This portrait of Stanley Marcus,
taken at NorthPark Center, ran on the cover of Business Week in October 1967.
photography courtesy of DeGolyer Library/Southern Methodist University

One hundred years ago this month, three kids in their 20s, not a high school diploma among them, risked all their personal savings to launch a clothing store in downtown Dallas. Herbert Marcus, his sister Carrie Marcus Neiman, and her husband Al Neiman stocked their store with something radical: fine, ready-to-wear clothing. At the time, mass production of such garments hardly existed.

On September 8, 1907, an ad appeared in the Dallas Morning News: “We have secured exclusive lines which have never been shown in Texas before, garments that stand in a class alone as to character and fit. … Every article of apparel shown will bear evidence, in its touches of exclusiveness, in its chic and grace and splendid finish, to the most skillful and thorough workmanship.”

The store turned a profit its first year and eventually came to symbolize the city itself—tasteful, stylish, extravagant. Neiman-Marcus (then still carrying the hyphen) brought shoppers from all over, informing their notion of Dallas. It also contributed to the city’s prosperity. In 1957, for the store’s first Fortnight, an Air France plane landed at Love Field for the occasion, marking the first foreign commercial flight to Dallas. In 1964, the Apparel Mart opened probably as a result of Neiman’s being here.

Much of the store’s success sprang from the energy of Herbert Marcus’ eldest son, who joined the family business in 1926. Mr. Stanley, as he came to be known, was one of the giants. His eye, his acumen, and his activism made Dallas a better city. Upon his passing in 2002, many of his personal papers and photographs were given to SMU’s DeGolyer Library. The photographs on the following pages were drawn from that collection.

—adapted from a speech by Anne E. Peterson, curator of photographs, DeGolyer Library

LEFT: Coco Chanel came to Dallas in 1957 as guest of honor for the Neiman-Marcus Fashion Exposition, celebrating the store’s 50th anniversary.
RIGHT: Stanley Marcus dictates his thoughts on the latest styles worn by Neiman-Marcus house models, in the 1940s.

photography courtesy of DeGolyer Library/Southern Methodist University

LEFT: In 1975, for the store’s Italian Fortnight, Sophia Loren turns on a re-creation of the Villa D’Este fountains.
RIGHT: Phyllis Diller and Stanley Marcus, 1973.
photography courtesy of DeGolyer Library/Southern Methodist University
LEFT: Danny Kaye kisses Stanley Marcus, date unknown.
RIGHT: To promote a ’50s-era bike-a-thon for the National Heart Association, Stanley Marcus leads a peloton through the streets of downtown.
photography courtesy of DeGolyer Library/Southern Methodist University

Stanley Marcus discusses the races at Monte Carlo with Prince Rainier, Princess Grace Kelly, and Howard Cosell, in 1971.
photography courtesy of DeGolyer Library/Southern Methodist University