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Guide to the Records of B. Altman & Co.
1876-1955 (Bulk 1881-1933)
  MS 31

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400

@ 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Processed by Melissa Haley

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on October 19, 2011
Description is in English.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of two boxes and 18 bound volumes, and is organized into ten series. Items are arranged chronologically within each series. The bulk of the material is located in Series I. President Michael Friedsam and Series II. Employee Records, 1876-1917. The Friedsam series contains mostly correspondence, 1915-1918; also news clippings and stock and bond receipts. Other significant series include financial records (bills, receipts, checks, bonds), legal records such as copyright and trademark registrations, and material relating to the estate of Benjamin Altman. The smaller series in this collection contain correspondence, a study of shopping habits, electrical equipment inspection certificates, and medals. The B. Altman & Co. Papers do not include any trade catalogs or company advertisements.

The B. Altman & Co. Papers support research in the fields of New York City business and department store administrative history in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The twelve volumes of employee records may also reveal details useful to genealogists, labor historians, and women's historians, as many include summaries of workers' lives. In addition, the Michael Friedsam material contains correspondence pertaining to philanthropy, art collecting, New York City mayoral politics, and domestic efforts during the first World War.


Arranged chronologically within each series.

Organized into the following ten series:

  1. Series I. President Michael Friedsam, 1915-1933, undated
  2. Series II. Employee Records, 1876-1918
  3. Series III. Financial Records, 1887-1955
  4. Series IV. Legal Records, 1913-1953
  5. Series V. Benjamin Altman Estate Material, 1913-1919
  6. Series VI. Correspondence, 1915-1939, undated
  7. Series VII. Study of Shopping Habits, 1936
  8. Series VIII. Electrical Equipment Inspection Certificates, 1906
  9. Series IX. Publications, 1917, undated
  10. Series X. Medals, 1917