(Norwich, CT) — The Connecticut League of History Organizations (CLHO) has presented its 2016 Award of Merit
to The Slater Memorial Museum for its temporary exhibition John Meyer of Norwich: An American
The CLHO presents Awards of Merit to institutions and individuals who exhibit the highest of
professional standards, and who enhance and further the knowledge and understanding of
Connecticut history. Awards of Merit recognize the care, thought and effort invested in these
contributions and inspire and encourage others by acknowledging exceptional contributions to
state and local history.
In February, a committee of museum professionals from across the state gathered to review a
record number of applications submitted by their peers. These applications represented the
most professional and dedicated work happening at our historic sites across the state.
The Slater Museum’s nominated project, John Meyer of Norwich: An American Original
occupied the museum’s Converse Art Gallery, Sept. 20, 2015, through Jan. 18, 2016. The exhibit
featured text panels, media and over 300 individual objects mounted on mannequins, wall
displays and displayed in cases. The exhibition will travel, in edited form to The Greater Hartford
Jewish Community Center’s gallery at the invitation of the Greater Hartford Jewish Historical
Throughout Connecticut and beyond, women fondly remember John Meyer of Norwich. Now
considered classics of 20th century design and function, the company’s line of clothing featured
everything from “Bermuda” shorts to preppy A-line skirts, Argyle to Fair Isle sweaters. Throughout
the 1960s women and girls from around the state and the region flocked to Norwich for the John
Meyer of Norwich Factory outlet sales, where, as one former Norwich policemen recalls, “They
stripped to their skivvies to try on the bargains.”
In the middle of the 20th century, John Meyer of Norwich was an innovator in fashion for an
emerging demographic of career women and college girls. Working with other technological
innovators, he revolutionized the garment manufacturing process, introducing cutting-edge
methods still used. In addition, John Meyer’s factory and design business provided employment
to dozens of Norwichians.
John Meyer of Norwich: An American Original focuses on iconic garments from the decade of
the company’s most productive and popular work, 1959-1969. The Slater Museum, worked in
close collaboration with John Meyer’s (NFA 1941) eldest child, Elise Meyer (NFA 1972, Brown
1976), an art historian who assiduously researched and documented her family’s history. In
addition, objects and stories have been contributed by the children of those who worked most
closely with John Meyer, including Joseph Carter of Roosevelt (knitting) Mills in Rockville, CT;
Slater Memorial Museum
William (Angus) Park of Angus Park Woolen Mills in Hanover, CT; Heinz Joseph Gerber of Gerber
Scientific in South Windsor, CT; and Benjamin Levine of Majestic Trouser Company, Norwich.
Over 150 complete ensembles, garments, accessories and related objects are displayed. Two
short films were produced and presented on continuous loops. One was produced by Elise
Meyer and created by Robert Kanter (NFA 1971), an Emmy Award-winning documentary film
Finally, the Slater Memorial Museum took advantage of a free-standing, traveling panel
exhibition produced by Duke University. Entitled I Had No Right to Remain Silent, it presents the
story of John Meyer’s younger brother, Marshall Meyer (NFA 1946), who became a noted rabbi.
While serving in Argentina, he took on the established fascists who had been suppressing
opposition by “disappearing” those who would speak up. The 12 panels have the English version
on one side, Spanish on the reverse. Installed in the museum’s Atrium, it adds to the dimension of
the Meyer family.
About The Connecticut League of History Organizations
The Connecticut League of History Organizations maintains an office in Middletown, sharing the
headquarters of Connecticut Humanities. The Connecticut League of History Organizations
builds connections among those who preserve and share the stories and objects of our past. For
over 50 years, the CLHO has strengthened and sustained its members by sharing knowledge and
experience, and promoting best practices among museums, historical societies and all who
steward Connecticut’s heritage collections.
About The Slater Memorial Museum
The Slater Memorial Museum and Converse Art Gallery are part of the Norwich Free Academy,
108 Crescent Street, Norwich, CT. Housed in an exemplary Romanesque Revival building (c 1886), the
museum features full-scale plaster casts of Egyptian, Archaic, Greek, Roman and Renaissance
sculpture; fine and decorative Art representing 350 years of Norwich History, Native American
artifacts; Asian, African, Oceanic, Egyptian, and European art and ethnographic material. The
Slater Museum’s Around the World on the Yacht Eleanor: The Slaters’ Grand Tour, tells the story of
the Slater family’s 17-month journey out of New London on their private yacht in 1894-85 and
won the CLHO’s Award of Merit in 2010. The museum annually presents up to six temporary
exhibitions of contemporary art.
The Slater Memorial Museum is open year-round, Tues – Fri, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sat/Sun 1 – 4 p.m.
Please call 860-887-2506 for directions and general information or visit www.slatermuseum.org.
Vivian F. Zoë
Director, Slater Memorial Museum