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James Cash "J. C." Penney, Jr.

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Hamilton, Caldwell County, MIssouri, United States
Death: February 12, 1971 (95)
Bronx, New York, New York, United States (heart attack)
Place of Burial: Bronx, New York City, New York, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of James (Jim)Cash Penney and Mary Frances Penney
Husband of Bertha Alva Penney; Mary Hortense Penney and Caroline Marie Penney
Father of James Cash Penney, III; Russell Penney; Kimball Penney; Mary Frances Wagley and Carol Marie Penney

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About J. C. Penney

http://www.house.mo.gov/famous.aspx?fm=16

James Cash Penney, Jr. (September 16, 1875 – February 12, 1971) was an American businessman and entrepreneur who, in 1902, founded the J.C. Penney stores.

In 1898, Penney began working for a small chain of stores in the western United States called the Golden Rule stores. In 1902 owners, Guy Johnson and Thomas Callahan, impressed by his work ethic and salesmanship, offered him one-third partnership in a new store he would open. Penney invested $2,000 and moved to Kemmerer, Wyoming, to open a store there. He participated in opening two more stores, and when Callahan and Johnson dissolved their partnership in 1907 he purchased full interest in all three stores.


By 1912, there were 34 stores in the Rocky Mountain States. In 1913 he moved the company to the Kearns Building in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. The company was incorporated under the new name, J. C. Penney Company. In 1916, he began to expand the chain east of the Mississippi and during the 1920s, the Penney stores expanded nationwide, with 120 stores in 1920 (mostly still in the west) By 1924, Penneys' reported income of more than $1 million dollars annually.[1] The number of stores reached 1,400 by 1929. The large income allowed Penney to be heavily involved in many philanthropic causes during the 1920s. By 1921 Penney had a home (Belle Isle) on Biscayne Bay in Miami. Penney and partner Ralph W. Gwinn had invested heavily in Florida real estate including 120,000 acres (490 km2) in Clay County. Some of this land became Penney Farms. This was also the start of Foremost Dairy Products Inc. Penney later recruited Paul E. Reinhold to run the dairy. Most of this work was halted when the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression left Penney in financial ruin.


After the 1929 stock crash, Penney lost virtually all his personal wealth, and borrowed against his life insurance policies to help the company meet its payroll. The financial setbacks took a toll on his health. Penney checked himself into the Battle Creek Sanitarium, where he was treated. After hearing the hymn "God Will Take Care of You" (written by Civilla Durfee Martin) being sung at a service in the hospital’s chapel, Penney became a born-again Christian.[2] Even after relinquishing daily operating management of the company Penney continued his active involvement in managing the company and its stores. In 1940, during a visit to a store in Des Moines, Iowa, he trained a young Sam Walton on how to wrap packages with a minimal amount of ribbon.[3] He remained as chairman of the board until 1946, and after that as honorary chairman until his death in 1971.


Personal life


Boyhood home in Hamilton (that was moved from a farm to town for display)


J.C. Penney was born on a farm outside of Hamilton, Caldwell County, Missouri to James Cash Penney, Sr. and Mary Frances (née Paxton) Penney. He was the seventh of twelve children, only six of whom lived to adulthood. Penney's father was a Baptist preacher and farmer whose strict discipline included making his son pay for his own clothing once he reached his late pre-teens. His intentions after graduation from Hamilton High School were to attend college with the hopes of becoming a lawyer. However, his father's untimely death forced a change in plans, with Penney taking a job as a store clerk to help support the family. Penney's health problems caused him to venture west to Longmont, Colorado, in his early twenties, where he found employment with the previously mentioned Golden Rule stores.[4]


James Cash Penney married three times in his life. First wife Bertha Alva Hess died of pneumonia, second wife Mary Hortense Kimball also died of unspecified medical issues in 1924. Finally Penney found lasting love with third wife Caroline Marie Autenrieth, to whom he was married forty-five years until his death.[5] By his first wife he had two sons, Roswell Penney and James C. Penney III. By his second wife he had another son, Kimball Penney. And by his third wife, he had two daughters, Mary Frances Penney and Carol Penney.


On December 26, 1970, Penney fell and fractured his hip. Just a few weeks later, he suffered a heart attack and never fully recovered. He died February 12, 1971. The Reverend Dr. Norman Vincent Peale delivered the eulogy at Penneys' funeral. Penney was buried in the Bronx section of New York City. His grave, at the Woodlawn Cemetery, is not far from that of fellow retail entrepreneur, F.W. Woolworth.


