Welcome back to Monochromes, a Friday mini-series wherein Curbed delves deep into the Library of Congress's photographic annals, resurfacing with an armful of old black-and-white photos of architecture and interior design. Have a find you want to share? Hit up the tipline; we'd love to hear from you.
Despite the apparent immaculate newness of the coat rooms, hat displays, and beauty salon, these photos, spotted in the Library of Congress's Gottscho-Schleisner collection, were taken in the midlife of Brooklyn's now-defunct department store Martin's. Founded in 1904, the apparel chain spread throughout New York's suburbs in the '50s, perhaps hitting its peak in 1966, when the chain got a feature New York Times. In it, the Times called Martin's an "oasis of calm" amongst the "hubbub" of the Fulton Street square. In 1968 the paper said it did "more bridal business than any other store in the United States," though profits fell all throughout the '70s, and it ultimately sold to a larger company in 1977. The jewelry counters and mannequins are long gone, but, luckily, the photos remain.