Marshall Field & Company, Chicago

The imposing building of Marshall Field & Company
was not only the second-largest department store in
the world, it was a Chicago landmark
and tourist attraction par excellence.

By 1912, Marshall Field & Company
covered the whole block bounded by
State Street, Randolph Street, Wabash Avenue,
and Washington Street.

The Tiffany Dome
First Floor, South State

First Floor, North Wabash

The Fine Jewelry and Silver sections
First Floor, South Wabash

A panorama of Marshall Field & Company
along Wabash Avenue -
Buildings (l to r) of 1914, 1893, and 1912

The 28 Shop -
Sixth Floor, South Wabash

The Walnut Room -
Seventh Floor, South State

The Narcissus Room
Seventh Floor, North Wabash

The 1914 Store for Men
on the southwest corner of
Wabash and Washington Streets

First Floor,
Store for Men

The Annex Grill -
Sixth Floor, Store for Men

"There's Nothing Like It Back Home"

Marshall Field & Company
111 N. State Street
Chicago, Illinois (1852)

STate 1-1000


Budget Floor North State
Women's Shoes • Casual Shoes • Daytime Dresses • Moderately Priced Dresses • Sportswear
Budget Floor Middle State
Belts • Cosmetics and Toiletries • Costume Jewelry • Hosiery • Handbags • Millinery • Notions • Watches
Budget Floor SouthlState
Small Leather Goods • Gloves • Umbrellas • Blouses • Scarves • Linens • Curtains and Draperies • Sewing Accessories • Snack Shop • Candy • Stationery
Budget Floor North Holden Court
Miss Tempo • Junior Tempo Sportswear
Budget Floor Middle Bridge
Decorative Accessories • Cutlery • Dinnerware • Glassware • Lamps • Luggage
Budget Floor North Wabash
Junior Tempo Dresses • Junior TEmpo Coats & Suits • Coats & Suits • All-Weather Coats
Budget Floor Middle Wabash
Nighttime Lingerie • Daytime Lingerie • Foundations • Lounging Apparel • Junior Tempo Intimate Apparel • Woman's Choice • The Flower Basket
Budget Floor South Wabash
Boys' Shop • Children's Apparel • Infants' Shop • Kindergarten Shop • Girls' Shop
Budget Floor South Holden Court
Closet Coordiantes • Pictures • Children's Underwear
Home Accessories
Budget Floor Store For Men
The Clothes Circuit • Hosiery • Cosmetics and Toiletries • Jewelry • Underwear • Pajamas • Slippers • Shoes • Hats • Shirts • Ties • Sportswear • Suits • Outerwear

First Floor North State
Our Wonderful World of Cosmetics • Drugs • Notions • Prescriptions • Tourneur Salon
First Floor Middle State
Blouses • Sweaters • The First Place • Boutique

First Floor South State
Sunglasses • Belts • Fashion Jewelry • Gloves • Handbags • The Flower Market • The Hat Bar • Hosiery • Scarves • Umbrellas
First Floor North Wabash
Candy • Greeting Cards • Stationery
First Floor Middle Wabash
Luggage • The Wine Shop • Small Leather Goods • Smoking Accessories • Stainless Tableware • Adult Games • Bar Accessories • Cameras • Cutlery • The Electronic Age • Field’s Afar • Pewter Shop • Antique Pewter • Repair Service Desk

First Floor South Wabash
Watches • Clocks • Diamonds • Fine Jewelry • Silver • Silver Jewelry
The Georgian Room Antique Jewelry • Antique Silver

Second Floor North State
The Bath Shop • Linens
Second Floor Middle State
TableLinens • Fine Linens • Bridal Gift Registry
Second Floor South State
Fashion Fabrics • Singer Sewing Center • Sewing Accessories
Second Floor North Holden Court
Second Floor Middle Bridge
Second Floor North Wabash
China • Casual Dinnerware
Second Floor Middle Wabash
Glassware • Casual Living Accessories • The Crystal Room • The Steuben Room

Second Floor South Wabash
Picture Galleries • Fine Paintings • Oriental Room • Artwares • Collector’s Room • Antiques • Family Album Corner
Second Floor South Holden Court
Events Center

