for the now defunct Ferguson Dept store, opened in the old Ferguson location. Capitalized at $100,000 he partnered with several who had been associated with Bonwit Teller in NYC.
In 1921 “Samuel Leschin, milliner” leased space for 10 years fronting State St at Jackson for millinery. Is this a relative of Jack’s?

An ad from Leschin on March 4, 1925 features a lace and taffeta dress for $75. That is a high end dress, $933.37 in 2017 dollars.
Oct 8 1929 full page ad features Leschin designs, including draped on the head hats for $18.50. Since the Stock Market Crash of 1929 started Oct 24, one wonders how many shoppers regretted some of their expensive fashion investments. The Depression impacted all retail, but Leschin weathered things well enough to move to classier digs in 1931.

Department stores two blocks to the west of Michigan Ave, on State Street, drew a high concentration of shoppers.

Perhaps Martha had the time to read the Sunday Tribune newspaper on March 1, 1925. That year Easter was April 12, so the last minute rush was not upon her just yet.
To look at the ads for millinery from her closest competitors, one finds a variety of price point items. Mid-priced and lower priced millinery could be found at $5 for Felts at Mandels, Hillmans, with a 26th Anniversary Sale, of 5000 hats at $4.45, and Sears, Roebuck and Co. at $3.45-$3.85.
mar 2 1925 fields ad
Since Marshall Field and Co. did not advertise on Sunday, one would need to wait for the full page fashion ad of Monday, March 2, 1925. The drawing in the center of the page shows the narrow lines of the dresses, and the cloche hats. It was Spring Opening that day, with plenty of loyal customers headed downtown to make their selection. The paragraph on the right side of the print section advises the reader to select a “Wee Sleekit Beastie” rhinestone pin of horses, owls, elephants, dogs, peacocks and lions for $1.50, as they “are quite correct for Spring bonnets.”

carsons ad mar 2 1925

Carson Pirie Scott and Co featured some hats at $15 in their ad.

mar 1 1925 fashion article
One of the fashion articles March 1 indicated the silhouette had not really changed, and an ad for the high end Johnson & Harwood completed the other half of the page. Three pages filled with the women of society and club activities would have caught Martha’s attention, as her clientele were likely to include some society ladies. Keep in mind the Blue Book ad twenty years before which Martha ran in 1905, and in 1915, had her hats costing $10-$150.

Directories for the city with the Pullman Building mention the Martha Rahl shop thru 1930. It makes one wonder if the Depression took it’s toll on the business.

Sadly tho, it seems the spring fashion pages of 1925 were the last for Martha herself, as for unknown reasons she died on July 19, 1925. She had lived on the south side, and was buried at a south side cemetery, Oak Woods at 1035 East 67th Street.

Martha may have only lived 43 years, but she saw a lot of hats from Michigan to Houston to Chicago, having had one of the finest shops on Michigan Avenue.

Name: Martha Rahl
Birth Date: 30 Sep 1881
Birth Place: Battle Creek, Michigan
Death Date: 19 Jul 1925
Death Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois
Burial Date: 21 Jul 1925
Cemetery Name: Oakwoods
Death Age: 43
Occupation: Manager – apparel shop
Race: White
Marital Status: S
Gender: Female
Residence: Chicago, Cook, Illinois
Father Name: Walter Rahl
Father Birth Place: Scarnton, Pennsylvania
Mother Birth Place: New York, New York
 

Chicago Millinery History: Directory 1923 Comparison of Clark St & Milwaukee Ave. March 8, 2017

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Cecelia Heselbarth Chicago Milliner

The 1923 Polk Directory was the precursor of what would become the “phone book.”
On two pages there were many dozens of milliners and millinery shops listed. Intense desire exists to learn all about each and every one, but it would take years of research to uncover the lives of these people. Not that it won’t be attempted.

Besides wanting to know about the individuals, another question arose when two areas were selected to examine how many milliners or shops were in two different areas of the city.
Two diagonal streets were selected on the north side. One, Clark Street, was chosen as it was an area in which the last long successful milliner had his last shop.

Having made hats for fifty years, Raymond Hudd had shops in the early years on Elm and then on Oak. But Clark Street was the one some Chicagoans may still remember, as he closed in 2000.

The other diagonal street, Milwaukee Av. was also an outreach from the Loop, the downtown of the city, tho it was further west. It was a main thoroughfare for expansion. It was selected for this review, not based on some scientific or logical basis, but as it was the western edge of my neighborhood in my youth. Hopefully this review could trigger some recall of hat shops still present later, in the 1950s. Nothing else has brought those hat shops back to mind so far.

Clark St from North Ave to Diversy, 1600-2800 North, covers 12 blocks = 4 hat shops:

Celia Heselbarth 2335 Clark

The Agnes Shoppe 2455 Clark

Authenrieth and Streat 2556 Clark

Mrs. Hortense Bates 2743 Clark

That seemed like a lot of Hat shops in a small area. It did not include cross streets, which also likely had shops.

Milwaukee Ave from 2400 to 3000 North, covers 6 blocks=8 shops.

Minnie Levinstein 2453 Milwaukee

Tillie Anderson 2533 Milwaukee

Mary E. Luckman 2534 Milwaukee

Ella Evans 2638 Milwaukee

Celia C. Mall 2648 Milwaukee

Josephine Kaminski 2846 Milwaukee

Mrs. Pauline Schlesinger 2868 Milwaukee

Bartholmae Michalski 2978 Milwaukee

Perhaps this section does not have as many cross streets with more hat shops.

In trying to determine why there would be so many less shops on Clark St, one wonders if the proximity to the Loop for the Clark St area residents took them downtown to shop, as there was an intense clustering of options there. Perhaps the residents of the Clark St. area had greater access to transportation to get down town, and more disposable income to spend on more, and more costly hats downtown.

The residents of Milwaukee Ave would have been heavily immigrant groups, with perhaps less English language fluency to deal with downtown, and less comfort in traveling further into the even more intense urban area of the Loop. Less disposable income may have led those shoppers to chose to buy locally where additional funds were not spent on transportation.

It seems possible the rents charged for shop areas along Clark were higher than along Milwaukee, but finding factual information on this in 1923 looks like it could be a major task.

