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The retail revolution: How mail order changed middle-class life

09 May 2019

"Beware! Don't patronize Montgomery Ward & Co. They are deadbeats!" That was the warning issued by the Chicago Tribune on 8 November, 1873.

What had Aaron Montgomery Ward done to convince the Tribune's editorial staff that he was running a "swindling firm" preying on "gulls" and "dupes" in the countryside?

Ward's flyers were offering suspiciously "Utopian" prices on more than 200 goods. And what's more, Montgomery Ward & Co didn't display those wares in a shop, or employ any agents to sell them.

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