Third Floor North State
Personal Service • Gift Wrapping • American Express Travel Services • The Juice Bowl • The Crystal Palace
Third Floor Middle State
Lounging Apparel • Nighttime Lingerie • Contempo Intimate Apparel
Third Floor South State
Bare Necessities • Foundations • Daytime Lingerie • Young Chicago Intimate Apparel
Third Floor North Holden Court
Third Floor Middle Bridge
Paperback Book Shop
Third Floor North Wabash
Books • Collectors Coins & Stamps • Old Map and Print Room • Antiquarian Books & Fine Bindings • Literary Guild
Third Floor Middle Wabash
The Candle Shop • The Williamsburg Shop • Closet Coordinates • The Gazebo Shop • Decorative Accessories • Decorative Flower Center • The Christmas Court

Third Floor South Wabash
Creative Stitchery
Third Floor South Holden Court
Uniforms • Maternity Shop

Fourth Floor North State
Young Peoples Shoes • Teen Shoes • Infant’s Shop • Infant’s Furniture • Nursery Accessories
Fourth Floor Middle State
Kindergarten Shop • Tiny Finery • Toddler’s Shop

Fourth Floor South State
The Boy’s Shop • The Prep Shop • Student Shop
Fourth Floor North Holden Court
Girls Accessories
Fourth Floor Middle Bridge
Children’s Lingerie
Fourth Floor North Wabash
Schoolgirls Shop • Teen Scene • Tween Teen Shop • Teen Accessories • Scouting Accessories

Fourth Floor Middle Wabash
The Toy Center
Fourth Floor South Wabash
The Toy Center • Pet Accessories
South Holden Court
The Toy Center

Fifth Floor North State
Young Chicago Coast & Suits • Junior Scene • French Room Millinery • Young Millinery • Wig Salon
Fifth Floor Middle State
Young Chicago Sportswear

Fifth Floor South State
Misses' Dresses • After-Five Dresses • Young Chicago Dresses • Hairways
Fifth Floor North Holden Court
Beauty Salon • Elizabeth Arden Boutique
Fifth Floor Middle Bridge
Shoe Salon
Fifth Floor North Wabash
Fashion Classics Shoes • Young Chicago Shoes
Fifth Floor Middle Wabash
Leisure Square • Etienne Aigner Boutique • The Shop for Pappagallo • Contemporary Shoes • The Wig Boutique

Fifth Floor South Wabash

Town and Casual Dresses • Woman's Way

Fifth Floor South Holden Court
Misses' Sports Dresses

Sixth Floor North State
The Coat Room • The Suit Room • Leather Bound • All Weather Coats • Pacesetter

Sixth Floor Middle State
Sweaters, Skirts • Sportswear
Sixth Floor South State
Contempo • Active and Spectator Sportswear • The Country Shop

Sixth Floor North Holden Court
Sunningdale Shop

Sixth Floor Middle Bridge
Sunningdale Shop
Sixth Floor North Wabash
The Fur Salon • Fur Storage • French Room Millinery Salon • Globetrotter

Sixth Floor Middle Wabash
The Chicago Room • The Showcase • The Dress Room • The Sundown Shop • Alterations and Monogramming Service Desk

Sixth Floor South Wabash

The 28 Shop • Zandra Rhodes Boutique • Gifts for Her

Sixth Floor South Holden Court
The 28 Boutique

Seventh Floor North State
The English Room • The Verandah
Seventh Floor Middle State
Gourmet Foods • Cold Foods • Frozen Foods • Candy
Seventh Floor South State
The Walnut Room
Seventh Floor North Holden Court
Main Kitchen
Seventh Floor Middle Bridge
The Wine Shop
Seventh Floor South Holden Court
The Wedgwood Room
Seventh Floor North Wabash
The Narcissus Room • Party Bureau
Seventh Floor Middle Wabash
The Bakery • The Crystal Buffet
Seventh Floor South Wabash
Bowl and Basket • Dry Cleaning

Eighth Floor North State
The Decorating Galleries • American Antiques
Eighth Floor Middle State
Occasional Furniture
Eighth Floor South State
Pool & Patio Furniture • Modern Furniture
Eighth Floor North Holden Court
Crossroads Market

Eighth Floor Middle Bridge
Dining Room Furniture
Eighth Floor South Holden Court
Scientific Sleep Equipment
Eighth Floor North Wabash
Upholstered Furniture • Trend House • Antique Reproductions

Eighth Floor Middle Wabash
Bedroom Furniture
Eighth Floor South Wabash
The Pilgrim Shop

Ninth Floor North State
The Appliance Center • Appliance Repair Service • Executive Offices
Ninth Floor Middle State
The Garden Spot • Kitchen Furniture • The Color Bar • The Tool Chest
Ninth Floor South State
Floor Coverings
Ninth Floor North Holden Court
Gourmet Galley
Ninth Floor Middle Bridge
Ninth Floor North Wabash
Housewares • Household utilities
Ninth Floor Middle Wabash
Curtains and Draperies • Decorative Pillows • Drapery Hardware • Bedspread Ensembles • Drapery and Upholstery Fabrics
Ninth Floor South Wabash
Home Entertainment Center • The Music Center • Advertising Division

