Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Brooks Brothers and "Shoddy"

Although this article on Brooks Brothers, "shoddy" material, and war profiteering appeared almost a year ago in the New York Times, it's well worth a read if you're interested in clothing and supply systems during the Civil War.

It is also worth noting that Brooks Brothers began its existence as a "slop shop" supplying ready-made clothing close to the New York waterfront. Various company histories have depicted founder Henry Brooks as an artisan-tailor or a pioneer in the ready-made clothing trade, but, in fact, he was one of many slops-sellers in New York. His undeserved notoriety, both in the history of ready-made clothing and as a scapegoat for Civil War profiteering, is primarily due to his firm's later success and its contemporary visibility.

Kent State University Museum

Of course, Brooks Brothers also produced finer garments during the Civil War, like this not-so-shoddy overcoat worn by Union General James B. Cox, detailed in a blog post by Kent State University Museum. Sadly, I don't think Brooks Brothers still offers this model...

Kent State University Museum

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