11 de julio de 1838 - 12 de diciembre de 1922
Los más altos estándares en publicidad al comienzo del siglo XX son personificados por él, cuyas tiendas por departamentos en Philadelphia y New York son pioneras en precios cómodos y devolución garantizada de su dinero, con un honesto y consistente soporte publicitario. Es un hombre religioso que rehusa hacer publicidad los domingos. Contrata al gran John E. Powers en 1880 como el primer copy de tiempo completo (y maravillosamente pagado) de tiendas por departamentos. Su no muy tranquila relación prospera profesionalmente gracias a que Powers acoge la filosofía de marketing de Wanamaker. Reforma además el sistema de correos de USA mientras ocupa el cargo de Director General de Correos (1889-1893) durante la administración del presidente Benjamin Harrison y es presidente de YMCA (asociación de jóvenes cristianos) entre 1870 y 1883.
Founder, John Wanamaker Company; Former Postmaster General of the United States.
John Wanamaker was a pioneer merchant and leader in the field of retail advertising.
Reflecting his belief that "Advertising...exerts an irresistible power," Wanamaker invested large sums of money into advertisements promoting his department stores. While the concept of the department store dated back to 1826, his approach to retail advertising was revolutionary, if not in style then in volume.
The Wanamaker style emphasized the use of straightforward language. This new type of truth and frankness in advertising showed how to express the store's personality and management. He also sought to make a statement. In 1874 he placed the first half-page advertisement ever published in a newspaper, and in 1879 he ran the first full-page newspaper ad, beginning a schedule of such ads in 1888.
His faith in the value of advertising helped his store become the largest retailer of men's clothing by 1868. Wanamaker showed both merchants and manufacturers the power of advertising to move a large volume of goods and stimulate mass distribution and production. His example kickstarted a large-scale rise in advertising by retailers and national advertisers.
In 1874Wannamaker published a copyrighted advertisement in which he stated his four cardinal points: "full guarantee, one price, cash payment, cash returned." He personally wrote many of the advertisements for the John Wanamaker Company. In the last 10 years of his life, he penned and published more than 3,000 business editorials in which he summed up his and his store's philosophy.
Wanamaker also believed in the value of service, both to his country and to its people. He served as Postmaster General under President Benjamin Harrison, fighting in Washington for the creation of a rural delivery system and parcel post service. In 1918 he served as one of the directors of the War Welfare Council, contributing his talents to the war effort. Wanamaker also worked to help children, establishing the John Wanamaker Commercial Institute in 1896.
John (Nelson) Wanamaker (July 11, 1838 - December 12, 1922) was a much respected and admired United States merchant, religious leader, civic and political figure, considered by some to be the father of modern advertising. Wanamaker was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
He opened his first store in 1861, called "Oak Hall", at Sixth and Market Streets in Philadelphia, on the site of George Washington's Presidential home. Oak Hall grew substantially based on Wanamaker's then-revolutionary principle: "One price and goods returnable". In 1869, he opened his second store at 818 Chestnut Street and capitalizing on his own name (the untimely death of his brother-in-law), and growing reputation, renamed the company John Wanamaker & Co. In 1875 he purchased an abandoned railroad depot and converted it into a large store, called John Wanamaker & Co. "The Grand Depot". Wanamaker's is considered the first department store in Philadelphia.
In 1860 John Wanamaker married Mary Erringer Brown (1839-1920). They had six children (two of them died in childhood):
* Thomas Brown Wanamaker (1862-1908), married Mary Lowber Welch (1864-1929)
* Lewis Rodman Wanamaker (1863-1928), married Fernanda de Henry
* Horace Wanamaker (born 1864, died in infancy during the Civil War)
* Harriett E. Wanamaker (1865-1870)
* Mary "Minnie" Wanamaker (1871-1920) married Richard Warner, grandfather of Barclay H. Warner III
* Elizabeth "Lillie" Wanamaker (1876-1927) married Norman McLeod
John Wanamaker's son Thomas B. Wanamaker, who specialized in store financial matters, purchased a Philadelphia newspaper called North American in 1899 and irritated his father by giving regular columns to radical intellectuals such as single-taxer Henry George, Jr., socialist Henry John Nelson (who later became Emma Goldman's lawyer), and socialist Caroline H. Pemberton. The younger Wanamaker also began publishing a Sunday edition, which offended his father's Biblically informed religious views.
His younger son Rodman Wanamaker, a Princeton graduate, lived in France early in his career and is credited with creating a demand for French luxury goods that persists to this day. Rodman Wanamaker was credited with the artistic emphasis that gave the Wanamaker stores their cachet and also was a patron of fine music, organizing spectacular organ and orchestra concerts in the Wanamaker Philadelphia and New York stores under music director Alexander Russell.
