Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Match Alert: Your gift will be matched when you support local reporting that's fair, factual, and fearless.

Mail Order Maven Lillian Vernon Dies At 88

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The longtime queen of catalog sales has died in Manhattan. Lillian Vernon was 88 years old. Her catalogs - and there were many, many of them - offered personalized gadgets and household items. You could monogram a coffee cup, a garment bag, a doormat, a potholder, a purse, whatever. And you still can. Her company still exists under different ownership. Lillian Vernon ran it for over a half-century.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

As a girl in the late 1930s, Lillian Vernon fled Nazi Germany with her family. It was only a little over a decade later, after settling in the U.S., that she started her company at her kitchen table. She made a niche at a time when few companies reached consumers through catalogs. And her instincts about her customers took her from a 1950s housewife to a multimillion-dollar business leader. Lillian Vernon became the first female-owned company to be listed on the American Stock Exchange. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.