The Tirocchi Archive contains three boxes of vendor invoices and
letters, amounting to three cubic feet of records. This section
of the archive consists of business records and some household repair/maintenance
records. There is considerable documentation of the shops
purchases, including invoices, receipts, fabric samples, and correspondence.
These are loose papers arranged by supplier or vendor, as originally
organized, chronologically within alphabetical order. Some of the
papers are extremely fragile and brittle, making them difficult
to handle, so an archivist copied these documents onto acid-free
The bills from vendors are usually on their own printed invoice
forms. Sometimes, especially in the early years, they are handwritten,
but most are typewritten. Bills from Harry Angelo Company, Importers,
New York, one of the Tirocchis main suppliers, are stamped
in red, "POSITIVELY NO GOODS TAKEN BACK EXCEPT FOR IMPERFECTION."
However, a letter from same company in 1918 addressed to "The Misses
A. & L. Tirocchi," reads:
Ladies: Replying to your favor of the tenth instant regarding the
two pieces of satin which you want to return for credit, we wish
to say that under the existing circumstances, you are at liberty
to send them back to us, the full pieces, and we will send you a
credit check for same.
An invoice from the Alaska Fur Mfg. Co., New York City, dated 1915
and shipped C.O.D., bore the handwritten notation, "Subject Examination."
A series of letters in 1926 between the shop and an Italian linen
firm doing business as Linen Art in New York City chronicle a dispute
with Madame Tirocchi over her wish to return goods. The vendor is
adamant that Annas removal of the disputed merchandise from
their inventory cost them lost sales at Christmastime and because
of this, they refused to take the items back into stock. A letter
from another vendor informed Madame Tirocchi that it would be impossible
to accept returned goods because they consisted of "several odd
lengths which would mean they would be remnants to us."
These are the details from shop records that help round out for
the curators the relationship between A. & L. Tirocchi
and their suppliers. The vendor invoices and ledgers in the archive
reveal that many of the garments ordered by Anna were eventually
returned. In the Spring of 1925, Anna ordered approximately 100
dresses and returned at least seventeen. She was not the only retailer
to manage her inventory in this way and returns became a serious
problem for manufacturers and their suppliers. When a garment was
returned, manufacturers profits often decreased by 50% because
by the time the merchandise was sent back, it would be too late
in the season to sell it to another retailer except at a large discount.
Unfortunately, there is very little correspondence in the archive
to give us reasons for all of Annas returns. They have, however,
found a letter dating from 1925 to The New York Times from
a Kansas City retailer claiming that frequently garments purchased
from suppliers did not arrive in the correct sizes; could not be
sold to the customers who ordered them in the first place; or were
returned by customers, causing losses to both manufacturer and retailer.
The vendor invoices and receipts in the Tirocchi Archive will yield
information on a variety of subjects for years to come. As primary
documents, they have different meanings for all who examine them.
Someone looking to track fashion merchandise pricing will take one
strand of information from them. Someone else studying suppliers
in New York City during a certain period of time will take another.
The records remain the same.
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