John Wanamaker collection

The John Wanamaker collection includes correspondence, financial volumes, scrapbooks, albums, estate and legal papers, store records, publications, photographs, financial files, sales portfolios, sound recordings, glass negatives, and deeds. This rich and extensive collection is arranged into five s...

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Bibliographic Details
Corporate Author: John Wanamaker (Firm) (Creator)
Collection:John Wanamaker Collection
Collection Number:2188
Format: Manuscript
Language:English
Subjects and Genres:
Online Access:Link to finding aid
Tags: Add Tag
LEADER 11446ntc a2200469 u 4500
001 ead-2188
008 150602i18271987xx eng d
040 |e dacs 
041 0 |a eng 
099 |a 2188 
110 2 |a John Wanamaker (Firm)  |e creator 
245 1 |a John Wanamaker collection  |f 1827-1987 
300 |a 193.2 Linear feet  |f ; 316 volumes, 438 boxes 
500 |a Processing Information: The creation of the electronic guide for this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources' "Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives" Project. Finding aid entered into the Archivists' Toolkit by Garrett Boos and edited by Matthew Lyons (2012 January) The collection recieved additonal processing in 2015 as part of the Howard Lewis project. Volumes were re-numbered and the contents of boxes 9 through 14b were reintegrated into the collection as volumes. Carton boxes were divided into three document boxes with 'a', 'b', and 'c' designations. Oversized items were de-framed and re-housed in flat file drawers and re-numbered. The finding aid was updated and edited by Megan Sheffer Evans (2015 May)  
506 |a This collection is open for research use.  
520 |a The John Wanamaker collection includes correspondence, financial volumes, scrapbooks, albums, estate and legal papers, store records, publications, photographs, financial files, sales portfolios, sound recordings, glass negatives, and deeds. This rich and extensive collection is arranged into five series and spans over 150 years. It details the history of Wanamaker's store in Philadelphia and its influence as a major city retailer during the 19th and 20th centuries. There is also material that documents John Wanamaker's activities concerning social reform and cultural attitudes. There is information on his work as postmaster general, including information on weather and why mail was not delivered, and on his religious and political activities. Materials are generally arranged in chronological order; however, the loose photographs in Series Four are arranged by subject and size. Series I is composed of personal records from 1850-1986. This series contains loose correspondence, letterpress copy books, speeches, diaries, editorials, estate papers and biographer's papers. There are also scrapbooks and photograph albums pertaining to personal and family interests such as John Wanamaker's political career, Bethany Sunday School, Rodman Wanamaker's aviation and collecting activities, and memorial scrapbooks for both John and Rodman Wanamaker. Series II is composed of store records from 1861-1987. This series contains records of the Executive Divisions of John Wanamaker Philadelphia and New York and the Sales Division of the flagship store. It also includes various store publications and several boxes of deeds. Series III is composed of miscellaneous publications from 1827-1917. This series contains annual reports of the Federal Department of the Treasury and the Office of the Postmaster General. Also included are miscellaneous volumes from the loan collection of Rodman Wanamaker, ten large atlases of the Philadelphia area and Atlantic County, NJ from dating from 1883 to 1914, and several sound recordings. Series IV is composed of prints and photographs from 1861-1980. This series consists primarily of photographic prints, both loose and in albums, many of which were taken by store photographers to document store operations and events. The following photographers are represented: D. Sargent Bell, Harry S. Hood, Richard T. Dooner, and Charles H. Miller. There are also glass plate negatives and lantern slides. The loose photographs are arranged into three topical groups. Series V, the addendum, is composed of material that was not included with the collection when it was originally donated to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Some items are duplicates of previously cataloged papers. There are also miscellaneous photographs and cabinet cards, several boxes of correspondence and financial records from the Wanamaker Institute of Industries, copies of Wanamaker's newspaper editorials, miscellaneous prints, booklets, and other publications.  
520 |a John Wanamaker (1838-1922) was a well-known merchant, entrepreneur, and lifelong resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was active in the city's religious, political, and philanthropic areas, founded several Presbyterian churches and Sunday schools, and served as postmaster general under President Benjamin Harrison from 1889 to 1893. He opened his first Philadelphia clothing store, Oak Hall, with partner Nathan Brown in 1861, and founded John Wanamaker and Co. in 1869. In 1876, he opened "A New Kind of Store" known as the Grand Depot at Thirteenth and Market Streets. This store later became the flagship store, with satellite stores eventually established in central and southeastern Pennsylvania, as well as New Jersey, Delaware, and New York City. Wanamaker was at the forefront in many areas of retailing including merchandising, employee relations and advertising. His sons Thomas B. Wanamaker and L. Rodman Wanamaker were also active in the business. Thomas ran John Wanamaker and Co. in Philadelphia and Rodman took over the New York store operations in 1906. This rich and extensive collection, which is arranged into five series and spans over 150 years, details the history of Wanamaker's store in Philadelphia and its influence as a major city retailer during the 19th and 20th centuries. There is also material in the collection that documents Wanamaker's activities concerning social reform and cultural attitudes. The collection includes correspondence, financial volumes, scrapbooks, albums, estate and legal papers, store records, publications, photographs, financial files, sales portfolios, sound recordings, glass negatives, and deeds. Materials are generally arranged in chronological order; however, the loose photographs in Series Four are arranged by subject and size.  
