The Tobé Award

In 1947, the same year that G. Fox & Co. celebrated its centennial, Beatrice Fox Auerbach was honored with one of retail’s most prestigious awards. At the 13th Annual Tobé Bosses Dinner, the fifth annual Tobé Award for Distinguished Contribution to American Retailing was bestowed upon Mrs. Auerbach “for demonstrating that a department store can and must exert a positive social force in its community.”

Beatrice Fox Auerbach, in her acceptance speech, said in part, “To be singled out by one whom I have so long esteemed as a woman in business, and so deeply regarded as a friend, as worthy to receive an award that bears her name is one of those rare experience in a lifetime that one cherishes and remembers. I accept it proudly, aware of the high standards by which its recipients are chosen. Yet my pride is tempered with humility. Whatever I may have done to be named for this distinction is not mine alone. It is but part of a heritage from the past, a partnership with the present, and a trusteeship for the future.” (More of the speech appears at the end of the post.)

The Tobé Award was considered to be the highest honor one could achieve in the field of retail and had previously been bestowed upon such prestigious individuals as Walter Hoving and Dorothy Shaver of Lord and Taylor, Adam L. Gimbel of Saks Fifth Avenue, H. Stanley Marcus of Neiman-Marcus, and Walter H. Rich of Rich’s in Atlanta. For Beatrice Fox Auerbach to be awarded such a distinction reflects greatly upon her importance in the world of retailing during the better part of the 20th century.

Letter to Mrs. Auerbach from CHSThe image to the left depicts the letter from then-President of the Connecticut Historical Society, Edgar Waterman, who offers his own message of congratulations on behalf of the Society. This letter was one among dozens from institutions, businesses, and personal friends of Mrs. Auerbach that were included in the book, “A Tribute to Beatrice Fox Auerbach, Tobé Award Winner for 1947.” Telegram messages also fill the pages as do clippings of newspaper articles concerning the awards ceremony.

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