Biography of John Wanamaker
Celebrated American Biographies

JOHN WANAMAKER, - The life of this great merchant demonstrates the fact that the great secret of rising from the ranks is, today, as in the past ages, not so much the ability to make money, as to save it, or in other words, the ability to live well within one's income. Mr. Wanamaker was born in Philadelphia in 1838. He started out in life working in a brickyard for a mere pittance, and left that position to work in a book store as a clerk, where he earned the sum of $5.00 per month, and later on was in the employ of a clothier where he received twenty five cents a week more. He was only fifteen years of age at that time, but was a "money getter" by instinct, and laid by a small sum for a possible rainy day. By strict attention to business, combined with natural ability, he was promoted many times, and at the age of twenty he had saved $2,000. After several months vacation in the south, he returned to Philadelphia and became a master brick mason, but this was too tiresome to the young man, and he opened up the "Oak Hall" clothing store in April, 1861, at Philadelphia. The capital of the firm was rather limited, but finally, after many discouragements, they laid the foundations of one of the largest business houses in the world. The establishment covers at the present writing some fourteen acres of floor space, and furnishes employment for five thousand persons. Mr. Wanamaker was also a great church worker, and built a church that cost him $60,000, and he was superintendent of the Sunday school, which had a membership of over three thousand children. He steadily refused to run for mayor or congress and the only public office that he ever held was that of postmaster general, under the Harrison administration, and here he exhibited his extraordinary aptitude for comprehending the details of public business.

A Biographical Record
Of Schuyler County, New York
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
New York and Chicago 1903.


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