“Marshall Field & Company traces its antecedents to a dry goods store opened at 137 Lake Street in Chicago in 1852 by Potter Palmer, eponymously named P. Palmer & Co.. Four years later, in 1856, 21-year-old Marshall Field moved to Chicago from Pittsfield, Massachusetts, finding work at the city’s then largest dry goods firm, Cooley, Wadsworth & Co. Just prior to the Civil War, in 1860, Field and bookkeeper Levi Leiter became junior partners in the firm, then known as Cooley, Farwell & Co. In 1864 the firm, then led by senior partner John V. Farwell, was renamed Farwell, Field & Co. only for Field and Leiter to soon withdraw from the partnership when presented with the opportunity of a lifetime.
Potter Palmer, plagued by ailing health, was looking to dispose of his thriving business, so on January 4, 1865, Field and Leiter entered into partnership with him and his brother Milton Palmer. P. Palmer & Co. became Field, Palmer, Leiter & Co., with Palmer financing much of their initial capital as well as his own contribution. After Field and Leiter’s success enabled them to pay him back, Palmer withdrew from the partnership in 1867 to focus on his growing real-estate interests on State Street. His brother Milton left at this time as well. The store was renamed Field, Leiter & Co., sometimes referred to as “Field & Leiter”.
The buyout, however, did not bring an end to Potter Palmer’s association with the firm. In 1868, Palmer convinced Field and Leiter to lease a new, six-story edificehe had built at the northeast corner of State and Washington Streets. The store was soon referred to as the “Marble Palace” due to its costly marble face.”
The above segment from Wikipedia describes the early beginnings of Marshall Field’s in Chicago, which is now owned by Macy’s. Below are interior postcards published by V.O. Hammon.
Portion of the rug section, postmarked in 1914. My favorite of all the interiors and has my favorite message: “Dear (Mary?), Chicago is a great big-dirty city, but it has wonderful stores. I asked for a guide at Marshall Field’s and she showed me everything. The grandeur and costliness of of all the fixtures reminds me of a millionaire’s home. Love, (?)”