Sunday, December 18, 2011

Over 1,300 Denholms books sold!

I cannot thank everyone enough for buying the Denholms book.  The two signings have been amazing, and it was such a pleasure to be able to speak with everyone in person and relive their days at Denholms.  I am constantly amazed how the store has lived on in peoples hearts for all of these years.  If you would still like to purchase a book, they are available at The Worcester Historical Museum as well as the Tatnuck Booksellers, as well as through the

I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holiday, and warm wishes for the New Year!

Denholms Main floor 1970.  Image courtesy of Bob Brancyzk and Irving Bostock.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Denholms book is still available!

Hi Everyone.  The Denholms book has sold out on  Please order through the publishers directly if you want to give this as a Christmas gift.  Here is the link below.
The book is also available at the Worcester Historical Museum located at
30 Elm st Worcester,Ma

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Denholms book signings

Please join myself and Pat Wolf for a nostalgic look back at the Denholms legacy.  Each of the events listed below will contain a full discussion on the former store as well as a book signing.  If you have already purchased your book, please bring it by and Pat and myself will sign it for you.  I would love for anyone to spread the word about the signings as well as let us know if you think of another good venue to hold a discussion and/or book signing event.  I look forward to hopefully meeting some of you in person!

Saturday December 10th
Worcester Historical Museum
10:00am-1:00pm book signing, 1:00pm-2:00pm lecture
30 Elm st Worcester,Ma

Saturday December 17th
Tatnuck Booksellers
 Tatnuck Bookseller
18 Lyman Street
Westborough, MA 01581

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Denholms book has arrived!

Book Cover
As I have said in previous posts, this book has been a labor of love.  It has been such a pleasure and an honor to speak with the many individuals who contacted me, and hear their stories about shopping at Denholms.  The book contains the history of the company from its incarnation in 1871 to the untimely closing in 1973, as well as personal recollections from the former presidents daughter Pat Wolf.  With over 50 images (many of which have not been seen in over 40 years) the book is a visual delight which is sure to conjure up your own memories!
I hope you all enjoy what what a very special experience for me.

When William Denholm and William McKay teamed up in 1870 to form a dry goods store in the factory town of Worcester, Massachusetts, they couldn’t have imagined the 103-year legacy that would make their store a beloved New England landmark. Former customers may well recall the store’s elaborate promotions that took shoppers to exotic locales, from an African holiday to a trip through the Italian fashion world. Join authors Christopher Sawyer and Patricia Wolf, daughter of a former Denholms president, as they take a behind-the-scenes view of the history and memory of Massachusetts largest department store outside of Boston. With vivid descriptions of the festive holiday displays and personal recollections from former employees, this book is sure to make any reader nostalgic for the bygone days of shopping at Denholms.-History Press

To obtain your copy please click on the History Press link-https://www.historypress.netTo order through use this link.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Denholms Book

The book is done being written and everything has been submitted in.  It was such a great process to finally be able to highlight this once great store.  In the coming weeks I will be posting a link to the website to order the book directly. The book begins with a history of the company starting with its opening in 1871 on Main and Mechanics street, and follows with its move to 484 main street.  The facade change, Escal-Aires, visits with Santa, fashion shows and the overall modernization of the building are all covered in a behind the scenes look at the rise and fall of the Denholm and McKay Company.   In a special memoirs section, Pat Wolf (the former Presidents daughter) recounts her memories at Denholms during the stores golden years.
I hope that everyone enjoys this nostalgic trip back in time and is able to relive your days at Denholms!