Anyone have some other thoughts why there would be more shops on Milwaukee than Clark? (Both had probably equitable open lands, Clark with Lincoln Park, and  Milwaukee with Logan Square and park area.) So many questions, no real answers.

Now back to those dozen milliners and shops. Ancestry.com reveals many tidbits of the past. Census records give insight to the lives of many.

Clark St.

Of the four on Clark St, the one named Agnes has too little information to explore. We are down to three to investigate.

Authenrieth and Streat 2556 Clark
In the residential section of the directory Authenrieth is not seen, with the appropriate page unavailable. (Who tore that out? Shame on you! ) Mrs. Ruth Streat lived at 927 Beuna. Nothing further has been found.

Mrs. Hortense Bates 2743 Clark
In the residential section of the directory Hortense is listed as living at the Edgewater Beach Hotel. Those would be pretty nice accommodations in 1923, leading one to think Hortense had a good millinery business, even tho nothing further has been found.

Celia Heselbarth 2335 Clark
In the residential section of the directory Celia is listed as 2335 Clark do. The meaning of the abbreviation “do” is not in the key to abbreviations, so one makes a guess. DO could mean directly over, as it was common for shops to have owners living on the premises.

Cecelia Heselbarth is the one from Clark St where plenty of information could be found. She was born in 1870 in IL and died 11/28/1953 in Chicago IL. She is buried at St Boniface Cemetery on Clark St in Chicago, and shares a headstone with sister Sophia Schirra born 1869.

In the 1900 Census Cecelia, listed as Sadie, age 28, born in IL, with a mother born in WI and a father born in Germany, is married to Robert Hasselbarth, 34, born in IL in 1865. They have been married for 5 years and have no children. Robert is a clerk, and Sadie works in millinery. They live at 274 Lincoln, an address which changed when the city renumbered in 1909 to about the 700 block of Lincoln, between Huron and Superior, but it no longer remains. (There is a family tree on Ancestry which lists Celia’s married name as Heselbarth, and maiden name as Dietrich, with a census listing a father who was a brick mason, and sister Sophia born in 1869 The picture at top of this blog post if of Celia/Cecelia from the Family Tree from JGurion on the Bohman Family Tree http://person.ancestry.com/tree/24136540/person/1997961176/facts )
A 1904 city directory lists Mrs. Celia Heselbarth at 274 Lincoln, under the heading of Milliners.

In the 1910 census Cecelia is still living with Robert, married 13 years with no children. She is a proprietor of a millinery store, and Robert is a foreman in an enameling factory. This is the last that can be found of Robert. They were living at 2265 Lincoln, which in 2017 has two floors of apartments above the Kelsy’s Bar.

In the 1920 census Cecelia is widowed, and rents to a “roomer” another woman, Mollie Weishaar, age 30, who is a milliner. They are still living at 2265 Lincoln. Cecelia still owns a millinery shop, which could well be located at 2335 Clark, as found in the 1923 Polk Directory. (2335 N. Clark in 2017 is a Byline Bank, located next door to the Reebie Storage, with a most notable façade.) The Ancestry.com family tree includes pictures of Cecelia, Mollie/Amalia, and Sophia together.

In the 1930 census Cecelia and Sophia Shirra are both widowed, and Cecelia is listed as a “roomer”, and Amalia Weishaar, 38, a milliner. Cecelia still owns her millinery shop. Now all three women are at 4830 N. Damen. Sophia owns the building at a value of $7,000, and rents an upstairs flat to a family for $42.50/month.

In 1940 it is just Sophia and Celia, 70, now referred to as a sister, has her shop, and they are still living together. They are at the same 4830 N. Damen in a $3,000 valued two flat owned by Sophia, with a family of five as renters upstairs with a rent of $22/mo. All had been there since at least 1935. It is impressive that they were able to maintain their lifestyle to keep the home during the Depression.

As the 1950 census is not available for review, it is unknown where the story led for Cecelia/Celia, and she died in 1953.

Milwaukee Av:

Minnie Levinstein 2453 Milwaukee

In the census on ancestry.com much is revealed. Since Minnie was never married,  she is one of the easiest to track back in time. She was born June 11, 1896, and died May 26, 1977.

In 1900 the census has Minnie at age three living at 10 Newberry, in a two-flat building. She is with her parents and six other siblings. Her father, “Himan”, was a tailor with his own shop. Her mother, Anna was not employed, but with so many children at home, she worked, probably night and day. The oldest son, Simon worked for Western Electric. Both parents were from Russia and spoke Yiddish as their language. They had come to the US in 1880, and were naturalized in 1890.

In 1910 Minnie is 13. She is living with her parents, and her father is now called “Herman”, 49 yrs old. This census again asks her mother how many children she had and how many were presently alive. Anna had eight children, but only six were alive, with Minnie’s younger sister Bessie no longer included among those living in the house. They are living at 872 Paulina, in a three-flat building.

In 1920 Minnie is 23, and the only other sibling is Benjamin, a drug delivery person, living with their parents, Hyman, 60 yrs old, a tailor, and Anna, 55 yrs old. Minnie’s occupation of milliner was transcribed as  “MUDLER.” They rent at 1351 Keeler Ave.

In 1923 the Polk Directory in the residential section it lists Minnie as a milliner with her shop, but her residence is 3547 Van Buren.

In 1930 Minnie is 33, a milliner, tho now a stepdaughter, and living with her mother Anna, now listed as P. Anna, 62, and Anna’s new husband, Benjamin Counselbaum. The stepfather is retired, but it seems possibly the economic situation for them has improved, as the stepfather owns their home, valued at $12,000. They lived in a greystone two flat, still standing, at 3547 Van Buren, where Minnie had moved before 1923. One wonders if her mother had moved with her, and hence met her new husband to be, Benjamin? They have endured the stock market crash of 1929, but the most of the Depression is still ahead, and likely great jeopardy for her millinery business.

minnie levinstein couselbaum van buren house

In 1940 Minnie is living in a large group hotel, the West Manor Hotel at 210 S. Ashland, one of 115 residents. She has been there since at least 1935. It is likely her mother and stepfather have both died during the past decade. The quality of life may have been a challenge, as during the past year she has only worked 25 weeks, as a dressmaker, for an income of $500. As little as that seems, many of the other women living there did not make a lot more. Many nurses lived there, some employed at Cook County hospital, and some at private hospitals. Incomes for a state hospital nurse was noted for 26 weeks at $700, and at county hospital for 39 weeks at $500. On the low end of wages was a woman employed for 20 weeks for $300 as a designer of commercial art. On the high end of wages were two women, one a public school teacher for 38 weeks who earned $1,250. The other was a Board of Education clerk, for 47 weeks, who received $1,438.
Tho there were rough times for Minnie/Minette, at some point she moved to California. Her last Social Security benefit was paid to her at 91606 North Hollywood, in LA, CA. She died May 26, 1977, with her address of 90260 Lawndale, LA, CA. She is buried at Roosevelt Memorial Park in Gardenia, CA. Her headstone reads Beloved Aunt.

