The Info List - Nancy Talbot

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NANCY TALBOT (August 17, 1920 – August 30, 2009) was an American businesswoman who co-founded the Talbots
women's retail clothing chain with her husband, Rudolf Talbot .


Nancy Orr was born in Charlevoix, Michigan
Charlevoix, Michigan
, which was the location of her family's summer home . She was raised in Chicago, Illinois . She graduated from The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania
, a prestigious private prep school . Nancy went on to attend Radcliffe College for one year, but left in 1944 to take a position with the Red Cross . The Red Cross assigned her to a military reconnaissance unit in France
near the end of World War II
World War II
. It was in France
where she met her future husband, Rudolf Talbot . The couple married in 1945.

The couple returned to the United States
United States
. Her father-in-law opened a Johnny Appleseed clothing store in Hingham, Massachusetts , in 1945, but died suddenly, which forced Rudolf Talbot to take over the business. Rudolf Talbot dropped the Johnny Appleseed franchise in 1947, because he disliked the clothing he was selling. Rudolf and Nancy started a new clothing store, which they first called Talbots. The business soon moved to a single-family clapboard house in Hingham, Massachusetts. The couple painted the Talbots
store's door red, which remains a trademark of Talbots
stores up to the present day.

Nancy and Rudolf opened three new stores in Connecticut
and Massachusetts
during the next 10 years in order to target female consumers who were relocating to the suburbs following World War II. Rudolf Talbot focused on expanding the Talbots
company, while Nancy worked as the company's buyer , purchasing agent and held creative control over the merchandise . They dropped their men's and children's clothing lines gradually to focus exclusively on women's apparel .

The Talbots
sold their company, along with its four existing stores at the time, to General Mills in 1973. Nancy Talbot remained at Talbots
as a vice president until her retirement in 1983. By the time she retired,