Woolworth, Frank Winfield, 1852–1919, American merchant, b. Rodman, N.Y. He established in 1879 a five-cent store at Utica, N.Y., which failed, and the same year he started a successful five-and-ten-cent store at Lancaster, Pa. Woolworth opened many others and soon extended business throughout the United States and to several foreign countries. In 1911 the F. W. Woolworth Company was incorporated with ownership of over 1,000 five-and-tens, and he became director of various financial firms. (The last Woolworth stores were closed in 1998.) Woolworth had the Woolworth Building erected in New York City in 1913, the highest building in the world (792 ft/241.4 m) at that time.
See J. K. Winkler, Five and Ten (1940, repr. 1970); J. P. Nichols, Skyline Queen and the Merchant Prince (1973); K. Plunkett-Powell, Remembering Woolworth's (1999).