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Ida Cohen Rosenthal (1886-1975)
Born: Rakow, Russia

  • Came to the United States in 1905.
  • Married William Rosenthal, a fellow Russian immigrant, in 1907.
  • In the early 1920s, after working for over a decade as a seamstress, Rosenthal, her husband, William, and Enid Bisset opened Enid Frocks, a small New York custom dress business.
  • At the time, the flat-chested, boyish look was in fashion, and women achieved it by wearing a tight bandeau. The Rosenthals, though, felt that their dresses would fit best over a natural bust line rather than a flat one. Together, they designed the first modern "cupped" brassiere in 1922 and named it "Maidenform."
  • Soon, due to overwhelming demand for their brassieres, the Rosenthals and Bisset formed the Enid Manufacturing Company, later Maidenform, Inc., and produced the Maidenform brassiere exclusively.
  • While her husband concentrated on design, Rosenthal oversaw the promotional and financial aspects of the business. Innovative and savvy, she began an aggressive print and radio advertising campaign in the 1930s - making Maidenform the first intimate apparel company to advertise.
  • As co-founder of what is now a multibillion dollar business, Rosenthal served first as treasurer, then president, chief executive officer, chairman and, until her death, honorary chairman of the board.


  • In 1963, Rosenthal was the sole female member of an apparel industry delegation to visit the Soviet Union on a cultural exchange trip for the study of Russian manufacturing techniques.


Compiled from the following sources:
-Excerpted from The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, [edition], s.v. "Rosenthal."