The interesting history of Abercrombie & Fitch

As a rule, I find Abercrombie & Fitch an abhorrent company. Something about them always rubbed me the wrong way. Do we need to see topless models to know if we want to buy a forty dollar t-shirt? It’s elitist nonsense, in my opinion. Shopping there is like owning a Hummer in New York City – just trying to make yourself look big and impressive with no substance.

Anyway, I was reading an amazing book about the life of Theodore Roosevelt and noticed that as part of the Rough Riders uniform he created, he used materials from Brooks Brothers and Abercrombie & Fitch. I was pretty sure Brooks Brothers was around back then, and they always came off as a classy company. Discovering that A&F was around back then was pretty surprising to me. Apparently, they used to be a pretty well-known upper class store.

Courtesy of the Wikipedia page on the history of A&F:

David Abercrombie founded A&F in 1892 as an upscale sporting goods store. Forming a partnership with Ezra Fitch, the company continued to expand in the new 20th century. After Abercrombie left the company, Fitch became sole owner and ushered in the “Fitch Years” of continued success. After his retirement, the company continued under a succession of other leaders until its financial fall and closing in 1977. Limited Brands purchased the ailing brand in 1988 and brought in Mike Jeffries, who revolutionized the image of Abercrombie & Fitch to become an upscale youthful fashion retailer. Today, the company is a multi-billion dollar entity continuing to experience economic expansion through the introduction of four growing concepts and cautious international expansion into key luxury markets.

Prominent figures who patronized the company in its excursion goods days of the early 20th century include Teddy Roosevelt,[1] Amelia Earhart,[1][2] Greta Garbo,[1] Katharine Hepburn,[1] Clark Gable,[1] John Steinbeck,[3],[4] John F. Kennedy,[4] Ernest Shackleton,[5] and Dwight Eisenhower.[4]

They used to send out giant catalogs. A photo below:

Thought this was interesting and worth sharing.


Twitter Feed of the Week: Tweets from History

OK, so normally there is a site of the week, and technically the tweets can be found on a website, but it’s really a Twitter feed.

This feed is another place you can find “historical” tweets, short humorous messages that historical figures might tweet.

I have pasted only some of the hilarious ones you can find. If you want to see the full list, or follow him on Twitter, click here.

Achilles: Open-healed sandals are in this year.

Menelaus: Yeah, Helen, she’s hot. Looks like trouble though.

Magellan: I just went out to get a loaf of bread.

Bog, 100,000 BCE: Yo, Norf, Dood, no wonder your starving, man. Sharp end first.

Leonardo da Vinci: Yes, I know what she’s smilin about. He he he.

Geronimo: You say what when you jump out of a plane? … Why? … What’s a plane?

Isaac Newton: Well, there’s a coconut tree over there, but the apple tree is a little more shady.

Ivan the Annoying: My PR guys are terrible.

King David: Bathsheba? Yeah, I know her. Why?

List – 100 Great Twitter Feeds for History Geeks

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I found this list courtesy of the RagLinen twitter page. I dedicated a Site of the Week to Rag Linen back in January. You can view my post by clicking here.

From the site:

Although one doesn’t often associate history with up-to-date information, finding out the latest in history developments from Twitter is both fun and useful. With the help of a variety of Twitter feeds, you can stay on top of what’s going on in the history world, today and yesterday. Check out our collection of Twitter feeds for history geeks to find the best.

You can find the entire list here.

I’m not going to post them all here, but if you have Twitter and enjoy history, including hilarious tweets about what famous people in history “would” have tweeted, you should definitely check it out. You can read about one of them, Historical Tweets, here (another Site of the Week of mine).

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Site of the Week: Shorpy

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A little bit about the remarkable website known as Shorpy:

Shorpy is an online archive of thousands of high-resolution photos from the 1850s to 1950s. Our namesake, Shorpy Higginbotham, was a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago. Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.)

This amazing site has over 5,300 pictures, many of them from a long time ago. It’s really a great trip through America’s history, in photographs. An appropriate sample photo would be this one, taken circa 1900. “Heat wave. Free ice in New York.”

It looks really authentic, because, well, it is.

Shorpy was also voted one the best blogs of 2010 by Time Magazine. You can follow them on Twitter here.


Site of the Week: Shorpy

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Origins #18 (by request) Blue Laws

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Blue Laws

The concept of a ‘Blue law’ has a puritan background, from Massachusetts Bay colony (I found a reference to New Haven colony also. It was probably common in different colonies.) A  “blue law” refers to an edict designed to regulate public activities on the Sabbath, which meant Sunday to the Congregationalists of that day.

Why ‘blue’ though?

The origin of the term blue law is disputed. Many authorities have argued that some of the early laws, or a book describing the regulations, were printed on blue paper.

Pretty simple, right? Blue papers, blue laws.

This information (along with much more on the topic) courtesy of

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Amazing news for comedy fans- Bob Hope joke archive opens to public

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Bob Hope

The Library of Congress has released his 85,000-page trove ribbing presidents and politicians.

The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., has opened up comedian Bob Hope’s joke file to public view for the first time.

In an exhibit that links entertainment with politics, which opened Friday, the Library has organized the late comedian’s 85,000 pages of jokes into topics in separate digital kiosks.

“It’s really a thrill,” said his daughter, Linda Hope. “I was on the other side of so much of this, like his trips going overseas to entertain the troops.”

Hope died in 2003, just after his 100th birthday, and worked almost to the end — telling side-splitters about presidents ranging from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Bill Clinton.

Linda Hope says her father was quite nervous at his first White House correspondents’ dinner in 1944, unsure whether he’d be a hit with his jokes.

“But he just decided he was going to be brash and let them have it — but being respectful,” she recalls. “That was the thing that kind of set Dad apart a little bit: He was really basically respectful of both sides of the political argument.”

Hope was friends with almost all the presidents, even while poking fun at them.

He once joked that Ronald Reagan as the oldest chief executive made Poligrip denture adhesive “the official presidential seal,” and quipped that Clinton’s long inauguration would be the first to require an intermission.

The comedian usually remained politically neutral but he did take a stand on the Vietnam War, supporting the president and troops.

Hope for America: Performers, Politics and Pop Culture uses Hope’s extensive collection of personal papers, films and radio and television broadcasts, which was donated to the library in 1998.

There are also clips and stories featuring Johnny Carson, Jimmy Stewart, Richard Pryor, Sean Penn, David Letterman and the Smothers Brothers.

The exhibit will be available at the Library of Congress for long-term viewing.

Read the article here.

You can read about the exhibit here. I can’t wait to go and see it!

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