Montgomery Ward and Company
Chicago History Museum
Clark St. at North Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614-6071
162 boxes. 1 box of oversize materials. 8 sound recordings.
Office files, primarily from Ward's central operations at 618 and 619 West Chicago Avenue in Chicago (Ill.), relating to Ward's mail order business, warehouses, and nationwide chain of department stores. Includes minutes of boards and committees (1913- ), files of corporate secretaries (1942- ), organization charts of administrators (1913-1998). Financial records include articles of incorporation, by laws, annual reports, various reports and analyses, shareholders’ lists, SEC filings, and corporate records of ca. 60 Montgomery Ward subsidiaries. Files also relate to design and printing of Ward's catalogs (which ended in 1985); the wide range of products that were sold; construction and establishment of office building, warehouses, and later of retail stores; late 20th-century switch to specialty retailing, remodeling old stores, opening new locations, and acquiring Lechmere. Topics also include Ward's role as a pioneer in employee relations and in advertising; Chicago area social service activities; Ward's history and comparisons with competitors, especially during the years of mergers and buy-outs from mid to late 20th century. Beginning in 1912, there are many sales training guides, employee handbooks and benefit plan agreements. Materials about advertising include early advertisements (1880s in photocopies), Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Wendy Ward campaigns, sponsorships of 4-H Club events and the 1976 Olympics, sports personality spokespersons, and celebration of Ward 100th anniversary in 1972. Reports, clippings, etc. also relate to Sewell Avery’s leadership of the company, his World War II confrontation with the federal government and disputes with Ward's board (1940's); proxy battle with a stockholder (1955). Also includes essays, theses, notes, etc. (5 boxes, ca. 1955-1975) collected by Robert V. Guelich while Vice-President for Public Relations at Montgoomery Ward, on the history of Ward and of Aaron montgomery Ward, written by Mrs. Leslie Thorn Kountze, Fred Jameson, Mark Friedburger, and others; newslippings containing feature stories on Ward's; Ward's press releases; in-house marketing studies and reports; and reports generated by consultants regarding Ward's market position in relation to other retail chains (Sears, Penney's, etc.) in Illinois and nationwide.
Finding aid available online http://chsmedia.org/media/fa/fa/M-M/Wards.htm