Tenth Floor North State
Adjustments • Customer Service • Central Cashiers • Credit Office
Tenth Floor Middle State
Statistical Office • Personnel Office
Tenth Floor South State
Tenth Floor North Wabash
Tenth Floor Middle Wabash
Information Services

Eleventh Floor North State
North Receiving & Marking Room
Eleventh Floor Middle State
Middle Receiving and Marking Room
Eleventh Floor South State
Receiving Office • Southeast Receiving and Marking Room • Southwest Receiving and Marking Room
Eleventh Floor North Wabash
Eleventh Floor Middle Wabash
Jewelry Repair Workroom

Twelfth Floor North State
Upholstery Workroom • Fur Workroom
Twelfth Floor Middle State
Personal Shopping • Mail Order Service • Import Office
Twelfth Floor South State
Accounts Receivable
Twelfth Floor North Wabash
Medical Bureau • Employee Development Center • Visual Communications
Twelfth Floor Middle Wabash
Employee Cafeteria

Thirteenth Floor North State
Sign Bureau • Design Division
Thirteenth Floor Middle State
Thirteenth Floor South State
Store Design • Display Division
Thirteenth Floor North Wabash
Bakery Workroom
Thirteenth Floor Middle Wabash
Carpenter and Work Shop • Candy Workroom

Fourteenth Floor South State
Construction & Maintenance Division

First Floor Store for Men

Small Leather Goods • Sport Shirts • Sweaters • Ties • Underwear • The Answer Shop • Belts • Gloves • Handkerchiefs • Hosiery • Shirts
Second Floor Store for Men
Hats • Shoes • Pajamas and Loungewear
Third Floor Store for Men
Gentlemen’s Clothing • The 27 Room • Young Chicagoan • Aquascutum of London Shop

Fourth Floor Store for Men
Sportswear • Contempo for Men •In Site • Pacesetter for Men
Fifth Floor Store for Men
The Sportsman’s Shop • The Gun Shop
Sixth Floor Annex
Corporate Executive Offices • The Annex Grill
Seventh Floor Annex
Men's & Boys Alterations

(2,225,000 s.f.)

Customer Service • Repair Service Desk • Dry Cleaning • Gift Wrapping
Budget Floor

First Floor
Fine Jewelry • Fashion Jewelry • Watches • Clocks • Our Wonderful World of Cosmetics • Sunglasses • Belts • Gloves • Handbags • Small Leather Goods • The Hat Bar • Hosiery • Scarves • Umbrellas • Blouses • Sweaters • The First Place • Candy • Greeting Cards • Stationery • Greeting Cards • Adult Games • Cameras • The Electronic Age • Luggage • Books • Paperback Book Shop
Store for Men Small Leather Goods • Sport Shirts • Sweaters • Ties • Underwear • The Answer Shop • Belts • Gloves • Handkerchiefs • Hosiery • Shirts • Hats • Shoes • Pajamas and Loungewear • Smoking Accessories • Sportswear • In Site • Gentlemen’s Clothing • Young Chicagoan
The Pantry Gourmet Foods • Cold Foods • The Bakery • Frozen Foods • Candy • The Wine Shop
• The Flower Market

Second Floor
Lounging Apparel • Nighttime Lingerie • Bare Necessities • Foundations • Daytime Lingerie • Young Chicago Intimate Apparel • Infant’s Shop • Infant’s Furniture • Nursery Accessories • Kindergarten Shop • Tiny Finery • Toddler’s Shop • Schoolgirls Shop • Girls Accessories • Children’s Lingerie • Teen Scene • Tween Teen Shop • Teen Accessories • The Boy’s Shop • The Prep Shop • Student Shop • The Toy Center • Artist's Supplies

Third Floor
Young Chicago Sportswear • Young Chicago Dresses • Young Chicago Coats and Suits • Contempo • Beauty Salon • Shoe Salon • Fashion Classics Shoes • Young Chicago Shoes • Leisure Square • Contemporary Shoes • Sportswear • Active and Spectator Sportswear • Misses' Dresses • Town and Casual Dresses • After Five Dreses • Woman's Way • The Dress Room • The Coat Room • The Suit Room • Alterations

Fourth Floor
China • Casual Dinnerware • Table Linens • Casual Living Accessories • Bar Accessories • The Candle Shop • Decorative Accessories • Silver • Cutlery • Stainless Tableware • Artwares • Housewares • Gourmet Galley • Household Utilities • The Garden Spot • The Color Bar • The Tool Chest

Fifth Floor
Linens • The Bath Shop • Creative Stitchery • Curtains and Draperies • Decorative Pillows • Drapery Hardware • Bedspread Ensembles • Floor Coverings • Lamps • Offices • Cashier • Credit Office

(115,000 s.f.)

