John Wanamaker, circa 1920.
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Photograph of John Wanamaker standing, wearing a tuxedo with tails, bowtie, and hat.

Credit: Courtesy of the Pennsylvania State Archives

One of the nation's greatest retailers, John Wanamaker made pathbreaking use of advertising, windows displays, electric lighting, and other marketing innovations, including a national Mother’s Day celebration–and accompanying Mother’s Day sales. When Wanamaker died, at the age of 84, in 1922, he left an estate of close to $100 million (close to $1.3billion today).

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