Levy Bros. Adler Rochester, Inc. Papers

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Levy Bros. Adler-Rochester, Inc. papers
Creator: Levy Bros. Adler Rochester, Inc.
Call Number: D.221
Dates: 1922-1951
Physical Description: 3 boxes
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Table of Contents:

Biographical/Historical Note
Scope and Content
Subject(s)
Access
Use
Citation
Content List
Series I: Correspondence and printed material
Series II: Style model books
Subseries I: Adler-Rochester Clothes
Subseries II: Specialty lines and miscellaneous
Collection Overview
Title: Levy Bros. Adler-Rochester, Inc. papers
Creator: Levy Bros. Adler Rochester, Inc.
Call Number: D.221
Dates: 1922-1951
Physical Description: 3 boxes
Language(s): Materials are in English
Repository: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester

Biographical/Historical Note
The men's clothing industry of Rochester, NY was more than fifty years old by the beginning of the 20th century. The city was one of the top producers of clothing in the country, and was the indisputable leader in quality. The bulk of the manufacturers were located near the Genesee River at St. Paul and Andrews Streets, an area called "clothier's row." There were more large factories being constructed than ever before to create more working space under one roof, and to allow for better control of production and supervision of quality. More than twenty new clothing firms were established during the first decade of the 1900s.

An important company to emerge at this time was Levy Brothers Clothing Company. Jacob Levy (1869-1926) founded the company circa 1900 with his younger brothers Barney, Hiram, and Moses, who were later joined by their youngest brother David. Born and raised in Rochester, Jacob started in the tailoring business as a boy, and was well established as an overcoat contractor by the age of nineteen. He therefore made the decision that his new firm would specialize in manufacturing overcoats.

The Levy brothers began as clothing contractors and merchant tailors, doing all of the selling and manufacturing themselves. In 1908 Levy Bros. Clothing Co. expanded into the production of men's suit lines, and the company soon became famous for its policy of selling suit lines to wholesalers for either $13.50 or $18.50. The quick success of the firm prompted a move to a larger building near clothier's row and the addition of a sales organization, as the volume had become too much for the Levy brothers to handle on their own. In a few years, the company employed almost 500 people and shipped clothing to all areas of the United States and parts of Canada.

Production slowed after World War I, however, and in 1922 Levy Bros. Clothing Co. was forced to merge with another struggling Rochester manufacturer, L. Adler Bros. Co. The new firm, called Levy Brothers Adler-Rochester, Inc., took over the modern facility built by L. Adler Bros. Co. in 1910. The Adler name had been associated with superior quality clothing for almost forty years, while Levy Bros. Clothing Co. was known for its popular prices, allowing the newly merged company to produce medium-priced clothing using the reputable "Adler-Rochester" label. After the merger, Jacob Levy became president of Levy Bros. Adler-Rochester, and most of the executives from the two former firms remained with the new company. In 1926, Jacob Levy died and Hiram Levy became president, while Jacob's son Earle became a vice-president (he would later become president) and Mortimer Adler became treasurer.

In 1928, Levy Bros. Adler-Rochester, Inc. pioneered a knitted wool fabric, called "Mt. Rock Fleece," which was made into overcoats named "Mt. Rock Coats." The fabric was soft and luxurious but with a sound knitted construction, making it very popular with other major coat makers, who soon presented variations of the fabric for their own production. The Mt. Rock label was a huge success, and was the most popular outer-coating in the industry in the 1930s. By the mid 1940s, Levy Bros. Adler-Rochester, Inc. had completely abandoned their suit and sport-coat lines, and concentrated on the more profitable production of overcoats, as Levy Bros. Clothing Co. had done years before. The Mt. Rock line was highly promoted, and a women's line of tailored overcoats was added. The company also made army officers' overcoats during World War II, as L. Adler Bros. Co. had done during World War I.

