Strawbridge & Clothier

About this collection

    Strawbridge & Clothier was the last family-owned major department store chain in the Greater Philadelphia area. The store was founded as a partnership by Justus C. Strawbridge (1838-1911) and Isaac H. Clothier (1837-1921) on July 1, 1868 at 8th and Market Streets in Center City Philadelphia. During the 20th century the company expanded throughout the Greater Philadelphia Metropolitan area by opening thirteen branch stores and twenty-seven under the Clover division. In 1996 Strawbridge and Clothier was sold to the May Company who, in turn, sold it to Federated Department stores a decade later, thus closing or converting the remaining branches.
    The founders stressed service to its customers, community, and employees. For employees, the company established a relief association to administer health and death benefits; a savings fund society; an athletic association; the company magazine, Store Chat; a chorus; and the Quarter Century Club, which was made up of associates with twenty-five years of service or more. For a short while, they maintained a cottage in North Wildwood for women employees to vacation at the shore. The early 1900s saw the introduction of customer-to-counter telephone service, the advent of the "Clover Day" sale day, and delivery of goods by truck.
    This collection contains select items from Hagley’s Strawbridge and Clothier holdings. It is not digitized in its entirety. For a complete inventory please visit our Finding Aids (photographs/audiovisual and company records) and Library Catalog.
    Image: The store at 8th and Market. From Store Chat (Vol. 24, No. 04).

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Radio advertising demo and jingles, Strawbridge and Clothier.
Demonstration tape for radio advertisement production. Narrator explains elements of radio marketing segments. Features several jingles, including Pepsodent toothpaste, Strawbridge and Clothier, and Strawbridge and Clothier Clover Day Events.
Strawbridge and Clothier Executive Dinner introducing new company President and Chairman of the Board.
Speakers to executive group. Dinner speeches by Dwight Perkins, Robert E. Strawbridge, Isaac H. Clothier, Jr., G. Stockton Strawbridge. Regarding changes in organization, introducing a new president.
Quarter Century Club: Stockton Strawbridge's induction at banquet
G. Stockton Strawbridge's induction into Quarter Century Club. Speakers include Francis Strawbridge, Jr., G. Stockton Strawbridge, Dwight Perkins, Isaac Clothier, Jr. Presentation by Ella Waters.
Quarter Century Club: 125 Years of Strawbridge and Clothier.
Narrated piece on the history of the company from its founding to the 1990s. Back up soundtrack with cues.
Closing Wilmington Strawbridge and Clothier, employees speak. "Concord"
Production piece about closing the Wilmington store and opening the Concord store.
Strawbridge and Clothier, moving from Jenkintown to Willow Grove, employees speak. "Willow Grove".
Production piece about the closing of the Jenkintown store and the opening of the Willow Grove store.
A Modern Store
The construction and opening of the new Strawbridge & Clothier retail store on 8th and Market Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Includes footage of Simon and Simon the architect firm who designed the new building; officials from the city; demolition and construction of the new building; laying of the cornerstone, and the store opening with exterior and interior views showing Market Street and a variety of views of the retail space. Concludes with footage of suburban stores in Ardmore and Jenkintown.
Bride Week
A promotion for Bride Week at Strawbridge & Clothier's Philadelphia store. An attendant helps a young woman put on her gown and hands her a bouquet of flowers. The woman then poses for the camera in her full wedding attire and looks very happy.
Introducing James A. FitzPatrick, Traveltalk
Travel documentary filmmaker James A. FitzPatrick sits behind a desk and introduces one of his travel films to the audience. The broadcast of the film is sponsored by Strawbridge & Clothier. Two takes.
Tree planting
Dogwood trees, sponsored by Strawbridge & Clothier and the Blue Star Memorial Highway Committee, are planted along the Pennsylvania Turnpike during Pennsylvania Week. Vice Admiral James L. Kauffmann, USN, gives a formal address. The trees are dedicated to the men and women of Strawbridge & Clothier who have served in the armed forces. There is a formal ceremony, interviews, and a large crowd. Francis R. Strawbridge, Francis R. Strawbridge, Jr., Francis R. Strawbridge, 3d, Isaac H. Clothier, Jr., Isaac H. Clothier, 3d, and Isaac H. Clothier, 4th, are all present.
Cornerstone laying, Wilmington store
The cornerstone of Strawbridge & Clothier's new Wilmington, DE branch is layed on a chilly November day. Speeches are given to a group of spectators and reporters before the cornerstone is officialy put into place. Includes appearances by Thomas E. Brittingham, Jr., President of Metropolitan Merchandise Marts, Inc., Dwight G. Perkins, President of Strawbridge & Clothier, and Robert E. Strawbridge, Chairman of the Board of Strawbridge & Clothier.
Easter on the Boardwalk
Ella Waters, Strawbridge & Clothier's fashion director, greets participants in the Easter Parade on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Includes a variety of footage showing crowds and people walking the boardwalk in Atlantic City.
Holiday in Philadelphia
Film follows a fictitious family visiting the city of Philadelphia. Includes footage of many tourist attractions in the city as well as sporting and cultural events. Highlights city planning around sites adjacent to City Hall and Independence Hall. Includes behind the scenes footage of American Bandstand at the WFIL TV studio. Film is narrated by Dick Clark. Made for the Board of Trade and Convention of the City of Philadelphia. Set furnishings were provided by and credited to Strawbridge and Clothier. 
Strawbridge & Clothier's Store Chat
Store Chat was the employee magazine of Strawbridge & Clothier, a department store founded by Justus C. Strawbridge (1838-1911) and Isaac H. Clothier (1837-1921) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The magazine published communications from management, news about workers' lives, reports on company and company-sponsored activities, instructions to employees about fashion trends and consumer preferences, and light commentary on matters of local and national import. As the operation grew into a major regional retail chain, the magazine added dispatches from suburban branch stores.
    Store Chat was first published in June 1906 and was released at irregular intervals until 1909. After 1909, it maintained a more regular publication schedule, though it did not operate continuously, and ceased publication entirely in the early 1930s during the Great Depression. After it resumed publication in 1943, it ran continuously and on a monthly to bimonthly basis until 1996, when the Strawbridge & Clothier's was purchased by May Department Stores Company.
    The library's holdings of Store Chat are incomplete, but span its entire run of publication. For a list of the issues in our collection click here.
    Image from cover, Store Chat, Volume 33, Issue 11 (December, 1951). To view the full issue, click here.