John Wanamaker : Boy Merchant by Olive Woolley Burt ; illustrated by Harry H. Lees
Indianapolis : Bobbs-Merrill, 1952. First edition, first printing. Hardcover. 192 pages ; illustrations ; 20 cm. $1.75 dust jacket. Dust Jacket has a bit of wear and tear to the corner edges and spine. Small bookshop label on the flyleaf. Pages are unmarked and binding is firm.
From the dust jacket :
"If only we had a Conestoga wagon!" said Johnny. "We could go to the City and load it with things to sell—"
Johnny Wanamaker and his cousin Jacob wanted to earn money, to get food for the school picnic. Pennies were scarce around Pennsylvania-Dutch households in the 1850s. It was even hard to make a trade, because the thrifty farmers sent all their produce to Phila¬delphia, to be sold in the many small shops there.
Every day big Conestoga wagons passed the Wanamaker farm, carrying goods to the City, or pioneers to the west. Johnny wished he could travel either way, but the City-bound wagons interested him more. Trading was a game to him; it was fun to supply the thing that satisfied a customer. Buying and selling were much more exciting than farm work! Johnny scorned Jacob's suggestion of helping farmers take care of livestock.
Johnny always had his eye out for a good sale. Now, he reasoned, get something people need, and charge a fair price for it. What did their neighbors need? Well, fat old Mr. Holsopple was very fond of frogs' legs. Johnny caught frogs and took them to Mr. Holsopple's store; sure enough, he made a good trade. Johnny was smart enough to realize that Mr. Holsopple tried at first to get the frogs for less than they were worth. Johnny held out for his fair price—and he got it, along with the old merchant's respect.
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