Brooklyn Men’s Clothier Howard Clothes – Tribute to a Company Lost to History

Howard Clothes Collage

Howard Clothes was a name I heard throughout my childhood, as my dad regaled us with tales of his youth. However, I never took the time to learn more until recently, which proved quite a challenge. My 92-year-old dad has a spectacular memory, but I was seeking concrete information on this rather obscure clothing company that has seemingly been lost to history. The first Howard Clothes store opened in New York in 1924 and was founded by Samuel Kappel, Joseph Langerman, and Henry Marks – named after Langerman’s son Howard. A corporation was subsequently organized in New York in 1925 under the name Howard Clothes Inc. and was later changed to Howard Stores Corporation. The company operated a massive factory in Brooklyn, just on the other side of the Manhattan Bridge, in the neighborhood now known as Dumbo. They sponsored a radio show called Howard Dandies, broadcast on WABC. Their line was limited to men’s clothing, with a major competitor being Bond Stores. Bond operated numerous retail outlets across the U.S., with a factory in Rochester, N.Y. and a flagship store at 372 Fifth Avenue at 35th Street in NYC. Although Bond was primarily a men’s clothier, by the mid-1950s some stores carried women’s clothing, and in their heyday, like Howard Clothes, they also had around 150 stores.

Brooklyn NY Standard Union June 1931

“Howard” was a registered trademark for the company’s men’s and boys’ suits, overcoats, top coats, sport coats, and more. In fact, back in the 1950s to 1970s, there were a number of trademark infringement lawsuits against copycat businesses. It is from those sources that I gathered the basic history of Howard Clothes since there is a paucity of online information. My dad helped fill in the rest of the blanks about Howard Clothes, in particular the personal ones. A special thanks to – without that source, I never would have located the details on the factory, as well as a lot of other ads and information.

Howard Stores Stock

My familial connection to Howard Clothes is on my maternal grandmother’s side. Her first cousin Minnie was married to Samuel Kappel, one of the founders of the business. He hired family members to work for him, including my grandfather Abraham, Aunt Dottie, and Uncle Jack. My grandfather worked at the Howard Clothes factory as a tailor – piecing together sleeves and collars on men’s jackets and dress shirts. Dottie worked in the factory office, and when she got married, her husband Murray was brought on board to learn lapel making, but after his first heart attack at age 32, he had to quit. When they moved to Akron, Ohio, Murray spent the rest of his career as a salesman in retail men’s clothing. It must have been one heck of a long ride for Abraham and Dottie to make from 661 Osborn Street in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn to the factory near Manhattan Bridge. I’m sure Jack worked at a store closer to their home – likely either the one at 1770 Pitkin or 1558 Pitkin.

New York Sun May 1931

The story gets very interesting because Kappel’s mother-in-law, Mrs. Sennowitz came to live with my grandparents shortly after she was widowed. Why in the world would a woman whose son-in-law was a millionaire come to live with a poor family in a very modest blue-collar neighborhood? At this point, Kappel was already quite wealthy and his family lived in a beautiful house. She did not want to live with her daughter and son-in-law, nor her son Samuel Sennet (he changed his last name) and his family, because they did not keep a kosher house. It seemed like somebody was always living with my grandparents – their door was open to anyone who needed a roof over his or her head, but Mrs Sennowitz was quite a unique tenant! In fact, their house was so small that my dad slept on a fold-out cot in the dining room during his entire childhood. Mrs. Sennowitz bought them their first refrigerator, which was quite a big deal – they had an icebox prior to that.

New York Sun September 1931

My dad loves telling the story about this massive, very expensive 16 cylinder chauffeur-driven Cadillac pulling up to their tiny house at 661 Osborn Street when Kappel and his wife Minnie would visit Mrs. Sennowitz. When Sennet and his family came to visit, they pulled up in a slightly less ostentatious 12 cylinder Cadillac, but both were sights to behold. Mrs. Sennowitz lived there until she died, which I believe was only a couple of years, because she was already quite old when she moved in. She left behind a huge valise plastered with stickers from her husband’s world travels. When my dad was drafted into the Army, his mother wanted to send him off with this suitcase, but didn’t like that it wasn’t pristine. She labored over it for hours, steaming off all the stickers – of course my dad says he would have loved to have a suitcase with such provenance, but his mother insisted.

Cadillac 12 and 16 Cylinder

Kappel, for all his money, could not buy good health. He developed a pituitary tumor which led to acromegaly, which causes excessive production of the growth hormone. In this day and age it is highly treatable, but back in the 1940s it was not well understood. If left untreated, it leads to serious health consequences such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and death. Kappel spent a good part of his fortune seeking treatment all over the world. In a feature article on the garment industry published in the June 28, 1948 issue of Life Magazine, Kappel already had the characteristic facial abnormalities caused by the progression of untreated acromegaly. The only obituary I could find was a tiny one in the Watertown News. Kappel died on November 11, 1957 at the age of 68. He left behind Minnie and four daughters – Muriel (Mickey), Elaine, Doris (Sis) and Joyce.

Life Magazine Article

Kappel’s brother-in-law took over the business, likely after he became too ill to handle day-to-day operations. Sennet began working as a clerk at Howard Clothes when he was 18, getting promoted to general manager first, and then president, serving in the latter role from 1947 to 1957. During his tenure, the clothing chain expanded considerably. Sennet died on December 7, 1964 at the age of 63 after a long illness. He lived in the Lombardy Hotel at 111 East 56th Street and left a wife and three children.

