PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Dallas December 2021

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Page 45 of 99

J errie Marcus Smith has always been fascinated by her great-aunt, Carrie Marcus Neiman — the enigmatic force behind Neiman Marcus, which she co-founded in 1907 with A REMARKABLE MARCUS husband Al Neiman and her brother Herbert Marcus. Like many women of the era whose achievements were overshadowed by their male counterparts, Carrie's trailblazing role has been mostly overlooked by history, says Smith, age 85. Carrie died in 1953 when Smith was a teenager, and she's made it part of her life's mission to set the record straight, researching and gathering anecdotes over the decades about her great-aunt, logging the details away with an idea to pen her biography one day. Many people — including Smith's late father, Stanley Marcus, and her good friend, Pulitzer Prize winner Doris Kearns Goodwin — suggested she "stop talking about the book and just write it," Smith says with a laugh. "But it was hard to get started, because I wasn't a biographer. I was an avid reader, but I wasn't a writer." Years went by, until the pandemic of 2020 finally forced her hand. "Everybody had a blank sheet for a year, and I thought, 'It's now or never.'" Smith's book comes out this month — A Girl Named Carrie: The Visionary Who Created Neiman Marcus and Set the Standard for Fashion (University of North Texas Press). And, it was worth the wait. The book paints a captivating picture of Carrie Neiman: "the stern looking lady in the black dress" who intimidated Smith as a child but was, in reality, "the quiet genius behind the success of the internationally famous emporium known as Neiman Marcus." A reserved beauty with smoldering features and a regal demeanor, Carrie had innate style and an eye for the best. She didn't come from money — her family had been German Jewish immigrants who eventually made their way to Hillsboro — but they were cultured and intellectual. Growing up, Carrie loved classical music, read books in several languages, and devoured A REVEALING NEW BOOK EXPLORES THE LIFE OF CARRIE MARCUS NEIMAN, THE OVERLOOKED GENIUS BEHIND NEIMAN MARCUS. By Rebecca Sherman. Photographs courtesy Marcus family. (Continued) 44

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