US entrepreneur Harry Gordon Selfridge founded his iconic department store on London’s Oxford Street in 1909. Selfridge & Co. was designed after the grand department stores that were all the rage in Paris and New York. It was the first of its kind in the UK. Selfridge had a genius for marketing. His department store was the first to put its wares out in the open, allowing customers to browse at their leisure. He also included other attractions to bring in the crowds, from cafes to gun clubs. Today the store remains a venerable British institution.
This is a rare letter from HG Selfridge, written on attractive Selfridge & Co. headed paper. At the top is an illustration of the store, along with the words (SIC): “This building carries no signs – It is assumed that everyone knows it is Selfridge’s”.
The letter is dated July 1, 1937, the year Selfridge finally became a British subject. It’s addressed to Sir Robert Tasker, a Conservative politician and architect.
The text reads: “Dear Sir Robert, I am entirely in sympathy with the suggestion in yours of June 30 re Sir Oswald Stoll. Yours very sincerely, H Selfridge”.
Stoll was a movie producer and owner of the Cricklewood Studios in North London. The connection between the three men, and what is being discussed, is a mystery.
Below is a 10 word inscription in Selfridge’s own hand that reads: “Is there any news? I so rarely see you nowadays”. An intriguing letter from one of history’s most celebrated entrepreneurs. Fold at the centre, otherwise very good.
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