Evelyn Ruth Kauffman, 1918-2012
Evelyn Ruth Kauffman, 1918-2012
"The Queen of Baltimore Street"
Evelyn Kauffman was a long-time businesswoman in downtown Cumberland. Along with her late husband, Harry, Evelyn owned and operated the Cumberland Cloak & Suit Store, where she served as the manager of the children's department until 1981. The Cumberland Cloak & Suit Store had been originally established on Baltimore Street in 1927 by Jack Kauffman, the store's founder.
The following is an excerpt from an article written by Michael A. Sawyers and which appeared in the Cumberland Times-News, March 26, 2008:
"Evelyn Kauffman and her late husband, Harry, ran the Cumberland Cloak and Suit store on Baltimore Street. Kauffman continues to work a couple of hours daily at the office of the Downtown Cumberland Mall Manager.
'I traveled to Cumberland in 1941 to meet Harry's family. When I left Boston, the Depression was so bad they were handing out loaves of bread on the street. When I got to Cumberland and got off the train and saw the downtown, my eyes puffed out of my head. There were people everywhere and all very well-dressed. Downtown was just bustling. It was breathtaking.'
Harry had the Embassy Theatre constructed.
'I ran the children's department at Cumberland Cloak and Suit,' Evelyn said. 'There was space we wanted to rent in the Embassy so Harry decided to move the children's section over there so people would see the space and rent it. He said I'd only be there a couple months and it turned out to be 27 years.' Evelyn said what made the downtown such a shopping mecca was the service that was provided by the salespeople, 'They would meet customers at the door. They would go back and forth getting goods for them to consider. They treated customers as if they were relatives.' Evelyn said she remembers walking outside the store and shaking her fists at workers who were removing parking meters. 'Available parking was what brought customers to us,' she said. 'I worked so hard in those days that I didn't know what time of day it was. We had three salespeople working at one time in the children's section and they were constantly busy.'
The one attribute that made downtown Cumberland what it was in those days is easy to recall, according Evelyn. 'Everybody had respect for one another,' she said."
A generous, responsive and caring person, upon her retirement Evelyn served as the official greeter for people visiting downtown Cumberland, where she become known as the "Queen of Baltimore Street." She loved playing gin rummy and bridge, and was famous for her hearty fruitcake. The beloved wife of the late Harry Kauffman and loving mother of the late Dale Tikoian, her son Jack recalled Evelyn's favorite poem at her funereal, a poem she recited almost daily while he was growing up.
By William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.
Michael A. Sawyers, Cumberland Times-News
The photograph of Evelyn Kauffman is from the early 1950s, and was taken at the Kauffman home in LaVale. It was from a western skit where she, along with other ladies from the former Beth Jacob Synagogue on North Centre Street, appeared as saloon hostesses.
Allegany County (Md.)--Biography; Allegany County (Md.)--Women.
Allegany County, (Md.)