Interview With Elise Meyer, John Meyer of Norwich

After I posted those great ads from John Meyer of Norwich last week, I hope you will be pleased to read a bit more about the company.  Today I have an interview with Elise Meyer, the daughter of the owner, John Meyer.  Elise is a collector with a mission – to learn about and share the story of her family’s company.  Her collection is now on display at the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, Connecticut.

Elise’s interview is interesting not just from a family history perspective.  It gives a great glimpse into the world of American garment manufacturing in the mid 20th century.

1.  The story of John Meyer of Norwich actually begins with your grandfather, Issac Meyer.  Tell us about him and the garment company he started with his brothers.

Isaac Meyer, the father of John Meyer, was born in May 1894 on “Orchard Street second floor in the sink”, according to family lore,  on the famed Lower East Side of Manhattan to parents who, like almost 2,000,000 other Ashkenazic Jews, emigrated from Russia, Germany, Lithuania, and other parts of Northern Europe seeking refuge from genocidal Pogroms.  Armed only with needle skills they brought with them from the Old Country, many who settled in New York City grew the garment industry with a willingness to work hard and the desire to succeed.

Soon, Isaac, his parents Morris and Minnie, and four older brothers, and a brother-in-law had left the squalor of the Lower East Side, and according to the 1910 Census, were living at 1143 Herkimer Street, Brooklyn.  By 1915 the American sons of Russian- born Morris Meyer, (a “truckman”), had started a company called Meyer Bros. located in a new cast iron factory building at 48 Walker Street, right below Canal Street, the epicenter of the Dry Goods Market of the time.

The company manufactured men’s trousers, and supplied other factories with “Gray (Greige) Goods” or, fabric freshly off the loom before any finishing, printing, or dyeing processes were done.  Twenty-year-old Isaac, known for his charm and good looks was a travelling salesman and spent most of his time on the road, taking orders for the manufacturing side of the business, and buying textile lots that were then sent to New York for sale to other businesses .

2.  The Meyer Brothers’ factory was located in Manhattan’s dry goods district.  Is the building still there today?  Did you always know the location of the building, or did you have to re-find it while doing your research?

Finding the address of the company was a delightful surprise, I found it in an old trade directory.

I also found a reference to their move to 670 Broadway in this fabulous trade publication (check it out!)
It was so interesting, because in 1976 I moved to Soho to open an art gallery, and when I moved to Broome Street, the family joked about my moving back to the Lower East Side after all the hard work to get to Connecticut! Nobody had ANY idea of the address of Meyer Bros.
3.  How did the Meyer family come to leave New York and move to Connecticut?

Unfortunately the economic woes of the Great Depression did not spare the Meyer Bros.  Family letters from years after the 1929 stock market crash indicate that everyone was still working hard, but having invested heavily in the stock market, trading on each others’ stock tips, suffered the fate of many. Grandmother Anita’s cousins wrote letters trading horror stories about suicides and destitution, and most of the girl cousins went to work as bookkeepers and stenographers, and encouraged each other to do as best they could under the circumstances.

But the interesting part of the story– one that I never knew before I began my research – was that after the death of Harry Meyer (one of the Meyer Bros.) his widow sued the other brothers with the hope of taking on her dead husband’s role in the business.   She lost the lawsuit, but I can surmise that the pressures were too great on the partnership.

I never knew any relative on my grandfather’s side of the family; Isaac Meyer died when I was a baby, and his wife Anita, shortly after.  My father died very young– right after he turned 50!  And my mother never had any relationship with that family.  In doing my research I did locate the grandson of my grandfather’s only sister, Bessie.
4.  After the brothers dissolved their partnership in the mid 1930s, what was Isaac Meyer’s next business venture?

The 1929 city Directory of Norwich, Connecticut shows Isaac Meyer (alone) living on Fairmount Street, the same street on which Philip Gottesfeld, a tailor, is living.

