WANAMAKER, John (1838-1922), American merchant, born in Philadelphia. In 1857 he left a job as a salesman in a men's clothing store and became secretary of the Philadelphia Young Men's Christian
Association. In 1861 he returned to business as a partner in the clothing firm of Wanamaker and Brown. Eight years later he opened the men's store known as John Wanamaker and Co., which later expanded to include a group
of specialty shops comprising one of the largest DEPARTMENT STORES (q.v.) in the country. In 1896 he purchased the New York City store founded by the American merchant Alexander Turney Stewart (1803-76). Wanamaker was
one of the first merchants to undertake large-scale advertising campaigns and to utilize the service of advertising agencies. From 1870-83 he was president of the Philadelphia YMCA. Wanamaker served as postmaster
general from 1889 to 1893 during the administration of President Benjamin Harrison.