item 11 - Marvin S. Traub interview, 1987 January 16

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Marvin S. Traub interview, 1987 January 16


  • 1987 January 16 (Creation)

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  • MPEG file: 71.8 MiB
  • 52 minues, 15 seconds. Original Media Format: Cassette (Marvin Traub interview is only 38 minutes and 22 seconds). Separate archival notes indicate additional recordings timed at 00:09:22, 00:52:15, 00:09:19,

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Biographical history

Born on April 14, 1925 in New York City, Marvin S. Traub was a key figure in the retail industry of the mid to late 20th century. He is best known for turning Bloomingdale's Department Store into an upmarket, fashion forward cultural center and taking it from a $65 million dollar business in 1950 to a billion dollar business in 1987. Before starting at Bloomingdale's, Traub graduated from Harvard's undergraduate college and then Harvard Business School. Traub also served in WWII and in 1948 he married his wife, Lee (n

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Biographical history

Estelle Ellis was born on November 12, 1919 in Brooklyn, New York. After graduating from Hunter College in 1940, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and a minor in Journalism, Ellis began a career in publishing. Ellis was crucial in the founding of Seventeen magazine in 1943, assisting Helen Valentine with design and advertising for the magazine. In 1958, Ellis founded Business Image, Incorporated, a creative marketing firm that stressed the importance of market and product positioning. Her company worked primarily with Condé Nast publications but other businesses, such as Yves Saint-Laurent Fragrances, Evan-Picone, AT&T, and Scoville, hired Business Image as well.

Beginning in the mid-1960s, Ellis began working with the Fashion Institute of Technology, creating programs and fundraising campaigns to help with financial support. During the 1990s, Ellis focused on writing, co-authoring At Home with Books: How Booklovers Live With and Care for Their Libraries (1995), At Home with Art: How Art Lovers Live With and Care for Their Treasures (1999), and The Booklover's Repair Kit: First Aid for Home Libraries (2000). Estelle Ellis passed away on July 12, 2012.

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In this conversation, Marvin S. Traub talks about his start at Bloomingdale's, and details his first seven positions at the company. He describes the Bloomingdale's customer as being someone who is interested in change and forward fashion, someone who "likes different things at different times" and who expects Bloomingdale's to alert them to the newest trends. Traub expresses his pride at helping to develop the careers of some of the industry's influential designers and executives and credits Bloomingdale's success to its team of talented and respectful employees. Traub talks about the role his wife has played in his life and he discusses his three children and their endeavors. In discussing some of the major changes at Bloomingdale's during Traub's tenure, there is mention of the Country Promotions, the branded shopping bags, the in-house boutiques, and Bloomingdale's role as a cultural center within a community. Traub referes to several different people as role models and peers, including Jed Davidson, Martha Graham, Bill Blass, and his wife, Lee.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Sound quality is really bad on this and all of the Marvin S. Traub recordings. Voices are very quiet, with a litte bit of an echo and there is a lot of air noise.

At 38:24, a totally separate interview begins with Estelle Ellis interviewing two men- not sure who these are


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  • Legacy audio file ID: AOH168
  • Legacy transcript ID: T88

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