The exact details are lost to history, but the 1933 Directory lists Philip Gottesfeld Pants Manufacturers on 37 Chestnut Street (the same building later known as 242 Franklin Street). The evidence suggests that Isaac Meyer, travelling frequently to the mills around Norwich to arrange orders for the family business in New York, took a residence in Norwich, perhaps as a base for business trips to the dozens of important fabric mills in the area. And, the 1935 directory shows that “Ike’s” future son-in-law, Karl Meyerowitz (soon to change to Meyers) a German Jew whose family went to great lengths to arrange his immigration to America as Hitler rose to power, was living in Norwich also, with the stated profession of “salesman” in that year’s directory suggesting that he and Isaac were working together.

Gottesfeld and Meyer  started G&M manufacturing together.

5.   How and when did your father, John Meyer, enter into business with his father?

In January of 1949, after serving in the Navy in WWII,  John Meyer joined his father as salesman and merchandise manager.

In an effort to change the distribution of the G & M line of pants and jackets, John steered the company to manufacture a better quality of clothes, designed for the more upscale university clientele, and began to sell to stores in New England university towns. This new direction proved successful, and the company became specialists in the “Ivy League” style. They began to produce a high-quality line that was carefully tailored and fabricated in high-quality fabrics, that positioned their line in an exclusive niche.

Meanwhile, John Meyer met the beautiful and stylish Arlene Hochman.  Arlene, a Brooklyn native, was a student at nearby Connecticut College in New London, Connecticut.  She was an English poetry major and a talented artist who had attended the famous High School of Music and Art in Manhattan.  Like her collegiate peers, Arlene liked shopping the boy’s department of Brooks Brothers for scaled down collegiate staples like Bermuda shorts and button-down shirts.

6.  At what point did G&M switch over from men’s trousers to women’s apparel?

Together my parents  approached Isaac with the idea of manufacturing “walking shorts” for women, after Jean Higgins from the Fred Atkins company, (a buying office that represented and consulted to the biggest and best department stores and specialty retailers) met with John Meyer in the fall of 1955, and agreed that it was a great idea.

7.  Describe the women’s clothing made by G&M.

That year, the G. & M. Manufacturing Co., Inc. made their first women’s items. A flyer excitedly proclaimed; “ A menswear manufacturer producing completely man-tailored Ivy-League Type BERMUDA SHORTS and TAPERED PANTS FOR WOMEN! ALL in washable fabrics!”   The shorts had a strap in the back, a buttoned back pocket, no pleats, and a fly front with a hook and eye closure. They came in three plaids  (Black Watch, scarlet and green, and green and white) and three solids in flannel and cotton poplin, made of new wash-and-wear fabrics that had recently come on the market.

Because of their popularity, thanks to the quality and fine fabrics, the stores pressured for more women’s items, and soon the women’s business was growing fast. There was no competition in the field, as menswear for women’s sportswear was a brand new market.  With their first New Yorker magazine ad in February, 1960, they took the market by storm. The company quickly developed a reputation for quality and originality of design.

8.  After your grandfather, Isaac Meyer died in 1957, your father took the family company in a new direction, which included a name change.  Can you tell us the hows and whys of this change?

After Ike Meyer’s death in 1957, John Meyer took over as president of the company, and immediately started importing fine Shetland wools and cottons from Europe and the British Isles, sourced during trips to Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Italy. And, of course, to India, where a relationship with the leading Madras mill was cemented. Philip Gottesfeld sold his share of the business, and went on to do other things.  I have spoken to his son.

In 1960 the name of the company was changed to John Meyer of Norwich, which reflected the New Englander’s pride in craftsmanship and his flair for advertising too. Soon the company was making sweaters to match the skirts, and shirt-waist dresses and shirts, made from Liberty of London prints from England were added to the line.

By then they had found an eager market in college girls and “young suburbanites” who found that the clothes expressed their lifestyle… easy for Mr. and Mrs. Meyer who were living the country life as well.   It was the all-American look for the all-American girl.  The clothing as John Meyer would have said “Hit the spot”.

