Sally Milgrim

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Sally Milgrim
Sally Milgrim LCCN2014713771 (cropped).jpg
Milgrim in the 1920s
Born(1898-04-21)April 21, 1898
New York
Died(1994-06-16)June 16, 1994
Charles Milgrim (m. 1914)

Sally Milgrim (nee Noble; April 21, 1898 – June 16, 1994) was an American businesswoman and fashion designer. She notably designed the dress Eleanor Roosevelt wore to her husband's first inaugural ball.

Early life and education[edit]

Milgrim was born as Sally Noble on April 21, 1898, to immigrant parents Philip and Tillie Noble.[1] When she was 16 years old, she was married off to Charles Milgrim, who co-operated a family suit business on the Lower East Side of New York City.[2]


Clear as Sunshine - Fine Feathers Hosiery was a dress by Milgrim in 1940

At her husbands business, Milgrim began displaying her own dress designs to appeal to the female consumers.[1] By 1922, her dress designs were sold across twenty-nine states[3] and she was recruited to design clothes for Broadway productions.[1] Milgrim eventually opened her own store on 57th Street near Fifth Avenue in 1927.[4] Due to her popularity, Milgrim was forced to move into a larger space on Fifty-Seventh Street to sell her designs. Her building was designed by architect L. H. Friedland and the interior by the Paris Studio of New York.[3]

In 1933, Milgrim was asked to design a dress for Eleanor Roosevelt to wear to her husband's first inaugural ball.[5] The dress would later go on display at the Smithsonian Institution.[6] Milgrim also designed dresses for Marilyn Miller, Ethel Merman, Pearl White, and Mary Pickford.[4] In March 1936, Milgrim was honored by the New York League of Business and Professional Women for her achievements.[7]

In 1941, Milgrim unveiled a new collection called "Arabesque," as it was inspired by their modest fashion. The clothes in this collection emphasized women's "tent-pole Silhouette," which means she combined many styles into one.[8] She also created a "ready to wear" clothing line labelled "Salymil."[9] Vogue described this label as "fresh young clothes."[10]

Retirement, death and legacy[edit]

Milgrim retired from the fashion industry in 1960, and eventually died on June 16, 1994.[4] A collection of her hats is in an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[11]


  1. ^ a b c Delbert Unruh; Ione C. Unruh (November 6, 2018). Forgotten Designers Costume Designers of American Broadway Revues and Musicals From 1900-1930. Page Publishing Inc. pp. 404–409. ISBN 9781640827585. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  2. ^ "SALLY MILGRIM". Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Shin, Jooyoung (December 11, 2018). "Sally Milgrim: A Pioneer of American Fashion, 1920–1935". The Journal of the Costume Society of America. 44 (2): 83–104. doi:10.1080/03612112.2018.1497845.
  4. ^ a b c "Sally Milgrim, 103, A Clothes Designer". The New York Times. June 16, 1994. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  5. ^ Neuman, Johanna (September 29, 2014). "From Ghetto to Glamour". Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  6. ^ "Smithsonian's "First Ladies" collection". Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  7. ^ "Noted Women". Berkeley Daily Gazette. California. March 17, 1936. p. 14.Free to read
  8. ^ Young, Marguerite (September 9, 1941). "Harlem Skirt, Tent Pole Silhouette and 9-inch Length for Semi-Formal, New Style Trend". Athens Messenger. Ohio.Free to read
  9. ^ Walford, Jonathan (October 10, 2012). 1950s American Fashion. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 31. ISBN 9780747812807. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  10. ^ Daniel Delis Hill (2007). As Seen in Vogue: A Century of American Fashion in Advertising. Texas Tech University Press. p. 60. ISBN 9780896726161. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
  11. ^ "Miss Sally Milgrim". Retrieved November 13, 2019.