A treasure trove of bedding ads, dating from the Gilded Age to the Swinging ’60s, helps support research into one of the deadliest cancers
Ten years ago, Sam Chase, co-founder of mattress protection supplier Fabrictech (now PureCare) died of pancreatic cancer. Chase had spent decades assembling and curating an extensive collection of bedding print ads, some dating back as far as the late 1800s. When he died, he left the collection to his business partner Arnold Hershbain. On Aug. 28, Chase’s rare collection—which was valued at $10,000—earned $55,000 for pancreatic cancer research, when it was sold at auction to sleep shop chain Mattress Firm.
The Houston-based retailer said it will frame and display the entire archive.
Hershbain had held onto Chase’s collection, looking for a way to preserve it as a tribute to Chase’s memory. The auction held during the annual Seena Magowitz Golf Classic seemed like the perfect opportunity to do just that. The annual fundraising event was founded by another bedding industry veteran, Roger Magowitz, in memory of his mother, who also died of pancreatic cancer. The event benefits research into the disease.
The archive includes 325 magazine ads produced by past and present mattress brands, such as Englander, Ostermoor, Sealy, Serta, Simmons, Stearns & Foster and many others. All of the advertisements can be viewed online at the foundation’s website, SeenaMagowitzFoundation.org/live-auction.
Grouped by brand, the ads offer a fascinating glimpse into how advertising imagery has changed with the times, while much of the key messaging has stayed the same. The editors of Sleep Savvy especially enjoyed a 1950s ad campaign from Englander (above) with the tagline, “Better Rest Makes Better Husbands.” It shows a well-rested, smiling husband helping his wife with household chores—even washing the dishes—and bringing her a bouquet of flowers.
Magowitz said he is thankful for Mattress Firm’s generous donation and happy that the archive will be conserved and kept together: “It allows Sam’s legacy to live on. Arnold donated it to us saying, ‘Let’s hope for the best.’ He and I wanted it to stay together as a collection—and it did—thanks to Steve Stagner and Ken Murphy, who were at the event and made the purchase on behalf of Mattress Firm.”
To date, the Seena Magowitz Foundation Golf Classic and related events have raised more than $7 million in support of pancreatic cancer research conducted at the Translational Genomics Research Institute in Phoenix. This was the first year the event was held in Boston.