In the late nineteenth century, Chicago’s location at the center of the country where railroads and industries converged made it an ideal location for entrepreneurs looking to make a buck – or millions of them. Aaron Montgomery Ward and Richard Warren Sears did just that. Each created a mail order catalog that evolved into a retail icon, changing American consumer habits along the way. While Sears and Montgomery Ward’s innovative ways of operating led to their rise as the Amazon of their time, new innovations would contribute to their decline a century later… Read more
The catalogs of Sears, Roebuck, and Co., and Montgomery Ward were icons of Americana, beloved and eagerly anticipated. More than just a collection of necessities and Christmas wishes, the items within the many pages of those catalogs reflected the aspirations of American families, as well as the power of companies to shape how people shopped and what they bought. The rise and fall of these mail order giants is intertwined with the history of Chicago and the rest of America.