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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE TOY DEPARTMENT, 1913

Saks Fur: 1920

Saks Fur: 1920

"Saks Fur Co. 1920 or 1921." Wintertime window display at the Washington, D.C., furrier featuring a taxidermy tie-in with the movie "Isobel, or the Trail's End." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

Association Of...

... Army-Navy Stores?

I *think* that's what the round logo on the window is, although I could find only one reference to it on the Internet. Not sure why that would be on a fur store...

[Maybe they supplied the Army. Which used fur-trimmed hats and coats in places like Alaska. - Dave]

Erlebacher

The following is extracted from the book, Washington Past and Present: a history published in 1932.

Born in Gernsbach, Baden, Germany, December 5, 1869, Gustave Erlebacher was the son of Joseph and Annette Erlebacher. Mr. Erlebacher came to America in 1883, and acquired a business training in Baltimore, Maryland, here gaining the high regard of those with whom he had business relation.

In 1907, Mr. Erlebacher moved to Washington and established a women's specialty shop at No. 1222 F Street, Northwest, where he carried an exclusive line of goods for a select trade. The business having enlarged to the point where more commodious quarters were required, Mr. Erlebacher very wisely took the more advantageous location at No. 1012, on the same street where the business is still being conducted on the same high place of quality and service as during the lifetime of the founder. The establishment, now known as Erlebacher, Incorporated, has as its president and moving spirit, Mrs. Erlebacher, one of the most finished and progressive business women of the national capital. She has not only held the business developed by her late husband, but also has been successful by her personality and progressive methods in drawing many new and desirable clients, which speaks well for her merchandising abilities. As a business executive, too, she has manifested remarkable capacity, and is the envy of many men who are not so well equipped in this respect.

Gustave Erlebacher married in Baltimore, Berthe Goldstone, daughter of Jacob M. and Cartherine (DeHaan) Goldstone... For many years Mr. Goldstone was engaged in the clothing business in Philadelphia and Baltimore, and was well and favorably known to the trade in both cities. Mrs. Erlebacher was reared in culture and refinement in her native city, receiving an excellent education in select schools....

Gustave Erlebacher died at his home in Washington, June 8, 1925. Birdie remarried to David Frank and survived till February 22, 1962. The Baltimore firm of Bonwit, Lennon & Co. acquired the clothing store in 1938 but retained Birdie to aid in running the store.

Erlebacher's Clothing Store

I would be interested in any more information on Gustave and Birdie Erlebacher and their store.

Fur bearers

I take it that PETA wasn't around back then. I think the display is fascinating. I miss the old store window displays.

Chilling.

Wow, how incredibly disturbing..

Yikes!

I hope those aren't real Inuit! Somehow the datedness of having a stuffed polar bear makes it seem possible.

Saks Furs history

Saks Furs, no relation to Saks Fifth Avenue, was founded by Samuel Saks in 1888. Originally located at 610 12th St. NW, it moved in 1912 to the pictured location, 1212 F St NW, "right in the heart of the high-class retail business section." After Samuel's death in 1931, his son, Jerome M. took over the business and operated it until 1959. When Jerome retired in 1959, he sold the business which continued to operate with the Saks name until at least the early 1970s.

The adjacent women's clothing store at 1210 F St NW is Erlebacher's, "Where Style Originates and Emanates," founded by Gustave and Birdie Erlebacher in 1907.

Photo from the Theodor Horydczak collection of the Library of Congress showing the 1200 block of F where these stores were located.

Washington Post, Feb 7, 1912
Washington Post, Mar 13, 1931
Washington Post, Dec 17, 1938
Washington Post, Nov 12, 1970

WOW!

This photo is pretty amazing! I can't believe the lavish display to promote a movie! It certainly is shocking to see growling, taxidermy DOGS in a store window! I can imagine the outcry today...

You know, I am not even certain what kind of animals those are attacking the (gigantic!) polar bear! One is a dog...but the others...more bears? The snow looks like large pieces of cotton batting, which my grandparents used at the bottom of their Christmas trees. The display is effective, I want to see the movie!

Kathleen

Isobel: A Romance of the Northern Trail

Many of James Oliver Curwood's works are available on Project Gutenberg. Isobel can be read here:
http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/6715
His novels are heavy on both emotion and action; the frozen North plays a big role. I've enjoyed reading them.

Meanwhile, Next Door

While this is indeed a quite impressive display of window dressing, I am equally intrigued by the glimpse we get of the "new" line in women's fashion in the next window.

Trail's End

Leaving aside contemporary attitudes toward the wearing of fur, this is an impressive, museum quality display with some fine examples of taxidermy. The trappers appear to be Inuit. Their garments are worn with the fur inside. You can almost feel the chill in the air. I'm betting this realistic tableau resulted in a lot of attention.

Time warp

Amazing detail. This must have been a wonder to see in 1920, but today I feel a tinge of sadness at all the wildlife sacrificed for a window display.

 
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