Customer Service • Repair Service Desk • Dry Cleaning • Gift Wrapping
Budget Floor

First Floor
Fine Jewelry • Fashion Jewelry • Watches • Clocks • Our Wonderful World of Cosmetics • Sunglasses • Belts • Gloves • Handbags • Small Leather Goods • The Hat Bar • Hosiery • Scarves • Umbrellas • Blouses • Sweaters • The First Place • Candy • Greeting Cards • Stationery • Greeting Cards • Adult Games • Cameras • The Electronic Age • Luggage
Store for Men Small Leather Goods • Sport Shirts • Sweaters • Ties • Underwear • The Answer Shop • Belts • Gloves • Handkerchiefs • Hosiery • Shirts • Hats • Shoes • Pajamas and Loungewear • Smoking Accessories • Sportswear • In Site • Gentlemen’s Clothing • Young Chicagoan
The Pantry Gourmet Foods • Cold Foods • The Bakery • Frozen Foods • Candy • The Wine Shop
 • The Flower Market

Second Floor
Infant’s Shop • Infant’s Furniture • Nursery Accessories • Kindergarten Shop • Tiny Finery • Toddler’s Shop • Schoolgirls Shop • Girls Accessories • Children’s Lingerie • Teen Scene • Tween Teen Shop • Teen Accessories • The Boy’s Shop • The Prep Shop • Student Shop • The Toy Center • Artist's Supplies

Third Floor
Lounging Apparel • Nighttime Lingerie • Bare Necessities • Foundations • Daytime Lingerie • Young Chicago Intimate Apparel • Young Chicago Sportswear • Young Chicago Dresses • Young Chicago Coats and Suits • Contempo • Creative Stitchery • Beauty Salon

Third Floor Annex
Books • Paperback Book Shop • Shoe Salon • Fashion Classics Shoes • Young Chicago Shoes • Leisure Square • Contemporary Shoes

3 1/2 Floor
Alterations • Personnel Office • Special Events Center

Fourth Floor
Sportswear • Active and Spectator Sportswear • Misses' Dresses • Town and Casual Dresses • After Five Dresses • Woman's Way • The Dress Room • The Coat Room • The Suit Room

4 1/2 Floor
China • Casual Dinnerware • Table Linens • Casual Living Accessories • Bar Accessories • The Candle Shop • Decorative Accessories • Silver • Cutlery • Stainless Tableware • Artwares • Housewares • Gourmet Galley • Household Utilities • The Garden Spot • The Color Bar • The Tool Chest

Fifth Floor
Linens • The Bath Shop • Curtains and Draperies • Decorative Pillows • Drapery Hardware • Bedspread Ensembles • Floor Coverings • Lamps • Scientific Sleep Equipment • Offices • Cashier • Credit Office

(124,000 s.f.)

First Floor
Fine Jewelry • Fashion Jewelry • Watches • Clocks • Our Wonderful World of Cosmetics • Sunglasses • Belts • Gloves • Handbags • Small Leather Goods • The Flower Market • Hosiery • Scarves • Umbrellas • Blouses • Sweaters • The First Place • Candy • Greeting Cards • Stationery • Greeting Cards • Adult Games • Cameras • The Electronic Age • Luggage
Store for Men Small Leather Goods • Sport Shirts • Sweaters • Ties • Underwear • The Answer Shop • Belts • Gloves • Handkerchiefs • Hosiery • Shirts • Hats • Shoes • Pajamas and Loungewear • Smoking Accessories • Young Chicagoan
Store for Men Sportswear • Contempo for Men • In Site • Pacesetter for Men • Gentlemen’s Clothing • The 27 Room • Aquascutum of London Shop

Second Floor
Shoe Salon • Fashion Classics Shoes • Young Chicago Shoes • Leisure Square • The Shop for Pappagallo • Contemporary Shoes • Young Chicago Sportswear • Young Chicago Dresses • Young Chicago Coats and Suits • Contempo • Sportswear • Active and Spectator Sportswear

