This Day in Texas History: Neiman Marcus Founder is Born

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This Day in Texas History: Neiman Marcus Founder is Born

This Day in Texas History:

Neiman Marcus Founder is Born

May 03, 1883

Carrie Marcus NeimanCarrie Marcus Neiman (1883–1953), merchant and fashion authority, was born on May 3, 1883, in Louisville, Kentucky, to Jacob and Delia (Bloomfield) Marcus, German immigrants.

In 1895 she moved with her family to Hillsboro, Texas. Although Carrie did not complete a formal high school education, she enjoyed a cultured home environment that encouraged reading in the excellent family library and the appreciation of music. About four years later she moved to Dallas and entered business as a blouse buyer and saleswoman at A. Harris and Company, a department store. She was a conscientious worker and by age twenty-one was among the highest-paid working women in the city.

In 1905 she met Abraham Lincoln (Al) Neiman, and shortly thereafter they were married. Mrs. Neiman resigned her sales position to become a partner with her husband and her brother, Herbert Marcus, in a sales promotion business in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1907 the partners sold the successful enterprise for $25,000 and returned to Dallas to open a speciality shop for high-quality women’s ready-made garments.

In the first advertisement, of September 1907, the three founders stated that Neiman Marcus would be a new fashion center for southern women and a “store of quality and superior values.” Personalized service and customer satisfaction were paramount objectives of the partners. A woman of impeccable tastes, Mrs. Neiman often guided customers in their choice of garments designed with simplicity and made with excellent fabrics and workmanship. As a buyer for the firm, she displayed a fashion awareness and an uncompromising demand for quality in her numerous trips to New York to buy merchandise. Along with colleagues Moira Cullen and Laura Goldman, Carrie Neiman helped to establish the store’s high reputation in Dallas and throughout the nation.

In 1928 Mrs. Neiman divorced her husband, and Herbert Marcus purchased Al Neiman’s interest in the firm. Carrie Neiman continued to be a visible and vital part of daily operations. She encouraged the establishment of weekly fashion shows, fall fashion expositions, and, beginning in 1938, the annual Neiman Marcus Awards, given to designers for distinguished service in the field of fashion. After the death of Herbert Marcus in 1950, Carrie Neiman became chairman of the board and reluctantly agreed to the expansion of the store to suburban branches.

Some 200 pieces of apparel from her personal fashion collection later became the basis of the Dallas Museum of Fashion, located at the University of North Texas in Denton. Carrie Neiman was a member of Temple Emanu-El in Dallas and the Columbian Club. She was devoted to her family, to the store, and to the preservation of high standards of service. She died of pleurisy on March 6, 1953, at her home, after an illness of several months.


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