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

  1. Rabbi David Kudan says:

    I am related to the Lustigs through my grandfather Arnold Rosenberg, whose grandparents were Simon Kahn and Amelia Namm. I would like to be in touch with the Lustig family re: family history.

    David Kudan
    Cambridge, MA

  2. My grandmother Bertha Lustig’s maiden name was Bertha Namm. She was born about 1863 to the brother of the founder of Namm’s Dept. Store. Her father was a tailor.

  3. Gray Ponti says:

    My uncle worked there beginning in 1930. I’m not sure how long he worked there, but I have certificate from “The Namm Store” recognizing his five years of service.

  4. Gerard Flynn says:

    My sister was an artist at Namm’s She modeled during WWII.

  5. martin beck says:

    my mother worked for Namms and then when it took over loesers too . I was about 13 at the time and on thursday nites my motherworked late and I was allowed to travel from crown heights to meet her after work and I sometimes got a present at 10% off thank you and then we would go to mccrorrys for a lite dinner with a frozen custard yea I loved thursday nites .

  6. I have an old needlepoint, framed picture dated 6/9/38 of a man and his dog. It is tagged AI Namm & Son Picture Store on the back. Does anyone know how I can find out more about this beautifully preserved needlepoint???

  7. Mishell Ganchala says:

    Many may just take a quick look at the photograph and assume that its old. The quality of the picture gives out a hint of the time period the picture was taken. From the elegant look of the dress I can assume that they are high class, yet during that time many women dressed alike. A way to distinguish the difference between the rich and the poor was with what they had and how much layering of clothes was on them. You can also see that there are only women in this photograph which is confusing in a way because one is unable to tell if some women may work there since during that time women were not allowed to work. The store looks more like a whole sale store due to the quantity of items that are boxed on display. On the description I realized that this building still exist. Everyday we walk around Brooklyn without even realizing that some building around us are way older then our parents or even grandparents.

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