Tillie Anderson 2533 Milwaukee page not found in 1923 residential section

Mary E. Luckman 2534 Milwaukee
1923 Polk Directory lists Res at 3120 Logan Blvd.See other blog post for the life of Mary:

Ella Evans 2638 Milwaukee 1923 residential section 2436 Wilson

Celia C. Mall 2648 Milwaukee. 1923 residential section 2634 Rockwell

Josephine Kaminski 2846 Milwaukee ?1923 residential section 2135 18th

Mrs. Pauline Schlesinger 2868 Milwaukee
Married ?to Chas Schlesinger at same address

Bartholmae Michalski 2978 Milwaukee

What was happening with hats in 1923? The Flapper era was in full swing, just as was Prohibition. Most often the Cloche comes to mind for the leading style.
Feb 1, 1923 the Chicago Tribune has a full page of Carson Pirie Scott  women’s fashion items. Hats are presented with some turbans in silk and straw. Prices range from $22-$40. “Special mention is made of the Poke or ‘Cloche’ as in Vogue in Paris.” In the Help Wanted section there were six ads for millinery workers.
For the more budget minded, Carson, Pirie, Scott and Co advertised $5 sport hats in Velour the next day.
Mandel Bros gets into the act Feb 3 with 500 Youthful hats, “for school girls and their older sisters,” from $5-$8.75.
The Sunday Tribune of Feb 4 has a top half page article on fashion from Paris with four ensembles including hats. The other half of the page is an ad from Charles A. Stevens, a fashion house of high regard. The section featuring hats indicates they range from $18.50 in the Moderately Priced Millinery on the Fifth Floor. The Help Wanted ads for millinery workers had tripled since just three days before.

Spring hat season was coming alive. In honor of International Womens Day today, let’s tip our hats to the dozen milliners of a dozen blocks in Chicago in 1923. Certainly by March 8, 1923 they were knee deep in hats, since Easter was only weeks away on April 24, 1923.

 

 

Chicago Millinery History Directory 1923 Mary E. Luckman

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The 1923 Polk Directory holds a wealth of information about the abundance of milliners in Chicago. But not all one could hope for, as it was not until the 1929 Directory where wives were included with the womens given names provided in the residential pages. Fortunately, Mary was still single when she had her shop.

http://www.chicagoancestors.org/sites/default/files/downloads/1923businessl-m.pdf#page=31&zoom=240,323,-3

mary luckman logan blvd home 1923

Mary’s shop was at 2534 N. Milwaukee Avenue, but it is sadly torn down. Mary lived at 3120 Logan Blvd. This is a lovely spot across from parkway, in a lovely neighborhood just a couple blocks northeast of the store. The present day picture from Google Earth shows the building just as it was when Mary lived there. More importantly to me, it is just as it was when I walked past it everyday to take the bus to high school in the mid 1960s.

What was Mary’s story before the first indication she was creating a business for herself in millinery? Ancestry.com reveals so many tidbits one can create a storyline.

Mary E. Luckman is a name which shows up in the 1910 census in Dickinson, MI. This Mary is 10 years old and had been born in England. She was living with her parents, who had seven children, only four who were alive in 1910.

In 1920 Mary E Luckman, born in England, age 20, is a servant in the home of Gilbert A. Bliss, at 5625 Kenwood, a teacher of mathematics at the University of Chicago. All has not gone well for Gilbert, tho his two children, Elizabeth, 5 yrs old, and Ames, 16 months old, likely had plenty of attention, but no mother.

Back on June 15, 1912, 36 year old Gilbert married Helen Hurd, then 24. Elizabeth was born in IL, likely Chicago, about 1915. Ames was born Sept 4, 1918. WWI was in full swing, and Gilbert submitted his draft registration, age 42, on Sept 12, 1918, listing Helen as his emergency contact. What uncertain times for Helen, with a 3 year old and a newborn to face the fact she could lose her husband in the war. Somehow those worries were flipped backwards, as Helen was dead by the 1920 census, and it seems Gilbert never had to serve abroad, as the war ended Nov 11, 1918.

In the 1920 census, living with the Gilberts, and Mary E. Luckman, were two other mature women. One was a cousin, Blanche E Dickinson, 53, from IA, who was a kindergardner, working at school. The other woman was Alice E. Fischer, 55, a housekeeper from England.

Life changed quickly in 1920 at the Gilbert household, which probably prompted Mary to explore other work options. Gilbert remarried on Oct. 12, 1920, to Olive Hunter, 36. In the 1930 census it is just the two adults with the two children, and no other helpers were there. Did the stock market crash of 1929 cause the rest of the helpers to be sent away? Had Mary left not long after the marriage as the new bride may have preferred to be the mother and complete caretaker for her newly gained children?

The 1923 Polk Directory provided the listing of Mary’s shop on Milwaukee Av and living close by, but it was not long till things changed again, with the likely closure or sale of the shop.

April 30, 1924 Mary Luckman married John Gaecke, of Wisconsin, and moved to Wisconsin, at times living with his parents. One wonders what her hat looked like which she wore to her wedding. And what became of all the hats in the shop when she moved on to WI?

Somewhere along the way John and Mary moved to Pinellas, Florida, where they both died; Mary in Oct. 26,1980. One can just imagine Mary knew all the good Green Bay, WI hat shops before finding the warmth of Florida.

In honor of International Women’s Day today, here is a salute to Mary Luckman Gaecke, who found her way from Michigan to Illinois, to Wisconsin, to Florida, most likely with plenty of hats safely packed for the journey.

