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“…Everywhere there is quality and a willingness to serve…” A January 1929 letter from W.T. Grant to Stephen T. Mather

Fifty-six years before there was Walmart, there was W.T. Grant Department Stores.  From its founding in Lynn MA in 1906, W.T. Grant peaked at 1,074 stores.   Perhaps because of his own dedication to pursuing and building an enterprise attracting the American public, W.T. Grant was an admirer of and correspondent with Stephen Mather.


In a typewritten 1929 letter to Stephen Mather, W.T. Grant writes in part…

       “Although I have never met you, I call you friend because you have befriended me by giving me much joy thru the U.S. Park System which you have done so much for…


…Everywhere there is quality and a willingness to serve, well displayed by your organization.  You have demonstrated that a federal job can be done with both intelligence, efficiency and love…”


Grant titled a tribute in his company newsletter “Stephen Mather Did A Good Job,” and wrote…


“The thousands of men and women who have enjoyed our national parks may never have heard his name.  He was not a self-advertiser.   His work was what counted most.  When he spoke in public, the thoughts he uttered were big as parks themselves…”


William Thomas Grant 1876-1972

At age 7 Grant began his sales career by selling flower seeds. Years later, he wanted to sell people what they needed at prices they could afford, with only a modest profit. In 1906, he opened his first "W. T. Grant Co. 25 Cent Store.”  By 1936 the company’s annual sales topped $100 million.  That same year, he started the William T. Grant Foundation.  Among his avocations were philosophy, painting, and local philanthropy.

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