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The Bon Marché:
Bourgeois Culture and the Department Store, 1869-1920
Michael B. Miller

Paperback | 1994 | $46.00 | £38.95 | ISBN: 9780691034942
304 pp. | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | 37 illus.
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In this comprehensive social history of the Bon Marché, the Parisian department store that was the largest in the world before 1914, Michael Miller explores the bourgeois identities, ambitions, and anxieties that the new emporia so vividly dramatized. Through an original interpretation of paternalism, public images, and family-firm relationships, he shows how this new business enterprise succeeded in reconciling traditional values with the coming of an age of mass consumption and bureaucracy.


"Michael Miller ... is able to breathe life into [the store's] ambitious owners and directors, pile its counter high with goods mundane and exotic, and people its aisles with obsequious clerks and glittering-eyed shoppers.... [He] has written an absorbing study that can be read with pleasure by anyone interested in modern techniques of mass selling or in French culture before World War I."--Jean T. Joughin, Business History Review

"Michael Miller has written a book that is both fascinating and original, about a large department store and its place not only in business history, but in the history of French society, culture, and bureaucracy."--Eugen Weber, The Times Literary Supplement

Table of Contents:

List of Illustrations
Introduction 3
I New Stores 19
II The "Grand Magasin" 48
Merchandise and the Mass Market 48
Finance and Purchasing 53
Organization 58
III The Boucicauts 75
Building Organization Men: The Base 77
Building Organization Men: Management 112
Ritualization 121
Entrepreneurial Roles and Business Change 127
IV The Directors 130
Faithful Continuators 130
Members of a Single Family 143
V Selling Consumption 165
An Eighth Wonder 166
A Way of Life 178
VI Selling the Store 190
Ambivalence and Hostility 190
A Model Community 215
Conclusion 231
Appendix 241
Bibliography 245
Index 259

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File created: 7/11/2017

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