Brooklyn History Photo of the Week: A.I. Namm & Sons Department Store

A.I. Namm & Sons Department Store, Boerum Hill, ca. 1898, V1972.1.743; Photography Collection; Brooklyn Historical Society

1898, Boerum Hill. The A.I. Namm & Sons Department Store stood at 450-458 Fulton Street. Polish immigrant Adolph I. Namm came to the United States in the 1870s and started his business in Manhattan. In 1885, taking advantage of Brooklyn’s physical and commercial growth, Namm moved his business to Brooklyn. Eventually his business expanded from a storefront to a block-long complex stretching from Fulton to Hoyt Street. By the 1920s, A.I. Namm was one of the largest department stores in the United States, with more than eighty departments and 1,200 employees. The store’s motto was: “Don’t sell America short…sell it shirts.” By then, the Namms had cornered the dry goods market, beating out top competitors like Abraham & Strauss. Since the late 1950s, the building on Fulton Street has been sold and purchased numerous times. Today part of the structure still remains, occupied by various offices and firms including Liberty Mutual Life Insurance and Abraham and Strauss accounting agency.

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