MACY'S. In 1858, Rowland Hussey Macy opened a fancy dry goods store in New York City that evolved into
one of the world's largest and most famous department stores. After running unsuccessful stores in Massachusetts and in California during the gold rush, Macy employed a low price strategy and aggressive advertising to develop a fast-growing business. In 1874, he rented space in the basement to Lazarus Straus, his supplier of china, glass, and silverware. The member of a rich European Jewish family, Straus came to the United States after the revolution of 1848. He moved to Georgia, became a peddler, and eventually operated a store, before moving to New York. After R. H. Macy died in 1877, his successor took Straus as a partner in 1888 and sold him the entire store in 1896.
The Straus family moved the store to Herald Square (34th Street and Broadway) in 1902. With the completion of its Seventh Avenue expansion in 1924, Macy's became the largest store in the world (2,200,200 square feet). The company built its reputation by advertising heavily and consistently selling merchandise for less than the competition. The company advertised "We sell goods cheaper than any house in the world," and "Save 6% at Macy's." The term "Macy's basement" became a metaphor for crowds and "Macy's window" a synonym for a public place to be seen.
The Strauses became one of the richest families in America. Family patriarch Isidor and his wife Ida died on the voyage of the Titanic. His brother Jesse became Ambassador to France.
Macy's started one of the first in-store employee training programs in 1914 and began the famous executive training program in 1919. Many successful executives received their training at Macy's. Movie stars Carol Channing and Burgess Meredith as well as Mayor Jimmie Walker also worked at Macy's. The world-famous Macy's New York Thanksgiving Day Parade began in 1924. The corporation expanded outside of New York, buying stores in Toledo, Ohio (1923), Atlanta, Georgia (1925), Newark, New Jersey (1929), San Francisco (1945), and Kansas City, Missouri (1949).
In the 1980s the executives of Macy's purchased the company in a leveraged buyout. When sales did not meet estimates in 1992, the company incurred a large debt, forcing it into bankruptcy. Two years later, Federated Department Stores acquired control of Macy's and consolidated other Federated stores into new Macy's East and Macy's West divisions.
Harris, Leon. Merchant Princes: An Intimate History of Jewish Families Who Built Great Department Stores. New York: Harper & Row, 1979.
Hower, Ralph M. History of Macy's New York, 1858–1919: Chapters in the Evolution of the Department Store. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1943.
International Directory of Company Histories. Vols. 5, 30. Chicago: St. James Press, 1988, 1999.
"Macy's." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. (February 16, 2019). https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/macys
"Macy's." Dictionary of American History. . Retrieved February 16, 2019 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/macys
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.