Guaranteed to Last: L.L.Bean’s Century of Outfitting America

As we celebrate our 100th Anniversary, reflecting on the history and the future of L.L.Bean, we are excited to share Guaranteed to Last, a new book offering the first comprehensive view of L.L.Bean in American life.


The story of our company starts with the birth of the Maine Hunting Shoe®, created after our founder, Leon Leonwood Bean, returned from a hunting trip with cold, damp feet and a revolutionary idea. One hundred years later, the story comes full circle as the L.L.Bean Boot enjoys newfound popularity not only as a functional piece of outdoor gear but also as a fashion statement.

Leon Gorman on top of the world

Leon Gorman on top of the world


The book explores the history of the boot along with L.L.Bean’s place in American culture and how the company has helped America learn to love the outdoors. Guaranteed to Last tells the L.L.Bean story decade by decade, connecting the dots between the ideas that drove us and cultural events in the wider world over the last 100 years.


In writing the book, author Jim Gorman dug deep into our archives to find fresh stories and items that had never been photographed. Guaranteed to Last offers scores of images, illustrations and pieces of ephemera.


This unique collection includes photos of Leon Leonwood Bean hunting in Maine in the 1910s, personal correspondence to L.L. from notables ranging from Ted Williams to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and artfully photographed vintage products.


In addition to historical timelines that tell L.L.Bean’s story, the book offers a personal perspective from the voice of our customers and employees. You’ll find photos of former CEO and current Chairman Leon Gorman on his journey up the north face of Mount Everest, along with a snapshot of a happy couple who were married in our flagship store in Freeport, Maine.


In the coming weeks, our blog will feature an interview with Jim, who will share insights on the book and his experience writing it.


Until then, we’d like to hear from you. Customer stories are an important part of Guaranteed to Last, and now it’s your turn. What’s your favorite L.L.Bean memory? Please Share Your Story with us!

  1. Dennis Thompson | January 17, 2012 | 7:18 pm

    I didn’t pay too much attention to LL Bean until 2001, when I met my wife-to-be. She told me about these great clothes that she had bought from you and enjoyed for years. She ordered me some and now we are both die-hard Bean fans. The down-filled winter parka is great for our cold, windy Iowa winters! And I wear my Bean pants almost every day, we like the quality and definitely trust your brand. We will take our first vacation to Maine this July, to help you celebrate your 100th Anniversary and to enjoy your beautiful state. I plan to apply to work for Bean, no other company do I respect and appreciate as much as LL Bean. Happy 100th Birthday!
    Dennis Thompson
    Des Moines, Iowa

  2. Jude Anne Gossin | September 10, 2012 | 9:22 pm

    Love the Maine Isle Flip – flops…so comfortable and I love the patterns. I have purchased about 24 of these flip-flops since they came out and looking forward to more patterns next February when they come ou.

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