Affiliations


Penney was a Freemason most of his adult life, being Initiated into Wasatch Lodge No. 1 Free and Accepted Masons of Utah, on April 18, 1911.[6][7] A member of both the Scottish and York Rites Penney was coroneted a 33rd Degree on October 16, 1945, and received the Gold Distinguished Service Award by the General Grand Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, in Kansas City, Missouri in 1958.


Penney was involved with the founding of the University of Miami and served on its Board of Trustees from 1926 to 1930.[8]


During the Great Depression, Penney teamed with Thomas J. Watson, President and Founder of IBM, Arthur Godfrey, the radio and TV personality; and Norman Vincent Peale, a minister, inspirational speaker, and author of The Power of Positive Thinking, to form the first board of 40Plus, an organization that helps unemployed managers and executives.[9] Penney was also member of two professional fraternities: Alpha Gamma Rho and Alpha Kappa Psi.


Penney founded the James C. Penney Foundation in 1954. The foundation was restructured in 1999 as the Penney Family Fund, and is no longer affiliated with J.C. Penney Co., Inc. or its corporate giving program. Today, the fund is part of the Common Counsel Foundation, an Oakland, California based consortium of family philanthropic foundations and individual donors. The Penney Family Fund endows organizations in Oregon, California, and Washington state that work to advance human rights, community social, political, and economic empowerment, government accountability, and environmental sustainability.[10]

History of the Stores

The JC Penney Company, long among the world’s largest department store chains, traces its roots to a one-room shop in a small Wyoming coal-mining town. The store’s founder was James Cash Penney, a Missourian born in 1875 who had moved west after his doctor suggested his health would benefit from the region’s drier climate.

Penney first stopped in Longmont, Colo., where he opened a butcher shop in 1898. His venture depended on purchases by a local hotel. When the straitlaced Penney refused to give liquor to the hotel cook in return for his trade, the butcher shop failed.

Penney then signed on as store clerk at the local Golden Rule Store, part of a small dry goods chain that featured work clothes, fabric, and sewing supplies. His work ethic caught the eye of the chain’s owners, who dispatched him to manage their Evanston, Wyo., store in 1899.

Three years later, on April 14, 1902, they made him a one-third partner in their new store in Kemmerer, Wyo. on the Oregon Short Line Railroad, a subsidiary of the Union Pacific first constructed in 1882 from Granger, Wyo. on the UP line northwest to Montpelier, Idaho. The town had sprung up seemingly overnight after coal was discovered in 1897, and had 1,000 residents by the time Penney arrived. The railroad needed coal, the coal mines needed miners, and the miners and their families needed dry goods. Penney put up $2,000 for his share of the store, an investment that paid off handsomely. Golden Rule sold what mining families needed, and it sold it affordably. In 1902, its first year, the store cleared $8,000 on sales of more than $28,000. It also laid the foundation of a retail empire.

The ambitious Penney began to expand, first within Wyoming, where he opened new stores in Rock Springs and Cumberland, (like Kemmerer, a coal camp on the Oregon Short Line, but now extinct). In 1907, he bought out his partners’ Wyoming holdings and used them as a springboard to open stores in Idaho and Utah, and eventually across the nation. In 1913, he replaced the Golden Rule name with his own. The JC Penney Company was born.

Penney’s business philosophy was simple — find good employees, train them well, and sell quality goods at a small markup in order to keep prices down. The tactic worked. By 1917, the chain had nearly 200 stores; by 1928, there were more than 1,000. Eventually, the number exceeded 2,000 as the store found niches in Main Streets across America. Today, the company operates fewer stores — about 1,100 — but they tend to be much larger than the old Main Street outlets.

Penney grew up in an era in America when agriculture was giving way to industrialization, and he would become part of the movement that saw millions leave farming for urban occupations. His father, James Cash Penney Sr., was a minister and civic leader who ran unsuccessfully for Congress on a populist ticket in 1894. But the elder Penney also ran a 390-acre farm where the family raised both cattle and crops. Penney had hoped to attend college when he graduated from high school in 1893, but his parents could not afford to send him. So Penney stayed on the farm for two years, until his father found him work as a clerk at a local dry goods merchant. Penney took to this new line of work, and began to set aside money to start a business of his own.

