Aaron Montgomery Ward opened Montgomery Ward department store in 1872 as a mail-order company and offered 163 products on a one-page catalog. Due to high sales, the store was mailing out more than 3 million catalogs per year by 1904.
In 1919, Montgomery Ward went public on the stock market and survived the Great Depression as one of the largest retailers in the country. In 1939, the illustrated poem "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" was created by one of the company's advertisers, and the stores handed out copies during the Christmas season.
During World War II, Montgomery Ward refused to comply with National War Labor Board's labor agreements, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt had its properties seized. The company was a major supplier of the Allied forces but would not do business under the collective bargaining agreements of 1943 and 1944.
In 2000, Montgomery Ward closed all of its retail stores in the country due to competition from discount retail companies such as Wal-Mart and Target. In 2008, the brand name was sold to a subsidiary of Colony Brands, Inc.
Montgomery Ward, based in Madison, Wisconsin, now specializes in home goods and offers a variety of well-known brands, such as Keurig, Canon, Black & Decker, Rachel Ray and KitchenAid.