L311 Winter 2020 A History of an American Department Store
Thursdays, 11:50–1:15, Jan. 30–Feb. 20
Instructor: Robert Cather
History is full of tales of daring entrepreneurs who launched small-scale businesses that grew and evolved over time through their owners’ drive and creativity. There is a long history of retailing and of those merchants who founded the names we know, but the inside story goes back over 500 years. There are many famous nameplates that have faded from the US retail sector, their stories often unknown except to those who have worked within that industry. The instructor has been fortunate to have been employed by some of the most prominent, and has seen that a department store is more than just a store; it is living theater. Utilizing records, photographs, and personal experiences, this class will elicit his memories and perhaps yours of the retailers you and your family utilized in the metropolitan areas of the mid-20th century.
Robert Cather is a retired retail executive who worked within the branches and buying offices of two prominent New York City department stores.