Third Floor
Misses' Dresses • Town and Casual Dresses • After Five Dreses • Woman's Way • The Dress Room • The Sundown Shop • The Country Shop • Sunningdale Shop • Pacesetter • The Designer Salom • Zandra Rhodes Boutique • Fur Salon • The Bride's Room • The Coat Room • The Suit Room • Millinery • Wig Salon • Beauty Salon

Fourth Floor
Lounging Apparel • Nighttime Lingerie • Bare Necessities • Foundations • Daytime Lingerie • Young Chicago Intimate Apparel • Infant’s Shop • Infant’s Furniture • Nursery Accessories • Kindergarten Shop • Tiny Finery • Toddler’s Shop • Schoolgirls Shop • Girls Accessories • Children’s Lingerie • Teen Scene • Tween Teen Shop • Teen Accessories • The Boy’s Shop • The Prep Shop • Student Shop • The Toy Center • Artist's Supplies

Fifth Floor
Linens • The Bath Shop • China • Casual Dinnerware • Table Linens • Casual Living Accessories • Bar Accessories • The Candle Shop • Decorative Accessories • The Williamsburg Shop • Silver • Cutlery • Stainless Tableware • Antique Silver • The Pewter Shop • Field's Afar • Artwares • Collector’s Room • Home Entertainment Center • Music Center

Sixth Floor
The Decorating Galleries • Furniture • Lamps • Curtains and Draperies • Decorative Pillows • Drapery Hardware • Bedspread Ensembles • Floor Coverings • Creative Stitchery • Offices • Cashier • Credit Office

Seventh Floor
Customer Service • Repair Service Desk • Dry Cleaning • Cashier • Credit Office • Gourmet Foods • Cold Foods • Frozen Foods • The Bakery • Candy • The Wine Shop • Gourmet Galley • Housewares • Books • Paperback Book Shop • Antiquarian Books and Fine Bindings • The Tower Room

(170,000 s.f.)

Lake Forest
Market Square
16,000 s.f.
Church St.
November, 1928
115,000 s.f.
          Oak Park
         1144 Lake St.
         October, 1929
        124,000 s.f.
Park Forest
333 Plaza, Park Forest
115,000 s.f.
The Trail Room
Old Orchard
1 Old Orchard, Skokie
445,000 s.f.
The Hawthorn Room

Mayfair in
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
1 Mayfair Mall North
January, 1959
290,000 s.f.
The Linden Room
1 Oakbrook Center Mall
March, 1962
365,000 s.f.
The Oak Room
River Oaks
1 River Oaks, Calumet City
264,000 s.f.
The Willow Room
1 Woodfield
355,000 s.f.
The Seven Arches
1 Hawthorn Center, Vernon Hills
September, 1973
259,000 s.f.
The Fairfield Room

1 The Mall at Cherryvale, Rockford
September, 1973
115,000 s.f.
The Fountain View Room

Fox Valley
1 Fox Valley Center, Aurora
February, 1975
250,000 s.f.
The Valley Room

Water Tower Place
835 N. Michigan Avenue
October, 1975
170,000 s.f.
The Tower Room
Orland Square
1 Orland Square, Orland Park
March, 1976
200,000 s.f.
The Prairie Room

Marshall Field & Company was the Grande Dame of Grande Dame American department Stores. Macy’s may have had the larger building, and Neiman Marcus had more exclusivity, but Field’s was the standard-bearer for the industry on account of its reputation for quality, its status as a civic institution, and because of its beautiful, iconic store building in Chicago. A slogan used by the store in national advertising was “There’s nothing like it back home,” and that was largely true. There were fine stores across the country, but Marshall Field & Company embodied all that was the best about the industry, and threw in its own cachet for good measure.

The store was described in a long-forgotten article as being “like a wonderful old Aunt who always treats you like you’re special to her” and “a place where you’d find the most expensive couture fashion but also a replacement for that rubber ring at the bottom of your blender.” It was aristocratic . . . it always (until the late 1970’s, when the store’s status began a slow decline) referred to itself as Marshall Field & Company. It officially never used the word ‘department’, referring to the store’s ‘sections’ instead. Likewise, it felt that pricing sale or clearance merchandise at values like $21.99 or $15.97 was below its stature. Instead, sale prices were marked down to $21.90 or $15.90. The store also did not refer to “regular prices” in sale ads, so as to say that regularly priced merchandise was still of good value to customers. In fact, the store didn’t have “sales,” but referred to a “special selling” in ads. These small details made Field’s just a little different from everyone else, and along with a million others, made the store seem just a cut above.

