(June 12, 1877-Oct. 9, 1958). Flora Krauch was responsible for developing children’s wear merchandising methods, professional saleswomen with child welfare expertise, and a children’s wear retail journal, The Infants’ Department.

Born in Quincy, Illinois, to German immigrants, Krauch grew up working in her family’s bakery and a local dry goods store. In 1900, her family moved to Chicago, where Krauch worked at Carson, Pirie, Scott department store and A. Starr Best, an infants’ wear retailer.

Frederic M. Ayres hired Krauch to spearhead the opening of the children’s department at Indianapolis’ L.S. Ayres & Company department store in 1909. Krauch used the department to professionalize saleswomen as child welfare experts, framing the merchandise as necessities for children’s health, safety, and well-being.

From 1911–1913, she wrote articles for the Indianapolis News aimed at teaching women the doctrine of scientific motherhood. In 1912, Krauch patented and manufactured a line of children’s wear under her brand, Krauch-Kraft. She organized a Child Welfare Exhibit at the 1915 Indiana State Fair, where she lectured about children’s health and displayed innovative products.

Her originality in using children’s clothing and merchandise to promote children’s health and safety made L.S. Ayres and Indianapolis important centers in the national debate about children’s overall well-being. In 1917, Krauch codeveloped, with Chicago businessman George Earnshaw, the industry’s first trade journal, The Infants’ Department. Krauch contributed articles to and edited the journal from 1917 until her retirement in 1940.

During these years she shaped industry merchandising methods by consulting department stores and specialty shops across the nation. Krauch’s legacies include the continued use of the merchandising methods she devised and the ongoing publication of the journal she codeveloped, now called Earnshaw’s Review.

Revised March 2021

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