Member Spotlight: Barbara Jacobs

Barbara Jacobs, inventor of the L'egg.​

"Just not born here."

Barbara Jacobs first came to Provincetown in the early seventies, along with her husband Clive and two daughters. They stayed in a two-room suite at The Tides and fell in love with Provincetown, returning to that spot three years in a row. Twenty years later, in 1994, Barbara and Clive signed the papers to their Provincetown condo which they still own. Born and raised in Queens, New York and educated in graphic arts, Barbara became an advertising manager for Hanes Hosiery. She is the inventor of the L’egg , Hanes Hosiery’s most, successful packaging of its time. While on a windjammer cruise in Maine, she met her husband, Clive, who was from Glasgow, Scotland, but was living in New York City. He refused to date anyone who lived more than one subway stop away, and Barbara just happened to meet that criteria. Together they started a business, opening a gift store in the only urban mall in Queens. After the Christmas rush, they would come to Provincetown in January to recover. In 1976, she and Clive decided to open a similar store in Provincetown during the high season. The store, located at 405 Commercial St., was named “All That Glitters.” At that time they could rent the shop and the upstairs apartment for their family from May until Halloween for $9000. After nine years, the building converted to condos, so they moved the store to a space under Womencrafts for another two years before closing it when their parents became ill. After selling their business in New York, Barbara managed the retail shops at the Museum of Natural History for 16 years. Barbara continued to come to Provincetown with her daughters, who got summer jobs in T-shirt shops and at Spiritus. Barbara is now retired and splits her time between Provincetown and Colorado. From June to October, Barbara is here enjoying the beach, library lectures, and craftwork. Most recently, she is producing weavings based on photographs. She also works part-time at Christof’s and travels extensively. Barbara loves the offbeat atmosphere Provincetown offers. She recalls that back in the 70’s, Provincetown summers were “wall to wall people,” more crowded than today. Even then, ”you could feel the loss of the Portuguese community.” Those were the days when gay couples bought commitment rings to wear “on the sly.” ​ Barbara joined PPRTA two years ago, and notes everything going on now was going on then with respect to the relationship between part-timers and year-rounders. As a business owner in the 70’s, she remembers writing a letter to the editor of the Advocate (the Banner’s predecessor) with this sentiment: Part-timers are here because we love this town even though we weren’t born here. Her message to year-rounders is try to get along with your neighbors. Her advice to those thinking of buying in Provincetown only as a financial investment is forget it. “Don’t think you’re going to make money. It’s a short season.”

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