In fact, it was the personality of Marshall Field himself as founder and leader of this institution that helped make it a one-of-a-kind in the retail world, even decades after his passing.  Just as Field was known as a thoughtful, deliberate caretaker of the store's reputation, it was his memory, and insistance that the store have a certain "tone" that guided most of his successors to keep its reputation as an aristocrat, albeit a loving and welcoming one, intact.  When Field noticed a clerk arguing with a female customer, he quelled the discussion immediately by directing the employee to "give the lady what she wants," and that slogan became a part of the store's operating philosophy, as did the store's official creed, penned by Marshall Field himself:

To do the right thing, at the right time, in the right way;
to do some things better than they were done before;
to eliminate errors; to know both sides of the question;
to be courteous; to be an example; to love our work;
to anticipate requirements; to develop resources;
to recognize no impediments; to master circumstances;
to act from reason rather than rule;
to be satisfied with nothing short of perfection.

- The Marshall Field & Company Idea

The history of Marshall Field & Company dates, according to company tradition, not back to the time its namesake arrived in Chicago, but 4 years earlier, in 1852, when Potter Palmer (1826-1902), a native of Rensselaerville New York and descendant of early Quaker colonials in Massachusetts, came to Chicago and opened a fine new dry-goods store on Lake Street.  Palmer’s store was not just large, and perfectly oriented to cater to its female clientele, but Palmer himself instituted policies he had learned of while out East – namely, that anyone not satisfied with their purchases could return them for an exchange or refund, and customers were allowed to take goods “on approval” and pay for them only when they were certain that they were satisfactory.  This made Palmer’s enterprise the largest dry-goods house in the rapidly-growing Midwest, and from the time of its inception, it moved to three different locations on Chicago’s Lake Street, ending up at 112-116 Lake Street by 1858.

However, in 1850, a young man, born (18 August 1835) and bred on his parents’ farm in Conway, Massachusetts, left his home and made his way west to work in the dry-goods business.  The young man settled for 2 years in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where he worked at the store of Deacon Henry Davis, and built up a reputation as a considerate, knowledgeable and attentive salesman.  Though he excelled at the store, and customers were used to asking exclusively “to be served by Mr. Field,” he left (in spite of his employer’s offer of a partnership) for Chicago to pursue bigger things in 1856.

He took a job at the Windy City’s Cooley, Wadsworth & Co., where he engaged in traveling sales for the company’s wholesale division.  Eventually, Field became a partner in the firm, and when Cooley left the business, Levi Z. Leiter came on as the chief accountant of the newly formed Field, Farwell & Company.  Yet Field & Farwell were not the most compatible of colleagues, and the post-Civil War recession caused problems for the partners.

At the time, Potter Palmer’s doctors suggested that he slow his business activities for health reasons.  This occurred while Palmer himself considered getting out of the retail trade in order to focus on real estate development in Chicago.  He believed that Lake Street was not the ideal location for the growing city’s retail hub.  In reality, it developed on the south side of the Chicago River because ships and barges could easily unload their wares there. However, the spot was rude, crowded, and certainly didn’t benefit aesthetically from the proximity of the foul and polluted river.  Palmer envisioned that State Street, parallel to Lake Michigan, could, if widened, become a grand retail boulevard in keeping with his vision of a great city.

In fact, Palmer had already begun construction of a great, marble-faced retail store at the northeast corner of State an Washington Streets.  In 1868, with Marshall Field and Levi Z. Leiter, Palmer formed a new organization, Field, Palmer & Leiter that sought to become the greatest department store in Chicago, if not the whole United States, to be located in Palmer’s impressive marble emporium on the newly-developing State Street.  Inasmuch as the partners sought to offer Chicago ladies the finest goods imported from Europe, the city’s status as a port of entry, gained in 1871, fueled the store’s growth and status.

However, disaster struck in short order, in the name of the Great Fire of 1871.  Luckily for the store, a heroic effort to transfer stocks out of the building preceded the moment that flames reached its doorstep, and a healthy insurance policy meant that losses were not entirely catastrophic.  Within days, the store was operating out of a horse barn on State Street at 20th Street south of the city’s business district.  A famous photo of the destruction shows the rubble of the once-mighty store with a signed calling on “work boys and shop girls” to get any pay owed them at the new address.

Potter Palmer rebuilt the store at State and Washington with capital from the Singer Sewing Machine Co.  The rent was such that, although Field, Palmer & Leiter wanted to return to State Street, they balked at the high rent and only agreed to take the space once it was learned that phenomenally successful merchant A. T. Stewart wanted it for a western branch of his New York store.

