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.
That was fast: Following up on Jacks department store
Last week, a reader asked for whom the Jacks department stores were named.
Well, I didn’t have to wait long to get many answers on that topic, as well as many memories of Jacks, so I thought it would be timely and fun to share those in this week’s column!
One note before I begin: You will notice that here at the YDR we refer to Jacks with no apostrophe. That’s because the store signs themselves did not use one, and YDR style is to follow the ways businesses describe themselves as closely as possible.
Reader Bev was one who wrote to share her thoughts on the store itself. “My memory has lost the name of Jacks’ owner,” she began, “but I remember the man. He was a very heavy man with dark slicked-back hair and black glasses. He always wore a black suit and white shirt. He would just quietly walk through the store, keeping an eye on everything. I don’t think I ever heard him speak. Jacks was the best women’s clothing store in York.”
Diane wrote, “Jacks was owned by Nat and Josephine Newman. Their original location was downtown on the corner of Beaver and Market streets. That is the current location of the National House. They also had locations at the York Mall, West Manchester Mall and Park City Mall. My first job was at the York Mall as a senior in high school, doing gift-wrapping for the holidays.” That flagship location is the one pictured both last week and this week.
Charles “Chub” Neiman shared Diane’s thoughts on the owner’s name. “The owner of this upscale store was Nat Newman… carried very fashionable ladieswear and accessories. And he was a nice guy to boot.”
And Jon Williams wrote, “My wife, Joy, and I met at York College. We had the same major and had classes together. This was the early 1980s. While in high school, she worked Friday nights and Saturdays at Jack’s downtown. It was THE ladies’ store in York from the late 1940s on. They also had a store from 1968 on at the York Mall. They also had a store at the West Manchester Mall at one point. And they had a Park City Lancaster store, too.” So, we have confirmation on those locations from at least two readers, so that is good!
Jon continued, “The owner’s name was Nat Newman.” He and his wife thought perhaps Jack was his middle name, but I haven’t been able to confirm that. Jon said, “My dad, Joseph, made all of Jacks’ printing plates for their York Dispatch and Daily Record advertising at his company, York Engraving Co. Inc. The downtown store was the flagship store and their plate glass windows with the latest fashions from New York were real attention-grabbers!”
Reader Bill Hoffman wrote, “I’m a native Yorker who’s lived in Lancaster the past 28 years. Jacks ladies clothing store on the northeast corner of Market and Beaver was owned by Nat and Josephine Newman. Jo’s maiden name was Farkas. She is a native Yorker, and I believe is still living in Florida. Nat was originally from Chicago. I don’t know how he and Jo met. Jo was related to the Silvermans, who may also have had an interest in the business. My parents, grandparents and I all knew the family quite well. My mother and grandmother both were longtime customers of Jacks.”
That Silverman connection brings us to the next set of answers. It sounds, based on what I’ve put together from reader responses, that the Silvermans and Nat Newman may have been involved at different times, but I haven’t been able to ascertain if that’s exactly right or, if so, the order and time frames.
Reader Lorie Sheffer wrote, “I just read the question about Jacks Store in downtown York. I remember seeing the owner of Jacks when my mom and I would shop there in the 1970s. His name was Jack Silverman. He’d often walk around chatting with the customers. I checked with my 85-year-old mom and she also remembers Jack Silverman.”
Judy B. wrote with some similar information. She says, “Jack’s Department Store was named after the original owner, Jack Silverman. I worked there in the late ’70s when it was owned by Nat and Josephine Silverman Newman.” So that makes it sound like Silverman was a previous name of Josephine’s, and we also have reports of Farkas as a maiden name.
Through a little digging, I may have found some further information there. A 2003 obituary for Josephine’s brother Robert lists him as the brother of Josephine Farkas Newman of Boca Raton, Fla. – and as the son of the late Herman Farkas, MD, and Paulene Silverman Farkas. It sounds like the Silverman in question may have been Josephine’s grandfather or another relative on her mother’s father’s side, and that may be the connection, with Mr. Silverman starting the store and the Newmans, as descendents, continuing it.
(As an aside: Robert Farkas, the obituary notes, was a noted obstetrician/gynecologist in the York area for more than 50 years, and so likely a well-known personage in the county in his own right, not just as Josephine’s brother! I love seeing connections like that one.)Have questions or memories to share? Email me at email@example.com or write to Ask Joan, York Daily Record/Sunday News, 1891 Loucks Road, York PA 17408. We cannot accept any phone calls with questions or information.