Wanamaker’s Temple


Publisher’s Weekly

"[A] trenchant...study of John Wanamaker and Wanamaker’s department stores through the lens of evangelical Protestantism at the turn of the 20th century.... Kirk persuasively shows that Wanamaker’s Christian faith and business acumen informed one another within his own life and work."

The Wall Street Journal

"The John Wanamaker Department Store was one of America's first great temples of consumption.  Nicole C. Kirk argues that [it] was more than a successful business enterprise, it was also a successful ministry.  John Wanamaker was as committed to evangelicalism and the social gospel as he was to selling silks and satins."

- Marc Levinson

Leigh Eric Schmidt

Washington University

"John Wanamaker, department-store magnate, was also a stalwart of evangelical Christianity.  His innovative entrepreneurialism mixed comfortably with Protestant testimonials, prayer meetings, Sunday school lessons, and philanthropic projects.  Carefully unpacking these convergences, Nicole Kirk reveals the art, architecture, and pedagogy of Wanamaker’s richly merchandised faith.  His Philadelphia store doubled as a temple of refinement and uplift; therein the marriage of consumption and Christianity was sumptuously celebrated.  Kirk’s vivid rendering allows the reader to feast at that momentous wedding."

David Morgan

Duke University

"In the history of American religion, the intricate relationship between belief and commerce merits the closest attention. Nicole Kirk provides a richly researched and well organized study of one of the high priests of Protestant wealth. And she makes a wonderful contribution to the understanding of religious material culture and the aesthetics of commodity culture as an integral part of the rise of consumerism and the role that Protestantism has played in it."