Department Store Architecture: General Reference Works

Introduction | General Reference Resources | Art and Architecture Resources | Architecture Resources | Selected Monographs and Articles


"Department Stores." Encyclopedia of New York City. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1995.

Includes names of major department stores and the people who started them: Rowland Macy, John Wannamaker, A. J. Stewart, Marshall Field, Adam Gimbel, Herbert Marcus, Morris Rich, Abraham Abraham. These names might lead to archival records and information about the building and use of department stores.


International Index to Periodicals. New York: H.W. Wilson, 1907-1940.

Under the subject heading Department Stores are citations about the retail business. Under the headings of art and architecture no citations about department store architecture appear. (Teachers College shelf location: AI3.R49)

Nineteenth Century Readers Guide. New York: H.W. Wilson, 1890-1899.

Readers Guide to Periodical Literature. New York: H.W. Wilson, 1900-1928.

Contains citations for materials published before the beginning of Art Index. (Columbia University, Butler shelf location: R050 AR224.)


DogPile. Available: ( August 6, 2000.

Produces some of the best organized results, whereas other search engines—Yahoo, AltaVista, and Northern Light—produced links to store sites, but none as well organized as DogPile.

Sites located include GUM, the world’s largest Store, in the State Department Store of the former Soviet Union, opened in 1921. Such other stores as Robinsons (Singapore), Gottschalks (Fresno), and Kaplans (Houston), all featured short histories, but no longer than a paragraph or two. The Internet is not the best place to get this kind of data.

NorthernLight. Available: ( August 13, 2000.

When searching for the name of a building, results are more prolific than results from the search terms "department store." Results include images and historical articles.

Library Catalogs

A search on Columbia University’s CLIO and New York Public Library’s CATNYP revealed the following citations under the Library of Congress Heading Department Stores—History. The titles under this heading tend to be on the history of the department stores as institutions.

Archives and Manuscripts Collections

Most of the manuscripts and archives on RLIN AMC are institutional papers and other materials from Department store companies. Oral history transcripts are available from notable figures in retail history.

Strawbridge & Clothier, Philadelphia.

Federated Department Store Project. Columbia University. Oral History Research Office. Oral history interviews with leaders in the Federated Department Stores.

Rothchild’s Department Store. Cornell University Archives.

ZCMI—Zion Cooperative Mercantile Institution. Salt Lake City, Utah.