Sunday, October 18, 2 pm, Monthly Program via Zoom. Anne Evers Hitz presented:
Lost Department Stores of San Francisco: Six Bygone Stores That Defined an Era
In the late nineteenth century, San Francisco’s merchant princes built grand stores for a booming city, each with its niche. For the eager clientele, a trip downtown meant dressing up — hats, gloves, and stockings required — and going to Blum’s for Coffee Crunch Cake, or Townsend’s for creamed spinach. The I. Magnin empire catered to a selective upper-class clientele, while middle-class shoppers loved the Emporium department store, with its Bargain Basement and Santa for the kids. Gump’s defined good taste; the City of Paris satisfied desires for anything French; and edgy, youth-oriented Joseph Magnin ensnared the younger shoppers with the latest trends. Drawing on the memories of former employees and native San Franciscans, Anne looks back at the strong, colorful personalities who created six major stores — including Gump’s (revived recently, greatly reduced) and White House — that defined shopping in San Francisco before the eras of big-box stores and the Internet.
Anne Evers Hitzis an IHS member and proud fifth-generation San Franciscan with a longstanding interest in The City’s history and lore. She is the author of Emporium Department Store (Arcadia, 2014), San Francisco’s Ferry Building (Arcadia, 2017), and Lost Department Stores of San Francisco: Six Bygone Stores That Defined an Era (The History Press, 2020). She is a guide at the Ferry Building for City Guides, a group of local volunteers who give free walking tours of San Francisco. A graduate of UC Berkeley, Anne is a writer, editor, and project manager who has had her own communications consulting firm in San Francisco for over 25 years. She worked as publicity director for the University of California Press and as an editorial assistant at the publishers Oxford University Press and Farrar, Straus & Giroux in New York. Anne received an IHS mini-grant to assist in the preparation of her latest book.