From 1924 until around 1970, Howard Clothes maintained a steady growth rate, continually expanding its markets until its heyday, when they had 150 retail clothing stores, including close to 70 “Howard” stores located from coast to coast in the U.S. I discovered that Howard Clothes had a store inside the A. I. Namm & Son Department Store at 450-458 Fulton Street in Brooklyn. There is a good deal of information on Namm & Sons and it will be the subject of a future blog.

It is odd that Howard Clothes, a company that built a men’s clothing empire with 150 retail stores across the country is not even listed on Wikipedia under defunct stores. At least the Dumbo factory has been converted into something more socially responsible than condos in this now gentrified area of Brooklyn. It is the Chapel Street Community Based Outreach Center, a hub for services related to homelessness, primary care, substance abuse, and mental health.

New York Post December 1946

Freeport NY Daily Review May 1947

Freeport NY Daily Review April 1948

Philadelphia Inquirer 1957

Photo credits:, Life Magazine


  1. That is my great-grandfather you speak of! I just spoke to my mother last week inquiring about information on Howard Clothes for which she told me stories. I decided to google and came across your article. So we are cousins????

    • Wow, I was really hoping a relative would find this post. Given that Samuel Kappel was your great grandfather and was about the same age as my grandmother, I am guessing your mother is about my age. So given that you were talking to her about Howard Clothes, I am assuming he was your maternal great grandfather – which one of his children was your mother’s father or mother? Since Samuel’s obituary was so small and there was no reference to any survivors, I need help filling in those blanks. I would love to hear more about your family and any other relatives. I will also send you a direct email and hope to hear from you!

      • Hi Betsy

        I’m Sam Kappel’s granddaughter and my mother, age 92, is the only surviving child. I’ll show this to her tomorrow. I am sure there is a NYT obituary.

        Margot Helphand

        • Hi Margot:

          Thanks for writing – so your mother and my dad are third cousins, I believe … and the same age! He is also the only surviving sibling in his family. What is your mother’s name and how many siblings did she have? I would love to share this information with my dad. In all my research, I only found that small obituary on Sam Kappel, which was very perplexing, given his prominence in the business community. There was more information on Minnie’s brother Sam when he passed away.

          • Sam and Minnie had four daughters: Muriel (Mickey), Doris (Sissy), Elaine and Joyce. Sam’s story is a real life rags to riches story. He was devoted to the Jewish community – and values of fairness and social justice – a legacy that continues into subsequent generations.

          • Thanks for the friend request on Facebook. It is quite a coincidence that I know of Benjamin from his Bloomingdale Trail (Now The 606) advocacy work and the 2013 exhibit in which I had a photograph! Talk about serendipity – so glad you found my blog about your grandfather. By the way, I purchased a copy of your mother’s book Looking Forward, on Amazon. There seems to be another connection – your mother’s Facebook page mentions Hotelschool The Hague. I lived in Rotterdam in the early 1980s with my first husband, who is Dutch – the Hague is my favorite Dutch city.

      • I have a hanger if anyone wants it!

        • The only thing I have to say is the first time I found out about Howard’s hangers, I fell in love with them. I have five of these hangers – he had very good taste. My name is Thomas Lee Boyd, 2405 Columbia St, Richmond, VA 23234

          • Steve Langerman

            So great that you enjoy the Howard Clothes hangers! Given the family connection, there were many of them in my childhood home; sadly with both parents having passed, they’ve all disappeared, probably donated along with clothing.

        • I was just looking up the name on an old hanger I have been using for years and was thinking exactly the same thing that you wrote. I wonder if anyone still reads these posts.

          • I am here for the same reason. Cleaning out my parents’ house (both lived in the Bronx) and found these amazing wood hangers, so I searched the name and found this.

      • Melissa "Blissa" Jaffrey Magee

        Hi Betsy,

        I was talking to someone in my office who grew up in Brooklyn and I mentioned that my Grandfather owned a men’s clothing factory in Brooklyn so I googled Howard’s and found your amazing story. I’m Jack Hausman’s youngest granddaughter. My mother was Hinda, Jack and Pauline’s youngest daughter. As a small child, I remember going to Uncle Abe’s apartment. Would love to talk with you about our family history. I’m going to send your story to my cousins, as I’m sure they would love to read it. Feel free to reach out to me.



        • Hi Blissa:

          I’m glad you found the article and enjoyed it. I love hearing from family members because the connection is so special! I wrote a epilogue that most readers are unaware of: I had the opportunity to speak to Elaine Winik, the last surviving daughter of Sam Kappel, after I read one of her books mentioning my “rube” grandparents. I incorporated much of what I discovered in the second article. Sadly, Elaine passed away in September 2017. Are you in the NYC area still? If you wish, send me a direct email at so we can continue this discussion offline. Thank you.

        • Hi – I came across this post while doing some family research. My name is Seth Hausman. I think my grandfather, Sam Hausman, might have been cousin of Jack Hausman. They referred to Aunt Miriam who I think might be Jack’s mother. If you get this post and are interested in connecting, please email

          • Hi Seth,
            I sent you an email. My great grandparents were David and Miriam Hausman. Looking forward to hearing from you.

    • My Grandfather’s brother married Henry Mark’s daughter. Herman Goodman was an attorney for the company. Yes, we should all get together if possible.

