Our History

The Original Dempsey & Carroll Team

 

When the company was founded, Mr. Dempsey, Mr. Carroll, along with Mr. Carroll's Manfred, were all directors of different departments within the store. Mr. Carroll and Manfred were in charge of the Sales and Retail department, located on the ground floor of the store, and were assisted by five employees. Here, clients could view the specimen case, which held samples of wedding invitations, decorated dinner cards and other stationery products. The entire manufacturing department, located on the fifth floor of the Union Square building, was directed by Mr. Dempsey. This department occupied more than 7,000 square feet and had designated areas for engraving, illuminating, stamping, designing and printing. At its peak, the store and factory at Union Square was composed of ten departments including sales, stamping and illuminating, type setting and steam letterpress printing. 

 

The original business was controlled by a board of directors that included members of the Dempsey and Carroll families and other stockholders. Throughout the company’s existence, there have been two fires, more than a dozen relocations within New York City and along the East Coast and multiple owners. One such individual was Fred G. Diefenbach, who joined the firm in 1889 as an engraver, designer and supervisor. He slowly rose to other prominent positions, including assistant treasurer in June 1905, secretary in March 1909 and finally president in March 1910. Other notable figures in Dempsey & Carroll’s history included Blanche Dempsey (daughter of John), George B. Hurd, John Warwick and the sons of Fred Diefenbach, Fred Junior and Henry. Warwick was a heraldic expert who worked as an artist and designer at the company in 1902. He would later rise to replace Mr. Diefenbach as president in July 1920.

 

 

The Social Etiquette Authority

 

Dempsey & Carroll also made a name for itself by publishing books and pamphlets on social etiquette and the art of the correspondence. Through these books, the company set the standard for etiquette while simultaneously providing the highest quality stationery available. As Mr. Carroll put it, “[We] do not presume to create fashions, but do claim to make a specialty of being thoroughly informed of what is correct in manners and tone of good society, relating to [our] special business.” These publications also contained examples of their work, including monograms and coats of arms. In particular, weddings and invitations were regularly featured because, just as today, they could involve many nuanced elements of etiquette. 

 

A Commitment to Our Clients

 

Above all, Mr. Carroll stressed that his company was the only stationery engraver in New York City that personally attended to and executed their own work. Many competitors were known to make their stationery and engraving department an appendage to their other business, but Mr. Carroll ensured his customers knew that his firm has no other business but engraving. The company is still one of the only stationers in the world using engravers and custom-made dies.

 

Mr. Dempsey and Mr. Carroll based their customer service philosophy on one principle: “We can better afford to lose merchandise than customers.” The adage served as a reminder to all employees that the cultivation of each individual client relationship was paramount to the overall success of the company. This commitment to customer service was repeatedly highlighted by Mr. Carroll in many of his books’ prefaces—he maintained that the company’s work was the best of the best, and that “no customer [was] expected to take an order unless it [was] satisfactory.”

 

Today, Dempsey & Carroll still abides by this same commitment to providing the highest quality luxury writing papers to our clients with impeccable customer service. We are also still considered to be an authority on proper etiquette regarding everything from opulent wedding invitations to thank you notes. With our history firmly rooted in this refined art form, Dempsey & Carroll remains dedicated to serving our customers and standing behind our truly exceptional products. 

 

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