Monday, September 14, 2009

E.C Denton Stores



My late grandmother was a notorious packrat, but I’m glad she saved this envelope from 1930, as it ties two sides of my family together.

The envelope is from the E.C. Denton Stores, owned by my paternal great-grandfather, and is addressed to my maternal great-grandmother, Mary Vail Collier. Prior to establishing the Tailored Woman in New York, my great-grandfather’s brother, Eugene K. Denton, worked for the Denton stores in Cincinnati.

The envelope, which presumably contained a bill that through some unfathomable logic wasn't saved, was forwarded to Orlando, Florida care of Mrs. John D. Vail, my great-great-grandmother. As for the other writing, which reads "Steele & Haley, back of Trinity Church," I think this refers to the venerable Haley & Steele art gallery in Boston. My great-grandmother presumably reached for the nearest piece of paper to jot down a note.

At any rate, though it's at times a burden to sift through the piles and piles of random paper accumulated by my ancestors, it's great fun to find a little gem such as this.

12 comments:

benita said...

hi, my name is benita and i ran across your article researching tailored woman new york. i have won this fur stole on an auction and the label in it says tailored woman, new york. it was stated as rabbit fur possibly, but it looks like it may be mink. i live in florida, and we don't usually wear fur items here, even though i love fur! so i was wondering, since you know the history of this store, and it seems like it closed in 1969, if you know if the store sold rabbit fur stoles, or was it more like mink?
thanks so much for your time,
benita

The Tailored Woman said...

Hi Benita,

The Tailored Woman had a large fur department at the main store, and then Eugene Denton opened a smaller store devoted to furs around 1969, after the original store closed. I have also bought some things on auction sites and think you are correct that the store sold all kinds of fur, not just mink.

Enjoy your stole! Thanks for posting.

Elizabeth

Anonymous said...

I found your blog while searching for some information about "The Tailored Woman" located at 5th and 57th because I had bought a vintage fur coat at "Bubba's Barn" in Vermont with a label bearing that name and address! What fun to hear about the history of the store! I sent you a picture of the coat and the label. I relined the coat because the lining was in shreds when I purchased it. I have had fun with it! Debbie in Virginia

The Tailored Woman said...

Hi Debbie!

Thanks for visiting the blog and leaving your comment, as well as emailing me photos. Your fur is beautiful! Let me know if there is any other information I can give you about the store.

Elizabeth

Cindy said...

Hi, I purchased a lovely mink coat from a consignment shop the had The Tailored Woman label, 5th Avenue, NY in it. It is in beautiful shape, dark brown and very shiny. The lining is in mint condition. The coat was cut down to stadium length jacket. can you tell me if Mr. Denton's furs were considered of fine quality? If I had an email address, I would try to post a picture. I am wondering how old this jacket is and what it's value is.
Mint condition, I paid $125 for it. cindysymmonds@gmail.com

Eugene said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Madeline Ellis said...

Madeline

I worked for The Tailored Woman during the summer of 1961 when I was 16 years old. Mr. Denton, a distinguished white haired old gentleman had a rule, you could not wear thonged shoes. I did not know the tall blond Norwegian looking girl who addressed envelopes as I did, and usually modeled fur coats, would be out that day. I was summoned to his office in her place to model the furs for a buyer. On my feet were the open toed flat shoes, which made my 5'5" look even shorter. I don't remember if I got reprimanded, but I do remember feeling short as I spun around showing off this exquisite coat The whole day I anticipated being fired. I think he might have told someone that I needed to obey the dress code.

After the summer ended, I found out that the police raided the lockers. Jimmy, the elevator operator, had a gun in his locker. I think he killed someone. I could not believe that all summer long I rode up and down in the elevator with him.

Despite all this, I look back fondly at the short time I spent in this austere place. It was one of the first real jobs I had and somewhat intimidating for a little girl from Brooklyn.

The Tailored Woman said...

What a story, Madeline! I'll have to see if I can find out more about that locker raid, how exciting! Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth, my name grandparents are Ed and Jean Denton. She is from the Chicago area and he from Tennessee. He worked for the Tailored Woman in New York and my mom still wears a beautiful mink coat from there. I ate lunch with my 97 year old grandmother last week, and she knows a lot about our family.
David Lawrence
Davelaw@aol.com

Anonymous said...

Hi Elizbeth, I'm David Denton Lawrence's mother, Ellen Denton Lawrence ---------.I to have a mink coat from my Uncle Gene. He was the most famous furrier in NYC for many years while my father, Edgar and my aunt, Ethel, worked for him and after. He was always written up in Woman's Wear Daily when he returned from the Siberian fur auctions each year. He was famous for consistently buying the finest mink they had at auction. The coat I have was custom made for my mother in about 1958 and he said he chose each skin himself so they were perfectly matched. It is still a magnificent coat and often mistaken for sable. I had it relined but they returned the original label to the new lining.It is certainly fun to be in touch with you. I have sent all this to my 1st cousin, Pat, the oldest child of Ernie and Kate Denton.

The Tailored Woman said...

Hi Ellen,

I'm so glad David found the website and it's wonderful to hear from both of you. My father says hello as well.

Look forward to staying in touch. David has my personal email address if you would like to commmunicate that way.

Happy New Year!

Elizabeth

Anonymous said...

I purchased a beautiful ocelot short jacket with the tailored women label. I was wondering if the fur is real. Thank you