    • I’m Jan, I’m 77, I’ve never seen a piece of Howard clothing but I LOVE THE SONG. “I’m the little Howard label and I’m proud as proud can be, To be sewn in every garment at the Howard factory.” The tune is still stuck in my head. What a remarkable piece of advertising. Do you know who composed it?

      • Hi Jan: Marcia Rossow Lewison, the eldest grandchild of Minnie and Sam Kappel said that she designed the label and wrote the song!

  2. Betsy:

    Your article is simply amazing. I am also a great grandchild of Sam and Minnie. I grew up on stories of Howard Clothes. I also am in possession of some Howard stock certificates. I want to thank you – I can’t wait to show this article to my kids! – Scott Rossow (NJ)

    • Hi Scott:

      Two great grandchildren in one day – thank you and I’m hoping you will respond again with more details. I just told my dad about this and he remembers that a daughter of Sam and Minnie married an Englishman and moved to England. How are you related exactly – on the maternal or paternal side? I would love to share this information with my 92-year-old dad – the only one left in our family with a true Howard Clothes’ connection.

      • I remember Sam Kappel, Margot Helphand is my first cousin. It was an incredible generation – my daughter Liz Moezzi did a lot of research on my great-grandfather, I Miller. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Penny Goldsmith

    Betsy, this is wonderful. I am Sam and Minnie’s granddaughter, the daughter of Elaine. My sister, Margot has written you as well. I would love to meet you and I know that my mother – who has a great memory – would love to talk to you. She has written a book call Still Looking Forward which has some of the family history. Her name is Elaine Winik. Where do you live? What is your last name?

    • Penny Goldsmith

      I see a family reunion in the future —

    • Thank you for your comments on my blog and sharing more insights. Scott just filled in a lot of the blanks as well in his last post. I am on Facebook at My maiden name is Weiss and I grew up in a Chicago suburb, where my folks still live. I think it would be really cool if all of us connected on Facebook. I would love to connect with your mom and read her book – and I know my dad will be very interested in all of this!

  4. Sam and Minnie had daughters plenty. Muriel (Mickey), Elaine, Doris (Sis) and Joyce. Elaine (Winik) is still alive and on Facebook. One of Elaine’s children is Margot. Sis did marry a Scotsman and lived in England and Israel all her life. Both Ranee and I come from Mickey’s line. Mickey is my paternal grandma and Ranee’s maternal grandma. You should know that the Sennetts were never forgotten. My father, before his passing, loved to tell us stories of the “old days” which would often reference the Sennets. Elaine has written an autobiography called Still Looking Forward, in which she recalls several Sennet tales, including her Grandpa Sennowitz. Would love to email off-site. I am at I am also on Facebook.

    • Thank you so much, Scott, for filling in the familial blanks. My dad has a great memory at age 92, but he certainly could not remember all of this. I will write to you directly and it would be great if we connected on Facebook. My profile is available at:

  5. Thank you, Betsy. I am one of Sam and Minnie Kappel’s grandsons. I am the son of their fourth daughter, Joyce. I live in Miami and have two brothers, Andy and Daniel. I grew up on stories of Howard Clothes, but was never able to locate much information. You have done us all a great favor.

    • Thanks for writing, John – I’m amazed at all the relatives that have contacted me. My dad is going to be flabbergasted when I tell him how many of Sam and Minnie’s grandchildren and great children have commented and thanked me for this article! We have so little family left on my dad’s side – a few first cousins I have not seen in years. Everybody who has written is a cousin, several times removed! Sorry that your mother passed away – I understand that Elaine is the only child left.

  6. I am Ranee’s sister, my youngest son is named after Mickey – grandpa Sam’s oldest daughter, my grandmother. As Penny says…reunion time!! I’m in!

    • Hi Monique – so you are the sister who lives in the Chicago area. Ranee mentioned this on Facebook. I just sent you a friend request. Thanks much for writing … all of the familial pieces are falling into place!

  7. marcia rossow lewison

    I am at almost 80, the eldest grandchild of Minnie and Sam. I remember the inside of his office at Howard and my Dad worked there as VP until it was sold. I have a number of corrections to your (dad’s?) information. Tell him I am Carl Rossow’s daughter (my brother was never in the business and died several years ago). By the way, Sam died of cancer – I remember clearly. I was at the funeral as was Elaine (other sisters now deceased). Are you interested in the fact that I designed the little label and wrote the song? Amazing anyone cares anymore. Elaine and I hold lots of information. If you want a family reunion about this, better hurry I am not too mobile these days as I nearly didn’t survive last winter. Bless Israeli medicine. Shalom from Jerusalem where I live now alone with my St. Bernard.

  8. Hi Betsy,

    I am Peter Siris, the son of Elaine Winik. I remember visiting the factory many times – and always walked out with a collection of clothes. Howard Clothes was one of the first discount clothes chains to provide affordable clothing for working people. In its day it was a very successful public company. Then fashions started to change and Howard Clothes did not change with them.

    Howard Clothes and Sam Kappel was also one of the first companies to recognize the clothing workers union. For its day, it was a very progressive company that provided good salaries and working conditions during a period when most workers were in sweat shops.

    I had great admiration for my grandfather.

    • Hi Peter:

      Thanks for your comment – it has been very interesting learning about your family. My dad, who is the exact same age as your mother, is currently reading Still Looking Forward, which I bought on Amazon. He really got a kick out of his parents being mentioned (not by name, but the term Greenies) in the context of Grandma Sennowitz coming to live with them. This passage was enlightening in that it pinpointed the year this happened – both of our parents were age 8 when she moved in and age 11 when Grandma Sennowitz died at my grandparents’ humble abode. Your mother is truly a remarkable woman, as was your grandfather Sam.

