Partner J.C. Leyendecker

Queer Places:
Bryant Park Studios, 80 W 40th St, New York, NY 10018
Mount Tom, 48 Mt Tom Rd, New Rochelle, NY 10805, Stati Uniti
Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 125 Central Ave, East Orange, NJ 07018

Born three years apart in Montabaur, Germany, Joseph Christian (known as Joe or J. C.) and Franz Xavier (known as Frank or F. X.) Leyendecker immigrated with their family to Chicago in 1874. Both displayed a talent for art and studied at the Chicago Art Institute and in Paris at the Académie Julian. Success was theirs almost immediately, and in 1900 they moved to New York where they set up shop in the Bryant Park Studios. One day in 1903, a young Ontarian named Charles Allwood Beach (November 17, 1881 – October 16, 1954) came looking for work and discovered his destiny. Beach would become not only the main inspiration for the Arrow Collar Man but also the studio’s factotum and Joe’s life partner.

Today the artistic and personal partnership of Joe Leyendecker and Charles Beach is being acknowledged and celebrated by PVH Corp., a sponsor of NYC PrideFest 2017, whose portfolio of brands includes Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, and Arrow. With the help of PVH Historian Suzanne E. Shapiro, the Arrow Collar Man is coming out of the closet.

“Personally I think it's a fantastic time for us to celebrate the true story of the Arrow Collar Man,” says Shapiro. “Recent scholarly publications, like Laurence Cutler and Judy Goffman Cutler’s excellent biography, have explored the artistic significance of Leyendecker's sexuality and his long-term relationship with Charles Beach, yet there hadn't been an appropriate forum for shedding light on Leyendecker's fascinating personal story from a corporate point of view. In earlier decades, people just wouldn't have had these conversations, and there's also questionable relevance—so what if the Arrow Collar Man and his creator were gay? But I think socially conscious historians are recognizing a need to tell these stories that can really matter to the LGBTQ community and society as a whole.” Raise that rainbow flag.



The Courier-News (Bridgewater, New Jersey) 24 Jun 1954, Thu • Main Edition • Page 36