Charles Rudolph Walgreen

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Charles R. Walgreen
Charles R. Walgreen.jpg
Walgreen, pictured above, is the founder of Walgreens.
Born(1873-10-09)October 9, 1873
Knoxville, Illinois
DiedDecember 11, 1939(1939-12-11) (aged 66)
Cuba
Cause of death
malaria and yellow fever
NationalityAmerican
Alma materDixon Business College
OccupationFounder of Walgreens
Spouse(s)Myrtle Norton Walgreen[1]
ChildrenCharles Rudolph Walgreen, Jr.
Ruth Walgreen
ParentsCarl Magnus Olofsson
 
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Charles R. Walgreen
Charles R. Walgreen.jpg
Walgreen, pictured above, is the founder of Walgreens.
Born(1873-10-09)October 9, 1873
Knoxville, Illinois
DiedDecember 11, 1939(1939-12-11) (aged 66)
Cuba
Cause of death
malaria and yellow fever
NationalityAmerican
Alma materDixon Business College
OccupationFounder of Walgreens
Spouse(s)Myrtle Norton Walgreen[1]
ChildrenCharles Rudolph Walgreen, Jr.
Ruth Walgreen
ParentsCarl Magnus Olofsson

Charles Rudolph Walgreen (October 9, 1873 – December 11, 1939) was an American businessman who founded Walgreens.

His Background[edit]

He was born in Knoxville, Illinois before moving to Galesburg, Illinois at a young age. He is the son of Swedish immigrants. When his father, Carl Magnus Olofsson, came to America from Sweden, the family name was changed to Walgreen. When he was still quite young he and his family relocated to Dixon, Illinois in 1887. He attended Dixon High School, Dixon, IL (1889) and Dixon Business College. He was a member of the international fraternity Tau Kappa Epsilon.[2]

As a young adult, he lost part of a finger in an accident at a shoe factory. The doctor who treated him persuaded him to become an apprentice for a local druggist. His interest in pharmacy dated from the time he was employed by D.S. Horton, a druggist in Dixon where he was apprenticed as a pharmacist. In 1893, Walgreen went to Chicago and became a registered pharmacist.[3] At the start of the Spanish-American War, Walgreen enlisted with the 1st Illinois Volunteer Cavalry. While serving in Cuba, he contracted malaria and yellow fever, which continued to plague him for the rest of his life.[4]

Careers[edit]

After his discharge, Walgreen returned to Chicago and worked as a pharmacist for Isaac Blood. In 1901, when Blood retired, Walgreen bought the store from him. He opened a second store in 1909, and by 1916 owned nine drug stores, which he incorporated as Walgreen Co. Walgreens was one of the first chains to carry non-pharmaceuticals as a mainstay of the store's retail selection. Walgreens offered low-priced lunch counters, built its own ice cream factory, and introduced the malted milk shake in 1922. By 1927, Walgreen had established 110 stores.

His son Charles Rudolph Walgreen, Jr. (March 4, 1906 – February 10, 2007) and grandson Charles R. Walgreen III both shared his name and played prominent roles in the company he founded. His daughter, Ruth Walgreen, married Justin Whitlock Dart, Sr.. Dart left the Walgreens company after they divorced, and went on to control rival Rexall Drug Stores in 1943.[5] Ruth, in her adult years a published poet, eventually remarried and began spending winters in Tucson, Arizona, where in the early 1960s she was instrumental in establishing the Poetry Center at the University of Arizona.

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