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George Draper Dayton

Born: 6-Mar-1857
Birthplace: Clifton Springs, NY
Died: 18-Feb-1938
Location of death: Minneapolis, MN
Cause of death: Cancer - unspecified
Remains: Buried, Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis, MN

Gender: Male
Religion: Presbyterian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business
Party Affiliation: Republican

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Founder of what is now Target Stores

George Draper Dayton established the Minnesota Loan & Investment Company in Worthington, Minnesota, and eventually opened operations in Minneapolis. There, in 1902, Dayton's bank foreclosed on a struggling retail store, the Goodfellow Dry Goods Company, which he renamed after himself. Dayton Dry Goods grew into a major American chain of department stores, which Dayton operated under strict Presbyterian principles, including keeping the stores closed on Sundays, performing no inventory, repair, or business-related travel on the Sabbath, and never purchasing advertisements in newspapers that also advertised liquor.

After his death, Dayton's sons took control of the company, continuing to operate the business by their father's Christian standards. When the third generation of the family took charge in 1950, however, the company broke with its previous principles -- and business boomed. In 1956, the Dayton Corporation built Southdale, America's first fully enclosed shopping mall, in suburban Minneapolis, and in 1962 Dayton opened a discount department store called Target. Over subsequent decades the company owned and sold the Diamond's, Lipman's, Marshall Field's, and Mervyn's department stores. In 1966 Dayton's grandson, Bruce Dayton, switched one letter of his last name to distinguish a new bookstore, B. Dalton Bookseller, from its corporate parent. By 1975, Target was the most profitable portion of the Dayton's empire, and in 2000 the company renamed itself Target Corporation.

Father: David Day Dayton (physician, b. 1811, d. 1881)
Mother: Caroline Wesley Draper Dayton (b. 16-Oct-1815. m. 28-Feb-1856, d. 1886)
Brother: Edson Dayton (b. 1845, d. infancy)
Brother: Edson Dayton (b. 1848, d. 1853)
Sister: Josephine Elizabeth Dayton
Sister: Caroline Amanda Dayton
Brother: Benjamin Bonney Dayton (b. 1854, d. 1887)
Brother: Edson Carr Dayton (b. 1860)
Wife: Emma Willard Chadwick Dayton (b. 1856, m. 17-Dec-1878, d. 19-Jan-1931)
Son: David Draper Dayton (Dayton Company executive, "Draper", b. 1880, d. 1923)
Daughter: Caroline Dayton Hayden (b. 5-Feb-1883, d. 26-Dep-1950)
Son: George Nelson Dayton (President of Dayton Company, b. 3-Aug-1886, d. 1-Apr-1950)
Daughter: Josephine Dayton Blair (b. 26-Apr-1889, d. 8-Dec-1940)

    Administrator: Trustee, Macalester College

    Target Founder and President, Dayton Dry Goods Company (1903-38)
    Minnesota Loan & Investment Company Founder and President
    Young Women's Christian Association Board, Minneapolis, MN

Author of books:
George Draper Dayton: An Autobiography (1933, memoir)


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