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Guide to the Amos Parrish fashion merchandising clinic workbook, 1930

Collection Overview


Kellen Design Archives

Collection Identifier



Amos Parrish and Company, New York.

Creator - Commentator for written text

Phillips, Howard


Amos Parrish fashion merchandising clinic workbook


0.2 linear ft: 2 folders


The workbook that comprises this collection was used during the Amos Parrish Fashion Merchandising Clinic, held in New York City, January 6-10, 1930. Parrish's clinic was offered once and sometimes twice annually from the 1920s through 1955 to forecast the year's trends for the fashion industry. This workbook belonged to Howard Phillips, merchandise manager for the Ernst Kern Department Store, Detroit, Michigan, and was heavily annotated by Phillips during his week at Parrish's clinic.

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Amos Parrish fashion merchandising clinic workbook, KA.0111, box __, folder __, New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

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Biographical and historical note

Howard Phillips, the individual who kept the notebook, was the merchandising manager of the Ernst Kern Department Store in Detroit, Michigan when he attended the 1930 Amos Parrish Fashion Merchandising Clinic in New York. He eventually lost his position during the Great Depression and moved his family to Columbus, Ohio where he continued working in the sales promotion departments at several department stores.

Amos Parrish was a charismatic retail sales and advertising manager who founded an eponymous consulting firm in the 1920s. Amos Parrish and Company, Inc., based in New York City, promised to provide clients with scientifically-based retail merchandising analysis. The company concentrated primarily on fashion retailing and held merchandising clinics in New York attended by hundreds of retail executives from across the United States. The clinics were discontinued in 1956.

Amos Parrish and Company, Inc. also published pamphlets, charts, books, and other materials that forecast fashion trends. An army of experts employed by the company predicted consumer preferences in advertising and apparel. Fashion and business journalists often relied upon Parrish for his quotable pronouncements. Over the decades, Amos Parrish and Company absorbed other consulting firms until it was merged into Seklemian & North. Amos Parrish left the company he founded in 1961.


Leach, William. "Brokers in the new corporate, industrial order." In Inventing Times Square: Commerce and Culture at the Crossroads of the World, by William R. Taylor (ed.), 102-103. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991.   New York Times. May 29, 1925; September 1, 1959; August 15, 1961.


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Scope and Contents of Collection

Contains materials associated with the Amos Parrish Fashion Merchandising Clinic held in New York City, January 6-10, 1930. The workbook includes printed pages containing text, line drawings, and fabric swatches illustrating trends in spring 1930 women's fashions. The workbook is divided into the following chapters: General Street and Daytime Wear; Formal Daytime Wear; Coats and Dresses for Daytime; Sports and Resort Wear; and Evening Wear. Also present is a concluding chapter on the training of sales staff followed by a graded exam of the material covered during the clinic.

The workbook pages are accompanied by Howard Phillips' extensive handwritten notes in pencil and pen. Included with the workbook is an alphabetical listing of attendees and a lengthy outline of spring fashions.


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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Kellen Design Archives - August 6, 2010

66 5th Ave./
lobby level
New York, NY, 10011

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Amos Parrish fashion merchandising clinic workbook, KA.0111, box __, folder __, New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open for research use. Please contact archivist@newschool.edu for appointment.

Use Restrictions

To publish images of material from this collection, permission must be obtained in writing from the New School Archives. Please contact: archivist@newschool.edu.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Donated by Virginia Phillips, Howard Phillips' daughter, 2010.

Processing Information note

The workbook was originally bound in a leather, three-ring notebook.

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Keywords for Searching Related Subjects


  • Lecture notes.
  • Notebooks.


  • Advertising -- Fashion.
  • Clothing trade.
  • Fashion merchandising.
  • Fashion -- Forecasting.
  • Women's clothing -- United States -- 20th century.

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder
k_8 2-3

Collection Guide Last Updated: 02/28/2017

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