Richard and Ethel Herzfeld Papers, 1847-1980


Herzfeld Family

The Herzfeld family was prominent in Milwaukee during the first half of the twentieth century. Carl Herzfeld (d. 1930) was a founder of the Herzfeld-Phillipson Corporation which bought and managed the Boston Store from 1906 to 1948. In 1895, Carl Herzfeld married Helena Phillipson, the sister of his business partner, Richard I. Phillipson. As head of the Air Service Committee of the Association of Commerce in Milwaukee, Carl Herzfeld aided in developing airports and air travel around Milwaukee, including establishing the first air freight of goods into Wisconsin in 1911.

Carl Herzfeld's son, Richard Phillip Herzfeld (1898-1980) was a civic leader. Born and raised in Milwaukee, he served in World War One before he graduated with a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin in 1920. Richard Herzfeld was a member of the Greater Milwaukee Committee for Community Development, a founder of the Better Business Bureau of Milwaukee, vice president and director of Federated Department Stores, Inc., and a campaign manager for the Community Fund (now the United Way), among other organizations. As a member of the Greater Milwaukee Committee for Community Development, Richard Herzfeld helped to develop plans for the Milwaukee Public Museum, the Milwaukee County Stadium, the Milwaukee County Zoo, and the Expressway.

Richard Herzfeld began working at Boston Store in 1920 as a stock boy, then worked in the Advertising Department, as buyer for the Notions Department, and as the Merchandise Manager of Linens, Domestics and Yards Goods. In 1928, Herzfeld was elected to the Board of Directors. He became vice president in 1931 and president in 1940. After selling Boston Store to Federated Department Stores, Inc. in 1948, Herzfeld soon became vice president and director of Federated Department Store, Inc. until his retirement in 1953.

Ethel Ann Davis Herzfeld (b. 1896), Richard Herzfeld's wife, was born in Chicago and attended Milwaukee-Downer College. She received her B.A. degree from Wellesley College in 1920. Her mother, Emma J. Davis, resided on Marietta Avenue in Milwaukee.

Carol Ann Herzfeld (1924-1972), the daughter of Richard and Ethel, was born April 9, 1924. She graduated from Milwaukee-Downer Seminary in June 1942. Carol died November 29, 1972.

Boston Store

Julius Simon opened Julius Simon's Notions in Milwaukee in 1897. The store's name was changed to Boston Store in 1899. "Boston" was used to epitomize high style in clothing. In 1903, Carl Herzfeld, Richard I. Phillipson, and Nathan (Nat) Stone founded the Herzfeld-Phillipson Corporation and took over the management of several of Julius Simon's departments. Simon sold the leases to the Herzfeld-Phillipson Corporation in 1906.

Boston Store had the first air shipment of goods into Wisconsin in 1911 and in 1927 became the first Wisconsin store to receive transcontinental shipment by air. The 1934 Clerks' Strike was the result of retail clerks demanding the right to unionize to negotiate fair wages and hours.

In 1948, the Herzfeld-Phillipson Corporation sold Boston Store for a sum of $8,000,000 to Federated Department Stores, Inc. of Cincinnati, Ohio, managed by Fred Lazarus, Jr. P.A. Bergner & Co. of Peoria, Illinois bought Boston Store from Federated Department Stores, Inc. in 1985. Most recently, in 2005 Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. bought out Saks, Inc.'s Northern department store group, which included Boston Store.

Richard I. Phillipson (1870-1949) was born in Germany and moved with his family to Milwaukee at age 16. Phillipson and his father, Martin, established the Phillipson Company in 1894 and ran a small dry goods store on the west side of Milwaukee. Phillipson was secretary and merchandising manager of the Herzfeld-Phillipson Corporation from 1906 to1935 and was president when Federated Department Store, Inc. bought Boston Store in 1948.

Nat Stone (1866-1931) served as president of Herzfeld-Phillipson. Stone's son, Medford Stone, became assistant secretary of the Herzfeld-Phillipson Corporation when Richard Herzfeld became president in 1940.