    Denholm and McKay Company 1945
Denholm and McKay 1951

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Denholms book

Denholms in 1968. From the collection of the Worcester Historical Museum
I have never written anything in a lengthy form especially a short book since I was in school.  I must say, the process has been an amazing labor of love.  I have been able to speak with so many former associates and relatives of the Denholms management team, and hear their stories firsthand about their time spent at Denholms.  What amazed me is how much everyone still cares for a store that closed long ago.  The book has exposed me to a group of people that I am so honored to have the chance to reminisce with.  Presently I am in the process of finishing up my portion of the book which covers the stores history from 1871 till its closing in 1974.  All of the imagery has been collected and sorted, and the art department of the History Press (publishers of the book) are in the process of designing the front and back cover....very exciting!  The book is slated for release in November 2011 just in time for the holiday season.   I look forward to being able to share the history of this once grand store with all of you, and I hope that it conjures up your own memories of your shopping experience at Denholms!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Still writing the book....again I apologize for any lapse in posting.  Here is a shot of the swing shop that used to reside on the third floor behind women's sportswear.  During the holidays, this would convert to pastel cruise wear, or whatever was in fashion at the time.  During the late spring and summer it would change over to swim wear, and for fall wool skirts and sweater sets might be housed in here. 
Again, if anyone has any stories about Denholms that they would like to add to the book, please email me at
Have a wonderful summer!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

More Denholms then and now

High Street entrance now and then.  Still looks relatively the same.
Man floor now and then.  It really could use a face lift to modernize it.  new paint and replacing the tile floor would be a great start.

I am still writing for the book, so if you have any stories to tell, I would love to hear them!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Denholms then and now

Main floor Spring 1964
Main floor spring 2011 
Denholms 1951
Denholm Building Fall 2010
I have still been writing a lot on the book and doing research, and working at the Denholm building on the windows.  In the meantime, I am going to start posts to show everyone before and after shots of the building.  Some things have changed, but there are still traces of the old store ie; the gilded escalators.
I hope everyone is well, and I apologize for not being able to regularly post on this blog.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Millinery on 3

I have been working hard doing research for the new Denholms book, so please pardon my lapse in updates to the blog.  I thought that this photo would be appropriate for the upcoming Easter Holiday. 
This is a photo for the Millinery Department which was located on the third floor by the Up escalator.  It showcases all of the hats from the Spring collection of 1967.  I love how full and colorful this window is!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A Book about Denholms

I have been approached to write a book about the Denholm and McKay company by a well know publishing house.  The very thought of this excites me, as it would be a great way to have a written time-line  about the company that grew to be Worcester's leading Department store.   There is the possibility of co-authoring or writing this book alone. Either way, it would be a great addition to the history of Worcester...

  I want to get this done so it can be sold in the early fall.  I am asking for anyone who has any information or memories to write me at  I do have a lot of history presently on the company, and more will be done to round out this book.  Did you work for Denholms?  Did you shop there?  Tell me your stories!!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Post Cards of Denholms

Back before the days of email blasts and tweets,  the main form of communication was the post card .  These were,( and still are) used for promotional distribution but rarely for personal use.  Stores like Denholms would sometimes sell post cards for customers to send back home, letting others know of their travels to Worcester Massachusetts.  Of all of the things available via eBay and antique shops, the post card is the most commonly found.  The one below of the clown is the face side, and the message is an advertisement of what the Denholm and McKay Co. offered at the turn of the century.
Denholms in 1916

                                                                                     Denholms in 1965

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Fashion Shows at Denholms

Fashion shows have always been an integral part of the retail industry.  My grandmother executed  many of them with her years at Denholms.  Some were hosted in store while others were hosted at various charity and local establishments.  Back then a fashion show was a great way to showcase the new arrivals for that given season.  Today you dont see as many in store shows as in previous years....mostly due to the rising costs of models and staging.  Some of the productions were low cost "informal modeling" which a model would walk about the store and educate the customers on a new trend, color or designer.  Some of them were on a larger scale and held on the third floor in the dress boutique.  Here are some images from the 60's and 70's.  The fashions are dated, but lovely at the same time.

bridal show from March 1967
Evening show October 1967

Top September 1967
Bottom October 1968
May 1963 ( my mother on the right)
My Grandmother commentating during a show

October 1968

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Searching For Denholms

I am reaching out to all of you for any imagery that you might have of Denholms.  I am looking for both exterior and interior shots.  As well, I am wondering if anyone knows of any surviving store memorabilia that might still be floating around?  I.E, signage, photographs, fixtures, mannequins...
Please contact me at if you know of anything that you would like to sell, or the whereabouts of anything related to Denholms.
Thank you!