L.L. Bean (L L.L. Bean)

L.L. Bean

Businessman, Mail Order Magnate, Author. He is remembered as the founder of the successful mail order company L.L. Bean. Born Leon Leonwood Bean, one of six boys, he showed an early interest in business by selling steel traps. When he was 12 years old, his parents died only four days apart and he moved to South Paris, Maine where some of his family lived. At age 13 he killed and sold his first deer. His education was limited to local public schooling, except for one semester at Hebron Academy in Hebron, Maine and a business course at Kent Hills School in Kent Hills, Maine. An avid hunter and fisherman, he developed a waterproof boot to prevent them from becoming water soaked from being outdoors. He brought the plans to a cobbler, and the first boots were made. Feeling confident that his boots were of good quality, he obtained a list of non-resident Maine hunting license holders and prepared a descriptive mail order circular, promising a 100 percent money back guarantee for anyone who was unhappy with the boots. Because of this, he had to refund 90% of the costs of the first 100 sets of boots made, when the rubber on the bottom developed cracks. Despite this, the boots became popular and he took out a $400 dollar loan and traveled to Boston, Massachusetts and asked the US Rubber Company to produce a better quality of boot. When they were completed, he set up a boot shop in his brother’s basement in Freeport, Maine. His skills and trials as an entrepreneur, along with his promise to return 100% money back on all items, were detailed by many local and national newspapers of the time. By 1917 he had sold enough of his boots to purchase a building for his shop on the main street of Freeport. In 1918 he patented his invention and moved on to inventing and improving more outdoor equipment and expanding his store to include firearms, backpacks, tents, and a full line of clothing, with retain and outlet stores throughout the northeast US, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Virginia, and in Japan. He published a book called “Hunting, Fishing and Camping” (1942) and his autobiography, “My Story: the Autobiography of a Down-East Merchant” (1960). He died at the age of 94. At the time of his death, the annual sales of his company were in the hundreds of millions and as of 2012 its sales were over $1.5 billion dollars. The Maine Medical Center in Portland, Maine has named one of its wings in his honor and his portrait hangs in a ground-floor corridor at the hospital. (bio by: William Bjornstad)  Family links:  Parents:  Benjamin Warren Bean (1841 – 1884)  Sarah Sweat Bean (1846 – 1884)  Spouse:  Bertha Davis Porter Bean (1865 – 1939)  Children:  Lester Carl Bean (1900 – 1967)*  Charles Warren Bean (1901 – 1971)*  Barbara Bean Gorman (1907 – 1985)*  Siblings:  Otho Ralph Bean (1867 – 1952)*  Inez Alice Bean Cummings (1868 – 1919)*  L.L. Bean (1872 – 1967)  Guy Chester Bean (1878 – 1951)* *Calculated relationship


  • October, 13, 1872
  • USA


  • February, 02, 1967
  • USA


  • Webster Cemetery
  • Maine
  • USA

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