September 4, 2014 § 4 Comments
Below is part of a conversation transcribed from tape recorded interviews with my grandfather I did as a child. He tells me about how he formed his partnership with Ben Schwartz of Schwartz & Benjamin, Inc. prior to leaving Sigman & Cohen, the first shoe company he helped start.
“There was a mutual friend of Mr. Schwartz’s and myself that knew both of us and uh he use to sell supplies that use to go into shoes like counters and shanks.
He says, you know Ben Schwartz, don’t you? I says yeah. Well he’s not very happy with his two partners, he wants to get out. And uh we got together and spoke the thing over. He heard about me and all I could do and he’d met me a couple times down at the club…He decided to break up with his two partners cause he couldn’t get along with them. One of them especially. He had fist fights on the floor. See?
Ben Schwartz was a bookkeeper originally and he was a terrific salesman like your dad.
So uh he went and spoke to Max Wallacher his old boss about me, and a few other people. Max Wallacher says to him, he says if you two can get along, he says you can be the biggest men in this town in the shoe business. He says you (Ben Schwartz) in the selling end of it and Ben (my grandfather) running the factory. He’s a good factory man, designer – but you’ve got to learn to live with one another, and we got a long fine – When I first told him I wanted to get out, he says no, he wouldn’t let me. Now in all those years, we never had a fight. We never had an argument.”
Photos from a visit to Schwartz and Benjamin, Inc., New York City, 1972.
September 2, 2014 § Leave a comment
August 31, 2014 § Leave a comment
This summer I found a few more missing pieces to the Crik-etts puzzle. The Historialist is correct that the company continued making shoes past 1954 after my grandfather joined I. Miller. Below is part of a Licensing contract between The Irving Drew Corporation and my grandfather from August 15th, 1958 and a New York Times Ad from 1962.
August 30, 2014 § 2 Comments
When I began researching my grandfather, Ben Benjamin I discovered a wonderful shoe blog The Historialist belonging to Milo Bandini & Irma Vivaldi. I felt I had found a kindred spirit in their passion for preserving the history of footwear. Theirs is from the starting point of Lombardy and the Parabiago-Milan area and the Italian-French shoemaker André Perugia. Mine from the American 1900s and my grandfather Ben Benjamin. I hope you will take the time to check out their website and read their latest posts on my grandfather. Thank you Milo and Irma!
August 29, 2014 § Leave a comment
Most of us have been touched by ALS one way or another. Happy to see so many getting in on raising awareness for this devastating disease.