In 1877, though, the building was again destroyed by a fire.  Field, Palmer and Leiter found refuge in a disused exhibition building on Michigan Avenue, and again dismissed the high cost of relocating to the new Singer building at their old site.  By this time, Palmer was merely a financing partner; Leiter guided the wholesale business, and Field ran the retail operation.  Field was angered when it was learned that rival Carson Pirie Scott & Co. had leased the building, as he considered it ideal for "his" retail operation.  Leiter didn’t agree with Field because the wholesale side of the business could operate successfully anywhere and didn't need a "popular" address to survive.

With personal conflict between the partners growing out of the aftermath of the 1877 fire, Field obtained financing, bought the new building, and paid Carson Pirie Scott & Co. a $100,000.00 penalty for breaking the lease.  By 1881, Field bought out Leiter, and the organization became known by the name it has held ever since:  Marshall Field & Company.

Many famous names came to work at Field’s business and were promoted to responsible positions, once their merit caught the founder's attention.  One of these was John G. Shedd, who developed the wholesale side of the business to the point where it needed its own building.  Accordingly, in 1887, a new warehouse at Quincy, Franklin, Adams and Wells streets was built to a design by architect Henry Hobson Richardson, in a Romanesque revival style. As a result, the newly-vacated upper floors of the State Street building allowed for further expansion of the retail store.

Likewise, Harry Gordon Selfridge (1858-1947) joined the firm in 1879 as a stock-boy.  Within two years, the so-called “Mile-a-Minute Harry” (presumably owing to the combination of salesmanship and showmanship he brought to Marshall Field & Company) was promoted to assistant manager, and then developed the basement store in 1885.  The next step (in two more years) was managing director, and by 1879 he was named a partner in the firm.  Selfridge, who had married wealthy Chicago socialite Rosalie Buckingham, persuaded Field to operate a Tea Room in the store, and doubled the size of the building to accommodate the anticipated crowds visiting Chicago during the 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition, by means a 7-floor “annex” on the northwest corner of Wabash and Washington streets.

However, Selfridge felt slighted that Field refused to increase his share of ownership and incorporate his name into that of the firm, so he begrudgingly left Marshall Field & Company in 1901 and bought the business of Schlesinger and Mayer, a few blocks south.  Within a few months’ time, however, Selfridge determined that he disliked competing with the store he had done so much to develop, so he sold the Schlesinger and Mayer business to Carson Pirie Scott & Co., and left Chicago for London, England where he built and developed his new Selfridge & Co. into one of the British capital’s largest and most influential department stores.

In 1906, Field was playing golf on New Years’ day while in New York, developed pneumonia, and died. He, a widower, was not a happy man by this time.  His only son, who failed to follow in his father’s footsteps, was shot and killed in Chicago under suspicious circumstances a few months earlier, and he lived a lonely life, though he had been recently married in London to his longtime friend, the former Mrs. Arthur (Delia) Caton (née Spencer).  Upon his death, he was lauded as “America’s greatest merchant” and as one of the wealthiest men in America, left an estate in excess of $200,000,000.00.  His will provided for his wife, his one surviving daughter, his grandchildren, and endowed the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.  The bulk of the fortune, though was kept in trust for his two grandchildren, who would not receive it until 39 years after the founder’s death.

Five years before his death, Field acquired the entire State Street frontage of the block surrounded by State, Washington, Wabash and Randolph streets. In 1902, a massive, granite faced retail building rose to the north of the 1879 store, and by September of 1907, the older structure fell to the wrecking ball and was replaced by a dignified limestone façade, designed by the firm of Daniel Burnham & Co., and rising thirteen floors above the street.  Five years later, the Wabash building was completed north of the 1893 Annex.

The store’s architecture was magnificent; it’s atmosphere sublime in many ways. One of a handful retail buildings created by Burnham, who was also coordinating architect for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exhibition (the others were John Wanamaker in Philadelphia and Filene’s in Boston) it enclosed the great myriad of things offered in a cohesive and relatively-easily navigated way.  The building program resulted in a store roughly divided in two by a north-south cross-block alley known as Holden Court. One half of the building fronted on State Street, from Washington to Randolph, and the other half, including the oldest section at Washington Street, fronted on Wabash Avenue.

These two portions were divided into three by banks of elevators (and later, escalators) that neatly divided the store into six “rooms” known as “South State,” “Middle State,” “North State,” “North Wabash,” and so on. Where the upper floors crossed over the alley, the designation of a location in these areas was known as “North Holden Court” or similar. This resulted in a building in which locations were quite easy to identify, and when Field’s ads named a section, they always indicated a floor and location so customers could find merchandise easily in the 2.25 million square foot building complex. 

