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Pauline Pollock

Pauline Pollock


Honored February, 1986

Pauline Pollock

As some show business children are said to be born in a trunk backstage, with performing in their blood, Pauline Pollock was practically born in a clothing shop, with a predestined love for fashion and retail.

Pauline was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas, in 1903. Her German-Jewish merchant parents brought their only child to Santa Fe as a tiny baby. In 1912, the year of statehood, they opened "the first style store in Santa Fe" on the plaza. Called the White House, it was the first store that didn't sell "wagon wheels and whips" along with clothing, according to Pauline. "We had everything: infants, children, preteen, juniors, and we used to have piece goods, too."

In those days all women's ready-to-wear stores were called either the White House or the Emporium; and all shoe stores were called the Guarantee. Later on, the plaza store was named the Guarantee, after the shoe division Pauline's husband ran. This business lasted for four generations.

Pauline has many vivid memories of Santa Fe in the early days of the century. "I remember when we used to go 'round the plaza in a hack, and the mud came up to the middle of the wheels. The first residential street was Palace Avenue, then Don Gaspar," where she lived for forty-five years. "You'd go down the street and you'd know the names of all the little children. But you don't anymore.

La Fonda Hotel was the center of social life then, the place to stay and meet people. Parties and get-togethers were frequent. "Every Saturday night you'd look for a light," she said. "That was a party and it was very social. El Nido was one of our first eating places."

Married at eighteen in the Alvarado Hotel in Albuquerque, she and her husband first lived in a small apartment on Alameda. "It was so little that for our wedding my parents gave us a bedroom suite, and it furnished the whole house." Pauline met her husband, Barnett W. Petchesky, who was also in the clothing business, while still at finishing school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He joined the family business, working alongside her very active businesswoman mother, who sometimes stayed in New York on buying trips six weeks at a time.

Please see Volume 1 for complete text.
Photo ©1997 by Joanne Rijmes