Fred Lazarus Jr.

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Fred Lazarus Jr.
Born Fred R. Lazarus Jr.
(1884-10-29)October 29, 1884
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Died May 27, 1973(1973-05-27) (aged 88)
Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
Citizenship United States
Alma mater Ohio State University
Occupation Store worker
Known for Founder of Federated Department Stores
Spouse(s) Meta Marx (until her death)
Celia Kahn Rosenthal
Children with Marx:
--Fred Lazarus III
--Ralph Lazarus
--Maurice Lazarus
--Ann Lazarus
Parent(s) Rose Eichberg Lazarus
Fred Lazarus, Sr.
Relatives Simon Lazarus (grandfather)
Simon Lazarus, Sr. (brother)
Robert Lazarus, Sr. (brother)
Jeffrey Lazarus, Sr. (brother)
Ralph Lazarus (uncle)

Fred R. Lazarus Jr. (October 29, 1884 – May 27, 1973) was an American founder of Federated Department Stores, which became Macy's, Inc.

Early life[edit]

Fred Lazarus Jr. was born to a Jewish family on October 29, 1884, the son of Rose (née Eichberg) and Fred Lazarus.[1] He was the second of four brothers, Simon Sr. (August 19, 1882 – December 21, 1947), Robert Sr. (September 20, 1890 – February 4, 1973), and Jeffrey Sr. (June 20, 1894 – 1975). He grew up working in his family's store, F. & R. Lazarus, founded by his grandfather Simon Lazarus, an immigrant retailer. He briefly attended the Ohio State University, but dropped out at the age of 18 to work full-time in the store.

Businessman career[edit]

He began expanding the business soon afterward; under his leadership, federated eventually became the largest department store company in the United States. In 1928, the company purchased The John Shillito Company department store in Cincinnati. In the summer of 1929, months before the Wall Street Crash of 1929, F. & R. Lazarus merged with Abraham & Straus of Brooklyn, Filene's of Boston and Bloomingdale's of New York to become Federated Department Stores, of which "Mr. Fred" was the chairman. Lazarus himself exerted enormous financial, social, and political clout; he is credited with convincing President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939 to move Thanksgiving a week earlier, to the fourth Thursday in November instead of the last Thursday in November, in order to make the Christmas shopping season longer in those years on which November had 5 Thursdays.

The Lazarus family pioneered many shopping firsts such as the concept of "one low price" (in which no bargaining was required); theirs was also the first department store with escalators and the first air conditioned store in the country.

Personal life[edit]

Lazarus married twice. In 1911, he married Meta Marx; she died in 1932.[1] They had 4 children: Fred Lazarus III, Ralph Lazarus, Maurice Lazarus, and Ann Lazarus.[1] In 1935, he married Celia Kahn Rosenthal.[1]

Fred Lazarus Jr. is interred in the Lazarus Family Mausoleum in Greenlawn Cemetery, Columbus, Ohio.


  1. ^ a b c d Shamir, Israel. Who's who in Commerce and Industry, Volume 14. p. 760. 

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