Kaufmann’s Department Store holds a special place in Pittsburgh memory.
Kaufmann’s iconic clock, its decorated window displays, its special cultural exhibits, its dynamic promotional offers, and of course its beloved Tic Toc Restaurant, Arcade Bakery, and Vendome boutique—all recall a golden age of downtown retailing history.
Starting from a small menswear store on the South Side in 1871, Kaufmann’s grew to become the largest department store in downtown Pittsburgh. In the years since its flagship building on Smithfield Street passed into new use in 2015, three books have been written locally about the legendary department store and the family behind it.
In this special presentation “Once More Under the Clock,” the authors of all three books will offer insights into Kaufmann’s Department Store and the Kaufmann family. They’ll also share some of their favorite discoveries from the vast collection of Kaufmann’s Department Store materials at the Rauh Jewish Archives at the Heinz History Center.
The program will begin with a talk from journalists Marylynne Pitz and Laura Malt Schneiderman, authors of the new book “KAUFMANN’S, The Family That Built Pittsburgh’s Famed Department Store.” The book traces the Kaufmann family’s tremendous influence in the Pittsburgh region as retailers, philanthropists, and patrons of the arts and architecture. It also tells the story of the struggles, rise, and successes of a Jewish immigrant family in Pittsburgh.
Following the talk, Pitz and Schneiderman will take part in a panel discussion with Letitia Savage and Melanie Linn Gutowski, authors of two other recent books about Kaufmann’s Department Store. Together they’ll trade stories and insights from their research. Each author has chosen a special selection of materials from the Kaufmann’s Department Store collections, all of which we be on display for one-day only.
This program is possible through the generous support of the William M. Lowenstein Genealogical Research Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation.
“Once More Under the Clock: Remembering Kaufmann’s” is a collaboration between the Jewish Genealogy Society of Pittsburgh and the Rauh Jewish Archives at the Heinz History Center. Please register online. The program is free and will be recorded.
About the Authors
Letitia Savage published her first article while still in college, a chapter for an engineering book on the effects of oil spills on marine organisms. She continued freelance magazine writing while working as an environmental consultant, primarily on hazardous waste cleanups for the military and the USEPA. In addition to contributing environmental and gardening articles to Country Journal, she wrote about horse training and horse keeping for many national horse publications, including Chronicle of the Horse and Horse Illustrated. After years of magazine writing, Letitia published her first book on Kaufmann’s Department Store in Pittsburgh for Arcadia Press in 2016. She and her husband live in a pre-Civil War farmhouse that they restored in Sewickley, Pa.