BLOOMINGDALE , prominent U.S. family. The founder of the family was lyman gustavus (1841–1905), merchant and philanthropist. He was born in New York, son of German Jewish immigrants. After service in the Civil War in the Kansas Volunteers, he returned to New York where he and his brother Joseph opened a hoopskirt and ladies' notion store. In 1886 Bloomingdale Brothers Department Store was established on its present site in midtown New York City. Lyman was a patron of the arts and a noted philanthropist, with his chief interests the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Montefiore Hospital. joseph bernhardt (1842–1904), brother of Lyman, was associated with the family's business endeavors in the West and later in New York. Retiring from Bloomingdale Brothers in 1896, he was president of the Hebrew Technical Institute and one of the founders of Barnard College. emanuel watson (1852–1928), lawyer and merchant, a third brother, received a law degree from Columbia University and was active both as an attorney and in the family business. His major interests included Republican politics, the New York State Bridge and Tunnel Commission, and the Society for Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents. samuel joseph (1873–1968), son of Lyman, was educated at the Columbia University School of Architecture but devoted himself to the management of the family's store, serving as its president during 1905–30. An innovator in retailing techniques, he became a director of Federated Department Stores when it absorbed Bloomingdale Brothers in 1930. Samuel was trustee of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies and active in the American Jewish Committee, also continuing the family association with the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Montefiore Hospital. hiram c. (1876–1953), another son of Lyman, served as vice president of Blooming-dale Brothers and was a leader in the movement to establish standards for accuracy in advertising. Hiram's son alfred s. (1916–1982) was founder and chairman of the Diners Club credit organization. In 1970 he left Diners Club, acquiring its International Floatels division. Alfred Bloomingdale and his wife, Betsy, became good friends with Ronald and Nancy *Reagan. In 1981, after Reagan was elected U.S. president, he appointed Bloomingdale to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and the following year named him a member of the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. When he died at age 66 Alfred Bloomingdale, a practicing Catholic, was buried in the Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.
But the Bloomingdale legacy lives on. A fixture on New York City's Third Avenue since 1927, in addition to branches nationwide, Bloomingdale's department store is renowned for its flair for fashion and merchandising. Over the years, Bloomingdale's has helped launch the careers of many world-famous designers, such as Ralph *Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin *Klein, and Donna *Karan.
[Morton Rosenstock /
Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]