When a celebrated person dies and a newspaper does a full-length feature, I’m not sure if it’s technically an obituary. So we’ll call The Boston Globe’s piece on Andover Shop founder Charlie Davidson a tribute.
Here’s some background on the man that few of us knew:
Born in Lawrence in 1926, Mr. Davidson was of Armenian descent. His father, Leon Davidson, was an entrepreneur who had co-owned the Andover Country Club. His mother, Agnes Ohanian, was “the most amazing cook and mother and housewife,” said Mr. Davidson’s daughter Casey Farley of Newport, R.I.
The second-oldest of four siblings, Mr. Davidson graduated from Andover High School and served as a gunner in the Army Air Forces in the Pacific at the end of World War II. He brought a dry wit to many stories, including about his military service.
“I asked him recently, ‘Wasn’t it dangerous?’ And he said, ‘Only if you got hit,’ ” Casey recalled.
After the war, he briefly attended Bowdoin College in Maine.
“He always said he never met a test he could pass,” Casey said. “But he was an incredible reader. He just loved knowing things and reading things — anything.”
Mr. Davidson initially ran the first Andover Shop in an Andover building his father owned. That store opened in 1948, and Mr. Davidson’s renown grew when he began running the Harvard Square shop, which opened a few years later.
Read the full piece here. — CC
Mr. Davidson was a Boston area legend. He was featured in Alan Flusser’s book “Style and the Man” and at one point he owned a shop off Newbury Street in the Back Bay.
What he stood for really seems almost diametrically opposed to 95% of what the style goes for or looks like today, and I’m not sure there’s a much better compliment than that. There’s none of the crass social climbing one associates with Ralph Lauren in the Andover shop attitude and look, and it is even abstracted, like other campus shops to greater or lesser extents, from the establishment aspects of the old Brooks as a behemoth conservative institution–an aspect that comes through even more in his social and political outlooks. The tweediness of the Andover shop blended British and Irish looks and seemed sporty rather than stuffy or aspirational without going full Chipp either in terms of self-conscious playfulness. In actuality it was still establishment but perhaps that part of the establishment that would prefer not to think of itself as such. The real stories and insights doubtless lie with his old customers, probably none of whom read internet sites about clothing.
Thank you for your comments. They are exactly what I thought but didnt know how to articulate.
It was always a pleasure walking in the door at Andover.
Re: “The real stories and insights doubtless lie with his old customers, probably none of whom read internet sites about clothing.”
Something must be done about this.
I wish I could have met him. His legacy lives on: The Andover Shop just launched their new website today.
Thanks, Cuff Shooter.
Finally, the new website:
Re The Andover Shop in Boston: The store closed a while ago. But something is nagging me. I have a vague remembrance of two things. Both of them could be true, or both false!
1) The main picture window had the Andover Shop logo facing “inward”. In other words, from the street, the logo looked backwards. From inside, the logo looked OK.
2) One sign said “Andover Shop” and on another sign it said it was the “Boston Shop”.
Can anyone confirm my recollections? Unfortunately, I came to this blog post six days after it was posted, and usually no one ever comes back to the comments after a day or two. Oh well.