 

Chicago Millinery History: Mandel Bros Department Store February 5, 2017

Filed under: Chicago,Chicago Millinery History,fashion,hat,Uncategorized — froufrou4youyou @ 2:00 pm
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Mandel Brothers started in Chicago in 1855 and has a well documented history.

Much of the information provided here came from online archived Chicago Tribune newspapers. One might think looking for advertisements from Mandels that year would be enlightening. Would be if any could be found. In the four page newspaper the ads perhaps comprised a total of one page, mostly small boxes of tiny print. Carpets, curtains and cod liver oil are likely grouped with menswear and embroideries. Advertising was yet to come into it’s own. For trendsetting, Carson, and Pirie, before Scott and Co, and then Marshall Field had great faith in news advertising; others followed suit.

With a presence on State Street, they ultimately gained even more success and stature, when located in a shopping area known for the retail leader, Field and Leiter, later known as Marshall Field and Co.

The obituary of Leon Mandel in 1911 shares the story of his arrival here from Germany in 1851 at the age of 10, leaving school at 13. He went to work at a large dry goods store, Ross and Foster, for $2/week. Five years later Leon and his brother were assisted by Ross in opening their first store, at Clark and Monroe.http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1911/11/05/page/5/article/leon-mandel

If one consults the Chicago History Museum account, based upon the part of the Encyclopedia’s Dictionary of Leading Chicago Businesses (1820-2000), the story is somewhat different. “This retail enterprise, which would become one of Chicago’s leading department stores, was founded in 1855 by Bavarian immigrants Solomon Mandel and his uncle Simon Klein. Their first store was located on Clark Street. In 1865, after Solomon’s brothers Leon and Emanuel joined the firm, its name became Mandel Bros.” http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/2755.html

The newspaper article on the death of Mr. Klein indicates that after the Chicago fire of 1871 that Klein opens his own store, and the Mandels opened their own store. What is actually the truth is hard to pick out from such diverse records. http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1895/12/12/page/3/article/simon-klein-expires-suddenly

The first major hurdle to survival for the fledgling entrepreneurs was the Panic of 1857. It seems Leon and Emanuel likely left school to earn money when times were challenging.

Mandels survived two fires, in 1871, the great Chicago Fire, and one in 1874.

During the weeks preceding the 1871 fire, the advertisements were primarily on the front  page of the still four page Chicago Daily Tribune paper. In the month following the fire, more advertising appears as still somewhat intact, tho relocated, stores wanted customers desperate for lost goods to find them, bumping the editions to six pages.

Oct 11 is the day after the fire, and the paper is only two pages. DB. Fisk announces opening at 57 W. Washington about Oct. 17. Hayes, GIbbons and Co had a tiny ad and would reopen within the week on State St. Keith Bros will be at 916 Prarie, which was their home.

Oct. 12, Gage (misspelled Gace, but it seems likely proofreading was sparse just then) has an ad with offices open at 419 Michigan ave, and states they will open at 961 Indiana, about Oct 20. As wholesalers they stocked stores in far away places as well as here.

H. W. and J. M. Wetherell, was advertising wholesale millinery to reopen, and they later did at 369 Wabash. Hard to believe this was so essential, but those were the days no women went out of the house without a hat.

In Nov 1871 Carsons also had reopened south of the burned out center of the city, at 138 22nd St. Mandels opened Nov 6, and was close by at 22nd and Michigan Ave. The fire had burned out both their original store, and the soon to open new store at Harrison and State.

A 1901 account of the life of the youngest brother, Emanuel, credits him with the discovery of the new site, and his successful effort to stock it. He had departed for NY in search of goods, but many others had as well. Instead he went to Detroit and purchased from their wholesale district, having the goods shipped back to Chicago. This allowed the store to reopen a week after the fire. That location was under his guidance for five more years.

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1901/06/16/page/42/article/gallery-of-local-celebrities-no-lxxi-emanuel-mandel

“Within two days they had secured funds for reconstructing the State St building and were underway again when another fire in 1874 ruined the new structure.”

Nov 16, 1883 brought a lesser fire, confined to the 4th floor, which was the top floor, and shattered glass and water caused significant stock damage, fortunately insured. This fire was thought to be caused by overheated steam pipes.

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1883/11/16/page/3/article/the-winds-work

Just when Mandels was fire free, on Feb 23. 1899 a massive fire at an adjoining store created a flood of their entire basement, with loss of mostly carpets and rugs. Manels had just opened a tea room in 1898, so they had plans to stay where they were. Perhaps there was a silver lining to the tragedy of the McClurg store, after all. Mandels purchased the land and had a new store ready to be occupied the start of 1901.

In 1911 Leon Madel’s death was marked by a small box ad in the Tribune on page 3. http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1911/11/05/page/3

The store published their own newspaper for employees. The Chicago History Museum had three issues, from June 26, 1912, Sept 18, 1912, and April 16, 1913. In a column they wrote called Personal Mention there were only three millinery staff included. In June 1912 we learn that Miss Frances Watkins of basement millinery would leave July 2 for a month in Kenosha, WI, and Miss Lee Mohr, “a faithful worker in basement millinery,” leaves July 2 for a month rest. She would be traveling to Canada and also her home in Buffalo, NY. In Sept the good news was shared that Miss Catherine Cornwall married George LeMeiux and left for a NY honeymoon. They would return after Oct. 15, to reside at 1035 N. Lawndale. These extended time off periods are a bit of a mystery. It is highly doubtful these were paid vacation times. Perhaps slow seasons allowed staff to take time off on their own. The April 1913 issue had rankings of the store departments for March sales leaders. Of 148 depts millinery came in number 41, and another millinery group came in 62. Spring sales of Easter wear would have accounted for their success.

On Sept. 21, 1930 the death of Fred Mandel, Leon’s son, was covered in an article. Before he left for Paris he had cut the cake back in March to celebrate the 75th anniversary. Most stores close upon the death of the founder, but this was a founder’s son, so the show had to go on. In this situation there was a 6 page ad running for the 75th anniversary. Hats were $10, and in the Subway Store, the bargain basement, the values were at $3.50.

