Department Stores: Icons of Twentieth Century Extravagance

November 21, 2011

Books, Landmarks, News

Step into elegance and remember a time when department stores were the cornerstones of downtown. Tearooms, gift wrap, escalators, perfume counters, and window displays. There was something captivating about that old-time shopping experience and the landmark businesses that defined a way of life. Stores like Marshall Field’s, Burdine’s, and Weinstock’s provided an exceptional shopping experience with outstanding service and every retail item you could dream up.

In 2011, the History Press added to its list of landmark department store histories. These books chronicle the evolution of consumer culture through business biographies, anecdotes from past employees, customer memories, recipes from the tearoom, and more.

Burdine’s: Sunshine Fashions & the Florida Store

by Seth H. Bramson

Join Miami historian Seth Bramson as he relates Burdine’s storied history, when the likes of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor perused elegant displays and customers frequented the tearooms for a slice of the famous—and decadent—pecan pie.




Denholms: The Story of Worcester’s Premier Department Store

by Christopher Sawyer & Patricia A. Wolf

When William Denholm and William McKay teamed up in 1870 to form a dry goods store in the factory town of Worcester, Massachusetts, they couldn’t have imagined the 103-year legacy that would make their store a beloved New England landmark.




Look to Lazarus: The Big Store

by David & Beverly Meyers & Elise Meyers Walker

For more than 150 years, F&R Lazarus & Company was the heart of downtown Columbus. Headed by the “first family of American retailing” with an eye for flair and a devotion to the customer, this uniquely midwestern institution won the hearts and minds of a community.



Gimbels Has It!

by Michael J. Lisicky

With fond memories from family members and Gimbelites, a few classic recipes and celebrity interviews from the likes of Gene London and Dick Clark, retail historian Michael J. Lisicky celebrates the remarkable history of this beloved department store.




Jacobson’s, I Miss It So!: The Story of a Michigan Fashion Institution

by Bruce Allen Kopytek

The brainchild of a retail genius, this deluxe specialty store gave customers a peerless social, shopping and dining destination. Experience anew the refined beauty of its Williamsburg-style Grosse Pointe store, the chic designer world of its Birmingham ensemble or the charm and allure of its original Florida branch in Sarasota.



Wolf and Dessauer: Where Fort Wayne Shopped

by Jim & Kathie Barron

From its humble beginnings as a dry goods store in 1896, Wolf and Dessauer grew to provide customers with revolutionary services and previously unheard-of amenities: personal shoppers, in-store models, escalators, an open-air French café and the magical Christmas WanDerland—home to Santa and his precious elf, Wee Willie WanD.


In 2012, History Press West looks forward to new titles that chronicle the development of Weinstock’s department store in Sacramento, California, and the evolution of the Missoula Mercantile in Montana.

Have a story to share about one of the West’s landmark department stores? Visit our ‘About‘ page and contact us.

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