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L. L. Bean

AKA Leon Leonwood Bean

Born: 13-Nov-1872
Birthplace: Greenwood, ME
Died: 5-Feb-1967
Location of death: Pompano Beach, FL
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Webster Road Cemetery, Freeport, ME

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Founder of L. L. Bean, Inc.

Leon Leonwood Bean was orphaned at age 12, dropped out of school and worked at a succession of odd jobs and sales positions with no great success. He became an avid hunter, fisher, and outdoorsman, and often returned from his hikes with soggy shoes, which inspired him to design a lightweight, rubber-soled walking boot in 1912. He engaged a local cobbler to manufacture what he called the "Maine Hunting Shoe", and published sales brochures offering a money-back guarantee, telling sportsmen, "You cannot expect success hunting deer or moose if your feet are not properly dressed." The guarantee almost drove Bean bankrupt, as the cobbler's stitching was not up to the heavy workload hikers put on their footwear, but with borrowed funds he soon contracted with the US Rubber Company, which turned out better boots. After adding jackets, gloves, and other assorted goods, L. L. Bean made its early reputation by outfitting the MacMillan Arctic Expedition in 1925, led by then-famed but now little-known explorer Donald B. MacMillan, with the young Richard E. Byrd. While Bean himself ran the company its customers included Bernard M. Baruch, Babe Ruth, and Amy Vanderbilt.

Father: Benjamin Warren Bean (horse trader, b. 8-Nov-1841, d. 18-Nov-1884)
Mother: Sarah Swett Bean (b. 9-Mar-1846, m. 9-May-1864, d. 23-Nov-1884)
Brother: Henry Warren Bean (b. 17-Feb-1865)
Brother: Otho Ralph Bean (shopkeeper, b. 7-Jan-1867)
Sister: Inez Alice Bean Cummings (b. 23-Aug-1868, d. Mar-1919)
Brother: Ervin Arthur Bean (also given as "Irwin", b. 15-Jan-1877)
Brother: Guy Chester Bean (postmaster, b. 5-Aug-1878)
Wife: Bertha Davis Porter Bean (b. circa 1863, m. 1898, d. 1939, one daughter, two sons)
Son: Lester Carl Bean (L. L. Bean executive, b. 17-Jul-1900, d. 4-Oct-1967)
Son: Warren Bean (b. 1902)
Daughter: Barbara Bean Gorman (b. 8-Jun-1907, d. Dec-1985)
Wife: Lucille Claire Boudreau Bean (b. circa 1875, m. 27-Jul-1940, no children)

    High School: Kent's Hill Academy, Kent's Hill, ME (attended)
    High School: Hebron Academy, Hebron, ME (attended)

    L. L. Bean, Inc. Founder & President (1912-67)

Author of books:
Hunting, Fishing and Camping (1942)
My Story: The Autobiography of a Down-East Merchant (1960, memoir)

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