David Abercrombie founded A&F in 1892 as an upscale sporting goods store. Forming a partnership with Ezra Fitch, the company continued to expand in the new 20th century. After Abercrombie left the company, Fitch became sole owner and ushered in the "Fitch Years" of continued success. Shortly after his retirement, the company continued to develop under a succession of other leaders until its financial fall and closing in 1977. In 1908 it made the papers when former President Teddy Roosevelt outfitted himself with 'snake-proof sleeping bags and multiple weapons' before departing with the Smithsonian for his African Safari; over 11,000 animals were shotOther prominent figures who patronized the company in its excursion goods days of the early 20th century include Amelia Earhart, Greta Garbo, Katharine Hepburn, Clark Gable, John Steinbeck, John F. Kennedy, Ernest Shackleton, Cole Porter, and Dwight Eisenhower.