Outside his business, his interests mirrored his upbringing — religion, education, and agriculture. He built a retirement home for ministers in Florida, he underwrote vocational guidance programs on the radio, and he raised purebred cattle on his two farms, one in Missouri, the other in New York. He took out bank loans to finance his philanthropy, using company stock as collateral.

That decision cost him dearly when the Depression struck. Much of the collateral was lost. In addition, Penney was personally liable when a Florida bank, where he served as board chairman, failed in 1930; he paid several million dollars to cover losses by bank depositors. As his own financial situation worsened, he was forced to sell one of his homes. It took years to rebuild his fortune.

However, his company fared better during the Depression, thanks in part to its conservative fiscal policies. The company had sizeable cash reserves and no long-term debt. Meanwhile, the chain’s practice of providing quality at affordable price helped to bring in cash-strapped customers.

Even so, Penney thought his stores could have done better as the Depression ground on. His column in the May 1932 edition of the company newsletter chastised managers for failing to sell goods that had languished on store shelves for a year or longer. He suggested more persuasive selling practices might have kept sales from falling, even in a dismal economy. “You miss the mark unless you call to the attention of every man or woman that comes into the store that many (of our) lines have been priced lower than they have ever been,” he wrote.

Penney’s success made him a national figure, whose business philosophy and methods provided a model for others to follow. Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton put a copy of Penney’s motto above his desk. It read: “Serve the public…to its ultimate satisfaction.” Wal-Mart is now the world’s largest corporation. Penney’s influence stemmed in part from his longevity. Typically, the tenure of a top corporate official is short; Penney was at the top of his company for more than four decades. He began his career in an era when cars were still rare on American streets, and ran the company through three wars and the Great Depression before stepping down as chairman in 1958. He continued to serve on Penney’s corporate board until his death at age 95 in 1971. By the time he died, Americans had landed on the moon.

His career in Wyoming lasted just a decade. Thanks to his early success, his company quickly outgrew the state. In 1909, he moved the company’s headquarters to Salt Lake City. Five years later, it moved to New York City. After his death, the company settled in suburban Dallas. But in 1902, Wyoming had provided exactly what young Penney needed to found a chain that has survived, as of 2011, for 109 years – a tiny coal-mining town where the people wanted to buy what he had to sell.

Commemorations

  • The J.C. Penney Conference Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis was dedicated in his honor on January 23, 1972. The building was made possible through financial donations by Mr. Penney and his company.
  • Mr. Penney was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 1976.
  • The J. C. Penney Historic District in Kemmerer, Wyoming was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1978.
  • In 1994, Penney was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians, and a bronze bust depicting him is on permanent display in the rotunda of the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City.
  • Hamilton High School in Hamilton, Missouri was renamed Penney High School.[11]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Cash_Penney

James Cash Penney, Jr. (September 16, 1875 – February 12, 1971) was an American businessman and entrepreneur who, in 1902, founded the J. C. Penney stores.

J.C. Penney Stores

Further information: J. C. Penney http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._C._Penney

In 1898, Penney began working for a small chain of stores in the western United States called the Golden Rule stores. In 1902, owners Guy Johnson and Thomas Callahan, impressed by his work ethic and salesmanship, offered him one-third partnership in a new store he would open. Penney invested $2,000 and moved to Kemmerer, Wyoming, to open a store there. He participated in opening two more stores, and when Callahan and Johnson dissolved their partnership in 1907 he purchased full interest in all three stores.

By 1912, there were 34 stores in the Rocky Mountain States. In 1913 he moved the company to the Kearns Building in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. The company was incorporated under the new name, J. C. Penney Company. In 1916, he began to expand the chain east of the Mississippi and during the 1920s, the Penney stores expanded nationwide, with 120 stores in 1920 (mostly still in the west) By 1924, Penney's reported income of more than $1 million annually. The number of stores reached 1,400 by 1929. The large income allowed Penney to be heavily involved in many philanthropic causes during the 1920s. By 1921 Penney had a home (Belle Isle) on Biscayne Bay in Miami. Penney and partner Ralph W. Gwinn had invested heavily in Florida real estate including 120,000 acres (490 km2) in Clay County. Some of this land became Penney Farms. This was also the start of Foremost Dairy Products Inc. Penney later recruited Paul E. Reinhold to run the dairy. Most of this work was halted when the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression left Penney in financial ruin.

