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Rich's: A Southern Institution (Landmarks)

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In 1867, less than three years after the Civil War left the city in ruins, Hungarian Jewish immigrant Morris Rich opened a small dry goods store on what is now Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta. Over time, his brothers Emanuel and Daniel joined the business; within a century, it became a retailing dynasty. Join historian Jeff Clemmons as he traces Rich’s 137-year histor In 1867, less than three years after the Civil War left the city in ruins, Hungarian Jewish immigrant Morris Rich opened a small dry goods store on what is now Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta. Over time, his brothers Emanuel and Daniel joined the business; within a century, it became a retailing dynasty. Join historian Jeff Clemmons as he traces Rich’s 137-year history. For the first time, learn the true stories behind Penelope Penn, Fashionata, The Great Tree, the Pink Pig, Rich’s famous coconut cake and much more, including how events at the downtown Atlanta store helped John F. Kennedy become America’s thirty-fifth president. With an eye for accuracy and exacting detail, Clemmons recounts the complete history of this treasured southern institution.


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In 1867, less than three years after the Civil War left the city in ruins, Hungarian Jewish immigrant Morris Rich opened a small dry goods store on what is now Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta. Over time, his brothers Emanuel and Daniel joined the business; within a century, it became a retailing dynasty. Join historian Jeff Clemmons as he traces Rich’s 137-year histor In 1867, less than three years after the Civil War left the city in ruins, Hungarian Jewish immigrant Morris Rich opened a small dry goods store on what is now Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta. Over time, his brothers Emanuel and Daniel joined the business; within a century, it became a retailing dynasty. Join historian Jeff Clemmons as he traces Rich’s 137-year history. For the first time, learn the true stories behind Penelope Penn, Fashionata, The Great Tree, the Pink Pig, Rich’s famous coconut cake and much more, including how events at the downtown Atlanta store helped John F. Kennedy become America’s thirty-fifth president. With an eye for accuracy and exacting detail, Clemmons recounts the complete history of this treasured southern institution.

30 review for Rich's: A Southern Institution (Landmarks)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    This was a very interesting and informative book about the beginning and the end of an important Southern institution started by the Rich family. Having lived in Atlanta since 1959, I was pleased to be able to relive the many special attributes as well some of the sad events that affected the store through the years. It was fascinating to learn how this family store totally controlled by the Rich family was able to keep it all in the family for such a long time. Sadly, in the end, because of deb This was a very interesting and informative book about the beginning and the end of an important Southern institution started by the Rich family. Having lived in Atlanta since 1959, I was pleased to be able to relive the many special attributes as well some of the sad events that affected the store through the years. It was fascinating to learn how this family store totally controlled by the Rich family was able to keep it all in the family for such a long time. Sadly, in the end, because of debts, mergers and finally selling out to larger companies, Rich's closed. However, many good memories will remain with all of us who were beneficiaries of this fine, southern establishment.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    First part tells not only the Rich's story but also the Atlanta story. Second part is nostalgia. What a treat it was to live in the city where Rich's was. What a wonderful store. First part tells not only the Rich's story but also the Atlanta story. Second part is nostalgia. What a treat it was to live in the city where Rich's was. What a wonderful store.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Penni

    Growing up in Atlanta, I thought I knew a lot about the history of Rich’s Department store. As a young girl, I shopped with my Mom at the downtown store, rode the Pink Pig, ate at the Magnolia Room, then later shopped at many other locations. But this book is far more than all of that. Fascinating to learn how much this store was involved in during its 137 years. I had no idea of the extensive philanthropy and community involvement there was by founder Morris Rich and his brothers that truly sha Growing up in Atlanta, I thought I knew a lot about the history of Rich’s Department store. As a young girl, I shopped with my Mom at the downtown store, rode the Pink Pig, ate at the Magnolia Room, then later shopped at many other locations. But this book is far more than all of that. Fascinating to learn how much this store was involved in during its 137 years. I had no idea of the extensive philanthropy and community involvement there was by founder Morris Rich and his brothers that truly shaped Atlanta.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kelei Sabatino

