QUILT HISTORY STORIES

                        

 ELGIN, ILLINOIS

 CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

Eleanor Martin, Inc.

Susan Wildemuth, Atkinson, IL

Chicago, Illinois         1932
Elgin, Illinois                  1933-1934

Chicago, Illinois        1935-1938

   Before there was an Eleanor Martin, Inc., the name Eleanor Martin appeared in a Herrschner ART NEEDLEWORK AND READY TO WEAR Fall and Winter 1931-1932 – Catalog 39.  In this mail-order catalog, the Frederick Herrschner, Inc., company located at 6610-30 South Ashland Avenue, Chicago, Illinois introduced the needle art world to Miss Eleanor Martin, who would be in charge of their newly created Home Service Department. The catalog states “under the capable guidance of this prominent home economist and needlework expert the Home Service Department is equipped to give you practical information on all domestic subjects – needlework, fashions, interior decoration, planning of parties, preparing of menus, care of children, and all problems of vital interest to women.”  Readers were to address their letters to Miss Eleanor Martin, Home Service Department c/o Frederick Herrschner, 6610 South Ashland Avenue, Chicago, Illinois with the assurance that each letter would receive the personal attention of Miss Martin.

    Eleanor Martin is mentioned again in Frederick Herrschner, Inc.  ART NEEDLEWORK AND SPECIALTY SHOP Spring and Summer 1932 – Catalog 40.  This catalog states that, “the Home Service Department under the direction of Miss Eleanor Martin has won many friends with its advice on all matters pertaining to needlework, interior decoration, etc.  We want you to feel at liberty to use the services frequently.  Direct all communications to Miss Eleanor Martin, Home Service Department, c/o Frederick Herrschner, Inc., 6610-30 So. Ashland Avenue, Chicago, Illinois.

      Who was Eleanor Martin?  Was she a real person or a marketing tool used by Frederick Herrschner Sr. and his company Frederick Herrschner, Inc. to encourage the use of the products in his catalog? 

     Eleanor Martin was a real person and had a very personal connection with the Frederick Herrschner Sr. family.  Eleanor Martin was Eleanor Louise Martin Herrschner and she was married on January 15, 1930 to Frederick Herrschner Jr. who was working at his fathers company at the time Miss Eleanor Martin’s Home Service Department was introduced to the needle art world.

     Change was coming in the Herrschner family both personally and professionally. Frederick Herrschner Sr. would pass on August 12, 1933 in Cook County, Chicago, Illinois.  There is a mystery surrounding the time period of the summer of 1932 until the senior Herrschner passed in 1933.  Frederick Herrschner Jr. had served as his father’s vice president at the Frederick Herrschner, Inc., but by 1933 he would become associated with Eleanor Martin, Inc.

    Eleanor Martin, Inc. was incorporated in the State of Illinois on November 25, 1932. Originally, this company manufactured, bought, sold, jobbed, and distributed hair wave attachments, cosmetics, knick-knacks, and pharmaceutical supplies.  Around 1933, Eleanor Martin, Inc. made the move from Chicago to Elgin Illinois. Once there, they changed product emphasis and became a needle art mail-order catalog business. Eleanor Martin, Inc. amended their incorporation papers February 10, 1934 and the name Frederick Herrschner, Jr. officially appeared as President of Eleanor Martin, Inc. 407 Bluff City Boulevard, Elgin, Illinois

    E.M. Inc. produced a mail-order catalog called ELEANOR MARTIN – INSPIRATIONS FOR NEEDLEWOMEN which featured a variety of needle art items for sale.  The following is the catalog progression** for this company:

  • Fall and Winter 1933-34 (Elgin, Illinois)

     Frederick Herrschner Jr. President is printed in bold letters shares the cover with the NRA Blue Eagle symbol.

     Eleanor Martin is described as “America’s leading Needlework stylist. Her inspirations have contributed greatly to the art of needlework within the past several years.”  There is no information stating that Eleanor Martin (Herrschner) was a designer of any of the needle art featured in the catalog, instead E.M. Inc. shares that the “contents represents the personal selection of Eleanor Martin from the finest designs of all the leading needlework centers.”  The authors of this catalog also state that, “Eleanor Martin, Inc. is controlled by the Frederick Herrschner family; who have for many years been famous for the high quality of their merchandise and unusually low prices, but this firm is not affiliated with any other business of a similar name.” The Home Service Department, which is overseen by Eleanor Martin, who will personally answer your letters about needlework, handcraft, child care, and menu problems, is another familiar feature of the Martin catalogs.   Interested parties were encouraged to address their letters to the Home Service Department, Eleanor Martin, Inc., Elgin, Illinois.

