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Descriptive inventory for the Bes-Ben, Inc., records, 1920-1988, bulk 1925-1978

Bes-Ben, Inc., records

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Descriptive inventory for the Bes-Ben, Inc., records, 1920-1988, bulk 1925-1978

  
Please address questions to:
Chicago History Museum, Research Center
1601 North Clark Street
Chicago, IL 60614-6038
Web-site: http://libguides.chicagohistory.org/research
Catalog: http://chsmedia.org
E-mail: research@chicagohistory.org
Instructions for accessing this collection
  

Collection Overview +/-

Title: Bes-Ben, Inc., records, 1920-1988 (inclusive), 1925-1978 (bulk)
Creators: Bes-Ben (Firm)
Benjamin B. Green-Field
Bessie Green-Field Warshawsky
Dates: 1920-1988 (inclusive), 1925-1978 (bulk)
Accession number: 1989.0562
Bib number: 00064644
Call number: MSS Lot G
Size: 13 linear feet (18 boxes and 14 card file boxes)
Language of material:Collection is written in English.

Provenance statement:

Gift of the Benjamin Benedict Green-Field Foundation (accession #: 1989.0562).

Terms governing use:

Copyright may be retained by the creators of items, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Restriction(s):

This collection is open for research use.

Please cite this collection as:

Bes-Ben, Inc., records (Chicago History Museum) plus a detailed description, date, and box/folder number of a specific item.

Additional Materials +/-

Related material:

Related materials at Chicago History Museum, Research Center, include the Jeanette Gaffin Original Millinery Shop records.

Separated material:

Separated materials at Chicago History Museum, Research Center, include the Benjamin Benedict Green-Field photograph collection (1989.0562). Hats by Bes-Ben are among the costume artifacts of Chicago History Museum.

Collection Summary +/-

Ledgers, customer card index files, state time inspection records; plus sundry correspondence, sales slips, passports, personal account books, and other materials relating to the Bes-Ben millinery shop in Chicago operated by Benjamin Green-Field and his sister Bessie Green-Field Warshawsky, and to his world travels. Bes-Ben was known for its flamboyant hats designed for a clientele of prominent women. Mr. Green-Field was known for his personal style as well as the hats and pillows he designed.

Biographical/Historical Note +/-

Benjamin Green-Field and his sister Bessie Green-Field Warshawsky operated Bes-Ben, a Chicago millinery shop for many decades. Green-Field became widely known for his unusual and imaginative hat designs. The shop, at 938 North Michigan Avenue, catered to international celebrities as well as women from Chicago's elite society. Some of his fanciful hats were decorated with miniature animal replicas--farm animals, stuffed zebras, plastic mice; other hats had fake fruits and vegetables; or modern products such as cigarette packages, matches, razor blades, and kitchen utensils.

Benjamin Green-Field also was known for his flamboyant life style. He was an inveterate traveler and is credited with almost annual trips around the globe since the 1930s. He designed much of his own apparel and is remembered for his brilliant brocade formalwear. His home was a showcase for the artistic and decorative items he purchased while travelling.

The Chicago Historical Society honored Green-Field with two exhibitions of his hat and clothing designs in 1976 and 1984. The society holds many Green-Field hats in the Costume Collection and parts of his workshop in Decorative and Industrial Arts. In addition, Green-Field endowed gallery space for the society.

Catalog Subject Headings +/-

Subjects:
Clothing and dress--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Clothing trade--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Costume--United States--20th century
Family owned business enterprises--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Millinery--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
Voyages and travels--20th century
Women consumers--United States--20th century
Persons:
Green-Field, Benjamin B. (Benjamin Benedict), 1898-1988--Archives
Warshawsky, Bessie Green-Field, -1987--Archives
Organizations:
Bes-Ben (Firm)--Archives
Genre/Form:
Account books
Correspondence
Ledgers
Passports
Geographic:
Chicago (Ill.)--Commerce--20th century
Chicago (Ill.)--Social life and customs--20th century

Organization and Arrangement of Collection +/-

The collection is arranged into six series.

Click on heading to view series description.

Series 1. Clippings, financial and legal documents, correspondence, and miscellaneous documents, 1920-1984 and undated (box 1-2)
Series 2. Employee and vendor records, 1931-1978 (box 3-4)
Series 3. Travel records and correspondence, 1923-1988 (box 5-8)
Series 4. Sales ledgers and sales receipts, 1931-1994 (box 9-17)
Series 5. Miscellaneous items, 1936-1957 and undated (box 18)
Series 6. Customer index cards, 1923-1978 (box 19-32)

About This Finding Aid +/-

Creation: Finding aid encoded by Laura Caringella using Oxygen XML Editor, 2016.
Language: Finding aid is written in English.
Other Finding Aids: Finding aid also submitted to the Explore Chicago Collections portal.
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