Haughton & Lee
16 W. 39 St. (2003)

Among others:
Morris J. Gerber, Ladies Hatter
Meyer Friedman, Ladies Hats
Berwick-Jacobs Hat Co., Tailored & Sport Hats
United Trimming Co.
The Lavin Co.
The Virocacao Co.
The Lavin Export Co.
Haughton & Lee, Importers of Laces, Gowns, Lace Curtains

Morris J. Gerber (1888/89-?), Ladies Hatter, was located here from 1919 to 1922. Previously (and concurrently), Morris Gerber had been in partnership with Sigmund R. Barthold and Charles A. Gerber (his brother?) at Gerber, Barthold & Gerber Co. (1912-1918), Charles A. Sternberger at Sternberger, Gerber Co. (1915-1918) and Arthur H. Sisholz at Morris J. Gerber & Sisholz (1924-1925?). He stayed in the millinery business until around 1931/32.

Meyer Friedman, Ladies Hats, dates from 1919 and was located here from 1925 to 1929. In 1929 they moved just west to 42 W. 39th St. (click for ad from 1935). Friedman was also president-secretery-treasurer of the short-lived Crystal Hat Co. located at 650 Broadway. (It incorporated in 1924, then filed for bankruptcy a year later.) He remained in the millinery business (with his wife Anna Friedman) until the late 1940s.

The Berwick-Jacobs Hat Co. seems have existed only for a brief moment in time around 1925. Max Berwick, hatter, was in business for some 10 or 12 years prior and for a longer time later as the Berwick Hat Co. Only in 1925 was he located at 16 W. 39th St. although the business was at several other 39th St. addresses: 42 W. 39 in 1934 (click for ad), 21 W. 39 in 1937, 54 W. 39 from 1940 to 1947 (see ad for "straw operators" from 1944), and 65 W. 39 from 1948 to 1953/54. In May 1926 notice appeared in the New York Times that Berwick had leased a floor at 20 W. 37th St.

The United Trimming Co., The Lavin Co., The Virocacao Co. and The Lavin Export Co. were all owned and operated by Sol Charles Lavin (1889-1947) and Louis Senie (1882-?). Lavin was born in Philadelphia. Senie was born in St. Petersburg, Russia and immigrated in 1899. United Trimmng dealt in "notions and small ware." The Lavin Co. made "dressmaker's supplies." The Virocacao Co. made "tonics." And the Lavin Export Co. exported silks and other products. Registering for the World War I draft in June 1917, Lavin described his occupation as "Silk Importing." Senie, a year later, described himself as "Manufacturer [in business for] Myself." These companies were located here at 16 W. 39th St. from around 1918 to 1923. This ad for "Vero," a nutritional tonic distributed by the Virocacao Co., appeared in the journal, The Modern Hospital, 1919.

Haughton & Lee were William Atwood Haughton (1848-1921) and Mortimer Montgomery Lee (1846-1931). In their NY Times obituraries Haughton is described as "President of the Haughton & Lee Lace Importing Company and of the Hadley Silk Mills," and Lee as "head of an importing firm bearing his name and ... also the owner of the Hadley Silk Mills in Paterson, N. J." Lee also served six terms as mayor of the city of South Norwalk, Connecticut.

Haughton & Lee moved into this building in 1918. Previously they were located on Broadway (from as early as 1890) and at 15 West 34th St. (from around 1910). They left 39th Street in 1923 (relocated to 5 W. 37th Street). So their sign was painted between 1918 and 1923.

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