  9. I am Kappy. Sis’s (Doris) daughter. She was Sam and Minnie Kappel’s 2nd daughter. She married my father, Hymie Morrison and moved to England in 1937.

    I was fascinated by your article and the only part that didn’t seem quite correct to me was that my mother always told me that when her ‘bubbie’ was dying she was living with the Kappels and my mother sat with her while she dictated her will. Bubbie dictated it in Yiddish and my mother wrote it down in English letters. She always told the story of how she was writing and weeping at the same time. Sadly, my mother died 21 years ago and can’t confirm, or deny the story.

    Of course, I grew up knowing the Howard Clothes story. It was a large part of my childhood and I remember Uncle Sammy Sennet, Aunty Mildred and their 3 children, Chester, Marilyn and Rita. My grandparents were truly remarkable people.

    • Hi Kappy: Thank you for writing. I don’t know if you read the second article – the epilogue. Much of that information is courtesy of Elaine’s book, which filled in a lot of blanks. There are still some missing pieces of information. Mollie Sennowitz definitely lived with my grandparents after Julius died – the question you posed is whether she moved back with the Kappells at the end of her life. I will likely talk to Elaine – and plan on asking her that and a few other questions.

      My sympathy for those you have lost in your life – especially your parents, sister, and husband. I also commend you for the incredible philanthropic work you and your late sister have accomplished – and the well-deserved honors you have received for such.

      • Hi Betsy, I have spoken to Elaine about Mollie Sennowitz’ death but she has no recollection of it. She was 5 years younger than my mother and was probably very young at the time. I guess that’s one of the stories that will have to remain a mystery. I suppose that my mother could have been with her at your grandparent’s house. That might be one answer.

  10. Richard Adams

    I am not a relative, but my grandfather, Josef Adamowicz, was a tailor at Howard Clothes. My brother and I were the best-dressed kids on the block!

    • Thanks for writing about your grandfather … I’m sure you looked very spiffy! The inexpensive price of really well made clothing made Howard Clothes affordable for grandfathers, fathers, and sons.

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  12. Wow! This is an amazing story. I was in search of a tuxedo for my 15-year-old for a school event…was wandering through our local Salvation Army and found a beautiful, amazingly made (new looking) tux for him. I just brought it home today, looked at the label: Howard Clothes…and inside that small pocket it says Date: December 1937.

    Is it possible that this is an original tux made by your family’s company?? There are also numbers and letters written inside the right shoulder area (inside the jacket).

    I was thinking this was probably a tux someone got married in…

    Do you have original pieces/labels??

    • Wow, Sherri – I’m glad you liked the article and thanks for sharing your awesome find! I am certain this is an original made by Howard Clothes – they don’t make them like that anymore! All of their clothing was sold for the same price – one could buy an extremely well tailored 3-piece suit, tuxedo or wool overcoat for $22.50! Would love to see a photo of your find if you would like to share it! Unfortunately, I do not have any original labels, hangers, or anything else – just my relatives’ memories! I hope your son enjoyed wearing it at his school event.

  13. Suzanne Miller

    Hi. My husband metal detects in Kansas. Lately when detecting near part of the Santa Fe Trail near our town, he found a metal button with “Howard, AA1” on it.

    Though the Santa Fe Trail pre-dates the Howard Clothes Company, I’m sure the trail was used by others afterwards. Could this button be from clothing produced by Howard Clothes? It looks like it might have been on an outdoors jacket or maybe overalls, but the ads you show are of suits and dressier clothes.

    Was there a Howard Clothes store in Kansas City, Denver or St. Louis? Did Howard Clothes also make clothing of the kind this metal button may have been a part?

    Thanks so much!

    • Hi Suzanne: Sorry for the delay in my response – I had to do a little research and ask my dad about this. No, Howard Clothes only sold men’s dress and business clothing, e.g. suits, overcoats, and tuxes. It is still very cool that your husband found this button. My husband and I dabbled in metal detecting but we gave up because we didn’t find much. I would love to hear what else he has found! Thanks for writing.

  14. Does anyone here know anything about a man named Vincent who worked for Howard Clothes? I came across something with his name on it.

  15. Marshall Zucker

    My father was a fitter in the factory on Flatbush Avenue Extension. His father was there before him. They and so many others I knew were members of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers.

    • Hi Marshall – Thanks so much for commenting. If you have an old photo of your dad and/or grandfather, I would be more than happy to add it to the article.

    • Do you know if the Howard Clothes factory on Flatbush Avenue Extension and Nassau Street was sometimes referred to as being a “Cary Building” (like the one in Tribeca)?

  16. Hey nice post! I hope it’s alright that I shared it on my FB, if not, no problem just let me know and I’ll delete it. Regardless keep up the great work.

    • Thanks – I appreciate when people share a blog link on social media, as long as it is a legitimate site!

  17. Steven Langerman

    Thank you so much for a wonderful and interesting article! I am the son of Howard Langerman, for whom the company was named. I do have childhood memories of various stories regarding Howard Clothes and also remember visiting one of the stores with my parents in order to find a sports jacket for myself, probably at around the age of 12 or 13. I recognized an uncle in one of the photographs you have posted here too! My dad briefly worked at the factory in a quality control position after the War, but the clothing business was not really of interest to him, and his career took him into Technical Engineering instead. Recently, I visited the site of the factory in Brooklyn and noted the plaques on the building referencing the Howard name. Sadly, both of my parents have passed so I won’t be able to share this with them, but I’m sure they would have appreciated it.

