We’ve just listed a fabulous Bellas Hess 1915 Antique Fashion Catalog for Men, Women & Children.
Bellas Hess was one of the large merchandise catalogs of its time, along with Sears, Alden’s, Spiegel, and Montgomery Ward. From what we gather, it began as National Cloak & Suit in the late 1800′s and was renamed Bellas Hess around 1910. In the mid 60′s Bellas Hess fought a bid by Illinois that was trying to force it to collect state sales and use taxes. The Supreme Court ruled with Bellas Hess; that a company had to have “nexus” with a state to be liable for the tax; otherwise, the taxes could not be imposed. That decision led to a period of huge growth in the mail order business. However, in spite of all that, Bellas Hess filed for bankruptcy in 1971 and eventually went out of business.
The catalog, now a piece of history, is fully illustrated in black & white with several pages in color. It’s an absolute joy to look through. The clothing styles are fascinating to look at, as are the gift items, jewelry, accessories, and so on. A pair of shoes cost an average of $2 and a chic dress cost about $5-$9.