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We closed at nine o’clock, but you never got out of there at nine o’clock because a customer would come in at eight o’clock. And a bridal party takes a lot more than an hour.

Selma Cohen Litman, who - along with her husband Harry - ran Sonia’s Bridal Shop in East Baltimore. Interviewed by Marcie Cohen-Ferris, “Weaving Women’s Words: Baltimore” Oral History Project of the Jewish Women’s Archives, 2001. JMM OH642


Modern Formal Wear Shops, with several stores around Baltimore and Harford Counties, was the successor to M. Klitenic’s Formal Wear shop on Franklin Street, Baltimore. Max Klitenic, a tailor, arrived in Baltimore from Poland in 1906; by 1941 he had opened his namesake store, specializing in men’s formalwear (particularly rentals for high school and college students). His son Jacob took over the store, expanded it, and added women’s and bridal attire. Several generations of Marylanders, Jewish and non-Jewish, acquired their prom, wedding, and gala attire from the Klitenics.

Read a Just Married! "extra" on the etiquette of bridesmaid gowns.

Design for a tuxedo, circa 1980.


Gift of Jacob Klitenic. JMM 1991.220.17


Competing mail from rival stores Hutzler’s and Hochschild Kohn’s, advertising their respective bridal services, both sent to Kathleen Smith of Towson shortly after her engagement to John Joseph Hart was announced in the Baltimore Sun in April 1949. (For what it’s worth, the Sun reported that the Miss Smith wore a “period gown” at her November 5, 1949 Catholic wedding.) 


Gift of J. Joseph Hart in memory of Kathleen Smith Hart.  JMM 2000.122.1-.2


After escaping Nazi Germany, Clare Bacharach Dratch opened her namesake store in Bethesda, seeing a market in the growing suburban area. In the early 1960s they added a bridal salon, which quickly became a go-to shop for Montgomery County brides looking for upscale designers and styles.


Garment bag from Claire Dratch Bridal Salon, Bethesda, 1974. 


On loan from Margaret Mahaffie Church.  JMM L2017.7.1

The principal duty of the brides-maid is to look pretty, and not out-shine the bride.

From The Social Mirror, 1888


Frieda Neuman married Abraham Mandelberg in Baltimore, 1923.


They are shown here with their wedding party, including Joseph Kornblatt as best man, and junior groomsmen Milton Miller, Morris Miller whose parents were Ray Mandelberg Miller and Ariva Miller; Jenette Neuman (Berg) of honor was bride's sister.


Gift of Susan Grosser. JMM 1995.13.60

The bride, groom, and bridal party at the wedding of Bonnie Bowen and Hugh Ellis Gordon, Beth Sholom, Frederick, August 1975. 


Gift of Rita Gordon. JMM 2007.53.11

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