JOHN WANAMAKER - TYPED LETTER SIGNED 05/08/1920 - HFSID 310966
Sale Price $427.50
The department store mogul and former Postmaster General promises an immediate, personal investigation of alleged "jockeying with prices" by clerks during a sale. This letter shows Wanamaker, an octogenarian, still very much in charge of his firm.
Typed Letter signed: "John Wanamaker", 1 page, 6¾x9. Philadelphia, 1920 May 8. On personal letterhead to H. S. J. Sickel, Commercial Trust Building, Philadelphia. Accompanied by unsigned book photograph of Wanamaker. In full: "Your letter has this moment reached my eyes, 6:20 P. M., and I am exceedingly gratified to you for bringing to my notice the very first complaint of the kind that you have been so good as to explain to me. I fear that in the rush of people, some of them perhaps new ones, without experience, - were rushed and lost their heads, or must have been improperly directed by some incompetent person. Under no circumstances would we justify any jockeying with prices. I can personally assure you that the launching of the sale was kept secret from everybody, except seven or eight persons who were planning it, and it was still an uncertainty on Saturday night, the 1st of May, and that not another soul knew that the sale would go on until they saw it in the newspapers on Monday morning. Now, that the Store is closed, I cannot begin the investigation of the circumstances, and the people that made the mistakes, until Monday morning, when it shall have my personal attention and the earliest reply that I can get to you. I certainly will not justify or excuse any such conduct as your letter informs me of, and I thank you again for bringing it to my attention. Would it be too much trouble to ask your sister, in view of the public benefit of discovering any wrong work in our department, to come to my office, that I might, in that way, find to a certainty, all the facts in the case. Say to your sister that I owe her more than my thanks for her naming the matter to your good self. Very truly yours". John Wanamaker (1838-1922) was an American businessman who, in 1875, established the first department store, bringing a collection of specialty stores together under one roof in the former freight depot of the Pennsylvania Railroad in Philadelphia. Wanamaker, who was one of the first major retailers to employ advertising agencies to sell his goods, was also a leader in offering "fringe benefits" to his employees, who enjoyed paid vacations, health care, life insurance, pensions and financial aid for further education. As Postmaster General under President Benjamin Harrison (1889-1893), he issued the first commemorative stamps (over protests from Congress) and proved that they could be moneymakers. Normal mailing folds. Stained throughout. Adhesive and mounting residue on verso, top margin. Corners lightly worn.
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