    • Thank you so much for writing, Steven – and glad you enjoyed the article. It is especially rewarding to hear from a person with such close ties to Howard Clothes. Sorry you lost both of your parents. Back when I first posted this, what ensued was a quasi-family reunion with cousins (several times removed) I didn’t know existed – very cool experience. In fact, after I spoke to Sam Kappel’s only surviving child, Elaine Winik, I wrote a Howard Clothes epilogue – don’t know if you read it.

    • Hi Steven,

      Are you the grandson of Joseph Langerman and Anna Malmud? Since there’s a family reunion vibe going on, I’m trying to find this branch of my tree, and did a blind google search. This page came up, which I’d actually visited before, since my great-grandfather Harry Cohen was affiliated with Howard for work, though my mother can’t really remember how. If it’s true that many of the people who were hired were in the family, perhaps that’s how my great-grandfather came to work there? If you are, indeed, from this Langerman line, Harry would’ve been Howard’s uncle by marriage.

      Thanks, Betsy, for posting! This is awesome information, even if I can’t quite figure out my relationship to it yet.

      • Steven Langerman

        Yes Kyra, you’re right – Anna and Joseph are my grandparents.

        • Kyra Bromberg

          Steven, that’s amazing! That makes you my mother’s second cousin, and my second cousin once removed. If you’re up for it, I would love to chat and find out more about what you know (especially regarding your grandmother and her family) and share that side of the family tree with you.

          You can reach me at I’m hoping this information helps me figure out how my great-grandfather was involved with Howard Clothes!

    • My name is Dan Kaufman. I am not really sure how they were related to one of the owners, but my mother’s family Dave Kaplan, Dave Finklestein, and most of their family members including my mom Rita Kaplan worked at various Howard stores in the 30’s thru 50’s. My mom Rita said we were somehow related to a Kappell and she said one of the original owners was a hunchback – probably born about 1895 because he wanted to marry my grandfather Dave’s sister Lena Kaplan. Was there a Kantowich name in there? My mom’s cousin Miriam said the relation was on her mother’s side and that was her mother’s maiden name- they were from Belarus, a village called Lechovich.

  18. Steven Langerman

    Thanks so much for the link to the Howard Clothes Epilogue – I had not read it earlier. More fascinating information! In fact, there is a reference to the Kappels having an apartment in a Central Park West building, and now I’m wondering if that is the same building in which both of my parent’s families were living during the early 1930’s – my parents would have been pre-teens to early teens at that time. The building, now an an exclusive condominium residence, is the El Dorado at CPW and 90th street; in fact I visited the building two years ago but could not gain entrance other than a brief look at the lobby. If anyone happens to know whether the Kappels were in the same building, I’d sure love to hear about it.

  19. von froehlich

    Last October I did a huge collector’s estate sale and found a Howard Clothes hanger. Thanks for the info.

  20. charles traina

    My Dad Dominick worked as a field auditor for Howard Clothes from about 1968-1972, until Howard went out of business in 1972.
    I have fond memories of the Howard Store in Jamaica Queens, and the one in downtown Brooklyn. This was a nice article to read.

    • Hi Charles – I’m glad you liked the article – it’s always great to hear from someone with a personal connection!

      • charles traina

        You are welcome. I still have some wooden hangers, and some wallet like folders that they would give to keep ID cards in.


  21. shelley katsh

    Hi Betsy,

    I pulled a hanger out of my closet today and it is a Howard hanger. I was curious about it as it looked old and well made, so I Googled the company and read your piece (and about all the relatives you found!). While I live in Rhode Island, my husband is from Brooklyn and I am from the Bronx, so I’m sure the hanger has migrated from our parents’ homes over the years and we didn’t notice.

    Would you like to have the hanger? You said that you don’t have anything from the store. I’m very sentimental about these kinds of things and the memories can be so valuable. I can mail it to you if you like. If you’re interested, please email me and I’ll send you a picture.


    • Hi Shelley: How sweet of you to offer to send a photo of the hanger. You’re right about being sentimental. The moment I saw you live in Rhode island, wonderful memories of my years at RISD instantly caused pangs of nostalgia! I Googled you and see that you have devoted yourself to a noble profession. My main source of income is writing articles for a large behavioral health provider. Providence will always hold a special place in my heart, despite the passage of time. You might get a kick out of the blog I wrote on RISD and Providence:

      My email is if you’d like to send a photo of the hanger. Thanks so much!

  22. Hi. Loved reading about the history of Howard Clothes. While I’m not a relative, I worked for Howard’s through my high school years in Boston. Loved every minute. I still have business cards from the two salesmen that worked there.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your personal memories of Howard Clothes. I’m glad you enjoyed reading about its history. Amazing that you still have those business cards.

  23. Karen Josephson

    Great to read your blog and comments. We just moved Mom out of her home. Among the things we saved, is an awesome Howard Clothes wooden hanger. Mom was born and raised in Brooklyn. This hanger is most likely from her Father Isaiah…my husband’s Grandfather! What a fabulous family and American business!

  24. Thank you for this article. My grandmother Rebecca was Sam’s sister and I too grew up hearing stories about Howard Clothes.

