item 120 - Ben Sommers interview, 1982 November 4

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Ben Sommers interview, 1982 November 4


  • 1982 November 04 (Creation)

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Original media: 1 audio cassette

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Ben Sommers was the former head of dance and theatrical shoe company Capezio Ballet Makers. He started working at Capezio at age 14 as a stock boy, later working up to being a salesman, and eventually became the president of the company in 1940, were he headed the company for 36 years. He established the Capezio Foundation in 1951, which became a leading philanthropic organization dedicated to dance, giving special assistance to the emerging New York regional ballet movement. In 1957, Sommers created the Capezio Award, which was given for lifetime achievement in dance. He also founded the Association of American Dance Companies and established National Dance Week in 1978, as well as International Dance Week in 1985, to honor dance throughout the world.

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"Mildred Finger Haines ... helped shape fashion tastes for four decades as a top buyer for department stores and a consultant to clothes makers and retailers.... From the late 1940's through the late 1960's, Mrs. Haines, known throughout her career as Mildred Finger, was a buyer of ready-to-wear at Macy's, Ohrbach's and Bergdorf Goodman, and was one of New York City's most often cited taste makers. At Bergdorf's, in particular, she was noted for bringing European styles to American consumers. She later became Vice President of Charles of the Ritz, headed fashion merchandising for Yves St. Laurent and became an independent consultant, with clients like the Limited and Arthur D. Little. Suffering from multiple sclerosis, she retired in 1986. In succeeding years, she frequently contributed her knowledge of the fashion industry to the oral history projects of the American Jewish Committee and the Fashion Institute of Technology...." New York Times Obituary, 1995

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      • Legacy audio ID no: AOH157
      • Legacy video ID no: N/A
      • Legacy transcription ID no: T39

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