They decided to change the name to John Meyer of Norwich to express the “country life” marketing angle of the clothing, and the Ivy League appeal. Also, my father was an extremely charismatic man, and soon he was making store appearances with the announcement, “Yes, Virginia, there really is a John Meyer of Norwich”

9.  John Meyer of Norwich clothing is strongly associated with a certain lifestyle.  I can remember that the brand was sold only at the very best clothing store in my town.  How was the “branding” of the company managed?  Did your father set out to give the company an image of Ivy League, or preppy?

They were very selective about the shops that would carry the line, and wanted to have their own department in the shops, so people could easily build the outfits of the matching components.  It was very affiliated with the Ivy League look.  In an interview my dad said, “We don’t sit in an office and wonder what someone would wear to Derby Day at Yale, or to the Regatta.  We’ve been there, we know”.  My parents were very proper, and believed that good manners in dress and behavior were very important.

10.  You were a child during John Meyer of Norwich’s strongest years.  Did you and your brother and sister have any input into the company and the clothing?

On weekend trips to our ski house in Vermont, our parents would show us samples of colors, and we would help name them.  I remember my brother seeing a dark pink and saying “razzleberry”.  The name stayed.  I apprenticed at the factory from the time I was 12 for a couple of years, but by then my father was quite ill, and the company had been sold to W.R. Grace.  As the oldest child I would occasionally accompany my parents for a fashion show or other event.  Most of my clothing was scaled-down versions of the dresses in the line.  They had a very successful dress called “the Lisa Dress” that came from a dress my mother designed, and had made up for me.  I am wearing it in this photo:

11.  Another company that seems to have had the same target audience as John Meyer was Villager.  Was there a relationship between the two companies?

In the early days, my parents and Max and Mary Raab from Villager shared an office and a showroom in New York City.  John Meyer made the “hard goods”; skirts, pants, suits, coats, etc. and Villager made the cotton blouses and dresses to match the colors of each season.  At a certain point Villager decided they could do it all on their own and the companies went their own ways.

12.  How much do think the changing political climate of the late 1960s affected the company?

The youth revolution was an important turning point in the company, when people started wearing jeans and hippie attire (myself included!) things got hard, and the college and youth market turned away from the traditional looks, and indeed, away from anything that looked like their parents’ generation. The name was changed to just John Meyer to downplay the country-club image, and the lines of 1969 and 1970 showed some very funky looks- tapestry long skirts and vests, patchwork velvet and bell bottom pants.  How Sgt. Pepper is this?

13.  Your father sold his company in 1969, but continued as president of the company until his death in 1974.  What happened to John Meyer of Norwich then?

My father was diagnosed with a rare and virulent cancer when he was only 43, and battled it until his death at the age of 50. Around 1969 he started Jones New York, which was taken over by Sidney Kimmel, and the John Meyer of Norwich label was sold several times, finally being acquired by Judy’s Group, who produce women’s wear under that label today, although the attitude or the style of the today’s line is not at all reflective of the ideals or look for which the company was known under my parents.

14.  You told me that you did not have any of your original John Meyer of Norwich clothing, but now you have amassed a great collection.  How were you able to assemble such a comprehensive collection?

Etsy! Ebay! Vintage shows and shops!… I am the goddess of google… some of my best finds have resulted from googling various misspellings!.  It does seem fascinating to me that the world of online vintage clothing shopping is a cottage industry not at all unlike the piecework and home sewing that supported families in the early days of the garment manufacturing industry. The wife of one of the salesmen of the company made a quilt with samples of some of the cotton goods, and using that I was able to ascertain the “provenance” of some dresses and blouses.

15.  What about the company archives?  Did any of it survive the closing of the company?

Not that I have found, although I have an album of the press clippings and newspaper articles.