At the same time, Michaels-Stern Co., a highly respected men's clothing manufacturer in Rochester, had stopped producing overcoats, and both Levy Bros. Adler-Rochester, Inc. and Michaels-Stern Co. agreed to promote each other's product at retail stores where they each had influence. Their association was strengthened in 1951 when the death of Mortimer Adler in 1950, coupled with the difficulty in generating sufficient overcoat volume, forced Levy Bros. Adler-Rochester, Inc. to merge with Michaels-Stern Co. At that time, Hiram Levy retired and his son Mortimer, who had joined the company in 1934 as a salesman and woolen buyer and had become vice-president, moved out of state. Earle Levy, the president of Levy Bros. Adler-Rochester, Inc., joined Michaels-Stern Co. as vice-president, while Robert M. Adler, Mortimer Adler's son, retained his position as treasurer. After the 1951 merger, Michaels-Stern Co. continued producing clothing under the popular "Adler-Rochester" and "Mt. Rock" labels.

Levy Bros. Adler-Rochester, Inc. was the first nationally known manufacturer of men's clothing in Rochester to fall since Stein-Bloch Co. was absorbed by Fashion Park Clothes, Inc. in 1928. Clothing production was beginning a steady decline, as Rochester failed to keep pace with expansion in other parts of the country. The city, however, did not lose its reputation as the leader in quality manufacturing of men's clothing.

Scope and Content
This collection is housed in three boxes, and consists mainly of Levy Bros. Adler-Rochester, Inc. style model books. General "Adler-Rochester" model books are found in Box 2, while the model books featuring the "Mt. Rock" clothing line are located in Box 3. Box 1 contains limited historical material, including some correspondence, newspaper clippings, and printed material.

Subject(s):
New York (State)--Rochester
Men's clothing industry
Clothing trade
Correspondence
Newspaper clippings
Pattern books
Levy Bros. Adler Rochester, Inc.
Access
The Levy Bros. Adler-Rochester, Inc. papers is open for research use. Researchers are advised to contact Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation prior to visiting. Upon arrival, researchers will also be asked to fill out a registration form and provide photo identification.Use
Reproductions are made upon request but can be subject to restrictions. Permission to publish materials from the collection must currently be requested. Please note that some materials may be copyrighted or restricted. It is the researcher's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information contact rarebks@library.rochester.eduCitation
[Item title, item date], Levy Bros. Adler-Rochester, Inc. papers, D.221, Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Administrative Information
Author: Finding aid prepared by Rare Books and Special Collections staff
Publisher: Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation, River Campus Libraries, University of Rochester
Address:
Rush Rhees Library
Second Floor, Room 225
Rochester, NY 14627-0055
rarebks@library.rochester.edu
URL:


Content List
Series I: Correspondence and printed material
Box 1, Folder 1Correspondence, June 12, 1923
Letter from Mortimer Adler to stockholders of  L. Adler Bros. Co. re: 1922 merger with Levy Bros.

Box 1, Folder 2Correspondence, November 15, 1951
Form letter to Robert M. Adler re: Mortimer Adler's stock in Levy Bros. Adler-Rochester, Inc. and Michaels Stern Co., Inc.

Box 1, Folder 3Newspaper clippings and articles, 1926-1957
Box 1, Folder 4Miscellaneous printed material
Journal article, January 1938; printed photo, undated

Box 3, Folder 9Adler-Rochester clothes' price lists, 1941-1946
Box 3, Folder 10Adler-Rochester clothes' special-order custom service books, 1927-1931
Series II: Style model books
Subseries I: Adler-Rochester Clothes
Box 2, Folder 1General styles, 1924-1931
Box 2, Folder 2General styles, 1935-1939
Box 2, Folder 3General styles, 1940-1943
Box 2, Folder 4General styles, 1944-1946
Box 2, Folder 5"Authentic Styles", 1931-1934
Box 2, Folder 6"Heidelberg-Wolff" Division, 1932-1933, 1935
Box 2, Folder 7"Murray-University Styles", 1928-1932
Subseries II: Specialty lines and miscellaneous
Box 3, Folder 1Lawrence-Austin clothes, 1926, 1937, 1944, 1946
Box 3, Folder 2Lawrence-Austin clothes: advertising manuals, 1937-1938
Box 3, Folder 3Mt. Rock coats' "American informals", 1948-1949
Box 3, Folder 4Mt. Rock coats, 1947-1951
Box 3, Folder 5Mt. Rock suits and overcoats, 1952-1956
Box 3, Folder 6Mt. Rock suits, 1958-1959, 1961-1963, 1968
Box 3, Folder 7Mt. Rock Coats' circulars, undated
Box 3, Folder 8Mt. Rock coats' price lists, 1950-1951


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