Abstract: Forgotten First Lady: The Life, Rise, and Success of Dorothy Shaver, President of Lord & Taylor Department Store and America's First Lady of Retailing

Sandra L. Braun


Dorothy Shaver was one of America's earliest female CEOs and a communications executive. In 1945, she was elected CEO of Lord & Taylor Department Store, a $30 million enterprise, becoming the first female in the United States elected to a corporation that size. She had a host of accomplishments, including providing much of the foundation for America's multi-billion-dollar fashion industry. Her work in the fashion industry, including innovations in publicity, promotions, merchandising, and advertising, brought her to the attention of management, other retailers, and industry leaders in the United States and abroad. She popularized many trends that form the basis of fashion and fashion retailing as it is known today. Yet there is no collective source of her life and accomplishments and very little scholarly study. This study introduces her to the literature, providing a brief biographical account of her life, documenting her rise through the corporate ranks, and discussing some her accomplishments and reasons for her success in her own words and the words of others.