John Wanamaker opened his first New York store in New York City in 1896, continuing a mercantile business originally started by A. T. Stewart, and continued to expand his business abroad with the European Houses of Wanamaker in London and Paris.
A larger store in Philadelphia was then designed by famous Chicago architect Daniel H. Burnham, and this 12-story granite "Wanamaker Building" was completed in 1910 on the site of "The Grand Depot", encompassing an entire block at the corner of Thirteenth and Market Streets across from Philadelphia's City Hall. The new store, which still stands today, was dedicated by US President William Howard Taft, and houses a large pipe organ, the Wanamaker Grand Court Organ, and the 2,500-pound bronze "Wanamaker Eagle" in the store's Grand Court, which became a famous meeting place for Philadelphians. "Meet me at the Eagle" is a Philadelphia byword.The Wanamaker Building with its Grand Court became Philadelphia institutions.
Wanamaker was an innovator, creative in his work, and a merchandising and advertising genius, though modest and with an enduring reputation for honesty. He gave his employees free medical care, education, recreational facilities, pensions and profit-sharing plans before such benefits were considered standard. Labor activists, however, knew him as a fierce opponent of unionization. During an 1887 organizing drive by the Knights of Labor, Wanamaker simply fired the first twelve union members who were discovered by his detectives. The stores did make noted early efforts to advance the welfare of African-Americans and Native Americans.
In 1889 Wanamaker began the First Penny Savings Bank in order to encourage thrift. That same year he was appointed United States Postmaster General by President Benjamin Harrison. Wanamaker was credited by his friends with introducing the first commemorative stamp, and many efficiencies to the Postal Service. He was the first to make plans for free rural postal service in the United States, although the plan was not implemented until 1897.
In 1890, Wanamaker persuaded Congress to pass an act prohibiting the sale of lottery tickets through the mail, and then he aggressively pursued violaters. These actions effectively ended all state lotteries in the U.S. until they reappeared in 1964, partly as an effort to undermine organized crime.
However, Wanamaker's tenure at the Post Office was riddled with controversy, including the firing of some 30,000 postal workers under the "spoils system" during his four-year term, which caused severe confusion, inefficiency and a run-in with civil-service crusader Theodore Roosevelt, a fellow Republican. In 1890 he commissioned a series of stamps that were derided in the national media as the poorest quality stamps ever issued, both for printing quality and materials. Then, when his department store ordered advance copies of the newly translated novel The Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoy, the deadline had been missed and only the regular discount was offered. Wanamaker retaliated by banning the book from the US Mail on grounds of obscenity. This earned him ridicule in many major U.S. newspapers. In 1891 he ordered changes in the uniforms of letter carriers, and was then accused of arranging for all the uniforms to be ordered from a single firm in Baltimore, to which Wanamaker was believed to have financial ties.
During World War I, Wanamaker publicly proposed that the United States buy Belgium from Germany for the sum of one-hundred billion dollars, as an alternative to the continuing carnage of the war.
At his death in 1922, his estate was estimated to be $100 million (USD), ($1.3 billion today) divided equally among his three living children: son Rodman Wanamaker, who was made sole inheritor of the store businesses (Rodman died in 1928 leaving the businesses with a documented worth of $35 million [$454 million today] in a trust); and daughters Mary "Minnie" Wanamaker Warner (Mrs. Richard Warner) and Elizabeth Wanamaker McLeod who both received substantial stocks, real estate, and cash instruments. Son Rodman Wanamaker is credited with founding the Professional Golfers' Association of America and the Millrose Games. Son Thomas B. Wanamaker died in 1908.
John Wanamaker owned homes in Philadelphia, Cape May Point, NJ, Bay Head, NJ, New York, Florida, London, Paris, and Biarritz. One was his townhouse at 2032 Walnut Street, which was modeled similar to an English manor house. Wanamaker died in this residence. Thomas Edison, a close friend, was a pallbearer at his funeral. His country estate was the Lindenhurst mansion in Cheltenham, which stood on York Road, below Washington Lane (40°05′07″N 75°07′52″W / 40.0853°N 75.1311°W / 40.0853; -75.1311). The original mansion was designed by architect E A Sargent of New York. President Harrison visited there. A neoclassic mansion was constructed when the original Victorian Lindenhurst burned in 1907, destroying much of Wanamaker's art collection. A railroad station, Chelten Hills (below Jenkintown), was constructed in addition to his vast mansion. A family trust owned the Wanamaker's store chain, run by a trustee system set up by Rodman Wanamaker's will, until 1978 when the business was sold to Carter Hawley Hale, Inc. (the 15-store was sold to Woodward & Lothrop in 1986; Woodies declared bankruptucy in the early 1990s, and with it went the Wanamaker stores, which were sold to May Department Stores Company on June 21, 1995. In August 2006 the flagship Philadelphia store was converted from a Lord & Taylor to a Macy's).
