1950s Play Hours

I was about to just give up on ever finding something I wanted on ebay and actually being able to buy it.  I don’t know if it is the influence of all the museum exhibitions of sportswear, but ephemera related to sportswear has gotten a bit crazy, pricewise.  Last week I was going to blow a whole $20 on a tiny little beat up and ratty 1919 Keds catalog.  Imagine my surprise when it went for $103!

To console myself, I went looking vintage Abercrombie & Fitch catalogs, being reminded by a recent blog comment that I probably do need to add a few of these overpriced gems to my library.  I was delighted to run across nine summer sportswear catalogs from Von Lengerke & Antoine, the Chicago Branch of A & F, at a very reasonable price.

Von Lengerke & Antoine was a longtime Chicago sporting store, and was actually a division of a New York store, Von Lengerke & Detmold.  This store was the competition of Abercrombie & Fitch, and in 1928,  A & F bought out the Von Lengerke stores.  That is why you will sometimes see the initials VL&A on Abercrombie & Fitch labels prior to 1960.

VL&A actually came with a bit of notorious baggage – the store was located in Al Capone’s territory, and it was the store in which two of the Colt Thompson machine guns used in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre were purchased.

But there are no machine guns in my catalogs, which start 20 years later, in 1949, and run through 1958.  According to the catalogs, VL&A carried the same merchandise as A&F.   In 1960s the Von Lengerke & Antoine name was phased out, and the store became known as Abercrombie & Fitch.

The catalogs are a delight for a lover of vintage sportswear, full of men’s and women’s clothing, picnic and travel accessories, sporting goods and just all around fun stuff.


Filed under Collecting, Sportswear

9 responses to “1950s Play Hours

  1. What a gorgeous catalog they produced. I especially like the page that is 4th up from the bottom, and would love to have that navy sun dress. right now.


  2. Wow! What an amazing catalogue. The illustrations are beautiful. 🙂


  3. Love the idea of a cocktail picnic hamper (last page).


  4. Those were the days, when portable bars were a necessary part of the outdoor life! Beautiful catalogs…and I bet you ran up against some crazy vintage shoe people on that Keds catalog auction.


  5. Pingback: Gabriella Hewitt » Blog Archive » What is it about Vintage?

  6. Pingback: Von Lengerke & Antoine, 1939 The Time of Your Life Begins Here | The Vintage Traveler

  7. Nina S Pigott

    I have a vintage backgammon set that was made for Abercrombie & Fitch – it is based on Spies & the Cold War. The pieces are made out of ceramic & depict spies. The board is also ceramic and is red, white & blue stars & stripes. I can’t seem to find anything like it online & was wondering if anybody knows anything about it?


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