Aaron Montgomery Ward (February 17, 1843 – December 7, 1913) was an American businessman notable for the invention of mail order.

The mail-order industry was started by Aaron Montgomery Ward in 1872 in Chicago. Ward, a young traveling salesman of dry goods, was concerned over the plight of many rural Midwest Americans who were, he thought, being overcharged and under-served by many of the small town retailers on whom they had to rely for their general merchandise. Ward continues to be described as the protector of Grant Park.

Aaron Montgomery Ward was born on February 17, 1844, in Chatham, New Jersey. When he was about nine years old, his father, Sylvester Ward, moved the family to Niles, Michigan, where Aaron attended public schools. He was one of a large family, which at that time was far from wealthy. When he was fourteen, he was apprenticed to a trade to help support the family. According to his brief memoirs, he first earned 25 cents per day at a cutting machine in a barrel stave factory, and then stacking brick in a kiln at 30 cents a day.

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