John Wanamaker was a Pennsylvania Mason. The John Wanamaker Masonic Humanitarian Medal was created by resolution of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania at the December Quarterly Communication of 1993. It is to be awarded to a person (male or female) who, being a non-Mason, supports the ideals and philosophy of the Masonic Fraternity. The recipient of this medal is one who personifies the high ideals of John Wanamaker - a public spirited citizen, a lover of all people, and devoted to doing good. The award is made at the discretion of the R. W. Grand Master. The medal has been presented sparingly, to maintain the great prestige associated with an award created by resolution of the Pennsylvania Grand Lodge. In addition to the John Wanamaker Masonic Humanitarian Medal, The Pennsylvania Grand Lodge also awards the Franklin Medal for Distinguished Masonic Service, and the Thomson Award for Saving a Human Life.
Bronze busts honoring Wanamaker and seven other industry magnates stand between the Chicago River and the Merchandise Mart in downtown Chicago, Illinois.
Until his death, Wanamaker had been the last surviving member of Benjamin Harrison's Cabinet.
* Popular saying illustrating how difficult it was to reach potential customers using traditional advertising is attributed to John Wanamaker: "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half." 
* From 1908 to 1914, Wanamaker financed Anna Jarvis's successful campaign to have a national Mother's Day holiday officially recognized.
* Wanamaker's fame was considerable around the world in his heyday. In the original play Pygmalion (1912) by George Bernard Shaw Alfred Doolittle is left a legacy by an American philanthropist millionaire named "Ezra Wanafeller", combining Wanamaker's name with John D. Rockefeller Sr.
John Wanamaker: A retailing innovator
End of a retailing era
In 1861, a gangly 22-year-old South Philadelphia man who was so feeble that he was rejected for military service in the Civil War opened a men's clothing store at Sixth and Market Streets. He called it Oak Hall.
It was John Wanamaker's first store, and it experimented with a new retail concept in those days of buyer-beware: It promised fixed prices, and customer satisfaction guaranteed.
In his day, Wanamaker was always ahead of the competition. He developed one of the first department stores in the country. He was credited with creating the White Sale and the first in-store restaurant.
He created a dynasty as big and as grand as the six-story glass-domed atrium in his flagship store at 13th and Market Streets.
But in the end, Wanamaker's legacy was overcome by the competition. Sold and resold by a succession of owners, it declined and finally succumbed to modern pressures of merchandizing.
Now, even John Wanamaker's name will disappear from the stores that were sold off yesterday to a new generation of owners.
Wanamakers was a Philadelphia institution. John Wanamaker bought big advertisements that featured his maxims. "You mend your automobile on the spot when something breaks," he once wrote. "Don't let your life be going on with something crippled in it."
It was advice that the successive owners of Wanamakers would have been wise to heed. In the end, the broken-down, crippled dowager of granite and bronze turned out to be no match for discount outlets built of concrete and sheet-metal.
Modest, pious and creative, Wanamaker lived to age 84 despite the persistent cough that kept him out of the Union Army.
John Wanamaker was perhaps best known for his merchandising genius and his honesty. He gave his employees free medical care, education, recreational facilities, pensions and profit-sharing plans before such benefits were considered standard.
He opened his first store at Sixth and Market Streets with his brother-in-law, Nathan Brown. They called their company Wanamaker & Brown. Wanamaker said he was inspired by an incident that occurred when he was a lad: A merchant refused to let him exchange a purchase. Wanamaker promised that his customers could readily return goods.
In its first year, Wanamaker & Brown's Oak Hall recorded $24,125.62 in sales. By the end of the decade, annual sales had increased to more than $2 million, and Wanamaker & Brown had 133 employees, half of whom manufactured clothes.
After Nathan Brown died in 1868, Wanamaker opened a second store, at 818 Chestnut St.
In 1875, Wanamaker paid $505,000 for the cavernous Pennsylvania Railroad freight sheds at Thirteenth and Market Streets, which had been vacated in anticipation of the construction of City Hall across the street.
The next year, Wanamaker opened "The Grand Depot" to take advantage of the crowds of visitors to Philadelphia for the Centennial Exposition of 1876.
According to a company history, Wanamaker realized he needed something new to attract shoppers when the exposition closed, so he came up with the idea of changing The Grand Depot into "The New Kind of Store" - a department store that sold men's clothes, women's clothes and dry goods.
