• Identification00064649
  • TitleDescriptive inventory for the Benjamin Gingiss papers, 1905, 1925-1987, bulk 1965-1985
  • PublisherChicago Historical Society
  • Language
    • English.
    • English
  • RepositoryChicago History Museum Research Center 1601 North Clark Street Chicago, IL 60614-6038
  • OriginationBenjamin Gingiss Michael Bilandic Richard J. Daley Everett McKinley Dirksen Jesse Jackson Richard Nixon Ronald Reagan Donald Rumsfeld Harold Washington City Club of Chicago Federation for an Open Lake Front (Chicago, Ill.) Gingiss Brothers (Chicago, Ill.) Illinois Lake Michigan and Adjoining Land Study Commission Lake View High School (Chicago, Ill.) Rosary College (River Forest, Ill.) United Service Organizations (U.S.) Service Club (Chicago, Ill.)
  • Date
    • 1905-1987
    • 1965-1985
  • Physical Description1.5 linear ft. (4 boxes)
  • Location
    • MSS Lot G
    • MSS AlphaV G

Processed with funding provided by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Advance appointment with special permission required to view a portion of the collection. Photocopies of these items are available for research use.

All rights owned by the donor, including copyright, were deeded to Chicago Historical Society. Copyright may be retained by the creators of items, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law, unless otherwise noted.

Gift of Benjamin J. Gingiss (accession #: 1989.0465).

Benjamin Gingiss papers (Chicago History Museum) plus a detailed description, date, and box/folder number of a specific item.

Correspondence, newspaper clippings, promotional literature, photographs, and other papers of Benjamin Gingiss, co-founder of Gingiss Brothers, a Chicago men's formalwear business, which later became a franchise operation with stores nationwide. Materials relate to Gingiss' professional and personal affairs, including promotion of his business and his involvement in Chicago area civic organizations, such as Rosary College, the United Service Organizations (USO), the City Club of Chicago, the Federation for an Open Lakefront, and the Lake Michigan and Adjoining Land Study Commission. Also present are letters from Presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard M. Nixon; Chicago mayors Richard J. Daley, Michael Bilandic, and Harold Washington; and other prominent public figures. Includes some materials pertaining to Lake View High School in Chicago (Ill.), from which Gingiss graduated in 1929.

Benjamin Gingiss (1911-1999), a Chicago businessman, co-founded Gingiss Brothers (later known as Gingiss Formalwear) with his brother Aleck in 1936. Gingiss Brothers, which specialized in renting men's formalwear, became a franchise in 1968; approximately 300 franchise stores were in operation nationwide when the family sold the business in 1985.

Related materials at Chicago History Museum, Research Center, include publications by and about the Gingiss Brothers, cataloged separately.

  • Subject
    • Gingiss, Benjamin J., 1911-1999--Archives
    • Businessmen--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
    • Family-owned business enterprises--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
    • Men's clothing--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
    • Tailors--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
    • Wedding costume--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
    • Wedding supplies and services industry--Illinois--Chicago--20th century
  • Names
    • Gingiss Brothers (Chicago, Ill.)--Archives
    • Lake View High School (Chicago, Ill.). Class of 1929
  • Geographic Coverage
    • Chicago (Ill.)--Commerce--20th century
    • Chicago (Ill.)--Social life and customs--20th century
    • Chicago (Ill.)--Social conditions--20th century

The collection is arranged in four series.

Series 1. Biographical files, 1929-1987 (box 1)

Series 1 consists of correspondence, newspaper clippings, magazines, and other papers regarding Gingiss' personal and professional life. Some materials relate to 50th reunion of the Lake View High School class of 1929. Also included is a copy of the book The Illinois Humane Society, 1869 to 1979, for which Gingiss wrote the forward.

Series 2. Gingiss Brothers, Inc., 1959-1986 (box 2)

Series 2 contains promotional literature, newspaper clippings, correspondence, and notes pertaining to Gingiss Brothers formalwear business. Some materials document the history of the Gingiss franchise. Also present are materials related to a news conference held by Gingiss to express his displeasure over President Lyndon B. Johnson's suit choice for his 1965 inauguration.

Series 3. Correspondence, 1965-1986 (box 2)

Series 3 consists of correspondence related to Gingiss' professional and personal affairs. Included are letters from Presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard M. Nixon; Illinois Senator Everett M. Dirksen; Chicago mayors Richard J. Daley, Michael Bilandic, and Harold Washington; Donald Rumsfeld; and Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.

Series 4. Civic organizations, 1905, 1925-1987 (box 3-4)

Series 4 contains newspaper clippings, articles, agendas, proposals, publications, and other papers related to Gingiss' involvement with the USO, City Club of Chicago, Rosary College, the Federation for an Open Lake Front, and the Lake Michigan and Adjoining Land Study Commission. Also present are photographs of business and USO events, including images of boxer Muhammad Ali, Chicago Bears co-founder and owner George Halas, and Mayor Richard J. Daley.