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Wooster Square Tour

Strouse, Adler & Company

84 Olive Street


Strouse, Adler & Co., c. 1960s. Courtesy Jewish Historical Society of Greater New Haven.

Strouse, Adler & Co. was founded in 1861 as the J.H. Smith Co. by McAllister & Smith on State and Chapel Streets. Isaac Strouse bought the company in 1862. Max Adler came on as a partner, and later ran the company. Strouse, Adler made corsets, corset clasps and paper boxes, and dealt in all kinds of corset materials. It was the first in Connecticut to manufacture corsets, which before then had to be imported from France and England.

The business grew quickly, so Strouse located to a factory on Union St and remained there until 1866, when a new factory was built on Oak St. Between 1866 and 1878 business partners came and went, and the name of the company changed several times. In 1878 the company, then called Meyer, Strouse and Co., moved to the former Winchester Davies Company complex at Court and Olive Streets. By 1880 the company was making boxes for its corsets, and went into the set-up paper box business as well. In 1896 the name changed back to Strouse, Adler & Co. At the turn of the 20th century, the business employed as many as 2,000 people, though much of the sewing later moved out of the country.

David and Ann-Marie Howell acquired Strouse, Adler & Co. in 1988, and in 1998 it became a division of Sara Lee, when its name changed to Specialty Intimates, Inc. In the early 2000s, the classic structure was converted into a luxury apartment complex.

  • Text source courtesy Jewish Historical Society of Greater New Haven.

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