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Guide to the S. S. Silver & Company Archive
1922-1957, undated
(bulk 1946-1956)
 PR 61

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

New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Jenny Gotwals

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on April 07, 2023
Description is in English.

Historical Note

S. S. Silver & Company was formed in 1910 by Sol S. Silver (1885-1946). The company was located at 350-352 Butler Street in Brooklyn, and specialized in building and equipping commercial customers with new interior design displays. S. S. Silver & Company mainly dealt with businesses in the retail clothing trade, including specialty hat, shoe, and fabric stores as well as women's apparel. Among the other types of clientele served were restaurants, private residences, and business offices, primarily in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Sol Silver died in 1946 while playing golf with his son, Bertram. Bertram S. Silver (1907-1999), who had been a vice-president in the company, subsequently became president of the firm. Under his leadership, S. S. Silver & Company began to expand the customer base, increasing both the geographical area and the size of the typical establishment served. Beginning in 1946, Silver & Co. won contracts to design the interiors for renovations at two major New York City department stores, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue. This led to further work designing displays and interiors for Saks Fifth Avenue's new stores in Beverly Hills, Chicago, and Detroit. The non-New York work attracted midwestern clients for Silver & Co., primarily larger department stores in Kansas City, Chicago, and Colorado Springs. Silver & Co. continued to be involved in smaller New York City-based store and office buildings and renovations.

Bertram Silver sought to raise the company's public profile by emphasizing publicity, writing many articles for trade publications, and advertising in the New York Times, among other periodicals. He emphasized a no-nonsense approach to retail design, one guaranteed to please his clients. In "Novelty Isn't Everything - Don't Overlook Prosaic," an article Silver wrote in June 1948 for Women's Wear Daily, he suggested that "â?¦ some of the more prosaic design elements, such as locking devices for fixtures, or thoughtfully-planned fitting rooms still can save headaches and make the difference in sales." Letters from satisfied clients (found in Series III) attest to their satisfaction with Silver & Co.'s design work.

In 1954, Bertram Silver moved from his West End Avenue apartment to a 65-acre estate in Newtown, Connecticut. S. S. Silver & Company was dissolved in 1960-1961. In 1968 Silver was named President and General Manager of the Lehigh and Leopold Division of Litton Industries.