ⓘ David T. Abercrombie. David Thomas Abercrombie was the founder of the American lifestyle brand Abercrombie & Fitch. A topographer and expert in the outdoors, Ab ..


ⓘ David T. Abercrombie

David Thomas Abercrombie was the founder of the American lifestyle brand Abercrombie & Fitch. A topographer and expert in the outdoors, Abercrombie opened the Company as New Yorks outfitter for the elite and later partnered up with co-founder Ezra Fitch – both men managed the Company through great years of success. After leaving the company, Abercrombie lived the remainder of his life in California with his family until his death.

Today, his company, Abercrombie & Fitch Co. remains as a prominent American clothing brand. A brand in his name was released by the company in 1998 – abercrombie.


1.1. Life and career Birth, studies, and family

David T. Abercrombie was born in Baltimore, Maryland on June 6, 1867 as the son of John and Elizabeth Sarah Abercrombie nee Daniel. He was of Scottish descent as his father John was born in Scotland and his maternal grandfather was also from Scotland. His children: Elizabeth, born 1897; Lucy, born 1899; David, born 1901 ; Abbott, born 1909. He has many descendants, including some from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. He was educated in the public schools of Baltimore and by private instructors. Abercrombie later came to study at Baltimore City College and became a practicing civil engineer and topographer, including explorer and chief of survey for Norfolk & Western Railroad in the coal and timber lands of West Virginia.


1.2. Life and career Abercrombie & Fitch Co.

On June 4, 1892, he founded Abercrombie Co. as a small waterfront shop at No.36 South Street in downtown Manhattan, New York; where wealthy New York businessperson Ezra Fitch was one of his regular customers. On April 25, 1896, Abercrombie married Lucy Abbot Cate in Baltimore. The couple gave birth to four children: Elizabeth, Lucy, David, and Abbott. The Abercrombie family resided in Newark, New Jersey for some years and maintained a log cabin getaway on Pine Island on Greenwood Lake, New Jersey. Later they resided in Brooklyn, New York and finally in Ossining, New York.

In 1900, Fitch bought a share into the successfully growing Abercrombie Company. In 1904, it was incorporated and renamed "Abercrombie & Fitch Co." Abercrombie later entered into disputes with Ezra Fitch over Fitchs visions of expanding the Company to appeal to the general public, as Abercrombie sought to maintain the Companys standing as an elite store for the elite outdoorsman. Possibly as a result of this rift, Abercrombie left the Company in 1907, selling his share of it to Fitch.


1.3. Life and career Post A&F and death

In 1917, Abercrombie joined Baker, Murray & Imbrie "The Sporting Goods Store of Expert Personal Service" as Vice President. He later founded the "David T. Abercrombie Company", a New York City sportsmen’s outfitter, and "Abercrombie Corporation", which packed commodities for export. He died intestate in Ossining at his country estate, a stone castle named Elda, overlooking the Hudson River. The building has since fallen into disrepair.


2. Legacy

David Abercrombies influence in his company has remained as a greater part of it, even after Abercrombies departure and the companys 1960s-1970s financial issues. Repositioned in the 1980s as a lifestyle brand for the collegiate, Abercrombie & Fitch remains today as a cultural American brand. Although altered to accommodate its promoted image of "Casual Luxury", Abercrombie & Fitch continues to reference to its original image of its early years with the Abercrombie moose and "sexy" male ruggedness. Abercrombies name is often used as an abbreviated form of the Companys name and is used frequently more than Ezra Fitchs "Fitch". When the Company released a childrens version of the A&F brand, abercrombie, it chose to name it after Abercrombie.

Unlike Ezra Fitch, Abercrombies name has never been used for clothing lines and other products for the A&F brand Fitchs lines have been removed.