Julius Rosenwald Biography

Julius Rosenwald

merchant, retail executive, philanthropist
Born: 8/12/1862
Birthplace: Springfield, Ill.

Having successfully run a Chicago store specializing in men's fashions (1885–95), Rosenwald was tapped by Sears, Roebuck & Company to become its vice-president when it moved to Chicago in 1893. He served as vice-president (1895–1910), president (1910–25) and chairman of the board (1925–32), successfully growing the business until Sears was America's largest retail store. He introduced the concept of mail-order business, and created one of the first savings and profit-sharing plans for employees. Eager to share his personal success with others, he set up the Julius Rosenwald Fund (1917) for the “well-being of mankind,” which funded the creation of schools for rural blacks in America, aided Jewish relief agencies in Russia and in the Middle East, and funded YMCA and YWCA buildings and programs.

Died: 1/6/1932