Sunday, June 3, 2012

An old bookseller's label from
Miller & Rhoads department store

This tiny (less than an inch wide) bookseller's label1 was inside a copy of "Bambi," a 1914 novel published by Marjorie Benton Cooke.

Miller & Rhoads was a Virginia-based department store that was in existence for 105 years, from 1885 until it went out of business in 1990. Here is some history on the store from Wikipedia:
  • "The [Richmond] store was home to the ever-popular Tea Room, which featured regular fashion shows, and signature menu items such as the Missouri Club2, Brunswick stew, and chocolate silk pie."
  • "Every Christmas season, a room on the 7th floor of Miller & Rhoads transformed into a magic wonderland called Santaland. The room was dimly lit, but thousands of tiny, white lights gave the appearance of night stars overhead. Woodland scenes with lifelike, animated animals were strategically placed throughout the room. Fully decorated trees adorned a path leading to the beautiful stage. Onstage were a huge fireplace, a Christmas tree, and a golden chair with a red velvet back and seat where Santa Claus sat."
  • "The real magic of the Miller & Rhoads' Santas was that they knew every child's name - greeting them by name as they walked up to him - a tradition that lives on today. Stories exist of parents who've driven their children to Richmond from as far away as Texas - or grandparents who've flown their grandchilden from Colorado just to see THE Santa."3
  • "Even as its stores grew more contemporary, the chain adhered to many old traditions. Miller & Rhoads stores almost always had engraved metal name plaques at their entrances, even on mall entrances. An early 1980s redesign of the store logo featured curvaceous script reminiscent of calligraphy."
  • "The Garfinkel, Brooks Brothers, Miller & Rhoads company was acquired by Allied Stores in 1982. This marked a low point in the chain's history, as Allied closed many of the smaller stores, exiting the North Carolina market except for Raleigh, and began to neglect the maintenance on its larger stores in an effort to cut operating costs."
1. For more on bookseller labels, see these past posts:
2. The Recipe Circus has the recipe for Miller & Rhoads' Missouri Club Sandwich, which features turkey, ham, tomatoes, cheese, cheese sauce and bacon on white bread.
3. Here's a Facebook page devoted to photos of Santa at Miller & Rhoads.

1 comment:

  1. Garfinkel's main store was in downtown Washington, with branches at Spring Valley (very wealthy section of the city) and in the Seven Corners Shopping Center--classy in its day--in Falls Church. One day while shopping in the 7 Corners store I heard a voice talking that was indisputable, and could be coming from only one lady. Soon I saw her with her entourage. Kate Smith was in the store purchasing linens.