The Neiman Marcus Catalog didn’t start on someone’s kitchen table like many of the early mail-order catalogs, but this Catalog still has a special place in gift catalog history.
Herbert Marcus, Sr., along with his sister Carrie Marcus Neiman, and her husband, A.L. Neiman, after successful careers in Atlanta, moved back to Dallas to open the first Neiman Marcus retail store. The Neiman Marcus store was lavishly furnished and stocked with clothing of a quality not commonly found in Texas. Neiman Marcus was instantly successful and very profitable.
Neiman Marcus first published a Christmas booklet in 1926 consisting of 16 pages of Christmas gift suggestions. Herbert’s son Stanley Marcus came aboard in the 1920s and was soon steering the company. In 1939 Neiman Marcus sent out it’s first magazine-size holiday catalog.
In 1952, in response to a question from journalist Edward R. Murrow, Stanley Marcus invented an extravagant offering on the spot, that was included in that year’s Christmas catalog. This began a new tradition of extravagant and unusual gifts in each year’s Christmas catalog, known as The Christmas Book.
For a time, the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog carried the dubious distinction of being the item most stolen from mailboxes. One Chicago postmaster suggested that the company begin enclosing the catalogs in plain brown wrappers.
The first “His & Her’s” themed gifts were featured in the Christmas book in 1960. A pair of Beechcraft airplanes. $149,000(His)-$27,000(Hers).
The Neiman Marcus family now also includes The Horchow Collection catalog of home furnishings and Bergdorf Goodman.