Stitches in Time
by Jody Brumage, Archivist, Heritage Frederick
The Lincoln Tailoring Association operated from 1945 until the late 1950s, during the peak of Frederick County’s garment industry. Despite its brief existence, Lincoln Tailoring is significant to the history of Frederick’s Black community. The company operated out of the meeting hall at the Alpha Lodge, Knights of Pythias, at 113 W. All Saints St. It enjoyed an affiliation with the Frederick Tailoring Association (later, A. Sagner’s Son, Inc.), which produced menswear, including the company’s popular “Northcool” suits made from a rayon-and-cotton blend fabric that was light and breathable.
Both companies provided employment opportunities for Frederick County women, but Lincoln Tailoring specifically advertised jobs for Black women and promised “a good job in a clean, warm factory.” Such jobs were valued in an era when employment disparities between white workers and workers of color were stark and when economic conditions required many women to enter the labor force despite still being expected to maintain their responsibilities at home.
Like the women at other garment factories in Frederick, the employees at Lincoln Tailoring Association formed close-knit communities for socializing, recreation and advancing causes that were important to them. In the late 1940s, Lincoln Tailoring employees held rummage sales and led fundraisers to support the Community Chest, the predecessor of today’s United Way of Frederick County.