Ida Cohen Rosenthal not only created the modern bra, she helped found Maidenform, Inc. and make it the most successful bra manufacturer in the world. After immigrating to America with her future husband, William, in 1905, Rosenthal began working as a dressmaker, joining Enid Bissett at Enid Frocks in 1921. Rejecting flapper-era, chest-flattening designs, Bissett created a fuller-figure brassiere which William Rosenthal then adapted for different sizes. While at first the bras were given away free with dresses, as demand rose, they were sold separately. Bisette and the Rosenthals founded the Maiden Form Brassiere Company in 1930, although Bissette retired early due to ill health. William served as president, overseeing design and production, while Ida managed the finances. After William’s death in 1958, Ida became president and then chair of the board, serving until she suffered a stroke in 1966 which forced her into retirement. Beyond her work in leading the company, Rosenthal was involved with a number of Jewish causes, including the Anti-Defamation League and United Jewish Appeal, and in 1943 established Camp Lewis for the Boy Scouts of America in memory of a son who died in 1930.
More on Ida Cohen Rosenthal
- Encyclopedia Article: Ida Cohen Rosenthal
- Power Couples: Undergarment Entrepreneurs
- This Week in History: Birth of Ida Cohen Rosenthal, co-founder of Maidenform
- Blog: I dreamed I blogged in my Maidenform bra
- Blog: What would Ida Cohen Rosenthal think of your bra as a symbol for breast cancer awareness?
How to cite this page
Jewish Women's Archive. "Ida Cohen Rosenthal." (Viewed on December 6, 2019) <https://jwa.org/people/rosenthal-ida>.