Rosenwald, Julius

Rosenwald, Julius

(rō`zənwôld), 1862–1932, American merchant and philanthropist, b. Springfield, Ill. He was president (1910–25), and later chairman of the board, of the mail-order house of Sears, Roebuck & Company. He established in 1917 the Julius Rosenwald Fund, which was largely used to establish rural schools for blacks. His many philanthropies also included Jewish relief in the Middle East and Russia, funds for YMCA and YWCA buildings in cities with large black populations, and grants to educational institutions.

Bibliography

See biography by M. R. Werner (1939).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/

Rosenwald, Julius

(1862–1932) merchant/business executive, philanthropist; born in Springfield, Ill. He was born across the street from Abraham Lincoln's house and was influenced by the Lincoln mystique. He ran a menswear shop in Chicago (1885–95). When the recently formed Sears, Roebuck & Company moved to Chicago (1893), he became its vice-president (1895–1910), then its president (1910–25) and chairman of the board (1925–32). He built it up to become America's largest retail store, pioneering in the mail-order business, and creating one of the first savings and profit-sharing plans for employees. As he himself greatly prospered, by 1917 he had set up the Julius Rosenwald Fund for the "well-being of mankind"; in the following years he gave generously to causes of all kinds, but especially to Jewish groups in Russia, to Germany after World War I, and to African-American Young Men's Christian Associations and to schools in the southern U.S.A.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.