Origins Of The Ivy League Look

Origins Of The Ivy League Look

Samuel Goldman, at the behest of The Lamp Magazine, a Catholic Journal of Literature, Science, and the Fine Arts, has penned an incredibly researched treatise in the Arts and Letters section, Layered Separates, depicting history of The Ivy League Look together with a kindly review of my two Threading The Needle tomes. 

Professor Goldman, Associate Professor of Political Science at George Washington University, pictorially clad in 100% J. Press, is no stranger to the Ivy League receiving a Ph. D from Harvard having also taught at Harvard and Princeton prior to GWU.

The crux of his thesis credits my grandfather, the eponymous J. (Jacobi) Press, for improvising his unique Ivy League Look as a gimmick. Eager to differentiate himself from his many rivals at the 1902 opening of his campus tailoring and haberdashery business, Grandpa specialized in clothes that were a touch softer and brighter than his competitor’s wares. The historical perspective delves a century beyond, Goldman proclaiming J. Press still  championship title Imprimatur of the Ivy League Look and its surviving culture.

The Lamp article is available only by subscription. Trust me, the journal provides a wealth of philosophical dissertation, the $60 price tag a great value for even this non-Catholic reader. 

Prof. Goldman brings yours truly into the act: 

 “More than half a century after its heyday, the Ivy Look has become a historical curiosity. And it has fallen to Jacobi Press’s grandson Richard to recount its rise and fall. Although he has no managerial role in the company, which was sold to a Japanese conglomerate in 1986, Press has re-emerged as an in-house elder statesman, historian, and brand ambassador. The two volumes of Threading the Needle combine Press’s recollections of family and his own career in the shmatte business, shopping advice, and social commentary (often elegiac in character). Of course, since the books are by a salesman descended from generations of salesmen, they’re also advertising.”

Prof. Goldman delineating me a salesman recalls Arthur Miller’s classic line:

A salesman’s got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory.





If you’re going to send the article as a PR gesture, wouldn’t it be smarter to not hide it behind a pay wall? Maybe smarter for JPress to buy the article and send it out?

Stephan Cotton

The professor is wrong. The Ivy League — or J. Press — look is not a “historical curiosity” — it is a living (and classic) reality. Of course, it has “risen” — but it has never “fallen” and it is ceaselessly present for those sage enough to appraise and to apprize it. “The professor is a professional amateur who feeds off the extraordinary achievements of others and in the end trivializes them with his flaccid second-hand exegetics,” as author Frank Hazard writes.

Donald Robert Wilson

And great advertising it is. The vast majority of what I purchase has been inspired by Richard’s posts. This summer it’s Madras.