Norman Axelrod Oral History

Special Collections and College Archives


Norman Axelrod Oral History
Contributor Names
Axelrod, Norman
Ellis, Estelle (Interviewer)
Date Digitized
Norman Axelrod, senior vice president and general merchandise manager for Bloomingdales. Interviewed by Estelle Ellis on January 16, 1987. This interview mostly discusses Marvin Stuart Traub, president of Bloomingdales from 1969 and CEO from 1978 to 1991, who was being honored with the "One Person Makes a Difference" award at the Educational Foundation of the Fashion Industries Dinner Dance at F.I.T.
This is a short interview with Norman Axelrod of Bloomingdale's. The conversation is almost entirely concentrated on Marvin S. Traub, president and CEO of Bloomingdale's from 1978 to 1992. Axelrod shares his own educational background and his start at Bloomingdale's. In describing Traub's business relationships, Axelrod remembers a lunch with Linda Wachner, who had become president and CEO of Warnaco a year prior to this interview. Axelrod also points out that Traub had mentored at least fifteen individuals who had become principal merchants in divisions of Federated Department Stores, Inc. Axelrod describes Traub as beging demanding but consistent as well as a genius who really knew the merchandise and the customer. This interview takes place roughly three months before Bloomingdale's hosted a six-week China Seas promotion which merged the shopping space into a gallery and event space, a sort of trademark marketing style for Bloomingdale's at the time. There is little conversation about Traub's personal life beyond the fact that his daughter is a hosiery buyer at Bloomingdale's at the time of this interview and that Traub's wife and son are also involved in the businesss. Axelrod finishes the interview with some talk regarding teachers at the Fashion Institute of Technology and the frequency with which he has interviewed students of FIT.
Norman Axelrod had been at Bloomingdale's for eleven years at the time of this interview. Norman Axelrod was the Senior Vice President and General Merchandise Manager at this time. Axelrod started in the summer of 1976 as a retail trainee and continued to work at Bloomingdale's for another year after this interview, at which point he became the president and CEO of Linens 'n Things in 1988. This interview was conducted by Estelle Ellis, founder of Business, Inc., a business market research firm.
Oral histories
Fashion Institute of Technology (New York, N.Y.). Special Collections and College Archives
Bloomingdale's (Firm)
Traub, Marvin Stuart
Federated Department Stores, Inc.
Department stores
Related Materials
Finding Aid
In Copyright
This video was produced by the Fashion Institute of Technology ("FIT") and is the property of FIT. FIT expressly prohibits the copying, displaying, or uploading to a website of any portion of this video, except for the purposes of fair use as defined in the copyright laws, without express written permission from FIT. This video has been made available online by the Fashion Institute of Technology Gladys Marcus Library strictly for research and educational purposes. If you are the copyright holder for content in this video and have any objections to this work being made available online, please notify us immediately at [email protected].
FIT Repository ID: aod_000797
SPARC reference code: US.NNFIT.SC.FITA.


Special Collections and College Archives


The Bloomingdale's Interviews oral history series, 1986-1987


Fashion Institute of Technology. (1987, January 16). Norman Axelrod Oral History [Video]. Archive on Demand.
Fashion Institute of Technology. "Norman Axelrod Oral History." Archive on Demand, 16 Jan. 1987,
Fashion Institute of Technology, "Norman Axelrod Oral History," Archive on Demand, January 16, 1987, video,