Join us for the 8th stop on our Museum Trail*
Saturday, February 20, 2016
11 am to 2 pm+
Connecticut Historical Society
One Elizabeth Street, Hartford, Connecticut
Preceded by a potluck brunch at the nearby home of Susan Lennon ’85 MPPM (the address will be provided to those who RSVP)
Remembering G. Fox & Co.: Hartford’s Iconic Department Store, a presentation, followed by a tour of the exhibit, Beatrice Fox Auerbach: The Woman, Her World & Her Wardrobe.
(11:00 to 12:30 brunch; 12:30 to 1:00 walk or drive from Susan’s to CHS, purchase tickets, get seated, etc.; 1:00 to 2:00 CHS presentation followed by the tour)
Museum cost: Free for CHS members, $8 for nonmembers
Potluck brunch: This will be a hodgepodge of whatever brunch items alums would like to bring, fully plated and ready to serve. Please let Susan know what you plan to bring so that we can fill in any gaps. The menu will include date nut bread made from a recipe reportedly used for the date nut bread and cream cheese sandwiches on the menu of the Connecticut Room restaurant at G. Fox and blueberry muffins made from a recipe reportedly used by the bakery at Sage Allen (a department store that ran a close second to G. Fox). Coffee and tea will be provided.
RSVP no later than Saturday, February 13th to Susan Lennon ’85 MPPM at email@example.com. Please let Susan know what you plan to bring.
Regardless of your age or where you grew up, you’ll want to join us for a fun and thought provoking event about a time before suburban shopping malls and internet shopping, when Main Street USA was the place to shop and lunch – and about a woman in business, Beatrice Fox Auerbach, who was years ahead of her time!
In the 1950s, just about every major city had a landmark department store. In Hartford, it was G. Fox & Company. “Mention shopping to anyone who lived in the Hartford area during the 50s and 60s and they’ll tell you about taking the bus downtown, often in hat and gloves if you’re talking to a woman, on Saturdays, to spend the day browsing the shops and lunching in the restaurants that lined Main, Pearl, Pratt and Asylum Streets. But first and foremost, they’ll tell you about G. Fox – the iconic department store that anchored Hartford’s Main Street retail district from its founding in 1847 to its closing in 1993. Labeled ‘Connecticut’s Department Store’ it was known across the state for its Art Deco styling, merchandise, holiday displays, community events in Centinel Hill Hall, Connecticut Room restaurant and most of all, its legendary customer service.” (The Hartford Courant, February 25, 2014)
Beatrice Auerbach Fox, the woman who ran G. Fox from 1938 to 1965, not only set the standard for legendary customer service and innovative sales practices, she also established pioneering labor reforms. Some of Auerbach’s forward-looking innovations included free delivery service, a toll-free telephone order department, and fully automated billing. Auerbach was committed to her employees and she instituted fair labor standards that resulted in workplace reforms, including a five-day, 40-hour work week, and retirement plans. G. Fox was one of the first major retail stores in the country to hire black men and women for positions that gave them opportunities for advancement. These advancements helped G. Fox to become one of New England’s largest and most successful department stores and the largest privately-held store in the country. Auerbach was also a renowned philanthropist, who contributed significantly to many of Hartford's cultural, educational and civic organizations. (Source: Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame website http://cwhf.org/inductees/business-labor/beatrice-fox-auerbach/#.VpfRKfkrJdg)
*Previous stops on the YaleWomen Connecticut Museum Trail: Mattatuck Museum, Waterbury; Yale Art Gallery, New Haven; Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme; Bruce Museum of Arts and Science, Greenwich; Mystic Seaport: The Museum of America and the Sea, Mystic; Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford; Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield. Coming up: Yale Center for British Art when it opens this spring!
One Elizabeth Street
Hartford, CT 06105
Google map and directions