A narrow opening beside the east wall of 57 West 38th St. in the Millinery District reveals 10 signs, top to bottom:
HARRY / ? / FURS
JOHN TRINNER / LADIES HATS
? / LADIES HATS
EDMOND UHRY / TRIMMED AND TAILORED HATS
ALBERT H. BERNHARD / CO INC / LADIES HATTERS
SALO VEILCHENBLAU & CO / HAT FRAME SPECIALISTS
I. EPSTEIN / TRIMMED & TAILORED / HATS
LOUIS / METZGER / & CO
Edmond Uhry (1874-1954) (click for detail) was prominent enough to have an obituary in the New York Times (26 Feb. 1954). The obituary states "He was a native of Ingweiler, France, and came to this country at an early age. He was active in the millinery business in New York for many years and was associated with the firm of G. Hirsch & Sons." "Ingweiler" is probably Ingwiller, France, in the Alsace-Lorraine, near Strasbourg. Uhry seems to have immigrated 1891 (age 16 or 17). He had millinery businesses on Division St. and Broadway from 1904 to 1909. From 1909 to 1913 he was in partnership with Abraham Nathan Adelson (1884-1949) (Uhry & Adelson) at 616 Broadway near Houston St. He moved to 57 W. 38th St. as Edmond Uhry, Ladies Hats in 1915 (click for ad from 1919) and stayed approximately 10 years (they were located on W. 39th St. from 1925 to 1928). The business seems to have succumbed to the Great Depression in 1929. Uhry appears in the 1930 U. S. Census living at his longtime home at 1361 Madison Ave. (near E. 95th St.) and lists his occupation as "Salesman, Fabrics." Meanwhile, in the same census, Uhry's former partner, Abe N. Adelson, was living on Park Ave. and lists his occupation as "Broker, Real Estate." Uhry's association with G. Hirsch & Sons presumably followed the demise of his own company. G. Hirsch were importers and manufacturers of trimmings ("tinsel, thread and fabrics, beads and spangles" as defined in their listing in Polk's New York City Directory of 1915).
Randa Hats (click for detail), incorporated 1908, was located at 57 W. 38th St. from 1915 to 1925. (Click for ad from 1925.) Primary among the owners was Charles Roth (1874-192?), a native New Yorker. His son, Bertram C. Roth (1899-?) was also involved in the business. Others were Joseph Roscoe Oberfelder (1879-?) and Leo Nathan Lissner (1879-?). Oberfelder appears in the 1880 U. S. Census living with his father, Simon Oberfelder, a cloth merchant, on E. 57th St., Manhattan. Leo Lissner appears in the U. S. Census of 1900 as a young man of 20, living with his father, Jacob Lissner, a millinery merchant, on Nelson Place, Newark, New Jersey. Oberfelder and Lissner were either partners or salesmen at Randa Hats in the early days of the business. In 1917 there was a corporate dissolution, and from this point forward Charles Roth and his son Bertram Roth seem to be sole owners. The company went out of business in the early 1930s.
Albert H. Bernhard (1880-?) (click for detail) was initially in business with Samuel Lazarus (1867-?): (Lazarus & Bernhard, hats, 652 Broadway from 1913 to 1916). Bernhard was born in Middletown, Conn. 1 March 1880. He appears in the U. S. Census of 1880 age 3 months, living with his father, Henry Bernhard, an immigrant from Prussia ("sells dry goods"). In 1916 Bernhard moved here to the fourth floor of 57-61 W 38th St. as Albert H. Bernhard Co. Inc., Ladies Hatters. (Click for ad from 1917.) He remained at this address until 1929, moved briefly to W. 39th St., then went out of business. Bernhard resurfaced as a milliner briefly from 1932 to 1934 as president of Bernhard, Bregman & Liebman at 55 W. 39th St. Jacob Bregman (1888-?) was born in Pinsk, Minsk, Belarus and immigrated to the U. S. in 1912. Charles Liebman (1893-?) was also an immigrant from Minsk, Belarus (in 1914).
Salo Veilchenblau & Co., manufacturers of hat and bonnet frames, was founded ca. 1903 at 633 Broadway. The founder, Salo Veilchenblau (1877-?), immigrated to the U. S. from Germany around 1893/94. By 1905 Veilchenblau was joined in the business by his brother-in-law, Joseph Wertheimer (1877-?). Veilchenblau had married Wertheimer's sister, Rose Wertheimer, and the two men worked together some twenty years (1905-1925). For a dozen years or so (1913-1925) Wertheimer lived with Veilchenblau at the latter's home, 1340 Madison Ave. (at E. 94th St.). Wertheimer was a New York native. He appears in the U. S. Census of 1880 at the age of 3. His father was David Wertheimer, whose profession is described in the census as "Retail Dealer in Meat." Salo Veilchenblau & Co. were located at 57 W. 38th St. from 1915 to 1925. After 1925 the business continued at 15 W. 39th St. through 1937.
Like Veilchenblau, Isidor Epstein, Trimmed and Tailored Hats, was also a native New Yorker, born 1 March 1874. His millinery business was located downtown on the East Side on Division St. from 1906 to 1915. He moved to 57 W. 38th St. in 1915 and stayed in business here until 1926.
At the bottom of this stack is a vertical sign for Louis Metzger & Co. (click for image). Louis L. Metzger (ca.1844/45-191?) was born in Prussia and immigrated to the U. S. in 1863. He was in the millinery ornament business from at least as early as 1890. In 1893 a fire in the building at 637 Broadway leased by Metzger caused damages estimated between $16,000 and $18,000 (New York Times 15 April 1893). The business is described as "beads, millinery trimmings, and dress ornaments." Two sons, Leo Metzger (ca.1871-1937) and David Metzger (1874-1953) joined their father in the business by around 1900. In 1902 notice appeared in the New York Times of a newly incorporated Louis Metzger & Co (millinery goods). Louis Metzger, Leo Metzger and David Metzger are named as directors. Louis Metzger & Co. was located at 637 Broadway some 25 years, moving to 57 W. 38th St. in 1915. Click for ad announcing the move in 1915. They stayed at this location until 1924, then went out of business by 1926. Louis Metzger appears in the U. S. Census of 1870, describing himself as a glass worker. Leo Metzger was 1 year old at the time. By 1880 Metzger described himself as a merchant, and sons Leo and David were now 9 and 6 years old respectively. In 1910 the two boys, now 39 and 35 years old and still single, were still living with their father in the family home at 134 W. 123d St. (they lived here approx. 1907-1915). By 1920 Louis Metzger was dead and the two sons had families of their own. In 1930 Leo Metzger described his occupation as insurance agent, and David Metzger was a salesman. A year later David Metzger returned to the millinery business as a partner at Metzger & Salmon Ladies' Hats (in business from 1931 to 1949 on W. 39th St.).
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