16.  Do you have any pieces with a Meyer Brothers or a G&M label?

I don’t– I WISH I did.  I have one pair of very early walking shorts with a John Meyer of Norwich label, and another pair that looks and feels exactly like the description in the 1956 tear- sheet, but it has no label. I would be so appreciative if any of your readers could help provide this missing piece of the history!

17.  Any additional thoughts you’d like to share?

Going into this project I was hoping to preserve a bit of the history of the company– because I realized if I did not do it, nobody every would.  I never expected that the archive would lead to my historical discoveries.  I was only 19 when my father died, and he and my mother worked non-stop.  I really didn’t know that much about them, and was eager to learn more, but my mother, who died about five  years ago, never really wanted to talk about those days– she was widowed with three teenagers at the age of 42! I understand that it was hard for her to look back at their amazing achievements in the nine short years between that first pair of shorts and the sale of the company.

My thanks to Elise for such a great interview, and for the use of her photographs.  And if anyone come across one of those elusive  Meyer Brothers or a G&M labels, please be in touch so I can refer you to Elise.

74 Comments

Filed under Designers, First Person Stories, Vintage Clothing

74 responses to “Interview With Elise Meyer, John Meyer of Norwich

  1. I have never heard of this company, but enjoyed this post very much. The clothes are lovely! I shall keep an eye out for these labels!

    Like

  2. How fascinating! That’s great she’s been able to amass such a collection and flesh out the family history. When someone passes SO many stories go with them. Glad some of theirs were Googleable 🙂

    Like

  3. Wonderfully fascinating interview and such great research from you Lizzie. Thanks so much for sharing this with us. I have to admit, I’m a little bit in love with John Meyer now. 🙂

    Like

  4. Mary Jane

    Wonderful interview…so much detailed information from Elise.

    I have to say that I love the pink preppy outfit with the matching purse and that velvet 2-piece paisley outfit is very nice!

    Like

  5. Wow, fascinating interview! I’ve run across John Meyer pieces from time to time, and had no idea of the history of the roots of the company. Those 60s pieces shown at the end are wonderful: )

    Like

  6. How wonderful that Elise is pursuing this family history and that you have made it available to all of us. It is a shame that business records are not routinely saved, although I understand the problem. (Who would save them? Where? Who would pay?) I heard a lecture once by a fashion historian who studied a business in Paris. They eventually disbanded and destroyed all of their records, including many letters from Edith Wharton! As a West-Coaster, the Villager line is quite well known and loved by me. However, I have never heard of this company before. Perhaps their appeal was more regional? Or maybe I didn’t shop at the kind of stores that carried this line.

    Like

    • Oh my! That Wharton story is terrible!

      Whenever I talk to anyone about a family business, I always ask the question of what happened to the business records. The only one I’ve encountered where the records were saved was Vera, and I’m not sure if that archive was complete, or if it was just her designs.

      Several years ago I visited a garment business that has been in operation in the same location for 100 years. They had recently moved the office from one section of the factory to another, and in the process, cleaned out 100 years of files and took them to the paper recycling plant. I was speechless.

      Like

  7. This was just an utterly wonderful, interesting interview! Thank you, Lizzie and Elise. I will now be keeping my eyes open for items with a Meyer Brothers or G&M label! (My last name is Meyers, so I’ve always had a special affinity for things with the John Meyer label…though I also love the plaid/collegiate styling of the line.)

    Like

    • thanks Karen… I believe that I bought some things from you for the archive!

      Like

      • stacey

        Elise, I have a John Meyer of Norwich (60’s) wool plaid skirt and jacket suit with match wool plaid bag trimmed in brown leather with stubs on it if you are interested in adding to your collection it’s in excellent/perfect condition. I can send pictures if you like.

        Like

        • hi Stacey, I’m sorry I just found this, I would love to see the items if you still have them. please feel free to contact me directly at elisemeyer ( at ) gmail (dot) com Thanks so much!!

