Jacks clothing store was on the bottom floor of The National House building at Beaver and Market streets in York, where the Holy Hound is now. This pen-and-ink drawing was made by Jane Black, a former Jacks employee.
More memories of Jacks Department Store
We’ve talked in numerous past columns about Jacks Department Store, on the bottom floor of The National House building at Beaver and Market streets in York, most recently about a year ago.
After that column, I had a note from Edward Benovy of the Red Lion area, who wrote that his mother as well as his wife, Judy, shopped there for many years. He said that once Jacks moved to the Springettsbury Township area, he didn’t recall it being as successful as the downtown location.
I’d also, earlier, heard from reader Jean A. Fix, who saw with a previous column a pen-and-ink drawing of the former Jacks. She wanted to know the artist, and I’m glad to say I can report that it was Jane Black, a former Jacks employee; you can see that image with today’s column as well.
I also heard from reader Linda Shaub, who wrote, “After reading your article about Jacks Department Store, I remembered I still have a trench coat that I purchased there when I was around 20. I am now 70. I haven’t worn it in years (it’s a little snug now) but it is still in perfect condition.”
Linda was even kind enough to share this photo, which is great because it shows the Jacks logo so well!
Reader Roger Stabley noted that Jack’s “was my wife’s favorite store and it brought back many memories.”
He described one notable memory: “In the late ’50s, about a week before Christmas, they had a ‘Men Only’ night, and it was held on a weekday night, after the the store closed for the day. Nat Newman had an open bar with lady bartenders with tight sweaters and shorts and had about 10 or 12 beautiful models walking around modeling Jacks most expensive outfits and coats. Between the alcohol and the models, money was no object and most every guy left the store carrying plenty of boxes. There was even a pregnant model showing a red long sleeved blouse with black slacks that resembled pedal-pushers. It really looked sharp on the beautiful model, so I bought it for my wife, who was also pregnant at the time. My wife returned it the day after Christmas for her more traditional sweater and skirt.”
Roger, it was worth a try!
Perhaps most interestingly of all, I also heard from Jay Silverman, the grandson of the original Jack (Julius Silverman), for whom he is named. He doesn’t live in the area, but someone was kind enough to mail him a copy of one of the earlier columns, and he had some corrections and clarifications to some of the information readers had provided!
He began, “The original Jack (Julius) Silverman was my grandfather; the “heavy man with dark slicked-back hair and black glasses” – also Jack – was my father,” he wrote about a description someone provided of the person they remembered at the store.
Jay wrote, “Julius founded Jacks in 1912. He passed away when my father was only a boy and Nat Newman, who was married to Julius’ niece, Pat Farkas, assumed management of the store. My dad had his own business for many years and joined Jacks later in life as manager of the York Mall store. Just as an aside, I also worked at the store in many positions while on summer breaks summers during high school and college.”
He also provided some other interesting information: “In regard to your question about the relationship between the Newman and Silverman families, the answer is that there always was a relationship – and not just with the store itself, but with the real estate in downtown York, as well. Members of the Silverman family owned the real estate on which the store was located along with several adjacent properties. The properties were eventually sold to the developer who (re)built the National Hotel to look much as it did back in the early 1900s.”
He also noted that Josephine Newman, mentioned in another previous column, was not not Jack Silverman’s granddaughter but rather his niece, and added that the Newmans raised three (not four) boys at their Springettsbury Avenue home. And, finally, he added that someone had mentioned a woman “of advanced years” known as Miss Silverman; he was able to clarify that this was Julius’ sister Minna Silverman.
The aforementioned Josephine Newman passed away in October 2018 at age 97, and reader Bill Hoffman was able to attend. You might remember Bill from an earlier column where he was able to connect with another reader, Robert W. Goldsmith, a childhood friend, thanks to memories Robert submitted.
At any rate, Bill knew Nat and Josephine’s three sons, Fred, Howard and Bruce, and said his family and the Newmans have been friends for generations. “I guess that will end with my contemporaries,” Bill lamented, “since none of us or their children (I have none) are still in York. I’m close enough, however, to still consider myself a Yorker.”
I heard from one of those sons as well, Bruce G. Newman. Bruce confirmed many of the details provided by Jay, describing, “Jacks was founded by Julius Silverman, Pauline Silverman Farkas and Minna Silverman, three siblings, in 1911 in Lancaster, and moved to York and located at Market and Beaver streets in 1912.”
Bruce went on to describe Nat H. Newman marrying Josephine Farkas, Pauline’s daughter, then going on to run the business. “Over the next 40 years or so, as the company grew, Nat and Jo Newman continuously owned and operated Jacks until closure in 1985,” Bruce wrote.
He was also able to provide more specific family details, including:
- Nat Newman was born in Chicago in 1916 and died in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in 1990.
- Fred S. Newman was born in 1945 in York and now lives in New York City with his wife, Mary.
- Howard H. Newman was born in 1947 in York and now lives in Bedford, New York, with his wife, Maryam.
- Bruce himself (Bruce G. Newman) was born in 1950 in York and lives in Dunwoody, Ga., with his wife, Jane.
- Nat and Jo’s grandchildren are AnneMarie, Lydia, Pauline Zeena, Elizabeth, Julia and Alex; and their great-grandchildren are Nora, Dandelion, Isabella and Florence.
Many, many thanks to the Silverman/Newman families and many others for providing these details!