After the 1929 stock crash, Penney lost virtually all his personal wealth, and borrowed against his life insurance policies to help the company meet its payroll. The financial setbacks took a toll on his health. Penney checked himself into the Battle Creek Sanitarium, where he was treated. After hearing the hymn "God Will Take Care of You" (written by Civilla Durfee Martin) being sung at a service in the hospital’s chapel, Penney became a born-again Christian. Even after relinquishing daily operating management of the company, Penney continued his active involvement in managing the company and its stores. In 1940, during a visit to a store in Des Moines, Iowa, he trained a young Sam Walton on how to wrap packages with a minimal amount of ribbon. He remained as chairman of the board until 1946, and after that as honorary chairman until his death in 1971.

Personal life

J.C. Penney was born on a farm outside of Hamilton, Caldwell County, Missouri to James Cash Penney, Sr. and Mary Frances (née Paxton) Penney. He was the seventh of twelve children, only six of whom lived to adulthood. Penney's father was a Baptist preacher and farmer whose strict discipline included making his son pay for his own clothing once he reached his late pre-teens. His intentions after graduation from Hamilton High School were to attend college with the hopes of becoming a lawyer. However, his father's untimely death forced a change in plans, with Penney taking a job as a store clerk to help support the family. Penney's health problems caused him to venture west to Longmont, Colorado, in his early twenties, where he found employment with the previously mentioned Golden Rule stores.

James Cash Penney married three times in his life. His first wife Bertha Alva Hess died of pneumonia, and the second wife Mary Hortense Kimball also died of unspecified medical issues in 1924. Finally Penney found lasting love with third wife Caroline Marie Autenrieth, to whom he was married forty-five years until his death. By his first wife he had two sons, Roswell Penney and James C. Penney III. By his second wife he had another son, Kimball Penney. And by his third wife, he had two daughters, Mary Frances Penney and Carol Penney.

On December 26, 1970, Penney fell and fractured his hip. Just a few weeks later, he suffered a heart attack and never fully recovered. He died February 12, 1971. The Reverend Dr. Norman Vincent Peale delivered the eulogy at Penney's funeral. Penney was buried in the Bronx section of New York City. His grave, at the Woodlawn Cemetery, is not far from that of fellow retail entrepreneur, F. W. Woolworth.

Affiliations

Penney was a Freemason most of his adult life, being Initiated into Wasatch Lodge No. 1 Free and Accepted Masons of Utah, on April 18, 1911. A member of both the Scottish and York Rites, Penney was coroneted a 33rd Degree on October 16, 1945, and received the Gold Distinguished Service Award by the General Grand Chapter, Royal Arch Masons, in Kansas City, Missouri in 1958.

Penney was involved with the founding of the University of Miami and served on its Board of Trustees from 1926 to 1930.

During the Great Depression, Penney teamed with Thomas J. Watson, President and Founder of IBM, Arthur Godfrey, the radio and TV personality; and Norman Vincent Peale, a minister, inspirational speaker, and author of The Power of Positive Thinking, to form the first board of 40Plus, an organization that helps unemployed managers and executives. Penney was also member of two professional fraternities: Alpha Gamma Rho and Alpha Kappa Psi.

Penney founded the James C. Penney Foundation in 1954. The foundation was restructured in 1999 as the Penney Family Fund, and is no longer affiliated with J.C. Penney Co., Inc. or its corporate giving program. Today, the fund is part of the Common Counsel Foundation, an Oakland, California based consortium of family philanthropic foundations and individual donors. The Penney Family Fund endows organizations in Oregon, California, and Washington state that work to advance human rights, community social, political, and economic empowerment, government accountability, and environmental sustainability.

Commemoration

The J.C. Penney Conference Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis was dedicated in his honor on January 23, 1972. The building was made possible through financial donations by Mr. Penney and his company.

Mr. Penney was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 1976. The J. C. Penney Historic District in Kemmerer, Wyoming was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1978.

In 1994, Penney was inducted into the Hall of Famous Missourians, and a bronze bust depicting him is on permanent display in the rotunda of the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City.

Hamilton High School in Hamilton, Missouri was renamed Penney High School.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Cash_Penney


Other Sources:

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J. C. Penney's Timeline

1875
September 15, 1875
Hamilton, Caldwell County, MIssouri, United States
1903
December 27, 1903
Age 28
Kemmerer, Lincoln, Wyoming, United States
1920
September 28, 1920
Age 45
New York, New York, United States
1927
May 28, 1927
Age 51
New York, New York, United States
1971
February 12, 1971
Age 95
New York, New York, United States
1971
Age 95
Bronx, New York City, New York, United States
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