          Like

  8. Terrific info here and thanks for sharing it! As a teen growing up in a college town on the west coast, I loved and wore these labels right at the cusp between the Kennedy years and the Hippie years. I will keep my eyes open for Elise, since I do see that label now and then (usually in great condition, perhaps because of their original high cost and value). One last note: I named my own vintage business in part after those wonderful pintucks that the blouses and dresses of Liberty prints had on them!

    Like

  9. Sheila

    Loved the interview. As a postscript, my husband is the “grandson” of Bessie Meyer and we are so happy to reconnect with the Meyer family.

    Like

  10. Fashion Witness

    Great interview! I certainly remember these clothes from my college years. Looking at the John Meyer of Norwich clothes made me think of Villager clothes — and there they were, connected in the next paragraphs! I think naming the company John Meyer of Norwich was a stroke of brilliance, since it also evoked Norwich, England at a time when everything British was in! Does anyone else remember that Villager clothes often came with a tiny red ladybug pin (like a decorated straight pin) on the collar? I think Vera also used a ladybug mark — another example of something being “in the air” at a moment of time. I remember “razzleberry,” and wore that transitional 60s combination of preppy tailoring and large-scale paisley prints in several dresses. Brava to Elise!

    Like

    • Tracy H

      Yes, I thought that little ladybug pin was soo chic! But wasn’t it just in the Ladybug label clothes? I think that was a younger version of Villager produced by the same company?

      Like

      • Villager was the Missey size (6-8-10)line and Ladybug was the Junior (5-7–9)size. The villager had the brass manikin lapel pin and the ladybug had the Ladybug pin. I was a salesman for Villager, Ladybug and John Meyer in Texas Okla and La. for about 10 years in the 60’s. Found the line at 1407 Broadway NYNY 14th floor with Norman Raab (villager) sitting on a three legged milk stool in the hallway trying to get buters into the showroom.. For more information email icanfindem@gmail.com.

        Like

        • Vicky Jennings

          I bought many of these beautiful clothes at Harold’s in Norman, Ok. I enjoyed this wonderful article. The clothes always looked so fresh!

          Like

          • Isn’t it amazing how our favorite clothes tend to stay with us in memory?

            Like

          • Vicky, Harolds was one of my best accounts while they were in Norman Okla. I loved selling the store and had several “Trunk Shows” in the store from time to time. Casual Corners was also one of my better accounts in ?Texas and Okla. Most of the Village salesman of my day have stepped over their rainbow but the were hot lines in the 60 and 70 and I had 5 stores that carried nothing by Villager and Meyer. The Carriage Shop In Dallas was great. Mrs. Faye Brogan was the best merchandiser in the biddness.

            John Piersol

            Like

        • Chelsea

          I loved reading this article and the comments as well! My mother worked for Ladybug in her teens and I would love to track down some pieces for her. She speaks so fondly of her time at Ladybug, and she wishes she had some pieces for her collection. If you have any information, I would appreciate it so much. My email is chelsea.lawler@gmail.com thank you so much!!

          Like

  11. Shelly

    The interview is great. And if you can get to the museum for the show, do it! Just being in the presence of the clothes is a real trip.

    Like

  12. Hi, it’s Elise here. Thanks so much for this Lizzie, and thanks to all the dealers who made this all possible for me. It would be amazing if this post could help locate some of the early pieces I am really missing, and, as I am hopeful that the exhibit will continue on to other venues, I hope to meet some of you in the future. I would especially love some of the early coats- there were amazing reversible ones. Also the crazy dome hats, lingerie, and other accessories. If you happen to have these in your personal collections, please consider a future loan to another museum or venue.
    Best.
    Elise
    http://www.muchadoaboutstuffing.com

    Like

    • michele

      hi elise
      this is Michele please call me reference john meyer
      of norwich
      our company are the owners of the label and manufactur the clothing we spoke a while back and now I see this article
      I believe you have my number or you can email me
      thanks

      Like

  13. June Lapidow

    Fantastic interview and observations, thanks! How I coveted these clothes as a pre-teen! I think my drive to dress “like a nun,” as my husband has labeled my style, can be attributed directly to this label.

