UNH Manchester professors pen book on history of city's shoe industry

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Primarily famous for its dominance in textile production, Manchester, N.H., was once affectionately called "Shoe City." UNH Manchester business program faculty Kelly Kilcrease, associate professor of business, and Yvette Lazdowski, assistant professor of accounting, explore the impact shoe production had on the city's economy in their recent book, "Manchester's Shoe Industry."

More than 70 different shoe companies once called Manchester home, and thousands of area residents worked tirelessly to produce some of the best known shoes in America and throughout the world. The largest manufacturers were the F.M. Hoyt Shoe Co., maker of Beacon Shoes, and the granddaddy of them all, the McElwain Co., known for its popular brands like the iconic Thom McAn shoes. In the book, Kilcrease and Lazdowski reveal how these and other Manchester-based shoe shops were vital to the area's economic and employment prosperity, especially among the immigrant population. They also explore how the McElwain Co. was an integral part of the Melville Corporation, known today as CVS.

Kilcrease has had a passion for history since his time in grade school drawing the maps from famous battles of the Napoleonic Wars and the American Revolution. He has published numerous articles on small business development and business history, including the transformation of Manchester’s Amoskeag Mill Yard, the economic history of Boston’s Long Wharf, Daniel Webster as a farmer, the world’s first business incubator and the oldest company in America, the J.E. Rhodes Co.

Lazdowski’s primary research interests are in accounting and business history. A member of the Academy of Accounting Historians, she was awarded the Alfred R. Roberts Memorial Research Award in 2013 for her extensive research and a doctoral dissertation on the early accounting history of the Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn, Mich.