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1930/09/21/page/85

A centennial celebration for the enterprise in 1955 was covered with an article, mentioning the original brothers Soloman, Leon, Simon and Emanuel joined in 1865, to carry forward the store of Simon Klein, their uncle, which had changed into Klein & Mandel in 1855. 1http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1929/09/11/page/42

Mandels was a leader in many ways, with the first live models for fashions, and in 1934, a unique shopping experience for a niche group, nuns.

“From the perspective of the secular world, one effect of religious practices and identities has been to define potential markets. Mandel Brothers, a downtown department store, took out a full-page ad in a 1934 publication of the Archdiocese of Chicago to announce the existence of private shopping accommodations for nuns.”

http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/11285.html

In 1929 a ladies life included the essential pastime of bridge. Mandel Bros was not to miss a marketing opportunity. They held presentations by a bridge authority in the new Bridge Shop in the Foreign Shop on the 9th floor. Ladies were encouraged to select tallies, prizes, even bridge tables to impress their friends.

Of course one could also shop for a stunning new hat to wear to the favorite bridge game. The KNOX “Piquant” felt hat could be fitted to your head in a choice of four colors for $15. Then again the newspaper reader may already have been even far more impressed by the full page ad from Marshall Field and Co that day. They offered a 2 hour commitment to make your hat, also fitted to your head, for a mere $11, but in SEVENTY-FIVE colors! Not everyone may have been tempted by those options. There was an ad for Charles A. Stevens with a clearance of 200 hats for $2.50, with values to $25.

For the careful reader of the page of school advertisements, there is one tiny box at the bottom of the Vogue School, for fashion. It is listed as held at Millinery Modes 116 S. Michigan Ave. One wonders how many customers thought it would be a swell idea to learn to make their own hats, and perhaps have a career as well. This might be a good idea if you did not love bridge.

The Vogue School was successful, an entity of the The Commercial Art School, started in 1916, and evolved into the Ray-Vogue School of Design. It lastly became the Illinois Institute of Art. (Not to be confused with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.)
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illinois_Institute_of_Art_–_Chicago

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1929/09/10/page/14/article/display-ad-12-no

The lives of the Mandel Bros were anything but dull. If fire did not cause havoc, crime had an impact.

In December 1935, the father Leon and  son Frederick, with their wives, were returning from the Stevens Hotel to the yacht, which was the home of  the Leon Mandels. Gunmen accosted their car, and a shootout ensued. The shootout was on the part of the robbers, the watchman from the yacht, and Mr. Mandel as well. Since the robbers had grabbed Mrs. Mandel as a shield, Mr. Mandel pulled a pistol from the car’s glove box. No one was caught, and fortunately no one died.

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1935/12/01/page/1/article/mandel-party-routs-robbers-in-gun-battle

Certainly one would hope never to experience another gun battle, but such was not the case. At the top of this blog is one front page from the Chicago Tribune from Apr. 1957. A planned major burglary of the store was tipped off to the police and an undercover operation was in place. It had an ugly outcome.  http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1957/04/19/page/1

What remains of buildings which held hats for Mandels? Perhaps only a warehouse at 3254 N. Halstead, where the name is in granite. http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM50JF_Mandel_Brothers_Warehouse_Building_Chicago_IL

For an excellent overview of the company, this blog tells much the same as included above, plus far more. https://jazzagechicago.wordpress.com/mandel-brothers/

Perhaps you wonder what the Mandels did with their wealth? Plenty of things, many philanthropic, but also fun related. In 1940 Fred Mandel, director of Mandel Bros. department store bought the Detroit Lions. (Since today is SuperBowl Sunday, it seemed fitting to add that timely tidbit.)

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1940/01/17/page/21/article/fred-mandel-purchases-detroit-lions-for-200-000

 

 

Chicago Millinery History: Marshall Field and Co. and Millinery Part 2 March 18, 2016

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Marshall Filed and Co was cutting edge in the world of fashion. Millinery was no exception.

Hat selection was a fun tho perhaps time consuming process in the early years. Since there were so many choices a woman would be tempted by many, and in some situations, went home with more than one hat at a time.

Once the hat was selected, the transaction proceeded with cash or credit.

Cash or a check was a quick way to finalize a transaction. When the final “new” building at State and Washington was completed it made getting  your change a high tech event.”An extensive pneumatic-tube system, consisting of over 125,000 feet of tubing and 4,500 carriers, whisked customers’ money to the cashiering department where change was made and sent back to the originating sales counter.” http://web.archive.org/web/20110927065743/http://chicago.urban-history.org/ven/dss/fields.shtml

The Field’s approach to credit was very forward thinking early on in the history of the company. “It was the first store to offer revolving credit.” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_Field%27s

Who is to be credited with this credit approach is sometimes murky. Harry Gordon Selfridge was a leading man in the retail operation. “He greatly increased the store’s advertising budget, expanded its package delivery system, and established a bargain basement to broaden the store’s appeal among less wealthy Chicagoans. He also promised customers complete satisfaction, offering easy credit, the right to return merchandise for a full refund, and numerous in-store amenities such as a personal shopping service and ladies’ tearoom, one of the first of its kind in the nation.” http://web.archive.org/web/20110927065743/http://chicago.urban-history.org/ven/dss/fields.shtml

Credit cards, or charge cards as they could be called, were issued by the store. There was also another approach locally. The Chicago Credit Plate Service, Inc. These Charga cards were a cardboard form slid into the metal embossed on the back frame. The cards were placed into a machine to run over the embossed part with carbon paper between the multi-layer form to transfer the owner info on the receipts.

This credit card was one where a customer could make purchases at several downtown stores, Marshall Field and Co, Mandel Bros, The Fair, Carson, Pirie, Scott and Co, and  Charles A. Stevens. http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-METAL-CHARGE-CARD-CHICAGO-CREDIT-PLATE-SERVICE-MARSHALL-FIELD-CO-EUC-/141887202637?hash=item210922e54d:g:H2wAAOSwKtlWpn7y

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Later on the credit card had a different look. For the gold Rewards card of the 1990s, housed at the Smithsonian, an explanation is provided. “This Marshall Field’s Regards credit card belonged to Ms. Joanne Klein during the 1990s. While a store-issued charge card was once a way to extend credit to reputable customers, by the 1990s they became an avenue for department stores to encourage repeat shoppers and store loyalty by providing perks through store credit cards. For instance, Marshall Field’s Regards card granted the holder a free cup of coffee at the stores’ coffee bar. Store issued cards also gave the store insight into the consumer’s purchasing patterns and shopping behavior.”http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/search/object/nmah_1450048

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One in the corporate color of green was a late issue:

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Marshall Field and Co did not entirely endorse just using credit. They had banks that looked like earlier cards to save money. (Money one might imagine they hoped you would bring back to the store and spend there.)

