New Western Reserve Historical Society Publication & Exhibition tells story of “the rag trade” and the immigrant entrepreneurs who left their mark on the region.
A new, illustrated history of the Cleveland Garment Industry tells the stories of the immigrant entrepreneurs and workers who made “the rag trade” part of the city’s economy. A Stitch In Time: The Cleveland Garment Industry, written by Associate Curator for Jewish History Sean Martin, Ph.D., and published by Western Reserve Historical Society, is now available. A companion exhibition developed in collaboration with Barrie Projects will open at the Cleveland History Center in University Circle on November 6, 2015.
The garment industry, concentrated in the Warehouse District and along Superior between East 19th and East 25th Streets, left its mark on the city in many ways. Throughout the 20th century, Cleveland was one of the nation’s leaders in the garment industry. Small shops established in the 19th century by immigrant entrepreneurs grew to become leading manufacturers. Companies based in Cleveland made dresses, blouses, sweaters, cloaks, and suits for men, women, and children. Successful manufacturers became prominent philanthropists, helping to turn Cleveland into the best location in the nation, and immigrant workers built lives as Americans. Workers earned the money to get an education and start their families. The industry declined in the late 20th century, but its mark on the city remains.
The publication A Stitch in Time: The Cleveland Garment Industry is available for purchase now through November 5, 2015 at the Cleveland History Center Museum Store for a special preview discount of $25.00. Following the opening of the exhibition, A Stitch in Time, on November 6th, the book will be sold at the Cleveland History Center and through other book dealers throughout Northeast Ohio for a retail price of $34.95.
The publication was made possible through generous funds from the Stone Rand Philanthropic Fund, Ruth G. and Sam H. Sampliner Fund, Adler Family Foundation, and the William & Barbara Klineman Philanthropic Fund. Martin explained the origins of the project, saying “A Stitch in Time was inspired by the efforts of Marc Frisch, whose family owned Frisch Knitting Mills, and Gary Rand, of Ohio Knitting Mills. Their desire to learn more about the industry their families were involved in motivated WRHS to tell the story of the industry and of companies such as Joseph & Feiss, Richman Brothers, Work Wear, Bobbie Brooks, and Dalton. Garment manufacturers helped immigrants find their way in a new country and contributed significantly to the growth of the city and region.”
The exhibition A Stitch In Time: The Cleveland Garment Industry will open November 6, 2015 and run through 2016 at the Cleveland History Center in University Circle at 10825 East Boulevard. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday noon to 5:00 pm. Admission is $10 adults; $9 seniors (age 62+); $5.00 students (age 3-12). WRHS members and children 2 & under receive free admission. Group rates are available. For information call 216-721-5722 or visit www.wrhs.org.