In his memoir Cheerful Money: Me, My Family, and the Last Days of WASP Splendor, Tad Friend writes, “My generation was the last to receive silver christening cups and to be taken shopping for the chain mail of adulthood: camel hair coats and Brooks Brothers suits and Lloyd & Haig shoes.”
The provider of the footwear component of Friend’s aristocratic armor was the fierce and aging patriarch Sherman Tarlow. Sherman Tarlow was born on December 12, 1904 in what was then Russia-controlled Poland. He came to the United States as a teenager to work for his uncle and immigration sponsor Isadore R. Tarlow, who was a partner and eventual owner of Alden Shoes. Sherman Tarlow worked his way up the Alden organization from the factory floor, and was selling shoes for Alden in New York City when he joined Ed Meyers in the shoe business in 1931.
Meyers had taken over a failed shoe store on Cedar Street in New York City that was started in 1929 by two Englishmen; that store was Lloyd & Haig. According to Tarlow family lore, Lloyd & Haig was to show a profit the first year of Sherman’s involvement or he was out. The year ended in the black, and Meyers and Tarlow were partners until 1956 when Meyers died. Tarlow would buy the Meyers family interest in 1958, making Lloyd & Haig a wholly Tarlow family enterprise. Lloyd &Haig would operate eight stores, five of them in Manhattan, during its 65 years of brick-and-mortar operations.
Lloyd & Haig shoes were both collegiate and post-graduate favorites. It offered heavy-duty models suitable for the campuses of the 1940s. The brand was carried by Langrock, The Princeton University Store and the Yale Co-op. Lloyd & Haig appears in the first advertisement for The Andover Shop in 1948. The name fits perfectly with the other Anglo-American goods being sold, such as English brushed hose, regimental ties, hand-loomed Shetland sportcoats and other British and domestic woolens “tailored in the traditional style of Cambridge, New Haven and Princeton.” Lloyd & Haig was carried by The Andover Shop for many years and was offered to New Haven’s students again when the shop did a traveling road show in enemy territory in 1956.
Ruth Tarlow, the last owner of Lloyd & Haig, estimated that initially 96% of the shoes were manufactured in the US. The company grew to offer both American and English private label shoes. It was able to offer its Lloyd & Haig shoes at a lower price compared to other branded shoes. The UK manufacture of choice was Cheaney; the American shoes included Alden and Hanover.
In 1957 Sherman’s son Bill joined the business. He was followed by his brother Alan in 1962. It would be Alan that would endured the painfully silent daily commute from Long Island to Manhattan and back during the final years of Sherman’s life. Sherman Tarlow had gone blind and Alan was tasked with the chauffeuring duties. Sherman Tarlow died tragically in 1977 when he was hit by a car while crossing Sunrise Highway in Merrick at dusk. — CHRISTOPHER SHARP