Abstract: Early Female Managers at Two Leading American Department Stores

Judy K. Miler


This paper presents the early managerial women at Macy's and Filene's uncovered in research for the period 1870-1920. Examination of the factors that may have led to the success of these women is presented, supporting the multidimensional relationship between retailing and the environment. Evidence suggests that these female leaders possessed traits that non-leaders do not. Independence, self-initiative, talent, intuition, hard work, and risk-taking are all attributes that many of these women shared. Managerial women and men, as well as leaders, have repeatedly held these traits since the time of these early female managers. It was impossible to conclude, however, whether or not the traits were instrumental in the women's becoming leaders and/or managers.