    June Lapidow

    Like

  14. Wow! Thank you that’s fascinating and I don’t even know the label.

    Like

  15. sandi carter

    Elise, You came into or called LOVE ME TWO TIMES in Taftville Ct. we have 2 catalogs from John Meyers 1967 and 1968, they were brought in by one of our customers, you call contact us at LOVE ME TWO TIMES on facebook or call there ;8608893535

    Like

  16. Tracy H

    I loved John Meyer of Norwich clothes and the “little sister” label Emily M … does anybody remember that one? But this was at the time the label was sold to W. R. Grace. Went on my first real date in a John Meyer plaid skirt and sweater vest in a coordinating color. Thanks so much for the history!

    Like

  17. Hi Lizzie, Thank you for telling me about the exhibit! I loved it and almost cried when I watched the video of women my age, talking about how meaningful the clothes were to them. Here, I blogged about it:

    http://alovelyinconsequence.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-clothes-of-our-lives.html

    Like

  18. Beth Pfaff

    I loved John Meyer while in high school—late 1960’s–John Meyer, Villager and Lady Bug were “the” brands to wear in my southern school. I will definitely plan to get to the museum in August!

    Like

  19. Leslie mulholland

    How about an exhibit at the Slater Museum in Norwich on the Norwich Free Academy campus? Don’t forget the knee high socks that matched all pieces- bring it back!!

    Your exhibition should be there..it would be home…and loved

    Like

    • it will be! stay tuned!!

      Like

    • The John Meyer of Norwich exhibit will open at the Slater Museum in Norwich on September 20, 2015, and will run until January, Hope to see you all there!
      http://www.slatermuseum.org/cf_news/view.cfm?newsid=568
      On view September 20, 2015 through January 15, 2016

      Opening reception Sunday, September 20, 4 – 6pm. Free and open to the public.

      This exciting exhibition will investigate the celebrated clothing company, John Meyer of Norwich, which was established and based in Norwich, CT. It briefly resurrected the textile and manufacturing industry in mid-twentieth century in a city that had been a powerhouse of American industry in the nineteenth century.

      The exhibition will explore John Meyer himself, the man who founded the eponymous company, the family who supported him and the community that he served. Included themes will cover relative history of design and styles; social history related to women and their changing roles, the Jewish Community in a small New England city and manufacturing technology.

      Like

  20. Debby Wapner

    I remember wearing Villager, John Meyer and Lady Bug. They were sold at trendy expensive botiques, where I insisted my mother take me to! Poor lady, she loved to shop, and couldn’t say no. Those were the days!

    Like

  21. Beth Pfaff

    I just came back from the exhibit in Waterbury. It was just grand and brought back so many memories of what we wore in high school and college. If any of you have time to go, please do so before the exhibit closes. Elise, you should think about showing this collection at other sites along the East Coast.–I am sure a lot of women would love to see the clothing.

    Like

  22. absolutely fascinating!

    a quaint little upscale boutique called The Mulberry Bush, in the collegiate town of Iowa City, Iowa stocked John Meyer co-ordinates…and I think the (then) trendy Seifert’s shops also carried the label. Both shops are now a memory only, but John Meyer: Classic, traditional, great style! thank you, Lizzie, and thank you, Elise!

    Like

  23. cal

    I recently came across a fab John Meyer velvet skirt, which I am guessing must be from the 60’s or 70’s. I am having a hard time figuring out for sure in which decade it was made, as the label has the tree but not the small bottles on it. Does anyone have any information on the evolution of the label/tag design through the years? I would appreciate help deciphering it.