524 8 |a Cite as: [Indicate cited item or series here], John Wanamaker collection (Collection 2188), The Historical Society of Pennsylvania.  
540 1 |a Copyright restrictions may apply. Please contact the Archives with requests for copying and for authorization to publish, quote or reproduce the material.  
544 |a The Yost Collection, 1861-1985 (Collection 3440): This collection chronicles several decades of displays and promotions at John Wanamaker's department store, much of it under the supervision of Frederick Yost. Yost began working at Wanamaker's in 1948. From 1952 to 1965 he was in charge of sales promotions, and in 1965 became the Corporate Vice President. Yost's background included theater and lighting design. The collection includes papers and scrapbooks documenting public relations, advertising, special events, and store design and display. Also included are internal office memos, photographs of displays and their construction, architectural drawings, news clippings, and many materials pertaining to the elaborate Christmas displays and light shows that were a tradition at Wanamaker's.  
545 |a John Wanamaker was born on July 11, 1838 on the outskirts of Philadelphia. His parents were Nelson Wanamaker, a brickmaker of Scottish ancestry, and Elizabeth Kochersperger, of French Huguenot descent. He spent two years on an Indiana farm as a child but grew up mostly in Philadelphia, where he turned bricks at his father’s yard and worked as an errand or utility boy at various firms. From age sixteen to nineteen he worked as a salesman and a buyer at the clothing retailer Tower Hall, owned by Colonel Joseph Bennett. He then spent three years as secretary of the Philadelphia Y.M.C.A. In 1858 he founded Bethany Chapel in Philadelphia’s South Street district and served as superintendent there for three years. Wanamaker married Mary Erringer Brown of Philadelphia in 1860. The couple had six children, four of whom lived to be adults: Thomas Brown Wanamaker, Lewis Rodman Wanamaker, Mary Brown Wanamaker (Warburton), and Elizabeth Wanamaker (McLeod). In 1861, John Wanamaker and his brother-in-law, Nathan Brown, opened the clothing store Oak Hall a few doors west of Tower Hall. At the outbreak of the Civil War, Wanamaker was rejected from enlistment in the Union Army due to a lung condition. However, he supported the war effort through his store, which supplied uniforms and clothing to the Army. Nathan Brown died in 1868 and Wanamaker continued the store on his own. In 1869, he established John Wanamaker & Co. on Chestnut Street between Eighth and Ninth streets. Whereas Oak Hall was established to provide clothing for everyone, the original John Wanamaker & Co. was a luxury shop. In 1876, he opened “the Grand Depot,” Philadelphia’s first department store, on the site of a former Pennsylvania Railroad depot at Thirteenth and Market streets. John Wanamaker & Co. gradually expanded and became a regional chain with fifteen stores, including a New York City store, which Wanamaker purchased from A. T. Stewart in 1896. In 1889 John Wanamaker was appointed to be the 38th postmaster general of the United States by President Harrison and served for four years. One of his innovations was rural free delivery, which was implemented after he left office. Free delivery was already available in the cities but in the rural areas people had to walk to the local post office for mail and often they would go without mail for weeks at a time. John Wanamaker died in 1922, and his son Rodman succeeded him as head of the business, but himself died in 1928. The company did well and expanded over the next several decades, but went into decline during the 1960s and 1970s and was sold to Woodward & Lothrop in 1986. The Wanamaker building at Thirteenth and Market streets was registered with the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1978 and as of 2015 continues to operate as a department store owned by Macy's.  
555 |a Finding Aid Available Online:  
561 1 |a Gift of Woodward and Lothrop, Inc., 1988; gift of the Wanamaker Institute of Industries, 1995.  
600 1 7 |a Wanamaker, John  |d 1838-1922  |2 NACO Authority File 
600 1 7 |a Wanamaker, Rodman  |d 1863-1928  |2 NACO Authority File 
610 2 7 |a John Wanamaker (Firm)  |2 NACO Authority File 
650 0 |a Department stores. 
651 0 |a Philadelphia (Pa.) 
655 7 |a Account books.  |2 Art & Architecture Thesaurus 
655 7 |a Annual reports.  |2 Art & Architecture Thesaurus 
655 7 |a Audiovisual materials.  |2 Art & Architecture Thesaurus 
655 7 |a Business records.  |2 Art & Architecture Thesaurus 
655 7 |a Correspondence.  |2 Genre Terms: A Thesaurus for Use in Rare Book and Special Collections Cataloging 
655 7 |a Deeds.  |2 Art & Architecture Thesaurus 
655 7 |a Estate records.  |2 Art & Architecture Thesaurus 
655 0 |a Photographs. 
655 7 |a Prints (Visual works).  |2 Art & Architecture Thesaurus 
655 7 |a Publications.  |2 Art & Architecture Thesaurus 
655 7 |a Sales records.  |2 Art & Architecture Thesaurus 
655 0 |a Scrapbooks. 
852 |a The Historical Society of Pennsylvania  |b John Wanamaker Collection  |l 2188 
856 4 2 |y Link to finding aid  |u http://www2.hsp.org/collections/manuscripts/w/Wanamaker2188.html