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 Rowland Hussey Macy

Rowland Hussey Macy

Birth
Nantucket, Nantucket County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 29 Mar 1877 (aged 54)
Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Burial Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA
Memorial ID 3010 · View Source
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Businessman. He was the founder of the R.H. Macy and Company department store chain. Born into a Quaker family, his father worked as a shopkeeper. When he was 15 years old he worked on the whaling ship, the Emily Morgan, and had a red star tattooed on his forearm that would later become part of the Macy's logo. At age 19 he started working as a printer's apprentice in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1843, with the financial backing from one of his brothers, he opened his first retail dry goods store but it failed. He moved to California after the discovery of gold in 1849 and ventured in real estate. In 1851 he returned to Massachusetts and opened the first Macy's store in downtown Haverhill, Massachusetts, to serve the mill industry employees of the area. The business eventually failed but he learned from his mistakes and moved to New York City, New York in 1858 and established a new store named R.H. Macy Dry Goods at Sixth Avenue on the corner of 14th Street, significantly north of other dry goods stores of the time. The business began to grow and he expanded into 11 neighboring buildings, opening up more and more departments, and used publicity devices such as a store Santa Claus, themed exhibits, and illuminated window displays to draw in customers. His store became known for its then-innovative policy of clearly marking prices (instead of haggling with customers), and advertising those prices in lively newspaper ads. It offered a money back guarantee, although it only accepted cash into the 1950s. The store also produced its own made-to-measure clothing for both men and women, assembled in an on-site factory. In 1866 he became the first to hire a woman executive in retail sales, promoting saleswoman Margaret Getchell to store superintendent. He died from Bright's disease at the age of 54 while visiting France. He was portrayed by actor Harry Antrim in the 1947 movie "Miracle on 34th Street." In subsequent adaptations of the story, he was played by Don Beddoe in an episode of "The 20th Century-Fox Hour" in 1955, Hiram Sherman in a 1959 television movie, and David Doyle in a 1973 television movie.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 3 Jun 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 3010
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Rowland Hussey Macy (30 Aug 1822–29 Mar 1877), Find A Grave Memorial no. 3010, citing Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, Bronx County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .