Christmas at Macys in 1948

Life photographer Nina Leen captures post war America at Yuletide –

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In the last four weeks before Christmas – R.H Macy of New York, the worlds largest store, goes through a ‘retailing blitz’.
America’s Christmas shopping season officially starts the day after Thanksgiving, and a staff of 14,000 sets about furiously to work on selling everything in sight to an average 250,000 customers a day.

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Last years Christmas hit Miracle on 34th Street brought the reality of the post war consumer boom to a bemused world.
Macy’s is not merely the physically biggest store in the world, selling the greatest variety of items (400,000); it is also the world’s largest drugstore, fashion outlet, cosmetic provider, bookstore, liquor store, fabric and china store.

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The author of this implausible reality was Rowland Hussey Macy, a Nantucket whaler. Macy’s is now 90 years old ( 1948).

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This Christmas the store boasts 28 Santas, a giant indoor ski slope – which helps shift ski and sports wear and equipment, and the single largest lingerie and hosiery department on Earth.

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American women are making up for the denial of nylon stockings during the war years. The seasons bestsellers are 15 denier stockings, handkerchiefs, Christmas card sets, white cotton shirts, striped pajamas, leather handbags, pearl necklaces and bracelets,Suzy perfume sets, lipsticks, whiskey and candy canisters !

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That’s all !
Transcription©Glamourdaze 2014
Original Photography by Nina Leen for Life Magazine