1953 Horatio Alger Award Winner
"Sincere efforts of adherence to the Golden Rule were responsible for my success in a material way."
James Cash Penney was born in 1875 in Hamilton, Missouri. After graduating from high school, he went to work for a local dry goods merchant, where he earned less than $5 a month. He moved to Colorado for health reasons and opened a combination butcher-bakery shop. This business failed and Penney became a clerk in a clothing store called Golden Rule. In 1902, he was offered a one-third partnership in a new Golden Rule store, which Penney opened in Wyoming. In 1908, he bought out his partners and continued to open more Golden Rule stores. In 1913, he incorporated the J. C. Penney Company and the Golden Rule name was phased out. During the 1920s, J. C. Penney expanded nationwide. Today, there are more than 1,000 department stores in the U. S. and Puerto Rico. J. C. Penney is the nation's largest catalog merchant of general merchandise.* Deceased