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Consumer Culture and Consumption Landscapes in Post-War America
Primary Sources

Theme: An Industrious People: American Economic History
Topic:
Consumer Culture and Consumption Landscapes in Post-War America
Date:
July 14, 2005

Primary Sources from Partner Collections | Bates Collection: Post WWII North Shore Industry | Bates Collection: Urban Renewal | Other

Primary Sources from Local Archives and Collections | North Shore Shopping Center – photographs | North Shore Shopping Center – Documents | Retail Advertisements | Other

Additional Primary Sources Used in Content and Follow-up Sessions

Selections and annotations by SALEM in History staff


Primary Sources from Partner Collections

 

Bates Collection: Post WWII North Shore Industry
Note: the three newspaper articles listed here speak to the changes in and challenges to some of the North Shore’s most historic industries in the post-WWII era—and newly emerging areas of economic growth.

 

 

“Bates Asks Views About Tariff Bill” Newburyport Daily. 1955.  Scrapbook Collection.  William Henry Bates Papers.  North Shore Political Archives.  Salem State College Archives, Salem, MA.

Article discusses Bates’ concerns over proposed bill that would lower tariffs on imported goods including those at center of many 6th district communities. Notes a number of industries that would be effected – IN PARTICULAR notes that the lowered tariffs on TEXTILES would have a “devastating effect on the industry” – links between national politics/policies and local lives; the survival of older industries in post-war America, but the challenges to them as cheaper foreign manufactured goods meet new/increased consumer needs/desires.

 

 

“Bates Will Appear to Protest Drop In Fish Sticks Duties”  Gloucester Daily.  23 March 1955. Scrapbook Collection.  William Henry Bates Papers.  North Shore Political Archives.  Salem State College Archives, Salem, MA.

Article discusses Bates’ upcoming presence before the US Tariff Commission to protest the proposed reduction in tariffs on imported fish sticks. Article notes that the fish stick originated in Gloucester and “paved the way [t]o a new mass market and greater [a]ctivity, production and employment in the industry.” Article suggests links between local industry success and broad post-war consumer and lifestyle changes: eg. convenience foods, consuming new foods/products, mass markets for convenience foods; also links to local economic stability related to Federal economic and foreign policy.

 

 

“N.E. Shoe Industry Bright Spot, Bates Told by Executives” Haverhill, Mass. Gazette.  14 February 1955. Scrapbook Collection.  William Henry Bates Papers.  North Shore Political Archives.  Salem State College Archives, Salem, MA.

Offers data from Bates’ recent survey of all industries in his district. Notes that while shoe industry and radio/electronics industries are economically viable in 1955, the fishing, textile, hat and leather industries are not, and lowered tariffs will hurt them. Article connects to larger concerns of the era by suggesting:  the persistence of older industries – some successful – others failing by Post –War era;  new industries emerging and connected to new consumer patterns/ American lifestyles. Also refers to the link between Federal policy and local lives/issues.

 

 

“Listing of Firms Along Route #128 (and map labeled “Industrial Development Along Massachusetts Route – 128”). William Henry Bates Papers, State Files.  North Shore Political Archives.  Salem State College Archives, Salem, MA.

Map and accompanying text/narrative produced by the Massachusetts Department of Commerce and Development showcasing the recent, rapid growth of industrial sites along the recently completed Route 128 ringing Boston (cites a significant increase just since 1962).  Map locates and names each firm and lists by city. Types of firms include both manufacturing AND research and development as well as a range of service establishments, distributors and retail outlets. Valuable for establishing the relationship between highway development and the industrial/economic landscape.

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Bates Collection: Urban Renewal - Salem

 

 

Robbins, William.  “Renewal Project Fought in Salem” New York Times.  14 May 1967.  From:William Henry Bates Papers.  North Shore Political Archives.  Salem State College Archives, Salem, MA.

A group of protestors gathered at Salem’s Town Hall to challenge the proposed demolition of close to 100 “early American buildings.”  The city and federal authorities approved the demolition as part of an urban renewal project for which Salem received a substantial grant.

 

 

Herfort, John.  “Can City Retain Old Flavor and Improve Economic Base Through Urban Renewal?”  From Boston Sunday Globe.  30 July 1967.  William Henry Bates Papers.  North Shore Political Archives.  Salem State College Archives, Salem, MA. 

This article connects the government funding of urban renewal in Salem to the city’s historical role contributing to the federal government (i.e. the Custom’s House). Addresses the challenges involved in balancing history and contemporary needs.

 

 

Memo (probably from James P. Boyle) from the Massachusetts Democratic State Committee to Senator Edward Brooke, Salem, MA.  15 February, 1968. 

February 15, 1968: Memo (probably from James P. Boyle) asking Senator Edward Brooke to sign a statement opposing Salem urban renewal project. Attached to the memo are two documents stating the major objections to the project: “A Memorandum to the Citizens of Salem” (A memo from the Salem city planner).  Major objection is that the project will destroy historic buildings and small businesses and disrupt commerce downtown. Attached documents also address issue of historic preservation and its purpose.

