Biography of Marshall Field
Celebrated Americans





MARSHALL FIELD, one of the merchant princes of America, ranks among the most successful business men of the century. He was horn in 1835 at Conway, Massachusetts. He spent his early life on a farm and secured a fair education in the common schools, supplementing this with a course at the Conway Academy. His natural bent ran in the channels of commercial life, and at the age of seventeen he was given a position in a store at Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Mr. Field remained there four years and removed to Chicago in 1856. He began his career in Chicago as a clerk in the wholesale dry goods house of Cooley, Wadsworth & Company, which later became Cooley, Farwell & Company, and still later John V. Farwell & Company. He remained with them four years and exhibited marked ability, in recognition of which he was given a partnership. In 1865 Mr. Field and L. Z. Leiter, who was also a member of the firm, withdrew and formed the firm of Field, Palmer & Leiter, the third partner being Potter Palmer, and they continued in business until 1867, when Mr. Palmer retired and the firm became Field, Leiter & Company. They ran under the latter name until 1881, when Mr. Leiter retired and the house has since continued under the name of Marshall Field & Company, The phenomenal success accredited to the house is largely due to the marked ability of Mr. Field, the house had become oue of the foremost in the west, with an annual sale of $8,000,000 in 1870. The total loss of the firm during the Chicago fire was $3,500,000 of which $2,500,000 was recovered through the insurance companies. It rapidly recovered from the effects of this and today the annual sales amount to over $40,000,000. Mr. Field's real estate holdings amounted to $10,000,000. He was one of the heaviest snbscribers to the Baptist University fund although he is a Presbyterian, and gave $1,000,000 for the endowment of the Field Columbian Museum, one of the greatest institutions of the kind in the world.


FROM:
A Biographical Record
Of Schuyler County, New York
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
New York and Chicago 1903.


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