Once More Under the Clock: Remembering Kaufmann’s
Kaufmann’s Department Store holds a special place in Pittsburgh memory.
Kaufmann’s iconic clock, its decorated window displays, its special cultural exhibits, its dynamic promotional offers, and of course its beloved Tic Toc Restaurant, Arcade Bakery, and Vendome boutique—all recall a golden age of downtown retailing history.
Starting from a small menswear store on the South Side in 1871, Kaufmann’s grew to become the largest department store in downtown Pittsburgh. In the years since its flagship building on Smithfield Street passed into new use in 2015, three books have been written locally about the legendary department store and the family behind it.
In this special presentation “Once More Under the Clock,” the authors of all three books will offer insights into Kaufmann’s Department Store and the Kaufmann family. They’ll also share some of their favorite discoveries from the vast collection of Kaufmann’s Department Store materials at the Rauh Jewish Archives at the Heinz History Center.
The program will begin with a talk from journalists Marylynne Pitz and Laura Malt Schneiderman, authors of the new book “KAUFMANN’S, The Family That Built Pittsburgh’s Famed Department Store.” The book traces the Kaufmann family’s tremendous influence in the Pittsburgh region as retailers, philanthropists, and patrons of the arts and architecture. It also tells the story of the struggles, rise, and successes of a Jewish immigrant family in Pittsburgh.
Following the talk, Pitz and Schneiderman will take part in a panel discussion with Letitia Savage and Melanie Linn Gutowski, authors of two other recent books about Kaufmann’s Department Store. Together they’ll trade stories and insights from their research. Each author has chosen a special selection of materials from the Kaufmann’s Department Store collections, all of which we be on display for one-day only.
This program is possible through the generous support of the William M. Lowenstein Genealogical Research Endowment Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation.
“Once More Under the Clock: Remembering Kaufmann’s” is a collaboration between the Jewish Genealogy Society of Pittsburgh and the Rauh Jewish Archives at the Heinz History Center. Please register online. The program is free and will be recorded.
About the Authors
Marylynne Pitz is an award-winning journalist covering art, architecture, books, and history. She was a member of the news team that won the Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Tree of Life shooting in 2018. She has won five Golden Quills, an Inland Press Association award for investigative reporting, and a Matrix Award. A native of Indianapolis, she has lived in Pittsburgh since 1980.
Laura Malt Schneiderman is a journalist and web developer in Pittsburgh. She has won seven Golden Quills and was part of a team that won the Scripps Howard Edward J. Meeman Award in 2011. Originally from Saint Louis, she has worked in journalism in Washington, D.C., and Pa.
Melanie Linn Gutowski is a historian and museum educator based in the Greater Pittsburgh area. She is the author of the pictorial histories “Pittsburgh’s Mansions” and “Kaufmann’s Department Store” (Arcadia Publishing).” A self-professed “Gilded Age geek,” Melanie is continually fascinated by American and European history and culture from 1865-1920, especially robber barons, historic homes and decorative arts. Melanie holds a Master’s degree in professional writing from Chatham University and a Bachelor of Arts in French and history of art & architecture from the University of Pittsburgh.
Letitia Savage published her first article while still in college, a chapter for an engineering book on the effects of oil spills on marine organisms. She continued freelance magazine writing while working as an environmental consultant, primarily on hazardous waste cleanups for the military and the USEPA. In addition to contributing environmental and gardening articles to Country Journal, she wrote about horse training and horse keeping for many national horse publications, including Chronicle of the Horse and Horse Illustrated. After years of magazine writing, Letitia published her first book on Kaufmann’s Department Store in Pittsburgh for Arcadia Press in 2016. She and her husband live in a pre-Civil War farmhouse that they restored in Sewickley, Pa.