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COLLECTION Identifier: Mss:776 1858-1965 M177

Papers relating to R. H. Macy and Company


The papers relating to R.H. Macy and Company are chiefly source material gathered and used by Harvard Business School professor Ralph M. Hower for his study of Macy’s department store of New York.


  • 1858-1965

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Materials stored onsite. Please contact for more information.

Researchers must register and provide valid photo identification before using this collection.
Conditions Governing Access Due to the fragility of the audio tapes and the difficulty with play back, researchers must work with digital copies rather than with the original recordings. Digital use copies for items that were digitized can be accessed only onsite in the de Gaspé Beaubien Reading Room on a designated Special Collections computer. Researchers are not permitted to copy or download any digital files. To request access please contact prior to visiting the library.


6.5 linear feet (18 boxes)
Chiefly source material gathered and used by Ralph M. Hower for his study of Macy's department store of New York. Collection includes correspondence, copies of advertisements, forms, interviews, and a numbered documentary history prepared by Mildred L. Hartsough in 1928-1929. Also includes tapes and typescripts of Arthur M. Johnson’s interviews with four store officials, 1965; hearings in the case of Macy et al. vs. United States, 1958; and selected papers of Donald K. David as director of Macy's, 1942-1955.

Series Outline

The collection is arranged in the following series:
  1. Series I. Arthur M. Johnson: Interview Project, 1957-1968
  2. Series II. Donald K. David: R.H. Macy Co., Director: Papers and Correspondence, 1942-1955
  3. Series III. Ralph Hower: Research Materials, circa 1858-1943
  4. Series IV. Macy et al. vs. United States: Hearings, 1958

Physical Location



Gift of Ralph M. Hower. Gift of Mrs. Ralph M. Hower. Interviews were gift of Arthur M. Johnson, 1971. Donald K. David papers were gift of Donald K. David. Court hearings, 1958, were gift of American Jewish Historical Society, 1976.

Processing Information

Processed: 1998-2001

By: Jeffrey Mifflin, September 1998; Sean Perrone, March 1999, June 2000; Scott Tucker, November 2001
Processing Note: Documents were located and brought together from a number of separate locations at Baker Library Special Collections. Materials were refoldered and reboxed. Paper clips, binders, and rubber bands were removed.
Link to catalog

Appendix A

Table of Contents for Documentary History of Macy’s
I. General History of the Firm
Personal history of the Strauses and R.H. Macy, and early history of the Macy Store, page 1
Interviews with old Macy employees, page 41
II. Organization
Forms, and Members of Firm, and Management, page 115
Minutes of Meetings of the Council, 1914-1915 (to 1930), page 141
III. Buying (especially since 1898)
Buying policy, page 356
Merchandise scouts, page 438
Foreign office in Paris, page 447
Foreign buying, page 465
Difficulty in obtaining merchandise, page 501
R.H. Macy, selling agent for other firms, page 522
Relations with wholesalers, page 530
Receiving Department, page 541
Interest in manufacturing, page 558
Buying –semi finished goods, page 599
III. Merchandising (especially since 1900)
Departments in the Macy store, page 601
Food department, quality of goods sold, page 700
Mail orders, page 724
Use of agents in selling, page 804
Merchandising –miscellaneous, page 835
Merchandising policy, page 878
Grading-up policy, page 884
Merchandising policy publicity, page 887
The Macy one price selling policy, page 959
Odd selling prices, page 996
Price policy –underselling others, page 998
Use of price comparison shoppers, page 1021
Price policy –publicity, page 1024
Cash selling policy, page 1026
Deposit Accounts, page 1086
IV. Merchandising (especially since 1900) [cont.]
Merchandise bonds, page 1183
Trading stamps, page 1190
Price cutting, page 1202
Litigation with publisher over the selling price of books, page 1315
Macy’s price policy after the War, page 1382
Checking on former customers, page 1400
Satisfying the customer, page 1417
Protection of name and trademarks, page 1509
Violations of War Food Regulations, page 1539
Use of Red Star trademark, page 1542
Infringement by Macy of patents and copyrights, page 1571
Samples of advertisements showing types and policy, page 1640
Types of advertising media, page 1669
Advertising examples, page 1932
V. Building, Equipment, and Maintenance
Building and site, old and new (after 1902), page 2301
Store equipment, page 2327
Office equipment, page 2375
Store maintenance, page 2390
Store protection, page 2410
Leasing selling space in Macy’s, page 2421
Getting to Macy’s, page 2453
VI. Services
Service departments within the store, page 2480
Shipment and delivery, page 2548
VII. Employees
Miscellaneous, page 2709
Hours, page 2851
Payment of employees, page 2876
Training department, page 2918
House Magazine, page 2944
Mutual Aid Association, page 2956
VIII. Finance
Statements and reports, page 2997
Miscellaneous financial, page 3053
Banking, exchange, etc., page 3061
Accounting Practices, page 3128
Insurance, page 3155
Taxes, page 3174
IX. Associations and Agreements, page 3202
X. Charity, etc., page 3234
XI. Court Cases
Isidor Straus and Nathan Straus v. the American Publishers’ Association, et al., page 3289
Bobbs-Merrill Company v. Isidor Straus and Nathan Straus, page 3307
Charles Scribner & Arthur H. Scribner v. Isidor Straus and Nathan Straus, page 3320
Victor Talking Machine Company v. Jesse I. Straus, Percy S. Straus, & Herbert N. Straus, page 3337
XII. Ethics, page 3360
XIII. Miscellaneous, page 3363
Papers relating to R. H. Macy and Company, 1858-1965 (inclusive): A Finding Aid
Baker Library

Repository Details

Part of the Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School, Harvard University Repository

Baker Library Special Collections holds unique resources that focus on the evolution of business and industry, as well as the records of the Harvard Business School, documenting the institution's development over the last century. These rich and varied collections support research in a diverse range of fields such as business, economic, social and cultural history as well as the history of science and technology.

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