  • Spring and Summer 1934 (Elgin, Illinois)

     This catalog has the NRA Blue Eagle symbol on the cover. There is a special note written in this catalog stating that “Eleanor Martin, Inc. is controlled by the Frederick Herrschner family who are not connected with Frederick Herrschner, Inc. or Frederick Herrschner Needlework and Specialties Company.”  This small piece of information adds to the mystery of why Frederick Herrschner, Inc and Frederick Herrschner Jr parted ways.

  • Undated Catalog

     This catalog is similar in appearance to the Spring and Summer 1934 Catalog (Elgin, Illinois). It has the NRA Blue Eagle symbol on the cover.

  • Fall and Winter 1935 (Chicago, Illinois)

     The NRA Blue Eagle Symbol is absent from this catalog’s cover.  Eleanor Martin, Inc. does share in this publication that they have recently moved from Elgin to Chicago.

  • Spring and Summer 1936 (Chicago, Illinois)

Eleanor Martin, Inc.

329 Wood Streeet.

Chicago, Illinois

  • Fall and Winter 1936 (Chicago, Illinois)

Eleanor Martin, Inc.

329 Wood Streeet.

Chicago, Illinois

**Special Note:  These are the catalogs found by the researcher at the time this was written.  The author/researcher welcomes information about additional Eleanor Martin catalogs not listed here.

     Eleanor Martin, Inc. moved, registering with the State of Illinois on February 17, 1936 to change their office from 407 Bluff City Boulevard, Elgin, Illinois to 329 South Wood Street, Chicago, Illinois.

    In 1937, E.M. Inc.’s annual report states that Frederick Herrschner, Jr. maintained his role as President of the company which was still located at the Wood address in Chicago, Charles F. McElroy was their Secretary who worked from a 29 South LaSalle Street, Chicago, Illinois address, and Eleanor Martin Herrschner served as Treasurer working from the Wood Address in Chicago.  The 1937 Board of Directors were Eleanor Martin Herrschner, Frederick Herrschner, Jr., and Ethel Johnson all at the 329 South Wood Street, Chicago, Illinois address.

    Eleanor Martin, Inc. quietly ceased operations as a needle art mail order catalog business and the corporation dissolved May 26, 1938.

Bibliography

Ancestry.com. “1930 Census.” <http://www.ancestry.com>

Ancestry.com. “1920 Census.” <http://www.ancestry.com>

ART NEEDLEWORK AND READY TO WEAR – CATALOG 39. Chicago, Illinois: Frederick Herrschner, Inc., Fall and Winter 1931-32.

ART NEEDLEWORK AND SPECIALTY SHOP – CATALOG 40.

Chicago, Illinois: Frederick Herrschner, Inc., Spring and Summer 1932.

ELEANOR MARTIN: INSPIRATIONS FOR NEEDLEWOMEN. Elgin, Illinois:  Eleanor Martin, Inc., Fall and Winter 1933-1934

ELEANOR MARTIN: INSPIRATIONS FOR NEEDLEWOMEN. Elgin, Illinois:  Eleanor Martin, Inc., Spring and Summer 1934

ELEANOR MARTIN: INSPIRATIONS FOR NEEDLEWOMEN. Elgin, Illinois:  Eleanor Martin, Inc., Undated.

ELEANOR MARTIN: INSPIRATIONS FOR NEEDLEWOMEN. Chicago, Illinois:  Eleanor Martin, Inc., Fall and Winter 1935.

ELEANOR MARTIN: INSPIRATIONS FOR NEEDLEWOMEN. Chicago, Illinois:  Eleanor Martin, Inc., Spring and Summer 1936.

ELEANOR MARTIN: INSPIRATIONS FOR NEEDLEWOMEN. Chicago, Illinois:  Eleanor Martin, Inc., Fall and Winter 1936.

State of Illinois - Business Services. Springfield, Illinois –  Eleanor Martin, Inc. Articles of Incorporation Documentation - Certificate 18547

State of Illinois – Business Services. Springfield, Illinois –

Eleanor Martin, Inc. Amendment to the Articles of Incorporation Documentation – Certificate 512.

State of Illinois – Business Services. Springfield, Illinois –

Eleanor Martin, Inc. Certificate to Change Corporation’s Agent and Registered Office - February 17, 1936.

State of Illinois – Business Services. Springfield, Illinois –

Eleanor Martin, Inc. Annual Report for 1937 - February 2, 1937.

State of Illinois – Business Services. Springfield, Illinois –

Eleanor Martin, Inc. Corporation Dissolution Documentation – May 26, 1938.

State of Illinois – Secretary of State – Illinois Statewide Death Index, 1916-1950.

<http://www.ilsos.gov/GenealogyMWeb/

IDPHDeathSearchServlet>

Special Note: Thank you Shirley, Rosie, and Arene.

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