 

 

Press Release, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 21 February 1968.  William Henry Bates Papers.  North Shore Political Archives.  Salem State College Archives, Salem, MA.

The release announces HUD approval of a Federal grant of $7,478,083 for Salem.  The project will involve clearing 139 buildings for “modernization of part of the central business district,” and rehabilitating historically significant structures. The purpose is to “strengthen Salem’s tax base and arrest economic decline of the area.”

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Other

 

 

Nirenstein Realty Map Co. Springfield, MA. Business Section, City of Salem, 1944.  Available at Salem State College Archives, Salem, MA.

Assessor’s map of Salem’s Central Business District in period before shopping centers or malls outside Salem altered the economic viability of this urban downtown. Clearly indicates the variety and number of retail establishments, the layout of the area, the active economic life of Salem’s central city in the 1940s. Textual information on back of map (offered as a separate sheet here) highlights Salem’s industrial and commercial strength in 1944.

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Primary Sources from Local Archives and Collections

 

 

North Shore Shopping Center – Photographs

 

Oak Hill Estate

Wallman, Ray.  St. Joseph Juriorate (formerly Oak Hill Estate). c. late 1950s. Ray Wallman Collection.  Peabody Historical Society Peabody, MA. 

The Northshore Shopping Mall was built on this site, and the former estate was demolished.  See also the 1993 Salem Evening News article about the history of this location.

 

Wallman, Ray. First ‘Shopping Center Sign’ with original list of tenants...Photograph, 1956. Ray Wallman Collection.  Peabody Historical Society Peabody, MA.

The names of stores include both local and “national” companies.

 

Northshore Shopping Center Under Construction

Wallman, Ray.  Aerial View of Northshore Shopping Center Under Construction.  Photograph, 1958.  Ray Wallman Collection.  Peabody Historical Society Peabody, MA.

This photo shows the overall layout of the shopping center (with Filenes Department Store in the foreground), parking lot, and suburban landscape beyond.

 

Opening Day, Northshore Shopping Center

Wallman, Ray.  Aerial View of Opening Day, Northshore Shopping Center.  Photograph, 1958.  Ray Wallman Collection.  Peabody Historical Society Peabody, MA.

This view shows the number of cars that filled the Shopping Center’s parking lot on opening day, and also the new highway systems linking shoppers from their homes to the new retail center.

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North Shore Shopping Center – Documents

 

 

“TowneLyne Suburban Shopping Center,” 1949.  Peabody Historical Society, Peabody, MA. 

Promotional “information” piece (from 1949) advocates for voters to support an ordinance amending area zoning to a business district for the Shopping Center. Outlines advantages of suburban mall away from crowded city center with no parking, revenues.  Diversification of jobs from just “tanning.” Increased employment, tax revenues. Family-friendly focus – good place to raise kids in the suburbs, good place to shop.

 

 

Dorman, William E.  “Peabody Shopping Center, Expressway to Aid No. Shore Values” Boston Sunday Herald. 8 December 1957. 

Highlights the degree to which the shopping center (new centers for consumption) was understood to be an agent of social and economic change in the area. Highlights the fact that the center will draw from as far away as New Hampshire and Maine. Offers a great deal of info. on demographic and consumption trends by including the following figures: 460,00 families living within one hour’s drive of the center in Sept. 1955; these families  make 2.5 million in income annually; these families reportedly spend 1.5 billion/year in retail stores (150 million in dept. stores; $75 million in specialty and apparel stores). Contains family income data on ten specific North Shore cities/towns. Brief note on innovative marketing methods being used by Filenes. Article also highlights 1) the link between automobiles, residential patterns and consumer patterns in past war years and 2) the gendered nature of consumption in post-war years by stating that the shopping center is designed to “meet the fundamental change in the living habits of today’s shopper who depends on her car.”

 

 

Hoyt, Homer. “Successful Shopping Centers Guided by Market Analysts” 30 Mar 1958.  From unidentified newspaper – in collection of Peabody Historical Society, Peabody, MA.

Offers a succinct list of the attributes a shopping center needs to have in order to be successful and meet needs.  North Shore Shopping Center said to meet these.

 

 

Edward Mitton, Boston, MA, 11 Jul 1958. Peabody Historical Society, Peabody MA.

Letter from President of Jordan Marsh Company whose flagship store was in Boston. Letter sent to residents of North Shore. Announces opening of Jordan Marsh as cornerstone of North Shore Shopping Center. Highlights accessibility to major highways, ease of parking, and availability of easy credit in the form of a Jordan Marsh charge card.

 

 

“50,000 Attend Dedication of Northshore at Peabody” Boston Herald. 13 September 1958.  Peabody Historical Society, Peabody, MA.

This highlights Northshore Shopping Mall opening day attendance and events.