  25. My paternal grandfather, Moe Newman, and his Brother Sam were the owners of the company for its last 25-30 years before it closed in the mid ’80s. I think they had 169 stores. I used to work at the factory in Brooklyn during the summers when I was a kid in the mid to late ’70s.

  26. I worked at Howard Clothing in the mid-60’s on Kings Hwy Brooklyn. I was not old enough to sell officially so the older salesmen would shadow me as I had a knack for sales. I actually was offered an entry corporate position, but enlisted in 1967 and that was the end of my retail career. I loved working there and learned much from the pros. My father was a haberdasher with a hat store a block west of Howard’s. A very fond memory.

  27. My grandfather, Arthur Singer, who passed at age 94 in 2000 was the in-house counsel at Howard for most of his career. He retired in 1970 and enjoyed 30 years of retirement! When he wanted to tell my Grandmother to put a sock in it (shut her yap) which was often – they had a very Archie\Edith dynamic for better or worse – he said what I THOUGHT was a Yiddish word “Stalsi!” Come to find out he was saying “Style C” which was in-house code lingo for “cancel that” at Howard.

  28. My dad just told me that my grandfather worked as a tailor at Howard Clothes. So I decided to look it up. It was great to read about your family history related to Howard Clothes. I have fond memories of him as a tailor. I remember my grandfather told me he met my grandmother who sewed in a factory, but I’m not sure if it was at Howard Clothes.

    • Correcting Typo, Randi not Randu

      • Glad you enjoyed the article on Howard Clothes, especially with your personal connection. Since writing the two articles, I have heard from so many people with connections to Howard Clothes. Take a look at the second article if you haven’t already: Since I wrote it, the last surviving daughter of the founder passed away in September 2017 – Elaine Winik was an amazing person.

  29. Hi, I ran across this while trying to get info for someone who is somehow related to me on 23andme. She was adopted in Chicago and is trying to find her birth mother. Her mother’s father was Abe Cohen who brought his daughter from NY to Chicago in 1954 to live in a home and give birth and then put baby up for adoption. Abe worked for Howard Clothes and opened a store in Chicago while he was there with the daughter Harriet. Any info would be appreciated.

    • I’m the Chicagoan that Deborah mentioned helping look for my birth mother. Since she wrote the above inquiry, I’ve learned that my birth mother’s name may in fact be Harriet Mason. So it was Abraham or Abe Mason that would’ve worked at Howard Clothes in the 1940s, and for them in Chicago in 1954. Any information about him or connections to Harriet would be greatly appreciated.

  30. Betsy:

    My grandfather was a tailor and worked in the factory at Howard in the 1940’s and 50’s. He was an immigrant from Mirabella, Italy, based in Newark, N.J. and commuted to Brooklyn every day. Thank you so much for this thorough investigation! -C.C.

    • Hi C.C.: So glad you found this blog and it had such a personal connection for you. Thanks so much for sharing information about your grandfather. In case you missed it, I wrote an epilogue after speaking to one of the founder’s daughters:

  31. My involvement with Howard Clothes was in the late 1960’s/early 1970s. I worked as a cashier and part time sales clerk in several of their New York stores: Greeley Square, Jamaica, Astoria, and Roosevelt Field. It was through Andy Brancato, a longtime friend of my dad, that I first got the job. Some of the people I worked with were Sam Zinn, George Coan, Lou Collier, Teddy Rudin, Leo Slotnick, Max Adelman, Eli Levine, and Steve Sherman. Anyone recognize any of these names?

    • This is all so interesting, and it’s heartwarming to see the unfolding of these family ties. I believe Steve Sherman was my partner’s father. Did you know him well, Ken? What was his role at stores? Was he related to the founding families in any way?

      • Steve Sherman was manager at Howard in Roosevelt Field, NY. I worked there in the early 70s. I recall him having his 30th Birthday around that time, so he was probably born around 1940-42. I’ve had no contact with him since that time. I also recall that he had twin sons.

  32. Betsy, I see that many of my family members have already been in touch. Not sure where I was when all this was going on. I too am a great grandchild of Minnie and Sam. My grandmother was Elaine and my mother is Penny. I have a 7-year-old daughter who carries Kappel as her middle name. I am reaching out now because I came across this amazing article filled with information, stories, dates, and pictures. My daughter is studying Ellis Island immigration this year in school and is in the midst of a huge research project (yes, I said 7!!!). I am wondering if you have more to share with me that didn’t make it into the article. Or perhaps a way to send along some of the pictures and things so that she can share them as part of her project. I would love to be in touch more with you. Let me know the best way to make that happen!

    • Hi Jill:

      Nice to hear from you. It must have been wonderful to have such an inspiring and accomplished grandma. I am Facebook friends with your mother, your Aunt Margot, Scott Rossow, Monique Lewison, and even your Grams. So I kind of already know you through their posts! Of course, your Grams’ book Still Looking Forward has a lot of great information your daughter can use for her project. It’s quite amazing that she is doing this at the tender age of 7. We were assigned a similar project in U.S. History class my junior year in high school! In any case, I did find additional Howard Clothes photos after I wrote the last article. Feel free to download any of the photos and information from the two articles and I will send you an email tomorrow with more.

