In his freshly released (meaning today) book The American Department Store Transformed, 1920-1960, Richard Lognstreth traces the evolution of the department store from local, urban institutions to suburban entities. In this history, the shift of building types in the retail niche and the obvious socio-economic factors (car culture, competition, decentralization, etc) help form a comprehensive view of a dynamic topic.
His choice of time period works beautifully, coinciding with the above mentioned socio-economic factors and pulling the history of the department store beyond the “palace of urban leisure and consumption” model shops of the late 19th and early 20th-century operated under.
In essence, the book is as much about the changing look and feel of “Main Street America” as it is about retail.
Published by Yale University Press.
Available now from Amazon.