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Marshall Field
Birth: Aug. 18, 1834
Conway
Franklin County
Massachusetts, USA
Death: Jan. 16, 1906
New York
New York County (Manhattan)
New York, USA

Businessman, Entrepreneur. He is remembered as the founder of the Chicago, Illinois-based Marshall Field and Company department stores, and would rise to become the wealthiest and most powerful businessman in Chicago. The son of a farmer, he moved to Pittsfield, Massachusetts when he was 17 years old to work in a dry goods store. A year later, he decided to go West to find new opportunities. In 1856 he resided with his brother in Chicago and was employed by Cooley, Wadsworth and Company, a dry goods store and in 1862, he purchased a partnership with the reorganized firm of Farwell, Field & Company. In January 1865 he and a partner, Levi Leiter, accepted an offer to become senior partners at the dry goods establishment of Potter Palmer, and it became known as Field, Palmer, Leiter & Company. Two years later, Palmer withdrew from the firm after he and Leiter could afford to buy him out, and it was renamed "Field, Leiter & Company." The company recovered quickly from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and survived the Panic of 1873 because of their relatively low levels of debt. By 1881 he forced Leiter to sell his share of the business, and changed the store's name to Marshall Field and Company. An innovator in the dry good business, he developed policies of unconditional refunds, consistent pricing and international imports that would become standards in quality retailing. Additionally, his employees were instructed not to push products on uninterested customers as was common practice in stores of the period. The quotes "Give the lady what she wants" and "The customer is always right" are attributed to him, though the latter may also be an invention of Harry Gordon Selfridge while in his employment. However, he was highly suspicious of organized labor throughout his career, and prohibited unionization among his employees. He avoided political and social intrigue, was known to spy on his employees, had few close friends, and focused on his work and on supporting his family and his favorite philanthropies. In 1890 the University of Chicago was founded by him and New York's John D. Rockefeller, to rival nearby Evanston's Northwestern University. The Field Museum of Natural History was named after him in 1894 after he gave it an endowment of $1 million dollars. He died on pneumonia at the age of 71. A bust of Marshall Field stands aside other early 20th century Chicago industry magnates on the north riverbank on the Chicago River facing the Merchandise Mart. (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  John Field (1796 - 1876)
  Fidelia Nash Field (1806 - 1865)
 
 Spouses:
  Nannie Douglass Scott Field (1840 - 1896)*
  Delia Macomber Spencer Field (1853 - 1937)*
 
 Children:
  Louis Field (1866 - 1866)*
  Marshall Field (1868 - 1905)*
  Ethel Newcomb Field Beatty (1872 - 1932)*
 
 Siblings:
  Chandler Augustus Field (1829 - 1875)*
  Joseph Nash Field (1831 - 1914)*
  Marshall Field (1834 - 1906)
  Helen Eliza Field James (1837 - 1930)*
  Henry Field (1841 - 1890)*
  Elizabeth Page Field (1843 - 1851)*
  William E Field (1845 - 1845)*
  Laura Field Dibblee (1849 - 1921)*
  Elizabeth L Field (1851 - 1854)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Graceland Cemetery
Chicago
Cook County
Illinois, USA
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jan 01, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 334
Marshall Field
Added by: A.Firefly ∞
 
Marshall Field
Added by: Graveyards of Chicago
 
Marshall Field
Added by: cubsfan@interaccess.com
 
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Happy birthday, Mr. Field! Thank you for the ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit that led to the founding of your great department store. It may be called Macy's today, but visiting your store during the Christmas season is still very much a proud tradit...(Read more)
- Holly Burke
 Added: Aug. 18, 2016

- J. Bruce Fox
 Added: Aug. 18, 2016

- In Memory of You
 Added: Aug. 18, 2016
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