This undated photo is of my maternal grandmother, Emma Bickerstaff Meinzen. She married my grandfather, William Carl Robert Meinzen, on September 8, 1914. There are no known photos of her in a white bridal gown nor photos of her and my grandfather as a bridal couple. As I was scanning photos last fall I wondered if this was taken at or near the time of her wedding and if, possibly, this could have been her traveling suit, worn after the wedding. The stained glass window in the background of the photo looks like a church window, and she looks about 21, her age at the time she was married. I'll never know that for sure unless my aunt knows the answer. Still, it seems a definite possibility.
When I was at the Ohio Historical Society searching for any newspaper article announcing my grandparents' marriage, this newspaper advertisement for The H. H. Hoffman Company in Niles, Ohio, caught my eye. You can see why if you notice the suit illustrated in the upper left side of the ad. While not identical to my grandmother's, both suits have very similar lines and lengths. Amazingly, this ad was published on September 11, 1914, just days after my grandmother was married.
Mineral Ridge, where my grandmother lived before her marriage, is about three miles from Niles. She certainly would have shopped in Niles and very likely at Hoffman's. She may not have bought her suit at Hoffman's but she certainly bought it around the time of her marriage.
When I was a young child we sometimes went to Hoffman's. The store was interesting because the offices were in a balcony that overlooked the sales floor. Traveling from the check-out counter to the balcony was a little overhead trolley which carried a small box from one point to the other. When checking out the clerk wrote the purchases on an order check, tallied the bill, and told the customer the amount. When the customer gave money for the purchase, the clerk sent the money and the order check to the balcony in the little trolley box. I suppose that was my favorite reason to shop at Hoffman's: to watch the little trolley box make its way from clerk to office and back again with the change in tow.
I cannot remember when Hoffman's closed its doors. It was one of the last little old-fashioned shops in Niles. I remember it fondly. I was pleased to see The H. H. Hoffman Co. advertisement depicting a suit so much like my grandmother's.
Other blog posts about my grandparents and their marriage:
Married in 1914 - posted on September 8, 1910
Marriage Licenses Announced - posted on October 18, 1910
Reviewing Marriage Records - posted on October 20, 1910