The store, which opened in 1877, was designed in the shape of a wheel, with a 90-foot circular counter in the center. The aisles radiated out 196 feet to all four corners of the store, marking off 129 sales counters arranged in concentric circles.
In 1911, Wanamaker expanded the store into the building that now stands across from City Hall, a veritable cathedral of merchandising, containing a vast court and the huge pipe organ that took 13 railroad cars to transport to Philadelphia.
Wanamaker never claimed to have invented the department store, but he was on the cutting edge of a trend. The retail giants of the day, Marshall Field in Chicago, Alexander T. Steward in New York, were discovering that the vast power of buying wholesale could cut costs to reduce retail prices.
Department stores brought Wanamaker huge profits and power. In 1889, he founded the First Penny Savings Bank to encourage thrift. The same year, President Benjamin Harrison named him postmaster general, a position he held for four years.
When he died in 1922, Wanamaker's estate was valued at $35 million. His city dwelling, a townhouse at 2032 Walnut St., was modeled after an English manor house. He owned a vast mansion called Lindenhurst in Cheltenham on York Road, below Washington Lane. He even had his own station built, Chelten Hills, below Jenkintown.
After the founder's death, Wanamakers continued to thrive. Its men's store grew to the extent that it expanded next door into the 27-story Lincoln-Liberty building at Broad and Chestnut Streets that Wanamaker opened in 1932. The building was sold to Philadelphia National Bank in 1952 and now carries the PNB initials on its crown.
At its peak, Wanamakers had 16 outlets, including one in Westchester County, N.Y.
But the chain gradually lost its dominant place in the Philadelphia retail market to upscale stores such as Bloomingdale's and Macy's. In 1978, a trust owned by the descendants of Wanamaker sold the stores, then shabby and neglected, to a retail conglomerate, Carter Hawley Hale Stores, of Los Angeles. Carter Hawley spent about $80 million refurbishing the stores.
In 1986, Carter Hawley sold the 15 remaining Wanamakers stores to an investment company headed by Detroit real estate magnate A. Alfred Taubman. Taubman had purchased the Washington department-store chain Woodward & Lothrop two years before.
Laden with debt and hampered by disappointing sales, Woodward & Lothrop floundered and went into bankruptcy.
The spirit of John Wanamaker could no longer save the stores. Says one of Wanamaker's maxims: "A little more effort on the part of everybody to make the times better, and better times will surely come along."
Not this time.
Wanamaker's legendary department stores were palaces of consumption that turned shopping into an event for ordinary people.
Truth in Advertising
Born in Philadelphia in 1838, John Wanamaker pioneered the concept of the department store. In 1861 Wanamaker and his brother-in-law, Nathan Brown, opened Oak Hall, a men's clothing store. In 1876, intending to open a central market like London's Royal Exchange or Paris' Les Halles, he converted an abandoned Pennsylvania Railroad depot into a multipurpose clothing and specialties store called Wanamaker's. Catering to an upscale market, he promised all-wool clothing and quality goods with a money-back-guarantee. In 1874, he printed the first-ever, copyrighted store advertisement. When people discovered that its promises were true, business boomed. The concept of truth in advertising earned him the public's trust, which he never lost.
The Experience of Shopping
Riding the tide of his store's success, Wanamaker expanded his inventory and manufactured his own house brands. He also made some less conventional improvements to his store that would change the American experience of shopping. He opened an in-store restaurant in 1876, installed electric lights in 1878, and added elevators in 1889. To keep turnover high and prices low, he created February "Opportunity Sales," July "Midsummer Sales" and in January 1878 the first "White Sale." While committed to keeping costs low, Wanamaker also sought out style and quality, sending ten buyers to Europe each year.
A Palace of Consumption
Wanamaker's department store was a palace of consumption that made shopping itself an event for ordinary people. Trumpeted as "the largest space in the world devoted to retail selling on a single floor," the store featured 129 circular counters that ringed a central gas-lit tent for the demonstration of women's ballroom fashions. In 1896, he bought the A.T. Stewart Cast Iron Palace in New York and in 1902 connected it with a "bridge of progress" to the 16-story building next door. In 1911 Wanamaker expanded the Philadelphia store, featuring a 150-foot-high Grand Court with the world's second largest organ and a great eagle from the 1903 St. Louis World's Fair, which became a popular landmark and meeting spot.
A Legacy of Trust
A deeply religious man, Wanamaker refused to advertise on Sundays and for many years served as superintendent of the Bethany Presbyterian Sunday School. From 1870-83, he was president of the YMCA and in 1889 was appointed Postmaster General by President Benjamin Harrison. He died on December 12, 1922.