As we make our way through the alphabet of mid-century American Brands, we come to Penneys. We know this American retail store by the name JCP or JC Penneys in today’s world, but in the mid-century, it was branded as simply Penneys. This is the only retail store on our list of companies. One would expect Sears or Safeway to be on the list, but I only found ads for Penneys in my collection of mid-century magazines. Besides, Penneys has a special place in my heart. My father worked for them for 40 years, and I have been a loyal JCP customer throughout my life. This post brings us to the year 1962 and a very cool ad for Penneys Polka-dot cotton fabric. Of course, JCP no longer sells fabric, but they did in the mid-century.
I’m a girl who loves to sew, and I have never met a bolt of polka-dot fabric that I didn’t like. I couldn’t resist showing a closeup of this cool fabric ad.
Sewing clothing was a common practice in the mid-century. This tradition carried over from earlier times when access to stores and fashion was difficult. Sewing a dress for a special occasion was a rite of passage for young girls. I wrote about a group of young teenagers who got together to sew dresses for a school dance in an earlier post. The article references going to Penneys to shop for fabric.
Another practice that carried over from earlier days was shopping from a catalog. It’s funny that we have gone full circle and are back to shopping from our living rooms instead of a retail store. However, in the mid-century, it was common to shop from Sears and Montgomery Wards catalogs. Penneys also offered catalog shopping, but not until the sixties. Check out this reference to the very first Penneys catalog.
Here’s the full ad. Note the tear in the bottom right corner. I’m guessing the original owner of the magazine tore off the form to send in for a catalog.
It’s fun to read about the hot electronics of the day.
The 120 old company began in 1902 when a man named James Cash Penney opened a store in Wyoming of which he was part owner. As he opened more stores, it filled the need for a mid-sized Main Street department stores throughout the country. The ad references 1700 stores in their 1962 ad.
As the 20th century progressed, JCPenney stores were commonly found in malls. After a restructuring, the company now has 669 stores in the US and Puerto Rico.
More JCPenneys ads/articles on MidCenturyPage.com
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