Celebrating two centuries of American style
of Brooks Brothers
On April 7, H. & D.H. Brooks & Co. opened for business.
In April 7, 1818, at the age of 45, Henry Sands Brooks opens H. & D.H. Brooks & Co. on the Northeast corner of Catherine and Cherry Streets in New York City, his childhood home. As “Makers and Merchants in One,” the firm assumes absolute control over its offerings, ensuring customers the highest level of quality.
- White House officially reopens
after being burned in 1814 by British in War of 1812
- Congress decides US flag should have 13 red and white stripes and 20 stars
- First Savings Bank in United States opens: The Bank of Savings in NYC
- 320 ton Savannah becomes first steamship to cross an ocean (Atlantic)
- Charles Macintosh develops first waterproof raincoat in Scotland
- JW Goodrich introduces rubber galoshes
- First steam locomotive is introduced in the United States
- Erie Canal opens, linking Atlantic Ocean with the Great Lakes
- Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both die on the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence
- William Austin Burt patents first typewriter then called a typographer
Henry Sands Brooks calls on his sons
Henry Sands Brooks calls on his sons—all of whom had become retailers themselves—to assist with his burgeoning business. His eldest son, Henry, Jr. takes the helm upon his father’s passing later that year. He remains in charge until 1850, when younger brothers Daniel, John, Elisha, and Edward, assume leadership and change the firm’s name to Brooks Brothers.
- Oberlin College in Ohio becomes first coeducational institution
- NY Yacht Club is formed
- Edgar Allan Poe publishes "The Raven" in NYC
- Florida admitted as 27th state
- First baseball game is played in Hoboken, NJ, with NY Baseball Club
beating Knickerbockers 23-1.
- Elias Howe receives a patent for the sewing machine
- James Polk is first US President to be photographed in office
- California Gold Rush begins when gold is found in Coloma, CA by James W. Marshall
- Alexander Stewart opens first US department store at Broadway and Chambers Street in NYC
Brooks' introduction of ready-made clothing
"The first to embark on that which is now a leading commercial pursuit," wrote the editors of Carroll's 1859 New York City Directory of Brooks' introduction of Ready-Made clothing. Pioneers of the California Gold Rush, unable to wait on the whims of a tailor, flock to Brooks Brothers to pick up ready-made clothing, an innovation of Brooks introduced to aid the fortune seekers in their quest.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter" is published
- San Francisco and Los Angeles are both incorporated as cities
- California becomes the 31st state in the Union
"The Golden Fleece symbol is adopted as the company’s
trademark. The logo, a sheep suspended in a ribbon, had
served as a symbol of fine wool since Philip the Good chose
the emblem for his Order of the Golden Fleece. Later, wool
merchants in Europe adopted the symbol as a way of
advertising woolen wares to a largely illiterate public, and the
Brookses, who wanted to associate their shop with the
European sartorial tradition, did the same."
The younger brothers Daniel, John, Elisha, and Edward,
assume leadership and change the firm's name to
The New York Timesbegins publication. The paper is two cents per copy
- R.H. Macy opens a "fancy dry goods" store in NYC
- Pony Express starts mail service across Great Plains, Rocky Mountains and
the High Sierra to California
- Lincoln elected 16th President of the United States
- Confederate forces fire shots on Union forces at Fort Sumter, South Carolina
in the first battle of the Civil War
- Abraham Lincoln announces Emancipation Proclamation
- Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address
- New York City experiences rioting as a result of Civil War draft
Rioters sack the store.
As New York City inhabitants are drafted into the
Union Army, a riot breaks out beginning in Manhattan’s
19th ward. As Brooks Brothers is well known as providers
of Union uniforms, rioters gather at the Catherine and Cherry
Street location and sack the store.
The night after this attack, as the riots continued, Brooks
was admirably guarded by a twelve-year-old boy named
Francis G. Lloyd.
Forty years later, Lloyd would become the first outside of the
family to lead the firm.
Illustration from Leslie's Illustrated newspaper, August 1, 1863