    Loved this book for its historical account of the Rich’s department store and its role in the south. Learned so much from this book. Yes, it has lots of details and may be too many date/time place details at times but there were so many historically important things that this departments store did to move the south forward. Enjoyed this book and can’t wait to see the exhibit it is part of at the museum in downtown Atlanta. I purchased this book in hardback and I it was an excellent gift for a fo Loved this book for its historical account of the Rich’s department store and its role in the south. Learned so much from this book. Yes, it has lots of details and may be too many date/time place details at times but there were so many historically important things that this departments store did to move the south forward. Enjoyed this book and can’t wait to see the exhibit it is part of at the museum in downtown Atlanta. I purchased this book in hardback and I it was an excellent gift for a former employee.

  5. 4 out of 5

    michael

    Good book full of the Rich family history. Still prefer "Dear Store" but a great addition of lore and information for those of us still mourning Rich's demise. Good book full of the Rich family history. Still prefer "Dear Store" but a great addition of lore and information for those of us still mourning Rich's demise.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Echo LaVeaux

    Fascinating history of an Atlanta institution...and my former employer.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    A quick read but very interesting to this Atlanta native who grew up shopping at Rich's. A quick read but very interesting to this Atlanta native who grew up shopping at Rich's.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    I really enjoyed reading the detailed history of Rich’s. No wonder Rich’s was an Atlanta institution! Such customer focus and generosity couldn’t be duplicated in today’s environment. Thanks for writing this, Jeff Clemmons.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Having been born in 1976, one month after Federated purchased Rich’s from the family, I was too late to ever really know the Georgia institution. Sure, its green and gold logo was attractive, but what was the big deal about Rich’s? Was it all nostalgia over the Pink Pig, Great Tree and Magnolia Room? Turns out, Rich’s history is a lot richer than its famed coconut cake. This book does an excellent job of laying it all out. A few things I learned: Rich’s president started the Dogwood Festival; Na Having been born in 1976, one month after Federated purchased Rich’s from the family, I was too late to ever really know the Georgia institution. Sure, its green and gold logo was attractive, but what was the big deal about Rich’s? Was it all nostalgia over the Pink Pig, Great Tree and Magnolia Room? Turns out, Rich’s history is a lot richer than its famed coconut cake. This book does an excellent job of laying it all out. A few things I learned: Rich’s president started the Dogwood Festival; Nathalie Dupree ran a Rich’s cooking school out of its downtown store, a Rich’s president was the driving force behind raising $13 million to build what is known today as the Woodruff Arts Center, the first night Martin Luther King Jr ever spent in a jail cell came from his arrest trying to integrate the Magnolia Room (and JFK’s campaign intervened). Rich's even had a hand in radio station WABE, 90.1. Rich’s was very involved in the community, from cashing scrip issued to Atlanta teachers during a cash shortage during the Great Depression with no purchase required to tracking down victims of the horrific Winecoff Hotel Fire to clothe them and also offering burial clothes for many of the victims. There was even an inner city school called the Rich’s Academy for 15 years. This is a different kind of look at Atlanta’s white flight to the suburbs, but it’s chronicled in Rich’s history, too. Very good read for anyone interested in Rich’s or early department stores, in general.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lucy Cooley

  11. 4 out of 5

    Helen

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kerry Anderson

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

  14. 5 out of 5

    Charles Fincham

  15. 4 out of 5

    Adam

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jrawls

  17. 5 out of 5

    Heather

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Stump

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tim Moore

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bill Poston

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

  23. 4 out of 5

    Becky

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nikki

  25. 5 out of 5

    Alonso

  26. 5 out of 5

    Marc McAfee

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jane

  28. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Reid

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mary Ann Hawthorne

  30. 4 out of 5

    Penn

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