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Byres H. Gitchell papers

 Collection
Identifier: BUSC-2010-002

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of correspondence, newspaper articles, publications and documents largely relating to Byres H. Gitchell's service in the United States Department of War and his time as chairman of the Dress Code Authority, under the National Recovery Administration.

Dates

  • 1916 - 1936

Creator

Biographical Timeline

April 19, 1881 Born in Horseheads, NY, the son of Hollis M. (a Fire Commissioner and businessman) and Ida (Wales) Gitchell

1900 Graduated from Binghamton High School

1906 Married Helen Hogan of Emporium, PA

1900-1905 Worked in the newspaper field in Binghamton, NY and Cleveland, Ohio

1909 First child, Helen, born

1905-1912 Secretary for the Chamber of Commerce in Binghamton

1907-1912 Secretary and Treasurer for the Industrial Company of Binghamton, NY

1913 Second child, Byres Hollis, born

1907-1918? Secretary of the American Association of Commercial Executives

1909-1910 Superintendent of Dunn McCarthy

1912-1916 Secretary for the Detroit Board of Commerce

1916-1917 Assistant to James Couzens, a Director in the National Chamber of Commerce

September 1917 Assigned to active duty as Captain in Ordinance Reserve Corps

January 1918 Ordered to report to Office of Secretary of War for duty, later appointed Major Ordnance National Army

June 1918 Appointed Chief Industrial Relations Department, Bureau of Aircraft Production

August 1918 Appointed Major, U.S. Army (instead of Major Ordnance National Army)

December 1918 Honorably discharged to take effect December 1918

1919 Served as labor manager of the American Mens and Boys Clothing Manufacturers Association

1920 Served as labor manager for the Clothing Manufacturers Association stating that "the New York manufacturers are asking for such conditions as will permit them to make and sell clothing in competition for other markets. This means that they must lower their labor cost per garment. Otherwise the public will not buy."

1921 Served as Labor Manager and Market Chairman for the Employers’ Association  in New York City

1923 Served on a committee to draw up a uniform order blank covering the purchase of women’s ready-to-wear. This committee was created by the Wholesale and Retail Garment Council and announced by Maxwell Copelof, President of the National Wholesale Womens Wear Association. Other committee members included David Engel, Morris Sprayregen, Horatio Simon, Moris Knobel, John Wilkin, Carl Sadowsky, Dr. Paul H. Nystrom, Lew Han, John Hahn, John Block and Felix Lilienthal.

1928 Spoke at a "welcome home" luncheon given by Executive Chairman David N. Mosessohn of the Associated Dress Industries of America at the Hotel Astor by the Executive and Advisory Councils of that organization

1929 Served as managing director of the Cavendish Trading Corporation

1932 Served on committee in charge of the Quality Campaign sponsored by the National Retail Dry Goods Association. Other members associated with the campaign included W.O. Riordan, I.A. Hirschmann, M.D.C. Crawford, Katherine Casey and Harford Powell. A pamphlet was created to be distributed to retailers nationally to present the means whereby individual stores, through advertising, window and interior displays and other means, may most effectively carry the quality message to the consumer.

1933 Served as Deputy National Recovery Association (NRA) Administrator

1933-1935 Served as Chairman of the Dress Code Authority

January 1934 First NRA label under the Dress Code Authority sewn by Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins. Gitchell said the label marked “the beginning of self government in the industry under the NRA.” (NYTimes, 23 Jan 1934: 20)

April 1934 Spoke at dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria for members of the Dress Code Authority. The dinner, held under the auspices of the Retailers Protective Committee of the National Drygoods Association, was in recognition of the harmonious agreement reached between retailers and dress manufacturers on provisions of the dress code affecting the interests of both elements.

April 1934 Appointed by General Hugh S. Johnson, NRA Administrator, along with Adolf Feldblum, impartial chairman of the dress industry, to a special commission to settle dispute between contractors and jobbers

August 1934 Presided at meeting of retailers and Dress Code Authority to suggest code changes for improving functioning of the dress code

19?? to 1935 Served in various capacities under the Dress Code Authority in New York City

1933-? Served as General Manager of Stern Brothers in New York City

October 1934 Appointed by OPA General Manager, Chester Bowles, as head of retail distribution branch of the Consumer Goods Price Division of the Office of Price Administration. This appointment was part of the program of OPA to staff its operations with experienced business men and to simplify price control. After 1935 served as acting managing director of the Bon March, Seattle (with the Allied Stores Corporation of NY) After 1935 Served as assistant to the president of Allied Stores. According to a NYTimes article, he still held this post as of May 1950.

?-1943 Served as president of the Golden Rule Department Store of St. Paul, Minn.

October 1943 Appointed head of the retail distribution branch in the Consumer Goods Price Division of the Office of Price Administration. This branch, formed to deal with retail prices of all products except food, provided link between OPA and retail merchants.

January 1944 Appointed Acting Director of the Consumer Goods Price Division of the Office of Price Administration. It is possible that he became Director around Sep. 1944. He resigned this post in or around Oct. 1944.

May 1950 Participated in a human relations conference in the field of retailing that was part of the Business Education Week celebration at the City College School of Business and Civic Administration.

October 1950 Served as Personnel Director for Allied Stores Corporation

October 1950 Served as Chairman of the American Retail Federations task committee on manpower.

October 1950 Spoke at concluding sessions of the store operations conference of the National Association of Music Merchants in the New Yorker Hotel. There he urged retailers to plan immediately to use greater numbers of part-time workers, handicapped persons and women on their personnel staffs to offset diversion of employees to war industries and to producers of civilian goods who are beset by manpower shortages and are willing to pay higher wages than retail stores.

May 1970 Died in Binghamton, NY

Extent

2 Linear Feet

Language of Materials

English

Overview

This collection consists of correspondence, newspaper articles, publications and documents largely relating to Byres H. Gitchell's service in the United States Department of War and his time as chairman of the Dress Code Authority, under the National Recovery Administration. The Dress Code Authority authorized the president to institute industry-wide codes intended to eliminate unfair trade practices, reduce unemployment, establish minimum wages and maximum hours, and guarantee the right of labour to bargain collectively.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 2010: This collection was re-organized and described by Jean Green, Head of Special Collections and Macarry Pobanz and Elizabeth Grace, Undergraduate Student Assistants in Special Collections, October 2010 - May 2011.

Repository Details

Part of the Binghamton University Libraries Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Binghamton NY 13902 USA