A Brief History of Black Friday: How the Mega-Shopping Day Came to Be

‘Barbarous butchery of prices’ begins

Compiled from Chronicling of America / Money Talks News

By the 1890s, stores began to advertise “Black Friday” sales, but they weren’t tied to the day after Thanksgiving.

One such sale event did commemorate the 1869 gold scandal, though. Under the headline “Black Friday,” the People’s Mammoth Installment House, an Omaha, Nebraska, furniture and appliance store, predicted in a full-page Omaha Daily Bee newspaper ad on Nov. 1, 1891, that the “desperate and disgraceful scene” of the gold trading 22 years earlier would be repeated in just one aspect — “the barbarous butchery of prices” of its home furnishings.

The Hub, a Great Falls, Montana, clothing store, advertised on Jan. 3, 1891, a post-Christmas sale dubbed “our Black Friday Bargain Sale” to reduce its inventory of suits, overcoats and children’s wear. “Everything suitable for the holidays we have on hand will go at prices which you will not find elsewhere,” it proclaimed in The Tribune newspaper.

Other Black Friday sales were associated with the discounting of “black goods,” such as various black silks, cashmere and other clothes-making materials.

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