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Once the transaction was complete the hat went into a hat box. The most often found ones,on the market these days, are round tan/grey wood-look boxes. Some have a same paper as of the box gummed Fields name label. The gummed backing does not stay on well anymore.

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If you need one of these boxes, here is one on Etsy:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/244080310/50-off-easter-sale-vintage-marshall?ref=shop_home_active_9&ga_search_query=Hat%2Bbox

They have a twisted cord handle, far better than later boxes with a string handle. The green shallow lid square boxes did not even have  a handle.  The oldest box is the one shown at the top of this blog. It is 18″round from the French Room, most likely back in the day when the big hat at a big price could be found in that most elite section of the store. The 28 Shop opened in  1941.

More info on the 28 Shop can be found in another post here, as well as on another blog, by Couture Allure:http://coutureallure.blogspot.com/2012/08/marshall-fields-28-shop.html

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This square hatbox is available with a hat from Fields by an Etsy seller, from Indiana. One wonders if the original owner made a trip to State Street to the Mecca of stores, Marshall Field and Co, or had the hat shipped.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/244080310/50-off-easter-sale-vintage-marshall?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=marshall%20field%20hat%20box&ref=sr_gallery_3

 

Chicago Millinery History: Marshall Field and Co, and Millinery Part 1 March 10, 2016

The store of greatest reknown in Chicago is definitely Marshall Field and Co. It’s history as a shopping Mecca for Chicagoans and many millions of visitors is told in many ways. There are magazine articles, newspaper articles, and books which have been written about the man, Marshall Field, as well as the store. There is an online entry for both on Wikipedia. There are postcards through the decades. There are U-Tube films, the best of which should not be missed. Rebecca V. Larkin does more for the image of the man and the store than any other media out there.

Fashion was a top focus for the store. As Marshall Field V tells Ms. Larkin in her interview of him, “The men made the money, and the women spent it.” http://www.pdxhistory.com/html/marshall_fields.html

Those women spent plenty of it on hats. One enjoyable way to look back in time is through the newspaper advertisements placed by Marshall Field and Co in the Chicago Tribune. The ads go back to 1871. The Chicago Tribune began in 1871.

The first spring following the Chicago Fire of 1871 has advertising in March to tempt people to shop. This March 1, 1872 front page ad collection has none from Marshall Fields in all of the entire 6 page issue. (For ease of reading look at bar on bottom of page for + sign to click to enlarge enough to read.)
http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1872/03/01/page/1/article/display-ad-1-no-title
John V. Farwell, a former partner of Marshall Field has his own enterprise, and he has an ad for his April 1 reopening at Monroe and Franklin.

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Should one worry that Field’s store is not active? No, it has reopened in a barn that was renovated quickly just weeks after the fire. The news reports at that time indicated women were lined up around the block to get in. It may be that word of mouth, and reputation was good enough to have enough trade without advertising.

What the hat salespeople of Field’s might be concerned a bit about are two ads on March 3, 1872. On the front page Walsh and Hutchinson is making it known their wholesale house is operating, and will even provide hotel accommodations for the out of town buyers. Since so many structures burned with the fire, it seems lodging would have been at a prime.

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The other ad is even more concerning for millinery competition. On page 5 the ad shows the opening of the first millinery concern in the former burned area, 258 Wabash, at Jackson. Hewes and Prescott reestablished themselves, but it is not known for how long, as no other documentation of them shows up outside of newspaper ads. http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1872/03/03/page/5

The Field’s and Leiter store, as it was still a partnership of Marshall Field and L. Leiter back then, were advertising on March 4 about special fabric goods, so women could get on track to make some summer gowns. Love the part of the ad at the bottom where one could find Butterick patterns on the second floor. They were still at State and 22nd St, in the barn. http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1872/03/04/page/1

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By Mar 1, 1900 the Field’s ad was about 3/4 of a page in the 12 page newspaper. The big deal was the Silver Sale. Field’s had moved back to the Sate St location in 18__. What lady who went in search of silver would not have been tempted to look at hats as well?http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1900/03/01/page/7/article/display-ad-4-no-title

 

On March 5, tho, the ad was one entire back page. Lots of temptations again for any woman of means to create some dresses, and trim their own hats. Veilings, previously to $.85, were available for $.25/yd. The ribbon choices were extensive. Tho feathers were not mentioned, they certainly would have been in stock, too.http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1900/03/05/page/12/article/display-ad-5-no-title

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A decade later ads were still used, but even better is a drawing of what is being espoused as the latest, a green sailor hat:http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1910/03/01/page/10/article/health-and-beauty

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By 1920 the ads make note in a full page ad that Easter is approaching, and Fields has hats in five departments; French Salon, American Room, Sport Room, English Room, and Hat Shapes and Trimmings.

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Finding hats sold at Fields in the vintage market is not too difficult in the Chicago area. Here are some hats from several vintage sellers showing hats:

Frocks and Frills in Wheaton,IL also is online at Etsy:

Pink beaded hat by Amy

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Lilac floral hat by Marshall Field and Co.

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Black hat by Leslie James

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Straw hat by Mr. John

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Sweet Ginger Vintage in Mayfield, WI, and also online on Etsy:

Straw trilby hat by Marshal Field and Co

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FrouFrou4YouYou on Etsy:

Blue floral hat by Marshall Field & Co.

