Charles Rudolph Walgreen

Charles Rudolph Walgreen

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Charles Rudolph Walgreen

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Charles Rudolph Walgreen (October 9, 1873 – December 11, 1939) was an American businessman who founded Walgreens.


He was born in Galesburg Knox County, Illinois, the son of Swedish emigrants. When his father, Carl Magnus Olofsson, came to America from Sweden, the family name was changed to Walgreen. When he was still quite young he and his family relocated to Dixon, Illinois in 1887. He attended Dixon High School, Dixon, IL (1889) and Dixon Business College.

As a young adult, he lost part of a finger in an accident at a shoe factory. The doctor who treated him persuaded him to become an apprentice for a local druggist. His interest in pharmacy dated from the time he was employed by D.S. Horton, a druggist in Dixon where he was apprenticed as a pharmacist. In 1893, Walgreen went to Chicago and became a registered pharmacist.Charles R. Walgreen, Labor Hall of Fame Honoree (U.S. Department of Labor) At the start of the Spanish-American War, Walgreen enlisted with the 1st Illinois Volunteer Cavalry. While serving in Cuba, he contracted malaria and yellow fever, which continued to plague him for the rest of his life.


After his discharge, Walgreen returned to Chicago and worked as a pharmacist for Isaac Blood. In 1901, when Blood retired, Walgreen bought the store from him. He opened a second store in 1909, and by 1916 owned nine drug stores, which he incorporated as Walgreen...
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