      • Hi Betsy,

        I just ran across this wonderful site while doing a family research project. Thank you for all of your excellent research and for all the comments on this blog. Much of my family’s history is intertwined with Howard Clothes, but from the worker side. My grandfather Abe Goldstein was one of the founders of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers. He started working at the factory on Flatbush Avenue some time in the 1930s. He became the shop steward so was responsible along with management for ensuring the relative labor peace that the company and the union enjoyed. Subsequently, my uncles Joe Jetter and Norman Golden also worked in the factory, as did my grandmother Shirley Rubin.

        My father Murray Goldstein started as a shipping clerk before the war and after as a fitter. He then rose up through the union as a dues clerk, business agent, Assistant Manager of the New York Joint Board and finally as Co-Manager and a Vice President of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union. As a college student, My brother worked for one summer in the Howard Clothes Corporate Office and as a high school student I worked one night a week and on Saturdays as a stock boy at a Howard Clothes store on Fulton Street in downtown Brooklyn. The week that my father died in 1998 was the same week that the huge Howard Clothes sign on the roof of the building was finally taken down.

        • Hi Don:

          What a rich family history you have in the garment industry and Howard Clothes. If you have any old photos, I would love to add them to my Howard Clothes blogs – in addition to this one, I wrote two others. Thanks so much for commenting and sharing your personal history!

          • Hi Betsy,

            How can I send you the photos?

          • If you have digital photos, you can email them to If you only have hard copy photos, let me know and I’ll send you my mailing address directly. Of course, I don’t want you to send originals. Thanks much.

  33. michael Fanelli

    My father, Frank Fanelli, was a clothes operator originally with Ripley’s and came over to Howard’s after the sale. Ripley’s had a factory in Manhattan that was torn down for Lincoln Center. He then relocated to the Brooklyn factory, which I believe at one time was a Watchtower building. He sewed zippers mostly. He was a wonderful tailor. When I “grew up” I worked at the World Trade Center and at lunchtime, ran over the Brooklyn Bridge and passed the old factory. Thanks for putting this into history. I found nothing about Ripley’s.

  34. Stephen Gladyszak

    I worked a Howard Clothes in Boston at 605 Washington St. when I was in high school in 1966 – 1967. Mr. Fredericks was store manager and Richard LaConte was assistant manager. I think it was store #118. I always sent mail to Flatbush Ave.

    • Stephen, I also worked there after you as a stock boy after high school – hours Monday and Wednesday and Saturdays from 1968-69. Was from Milton. Richie was there then as assistant manager (my post designates him as cashier – a function he did do on occasion) and the manager I worked for was Mr. Arthur Gold. I have a post pending which if approved you may enjoy. My brother followed me in there briefly after I graduated HS and went off to college. Boston was an incredibly exciting place back then!

      • Barnice Hausman Goldberg

        Hi, I never was aware of Howard Clothes. We were related to Jack Hausman. I was told that we were related to his mother and father, Miriam and David. David was my grandmother’s brother – also brother to my Uncle Louis Hausman. I was told that we went to Miriam’s home often when I was a baby. I don’t recall my parents talking about David. I am the granddaughter of Czarna Hausman, married to David Fischman.

  35. In addition to Howard and Ripley, there was a third men’s clothing brand that had a lot of stores in the NY region in the ’50’s. I think it began with a D. Anyone remember it?

    • Bond was a much larger national men’s chain, but I doubt you’re thinking of that since it wasn’t lost to history like Howard Clothing.

  36. I think it was called Crawford Clothes.

  37. Thank you for a very interesting blog and comments thread! My mother, 94, just started talking about how her father worked as a tailor for Howard Clothes, and I decided to look it up. She was the first child, fourth of six, born here, and I think my grandfather worked there from 1926 into the 1950s.

  38. I was a stock boy in one of the two Howard Clothes stores on Washington Street in Boston. Lived in Milton, Mass. and took a trolley and then subway into the city to work 1968/69 after high school. Learned a bit about life working there for Mr. Gold the manager. By this time Howard Clothes was selling items attractive to various groups (no longer just the Great Gatsby crowd). Nice but more contemporary – appealing to those in the North End as well as Roxbury. I boxed up and sent many items via the post office to the North End. Customers generally were using the subway to transit from city to home. Observed thefts in progress for which we let them run out of the store with.

    Another interesting activity was when we had more suits or jackets needing alterations than our one Middle Eastern tailor could handle. I’d carry them draped over my arms a half mile to the other store located in the happening Boston Combat Zone in lower Washington Street, where the African American seamstresses and pressers worked in the basement to do the work. Their supervisor (though it was like a family) taught me how to bet on the numbers. As a white Irish American kid from the burbs, I would gladly go across the street to the store to get him and others and me coffee (he bought mine). It was fun and I enjoyed the experience.

    When it was raining, Mr. Gold let me use a taxi. I also brushed all the hats every night in our store – that was tedious. The salesmen would use a sales technique whereby they’d try on coats which always seemed to generate traffic by those seeing it from outside. Had to do an annual inventory in the attic of the building and that was hot, not fun work going through boxes of stuff with the manager. We also experienced stolen credit card attempts. One individual got it back challenging Ritchie the cashier at knife point for it which he gave it up. Howard Clothes held its own for a grand period of time in Boston against the likes of Brooks Brothers, Jordan Marsh, and Filene’s!

  39. I’m Jason Kappel, Sam’s brother Joseph Kappel’s great-grandson. Thanks for all the info (and ads, it’s interesting how advertising has changed over the past 100 years). I didn’t know they were coast-to-coast in their heyday. As you said in the article, Sam hired family members to work for him, one of the only exceptions was my great-grandfather, whom he actually asked to go into business with him. He declined because he was high up in a small printing firm; I’m sure he regretted it.