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Red satin hat by Lemington

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Black feather headband by Marshall Field and Co

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Frocks and Frills hats:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/169741860/on-sale-1950s-pink-sequins-hat-amy-for?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=marshall%20field&ref=sr_gallery_22

https://www.etsy.com/listing/267792272/on-sale-1960s-lilac-floral-hat-marshall?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=marshall%20field&ref=sr_gallery_7

https://www.etsy.com/listing/161224109/on-sale-1960s-black-straw-hat-leslie?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=marshall%20field&ref=sr_gallery_38

https://www.etsy.com/listing/238791047/on-sale-1950s-mr-john-straw-hat-taupe?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=marshall%20field&ref=sr_gallery_21

Sweet Ginger Vintage:
Straw trilby hat: https://www.etsy.com/listing/258037025/on-sale-fab-ladies-straw-trilby-by?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=marshall%20field&ref=sr_gallery_35

FrouFrou4YouYou hats:https://www.etsy.com/listing/203180249/blue-floral-hat-with-green-leaves-and?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=marshall%20field&ref=sr_gallery_38

https://www.etsy.com/listing/190984065/vintage-red-satin-with-rose-cocktail-hat?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=marshall%20field&ref=sr_gallery_27

https://www.etsy.com/listing/258843480/black-feather-headband-with-shimmering?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=marshall%20field&ref=sr_gallery_3

 

Chicago Millinery History:Political Conventions 1900-1996 March 3, 2016

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The 1904 Republican-1916 Republican Convention.

In 1904, the Republicans gathered in the second Coliseum on South Wabash, to unanimously nominate President Theodore Roosevelt, who had assumed office after McKinley’s assassination. In 1908, Republicans returned to the Coliseum to nominate Roosevelt’s handpicked successor, William Howard Taft. Roosevelt challenged Taft in 1912, winning almost all the primaries, but was rebuffed by Republican leaders. Fearing violence from Roosevelt supporters, hundreds of Chicago police were on hand, and barbed wire was strung beneath the bunting of the podium. Roosevelt refused to drop out, and two months later the Progressive Party nominated him in the same building. New Jersey governor Woodrow Wilson won in November. In 1916, the Republicans returned to the Coliseum, again rejected Roosevelt, and nominated Supreme Court justice Charles Evans Hughes on the third ballot.

The 1920 Republican Convention

In 1920, the Republicans met again at the Coliseum. The convention was mired in a stalemate until a “senatorial cabal,” meeting in “smoke-filled” rooms 408–10 of the Blackstone Hotel, selected Senator Warren G. Harding. The delegates ratified him on the tenth ballot.

The role of Mrs. Florence Harding was perhaps more aggressive than most, if not all, previous First Lady hopefuls. The campaign headquarters at their OH home allowed for the press to have daily updates. She had been certain to have another structure built on the property to house the press. For years she had run the family newspaper, and knew how to use the press to their advantage. It is rather likely she had worked over a few of those fellow senators of her husband’s peer group herself.

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This gown, in the Smithsonian Museum, was not for the inauguration. One wonders if she had it made even before the election, but perhaps not as early as the nominating convention.

The 1932 Democratic Convention 

Chicago hosted another double convention in 1932. First, Republicans glumly gathered in the new Chicago Stadium during the depths of Great Depression to renominate President Herbert C. Hoover. Two weeks later, Democrats gathered in the same hall and selected Franklin D. Roosevelt over Al Smith on the fourth ballot. Roosevelt flew to Chicago to deliver the first-ever convention acceptance speech.

In 1940 and 1944, Roosevelt was renominated for his third and fourth terms in the Stadium. Republicans challenged him in 1944 with New York governor Thomas E. Dewey, also nominated in the Stadium.

The 1940 _____ Convention

What party? The one with Gracie Allen.

Gracie Allen, the better half of the Burns and Allen comedy duo made an announcement she would run on the Surprise Party ticket. This started as a bit for their radio show, but blossomed. She went from ” I’m tired of knitting this sweater. I think I’ll run for President.” To a special train car fitted for the whistle stop campaign, from Hollywood with 30+ stops, all the way to a national convention for 4 days in Omaha, NB. No, this was not in Chicago, but it certainly had to be a great source for conversation at the conventions held in

The election outcome? Perhaps 40,000 actual votes. Her picture showed her wearing a top hat, as well as fashion of the day hats.

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The 1940 Democratic Convention

File written by Adobe Photoshop¨ 4.0

1940 delegates at the Democratic convention, with one wide brim hat see near the top. Poor girl in bottom right might have been texting, if she had a cell phone. http://www.chicagohs.org/history/politics/photos12.html

The 1944 Democratic Convention

Roosevelt was nominated for a fourth term as President. The big question was who would be nominated for Vice-President. What was of concern was the chance that Henry Wallace could be selected. There was opposition by some , which led to the nomination of Harry Truman.

The 1952 Republican Convention

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http://www.ebay.com/itm/1952-CHICAGO-ILLINOIS-REPUBLICAN-NATIONAL-CONVENTION-RIBBON-/370719134667?hash=item56509513cb:m:mFLN7mxO1L6ej1VhnGk2BDQ

Republican television coverage allowed viewers to see a fist fight of delegates who supported Taft, vs Eisenhower, who won on the first ballot. This convention was held at the International Ampitheater, where wrestling and boxing matches were held, so perhaps the delegates were unclear that a fist fight was not at the right time, if even at the right place.

Political conventions had a new thing happening on television, with Eisenhower benefiting from the use of 20 second commercials. Democratic convention coverage was tamer, but  Aldai Stevenson had a bad outcome with his 30 minute television broadcast, as it interrupted the I Love Lucy program, and viewers wrote to express their dismay.

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Television advertisements in the Chicago Tribune in June 1952 were there to entice the impulse buyer.

http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1952/06/15/page/33/article/display-ad-32-no-title

In 1956 the Democrats met in Chicago to nominate Adlai Stevenson, just as they had in 1952, not that it would turn out any better this time.

News coverage on television took on a more prominent role, as there were more TV’s in households than in 1952. “Perhaps no phenomenon shaped American life in the 1950s more than TELEVISION. At the end of World War II, the television was a toy for only a few thousand wealthy Americans. Just 10 years later, nearly two-thirds of American households had a television.”  http://www.ushistory.org/us/53c.asp

Chet Huntley and David Brinkly did the NBC convention coverage, and were so well received they went on to remain paired as news commentators for the network until they retired in 1970.