    Like

  24. Hi Lizzie,
    I found a mint condition John Meyer of Norwich jacket today and was researching it when I found your thread. I hadn’t planned on selling it, since it fits like a dream but if Elise doesn’t have one like it yet, I would let it go to her. It is so gorgeous. You or she can email me 2casadiva@gmail.com and I can send pictures of it.

    Sooz

    Like

  25. Kim Homski Phillips

    Elise,
    I am a Norwich native and my first stylish, “grown up” clothes were John Meyer! My mother knew your father and grandparents and recalls them fondly. I called Mom after reading this article and she’s going to scour the attic to see if she still has any “vintage” John Meyer clothing.

    Kim Homski Phillips

    Like

    • John Piersol

      I was John’s first salesman in Texas Okla La and Ark, and Miss and later turned the line over to one of my salesman named Bob Hoover who carried the l ine in these states till the look went away in this area in about 1970 or so. I also carried The Villager and Ladybug at the same time and same states till 1971. Found the line hanging on a hall tree on the 14th floor 1407 Broadway, New York Sold thousands of his Coolout skirts.

      John Piersol

      Like

      • Hi John, I would love to talk to you. please email me at elisemeyer(at)gmail(dot)com

        Like

        • Elise:

          It is now the 9 of May 2014 and I just got you reply request. Pleas fell free to call me at 936-598-4882 office, 936-598-7658 home or cell 963-590 2080. I would love to hear from you and pass on what I can I am going to email you now.
          John Piersol

          Like

    • Hi Kim, we are just starting to work on an exhibit at the Slater Museum in Norwich for 2015, I would love to talk to you. please email me at elisemeyer(at)gmail(dot)com

      Like

    • Hi Kim, lets talk sometime soon! email me at elisemeyer(at)gmail(dot)com

      Like

  26. stacey

    I have a John Meyer of Norwich plaid suit with match bag trimmed in brown leather and stubs. It’s in perfect condition and it’s been in my closet for about 3 years now after purchasing it from a second hand shop. I knew this suit was special the first time I looked at it from the quality and mastership. Stacey

    Like

  27. My family lived in Norwich for about 100 years, my father being born there in 1920 from Russian immigrant parents. He knew the Meyers growing up in the area, as his own father was a cobbler and tailor in Greenville on Main. My mother shopped exclusively from them, and my brother worked for the company in the 70s as a teenager. I believe it was in the old Norwich industrial park north of town. Great memories. Thanks for the article.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Jan Teegarden

    I loved wearing my older sisters hand me downs of John Meyer and Villager. I remember reading “Seventeen Magazine” during the late 60’s and early 70’s and wonder if pictures of the clothing lines are there. If any one has copies of vintage “Seventeen Magazine” from this era it might be a source.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Bill Burelle

    I remember John Meyer when they were in the Falls Mill having been born and raised in Norwich. My aunt, Mary Busch, worked for John Meyer and I remember the Washington Birthday one-day sales of John Meyer clothing and especially the pocket books with the wood curved handles that were interchangeable with various cloth designs.

    Like

  30. Anne Frank

    This was a wonderful walk down ” memory lane ” for me. My closet, as a teenager was decked with all my matching John Myers of Norwich/ Villager outfits. I adored the little lady bug pins and not too long ago I ran into one that I had saved, but today not sure if I could locate. My ideal were the lovely wool skirts with matching cartigan sweaters and matching knee socks. I wore this with my Bass Weegen shoes and was ready for my college interview. You are right that the college culture was shirfting and these beautiful clothes were not the major look on campus. However, I would not give it up and as a freshman I got voted as one of the best dressed on campus. ( I went to State University of NY at New Paltz). One last great memory was traveling over to the factories of John Myers in CT and getting wonderful deals. Luckily I did have a store, Campus Casuals and one other in my upstate Amsterdam town that sold the line, and I would be there buying the real deal. Beautiful line, and I have fond memories. Congratulations. I did wonder what happened to the line and never knew my next love of Jones of NY was a definite decendent of the line.