 

 

Map. Northshore Shopping Center, ca. 1958.Peabody Historical Society, Peabody MA.

This map includes names and locations of stores, parking lots, and highway access to the Shopping Center. 

 

 

“A New World of Retail Shopping.” Boston Sunday Globe. North Weekly. 7 November 1993.

Article details the changes and improvements to the North Shore mall in 1993 after it underwent major renovations. Includes historic photographs of the NorthShore Shopping Center from the 1950s including a side-by-side comparison of the 1950s shopping Center and the 1990s mall.

 

 

[Untitled article]. Boston Sunday Globe. North Weekly. 7 November 1993.

Annotation: Brief article offers a history of the site of the North Shore Shopping center. Highlights its early connection with the Derby family.

 

 

Northshore Mall Floorplan, ca. 2005.  Northshore Mall, Peabody, MA.

Current mall layout and store listing.


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Retail Advertisements – Establishments in Both Downtown Salem and NorthShore Shopping Center

1950


 

Advertisement: Almy’s Menswear and Children’s Shoes. Salem Evening News.  1 September 1950.

Almy’s was a well-established department store chain with a location in downtown Salem.

 
 

Advertisement: Daniel Low’s “Every Bride will cherish Fine China”  Salem Evening News.  1 September 1950.

Salem retail establishment.

 

 

Advertisement: “Almy’s has the Smartest in New Fall Accessories” Salem Evening News.  1 September 1950.

Ads for women’s clothing and accessories in downtown Salem, located on Essex Street.

 

 

1958

 

 

Advertisement:  Filenes “Northshore” Salem Evening News.  3 September 1958.

Filenes was a one of the two “anchor” department stores of the Northshore Shopping Center, and was the first store to open in September, 1958.  See also the “TownLyne Suburban Shopping Center” marketing piece that prominently features Filenes and its support of the proposed shopping center.

 

 

Advertisement:  A& P “Complete your ‘Moderne’ service... and  SAVE”Salem Evening News.  3 September 1958.

This is an advertisement for Melmac Dinnerware; individual pieces were available separately. 

 

 

Advertisement:  Reid & Hughes “Back to School.Salem Evening News.  3 September 1958. 

Reid & Hughes was a downtown Salem department store located on Essex Street.

 

 

Advertisement:  Jordan Marsh Company “A Man’s World of Fashion Distinction Awaits You at Jordan’s Northshore”Salem Evening News.  3 September 1958.

Quoted from the Ad:

“There’s so much to see.... but it’s so easy to see all!  Shopping is an adventurous pleasure at Jordan’s Northshore.  The driving is easy, parking space is plentiful, and the entire atmosphere of this ‘dream store come true’ is wonderfully relaxing.  You never feel hurried in choosing from Jordan’s widest of assortments.  Modern display methods simplify selecting what is exactly right for you.  You’ll find the look you like in the entire range of men’s wear... newest of the new colors... fabrics of distinguished texture, of extraordinary quality... careful tailoring that presents you at your best.  Enjoy the pleasure of planning your Fall wardrobe at Jordan’s Northshore.”

 

 

Advertisement:  Empire “Campus and Career”Salem Evening News.  3 September 1958.

This is an advertisement for women’s clothing at Empire department store, which was located on Essex Street in Salem.

 

 

1965

 

 

Advertisement: Almy’s “Downtown Days” Salem Evening News.  1 September 1965.

Almy’s was a well-established department store in downtown Salem.

 

 

Advertisement:  “Ann Taylor Sportswear.”Salem Evening News.  1 September 1965.

Ad lists location at the “Northshore Center, Peabody”

 

 

Advertisements:  Webber’s. Salem Evening News.  1 September 1965.

Ads for clothing and accessories for Webber’s Department Store, with locations in Salem and Beverly.

 

 

Advertisements:  “Empire”Salem Evening News.  1 September 1965.

This department store was located at 133 Essex Street, Salem.

 

 

Advertisement: Thayer McNeil, “Teacher’s Pets... the Oxford & LoaferSalem Evening News.  1 September 1965

Ad lists locations in New York, Boston, Chicago, Miami, and San Mateo.  Local shop is at the Northshore Shopping enter in Peabody.

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Other

 

 

Booming Route 128 Attracting Vast Industrial Expansion to State” Boston Sunday Herald  26 August 1956.  Peabody Historical Society, Peabody, MA.

This article suggests that there will be $200 million in new industry along 128 by the end of the year (1956). 

 

 

Network of Superhighways Planned to Speed Traffic Flow.”  Salem Evening News. 18 September 1957.

Map shows existing, proposed, and in-progress highways surrounding Boston in 1956.


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Additional Primary Sources Used in Content and Follow-up Sessions

 

Reynolds, Malvina (words and music) “Little Boxes,” 1962.

This is a well-known song that critiques post-war suburban life. Recording available on Malvina Reynolds’ “Ear to the Ground: Topical Songs 1960-1978” album from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings]

 

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