Service and Style: How the American Department Store Fashioned the Middle Class

Service and Style: How the American Department Store Fashioned the Middle Class

by Jan Whitaker
     
 

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An intriguing, entertaining and fully illustrated cultural history of the department store, America's greatest invention.See more details below

Overview

An intriguing, entertaining and fully illustrated cultural history of the department store, America's greatest invention.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The American department store is "not quite a dinosaur," says Whitaker (Tea at the Blue Lantern Inn), but it has certainly seen better days, and it's that robust era-from the turn of the 20th century to the 1960s-that she chooses to celebrate in this lively pop history. At their peak, department stores were the nation's largest booksellers and many major chains also sold groceries. But it was clothes that made the stores a prime destination for women of all social classes, and Whitaker discusses at significant length the subtle movements through which major chains from one end of the country to the other cultivated their reputations for being up-to-date with the latest Paris fashions, then tapped into additional markets for young adult and children's wear. More than 100 photographs and illustrations are integrated into the text, aptly demonstrating the lengths to which stores went in order to present themselves as elegant yet modern and convenient. Legendary New York chains like Macy's and Gimbel's get much of the attention, but outposts from other regions, such as San Francisco's Emporium or Philadelphia's Lit Brothers, also get due notice, adding an additional aura of comprehensiveness to Whitaker's richly detailed account. 8-page color insert. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-This well-written book presents a thorough picture of department stores from their beginnings in the late 19th century through their heyday. Readers are treated to all aspects of the stores' histories, from financing to marketing to merchandising; their employment of women, layout, display windows, and architecture; store competition; and, particularly, the move from home sewing to ladies' ready-to-wear. These independent establishments were instrumental in defining and catering to a rising middle class and an integral and hugely important part of urban centers. Then, around 1970, Sears and Penney's stores and discounters in suburbia made the going too rough. Now the big independents with the proud old names are hardly recognizable. The illustrations include photos of store exteriors and interiors and copies of ads. Chapters are broken up by topic. This is an invaluable resource for students of marketing, fashion design, and U.S. history/social studies.-Judy McAloon, Potomac Library, Prince William County, VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781429909914
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
04/01/2007
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
717,898
File size:
17 MB
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This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Jan Whitaker is a writer and freelance editor based in Amherst, Massachusetts. She is the author of Tea at the Blue Lantern Inn: A Social History of the Tea Room Craze in America.

Jan Whitaker is a writer and freelance editor based in Amherst, Massachusetts. She is the author of Tea at the Blue Lantern Inn: A Social History of the Tea Room Craze in America.

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