Cover

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface

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pp. ix-xii

Julius Rosenwald was my grandfather. Unfortunately, I never knew him. He died ten years before I was born. My mother, Marion Rosenwald Ascoli, told me some stories about her youth. I knew she had grown up in Chicago, that her father had been the president of Sears, Roebuck & Co., and that he had donated a great deal of money to numerous charitable causes ...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xvi

This book has been twelve years in the making, and I owe many people a great debt of gratitude. Dan Meyer, the chief archivist in the University of Chicago’s Department of Special Collections, and Beth Howse, archivist of the Rosenwald Fund Papers at Fisk University, have both been extremely helpful. Darwin Stapleton of the Rockefeller Archive Center at Tarrytown, New York, and Dwight Miller of ...

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1. Youth and First Business Ventures, 1862–1895

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pp. 1-27

On May 12, 1854, Samuel Rosenwald, a twenty-six-year-old German Jewish youth, alighted from the ship Wilhemine in the port of Baltimore. He had come from the village of Bunde in Westphalia, where his mother, Vogel, owned a small general store. His father had died when he was a child. Like countless immigrants before and after him, Samuel Rosenwald was determined to make a good life for himself in the New World.1 ...

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2. Early Sears Years, 1895–1908

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pp. 28-72

Julius Rosenwald became associated with Sears, Roebuck in 1895 just as the country was emerging from a serious recession. It proved to be an excellent time to help manage a burgeoning mail-order company. Much had occurred in the business world, which made the current and future growth of Sears, Roebuck possible. ...

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3. Blacks, Politics, and Philanthropy, 1908–1912

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pp. 73-134

In November 1908, JR became president and CEO of Sears, Roebuck. Before Richard Sears resigned, JR and James F. Skinner had sought to curb the bombastic catalog descriptions of Sears and Asher. One of JR’s first acts as president was to call a meeting of department heads. He told them that, henceforth, truth in advertising was to be the rule. Catalog copy had to be absolutely clear and aboveboard. ...

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4. Black Schools, Political Attacks, and the Pro¤t Sharing Plan,1912–1916

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pp. 135-184

Julius Rosenwald’s donation of $25,000 to Tuskegee Institute was to prove far and away the most important of all his fiftieth birthday contributions. The brilliant and charismatic Booker T. Washington shaped JR’s gift to suit his purpose, the construction of small rural schools. Then, through clever and timely reporting, he managed to so completely captivate the Chicago philanthropist ...

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5. World War I, 1916–1918

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pp. 185-218

When the Great War broke out in Europe in August 1914, JR adhered to the neutral American position.1 As he stated to a young lawyer, Leo Wormser, who solicited him on behalf of the German Red Cross: “I have taken the position from the start that I would do nothing which would help one side against the other in this great struggle, and that specific...

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6. The Rescue of Sears and the Consolidation of Philanthropic Endeavors, 1919–1924

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pp. 219-263

The mail-order business during and immediately after the war was excellent. At the end of 1918, Sears’s net sales stood at $181,665,829, and net profits for the year were $12,704,064. At the end of the following year, net sales had risen to $238,982,584, and net profits were up by a third to $18,890,125. And the first six months of 1920 were just as spectacular. Retail prices kept rising, but customers bought as if the increases did not ...

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7. New Philanthropic Ventures, 1924–1928

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pp. 264-302

With Charles Kittle and Robert Wood installed in the top executive posts at Sears, Julius Rosenwald could spend more time and energy on the causes that increasingly interested him. Some of these were old interests that now took on a much greater importance, such as the University of Chicago. Another was an old idea that he decided to act on because he had the time and the opportunity to move it forward: ...

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8. The Julius Rosenwald Fund, Hoover, and the Depression,1928–1930

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pp. 303-367

As Edwin Embree settled into his new position, he had much to do. He had been hired to take the Rosenwald Fund in new directions. The board had to be enlarged by adding people from outside the family to provide it with greater expertise and objectivity. There were old programs that Embree needed to become acquainted with and perhaps refine and new programs to consider. ...

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9. Final Year and Postmortem, 1931–1948

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pp. 368-399

Illness and the Depression were the two overriding constants of JR’s final year. He fought against the first, but ultimately lost. The Depression was beyond even his powers of optimism to combat. ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 400-410

In his pathbreaking book The Search for Order, 1877–1920, Robert H. Wiebe describes the advent of a new American middle class around 1900. The men and women who made up this group were characterized by their optimism, their professionalism, their desire to impose order through bureaucracy. ...

Notes

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pp. 411-440

Bibliography

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pp. 441-444

Index

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pp. 445-455