    It’s good to see that they got along with the union (Manny Greenwald was also a relative – his nephew), but my 97-year-old grandfather Lester Kappel tells a funny story about how hiring family members can go wrong. The union went on strike at one point, and who led the strike but one Charlotte Silverman – his cousin! He doesn’t remember what ended up happening, but yeah, family trouble…have any of my distant relatives here heard that story? Do you know what ended up happening to them? My grandfather thought they ended up being bought out by Bond, but he wasn’t sure.

    • Hi Jason: Nice to hear from another family member! Did you read the other two articles I wrote on Howard Clothes? and The funny thing is, I keep finding new photos of the flagship Howard Clothes store in Times Square – I have been tempted to write a fourth article! I also mentioned Howard Clothes in a more recent article on Weybosset Street in Providence, R.I., where I went to art school many years ago. As far as being coast to coast, my understanding is that there were no Howard Clothes west of the Mississippi River.

  40. George R Gallagher

    As a kid in the 50’s & 60’s, I loved the Howard Stores radio jingle. I hated the Robert Hall chain because in the summer, their jingle went: “School bells ring and children sing ‘It’s back to Robert Hall again!’ Mother knows, for better clothes, it’s back to Robert Hall again. You’ll save more on clothes for school – shop at Robert Hall!” I’m 77 and I still remember that hateful jingle! Going back to school – UGH!

    My friends and I all vowed that when we grew up, we would sooner die than ever patronize a Robert Hall store. I well remember not feeling sad when I learned that RH went out of business. As far as I know, none of our clique ever entered a Robert Hall store. Maybe all the kids who harbored the same feelings were the cause of that chain’s end.

  41. Great memory for the old jingles!!! The Howard jingle went something like this: I’m the little Howard label and I’m proud as proud to be to be sewn into every garment in the Howard factory. As I recall, Robert Hall was really the bottom end of men’s and boy’s clothing stores. It was kind of the Men’s Wearhouse of its time. Low overhead, pipe rack displays. “Robert Hall this season, will show you the reason – low overhead, low overhead.”

  42. Nathaniels S Langerman

    Wow, just found this. I am named after my grandfather, who I never met – Nathaniel Spenser Langerman. He passed before I was born and I didn’t see my father John after my parents divorced when I was 5. I was doing research for a novel I’m working on and came across this site, quite by chance. It’s pretty mind-blowing because Howard was never spoken of beyond a passing mention – until I attended a family funeral a few months back on the other side of the family. One of the attendees told me how he shopped there as a boy in the Bronx because he knew of my family connection. This puts a whole new light on things for me.

    • Hi – Glad you found this blog and it provided some insights into your family history. I wrote two subsequent articles on Howard Clothes – don’t know if you saw those. I am tempted to write a fourth article because I have since found many photos showing prominent signage for the Times Square flagship store!

      • Nathaniel Langerman

        Thank you – I look forward to reading them. It’s such an unusual feeling to see a photograph of my grandfather for the first time, even if it is small and blurred. We are roughly the same age and I can absolutely see the resemblance. Thank you for this.

  43. Steven Langerman

    So great to hear from another Langerman! So many of us here share some kind of common history – our close (or distant) relatives who had a connection to Howard Clothes. For me too, there are a number of memories that lead back to that connection.

  44. Nathaniel Langerman

    Steven – wow!! I’ve sadly lost touch with any other Langermans. My aunt Diane passed away from cancer when I was 4 or 5 and I’ve not seen my father John, ostensibly since I was 5. My folks had a rather acrimonious divorce and my namesake Nathaniel passed away before I was even born so I’ve not come across another. I’m in NYC, in SoHo, although I’ve also spent a great deal of time in LA. Where are you located?

  45. Steven Langerman

    Nathaniel – great to hear back from you! Well, now you’ve found another Langerman. I’m nearby in a town in NJ, just across the Hudson from NYC. Since this is public forum, I’d rather not give too much detail – I’m sure you understand. If we can figure out how to take this private, I’m sure we’d have lots to talk about. I’m going to email the moderator to ask how we might do that.


  46. Rich Albright

    Found this post while researching a baseball schedule booklet printed for Howard Clothes from 1955. Had no idea what Howard Clothes was – grew up in the Baltimore area. From the ads in the booklet, in 1955 men’s suits were $42.95 and up, boys’ suits were $19.95 to $30.95. Neat to read about the company.

  47. kauffman Stephen

    My father worked for Howard Clothes most of his adult life in Philadelphia. I started working there as a stock boy when I was 16 years old. Most expensive shirt was $5.95 and they were upstairs hidden away. Suits were $29.95-$59.95. I since embarked on another career path and am now retired. I still remember how to properly fold a suit so it fits in a box. Had great employees and customers.

  48. William Linnehan

    I was a stock boy in Boston from 1967-69. Also could still fold a suit into a box if need be and then hike to the post office to send it while dodging the incoming pigeon poop. Lol

  49. I’m pretty sure Howard also had a store on Main Street in Freeport, LI when I was a boy growing up. I sometimes shopped there, mostly for dress shirts…all were white but some blues were beginning to come into style. Competing stores were the other men’s chains Crawford and Ripley. Also long gone. I can still hear and see in my mind’s eye the Howard radio and TV jingle about how “I’m the little Howard label and I’m proud as proud to be to be sewn into every garment in the Howard factory.”

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