    Like

  31. Laurene Shewan

    Loved the interview with Elise and looking forward to the Slater Exhibition in 2015. I couldn’t afford to buy John Myers clothing as a teen because babysitting just didn’t pay enough………but, when they started selling their fabric in their Taftville warehouse, I was able to reproduce some of their styles including a lined, purple plaid jacket and skirt. They also sold some knit fabric with the name JONES on it (for Jones New York, no doubt), so I bought some and made my Dad a necktie as we were Joneses. He was buried with that tie!

    Like

  32. I am really fascinated with vintage lingerie and fashion. I purchased two slips recently. One has the Meyer Bros. Tag in it and the other one just has the size. Both slips are very similar. I read in your blog that you were look for items with the Meyer Bros. tag inside. The tag says Meyer Bros. then under it, it says Bringing Main St. To Your Neighborhood. Is this one of the missing pieces to your collection? If so please let me know I would like for the slips to go home where they belong instead of hanging in my closet. I am passionate about history and the preservation of fashion.

    Like

  33. Elizabeth

    Love John Meyer of Norwich. Grew up next town over from Norwich and loved going to the big sales at Ponemah Mills in Taftville. Still have the wooden handled bag and a beautiful coat when it became Jones of NY. Loved purchasing the fabric to make outfits. What about the Emily M line of clothes? Thanks for a great article.

    Like

    • Tracy Hart

      Hi there, Elizabeth. I think Emily M was the junior-sized line of John Meyer – I remember some adorable Emily M outfits, really the thing to have to wear to school in the early 1970’s ! I imagine the label ended about the same time as the misses sized John Meyer.

      Like

  34. Karen Marsdale

    Loved the article! I went to college in 1967, if you weren’t wearing Villager, John Meyer or Lady Bug you just couldn’t go anywhere! this makes me miss the old days…

    Like

  35. nancy ryan

    I worked for the company from 1973 to 1987. I met your very handsome father briefly when he came for a visit. I actually worked in Personnel and was the “tour guide” for visitors who came to tour the plant (in the industrial park.) I don’t have the script but I remember it from your history recap. I remember the sales in the taftville mills and girls would try on clothes right in aisles. Did you ever find one of the two piece bathing suits. I had a pink tiny flower print one, also very tailored soft yellow straight ankle pants. Then when I worked there at 18, never had a paycheck. Spent it on factory sales…This company was built on class, and if you talk to anyone who worked there or remember the clothing line you can still hear the pride of ownership.

    Like

  36. Beth Pfaff

    Can’t wait to see the exhibit in Norwich! I went to the one in Waterbury and enjoyed it so much. Worth a trip up I-95 to CT any day!

    Like

  37. Allen Thompson

    I worked for the company from 1975 to 1988. ( print shop) I started a year after Mr. Meyer had passed, I always heard good thinks about Mr. Meyers how he would help his employees. Nancy is right, that hold company was in a class by its self. The next time I go home i look for a exhibit. It is good that the label lives on.

    Like

  38. Hi Elise,
    I saw something on eBay that reminded me of John Meyer and then came across this site. John Meyer of Norwich was my first job as an assistant designer back in 1983, when it was under the Jones New York umbrella. The quality, taste, and wonderful sense of design this line produced has been an inspiration for me my entire life. I worked in the New York design office until it was sold, but the label still has a place in my heart! I’m glad to learn the exhibit has been extended and I hope to make it up there this week.
    Susan Miller McCormick

    Like

  39. I’m working on a current blog post about clothing and came across in researching Villager and John Meyer clothing. I need to seriously link this in my post. Do I have your permission? I am about to be obsessed with your blog!

    Like

  40. Thank you for this in-depth interview. I have many early 1960’s John Meyer of Norwich clothing pieces. Some are new with tags. I have enjoyed this designer all my life. They are all so very well made. It’s unfortunate for me most, are not in my size otherwise, I would never part with them and wear them today, in a heart beat.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s