“The highlight of the 1956 Democratic Convention came when Stevenson, in an effort to create excitement for the ticket, made the surprise announcement that the convention’s delegates would choose his running mate. This set off a desperate scramble among several candidates to win the nomination; a good deal of the excitement of the vice-presidential race came from the fact that the candidates had only one hectic day to campaign among the delegates before the voting began. The two leading contenders were Senator Kefauver, who retained the support of his primary delegates, and John F. Kennedy, who, as a first term Senator of Massachusetts, was relatively unknown at that point. Kennedy surprised the experts by surging into the lead on the second ballot; at one point he was only 15 votes shy of winning. However, a number of states then left their “favorite son” candidates and switched to Kefauver, giving him the victory. Kennedy then gave a gracious concession speech. The narrow defeat raised his profile and helped Kennedy’s long-term presidential chances, yet by losing to Kefauver he avoided any blame for Stevenson’s expected loss to Eisenhower in November. As of 2015, this was the last time any nomination went past the first ballot.”

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1956_Democratic_National_Convention

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Souvenirs are popular at any large special event. Folks like to have something concrete to relive those wonderful moments of their lives. No idea who sold the cigar that was inside this wrapper, but the paper band has survived.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1952-Souvenir-Cigar-Band-from-the-National-Political-Convention-Chicago-/231373333324?hash=item35deece34c:g:vTcAAOSwQItT5QyL

In the 1950s a lady would not likely have desired a cigar as a souvenir. She would have opted for a handkerchief. Hankies, as they are oft called, were small squares, usually of cotton or linen. The linen were popular for lace or  crochet work around the edges, and the cotton for printed images. Flowers were the most popular, and as seen below, for a political statement.

donkey hankyrepub hanky

Although they would only have likely been priced about $2 when released in the 1950s, the GOP one is now listed for $200. Perhaps it comes without the tears the GOP members felt after 1960. https://www.etsy.com/listing/231300214/intage-unique-rare-political-collectible?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=republican%20handkerchief&ref=sr_gallery_4

“Handkerchiefs were even employed for advertising in political campaigns.  One historian claims Martha Washington created a handkerchief to help promote the election of her husband.

Apparently she had “George Washington for President” hankies printed for distribution at the Constitutional Convention of 1787.  To this day, handkerchiefs are printed depicting both Republican and Democratic parties, as well as coronation handkerchiefs for royalty.”

http://handkerchiefheroes.com/home/

In case you are even more curious about patriotic hankies, there is a delightful blog. http://handkerchiefheroes.com/get-out-the-vote/

And what were women wearing that 1956 summer to the big city? They had been entranced by a new Broadway play, My Fair Lady. The play opened in March and ran to 1962, a record at the time. The movie from 1964 had the same impact.

For 1956, ” The most important item on every woman’s spring shopping list was a hat; not the demure Easter bonnet of previous springs, but a big, important hat—it had to be a head high or two heads wide, or it did not count. The simplicity of the slim Empire body line led all the interest up to the head, and the milliners made the most of the opportunity. Exotic, heretofore incompatible colors (pink and orange, turquoise and green) were intertwined in high silk turbans or chechias; gardens of improbable flowers grew on wide-brimmed straws; and romantic Leghorns were wound with chiffon in melting shades and set with a single pink rose. All this romance was immensely becoming—the faces beneath the hats bloomed as prettily as the flowers on the hats, and, for the first time in years, women who had never worn a hat willingly flocked to the milliners. Since these hats were alive with detail and color, the clothes beneath them were subdued. Black, gray, and pale beige were the spring col-ors, pushing navy almost completely out of the picture. Summer clothes stole many colors from the liveliest spring hats and were mainly Empire in feeling; a gentler, more civilized summer dress appeared, ladylike and, at the same time, seductive.”

http://www.retro-fashion-history.com/html/1956_fashion_and_vintage_clothing.html

The 1960 Republican Convention

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Booklets of the convention were important to keep track of keys aspects.

1960 Republican convention newsreel clip shows a rousing parade, including a few grand hats.

https://archive.org/details/1960-07-25_republican_convention_highlights

“Republicans made their final appearance in Chicago in 1960, nominating Vice President Richard M. Nixon. After Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley’s legendary role in swinging that year’s close national election to John F. Kennedy, Republicans have declined to return to the city of their first presidential triumph.” R. Craig Sautter

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This 1960’s dress could well have been worn for events to support the Republican Party. It was found in a Cincinnati, OH estate sale. https://www.etsy.com/listing/269202129/vintage-1960s-vested-gentress-gentry

The 1968 Democratic Convention

“The Democratic convention of 1968 was held at the Amphitheater in the midst of the increasingly unpopular Vietnam War. When the party endorsed a pro-war platform, violence between thousands of antiwar protestors and Chicago police broke out on Michigan Avenue in front of the Conrad Hilton Hotel. The events reached a national television and international audience and caused turmoil on the convention floor. The conflicts inside and out of the convention were contributing factors to Hubert Humphrey’s narrow defeat in November to Richard M. Nixon.”

“Twenty-eight years passed before another presidential convention came to Chicago. Democrats renominated President William J. Clinton at the United Center in 1996. While nominating and seconding speeches were but a sentence long at Chicago’s first presidential nominating convention, they lasted all night 136 years later.” R. Craig Sautter

The 1996 Democratic  Convention

The 1968 Democratic convention and riots in Chicago were certainly more than a blemish on the city’s desirability for further conventions. It was not until 28 years later that the Democrats returned in 1996.

The 1996 Chicago convention for reelection of President Bill Clinton went well. It must have been a relief in some respects that there was only one other other candidate for the actual election. One convention in 1992 did not happen, because Ross Perot was an independent. He ran against incumbent George Bush and Bill Clinton. While the Clinton nomination came in NY, at the time of the convention it was a period after Perot had withdrawn, and had not yet re-entered the race. It was a very perplexing election.

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What about hats?

Researching the leading two milliners of my era in Chicago, Benjamin GreenField of BesBen, and Raymond Hudd led me to constantly search online for paper ephemera as well as Chicago made hats. A couple items of convention head-wear have come my way. Curious to see some? Email and perhaps we can work out a traveling exhibit, or a presentation.

Wondering about the medal at the top of the page? Looks old? How about this one?

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The one at the top of the page was from the 1996 Democratic convention created by the Sheraton Hotel Bar. The bottom medal was for an alternate at a long ago convention.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1996-Democratic-National-Convention-Medal-with-Sheraton-Hotel-Bar-Chicago-IL-/311554309436?hash=item488a157d3c:g:3pYAAOSwAL9Uf0nS