Further distinguishing the store were two light-wells located on the State Street side of the building. A six floor atrium in the South State building was topped by a beautiful Tiffany glass-lined vault. The North State building featured a light well which extended 13 stories up to the roof of the building. Likewise, the seventh floor Walnut Room restaurant centered on a two-story atrium directly above the Tiffany dome. This atrium allowed the installation of the famous "Great Tree" during the Christmas season and gave great character to the popular tea room, arguably one of the finest in the world.

It is no wonder then, that in an ad shortly after the store was completed, Marshall Field & Company referred to itself as a "Cathedral of all the Stores."

The final “piece” of the State Street store was built in 1914, when a 24-story office and retail building was built across Washington Street from the old annex, now known as the South Wabash building.  Field’s executives, who witnessed women coughing in a cigar smoke-filled elevator, decided on the spot to relocate the Marshall Field & Company Store for Men to the new building, connected to the main store by tunnel and housing even a restaurant (known as “The Annex Grill”) for men on one of its seven sales floors.

John G. Shedd (1850-1926) led the company after Field’s death, and upon his retirement in 1923, used part of his considerable fortune to gift the City of Chicago with its renowned lakefront aquarium.  James Simpson (1874-1939) replaced Shedd, and led the company prior to the Great Depression.  In these years, the first branch stores were established in 1928 and 1929, and the Merchandise Mart, one of the world’s largest buildings, was built to house the wholesale operations of Marshall Field & Company.  It was during Simpson's presidency that the company bought Frederick & Nelson of Seattle, one of the most well-respected stores on the west coast, and the originator of the famous "Frango" mints.

The depression made it painfully clear to the company that the wholesale division itself was a drag on Field’s growing and popular retail store.  When Simpson left his post in 1930, John McKinley, who was from the retail side of the business, hired business analyst James O. McKinsey to take a look at the operation to see what could be done to restore prosperity.  McKinsey proposed shutting down the (considerable) unprofitable aspects of the wholesale operation, and selling the Merchandise Mart to a group led by Joseph P. Kennedy.  The drastic cuts caused turmoil and resignations in the boardroom, but their implementation under Hughston McBain brought the company back to prosperity. 

Over the years, the store was remodeled and kept up-to date. Escalators were added in the 1930s, replacing several of the banks of elevators, but maintaining the basic traffic flow through the store's six great "rooms" per floor. Gradually, the store's interiors took on the style of art deco, but the grand first floor, all marble floors in grey and black, dark-stained wood and glass counters, and towering white Corinthian columns remained sacrosanct.. 

The seventh floor Walnut Room restaurant retained its atmosphere, and in 1941, a new couture salon called "The 28 Shop" occupied the South Wabash room of the sixth floor. The name "28 Shop" was derived from the shop's private elevator entrance at 28 East Washington Street as well as the 28 fitting rooms circling the shop, where patrons were shown the finest merchandise in private. The shop was considered a significant enough work of design to be featured in Architectural Record magazine, and the institution of the high-end “28 Shop” signaled stronger than just about anything else that Field’s was back in business again.

Marshall Field & Company gained notoriety for a number of unique promotions and features, like the Great Tree, already mentioned, which was a part of the store's Christmas celebrations. In late fall, the phrase "looking ahead to the holidays" appeared in ads, with a full Christmas promotion following after Thanksgiving. "The Store of the Christmas Spirit," "A Gift from Field's Means More," and "Christmas isn't Christmas without a day at Marshall Field & Company" were advertising lines used to promote the store during the holidays. Families lined up to eat under the Great Tree, visit "Cozy Cloud Cottage" and admire elaborate window displays, telling the story of "Uncle Mistletoe" and "Freddy Fieldmouse" which were creations of the store's promotion department. Notably, one of the store's windows displayed a beautiful crêche for Christmas, in addition to the commercial promotions that were popular along State Street.

Branch development started on September 7, 1928 when a small children's store was opened in Lake Forest, north of Chicago. One week later, a similar shop was opened in Evanston. This store quickly outgrew its small size, and plans were put in place to build both a new, 5-story branch to replace it, and a similar store in Oak Park. These were opened in 1929. By 1930, Marshall Field & Company had relocated its Lake Forest Store to the Market Square ensemble in the center of the exclusive suburb.

Park Forest, Illinois, was the site of Marshall Field & Company's first large shopping center branch in the postwar era. The store opened in 1955 in that planned suburb's downtown shopping center. At 116,000 sq. ft. in size, it was not as large as the new branches planned for the future, but it did introduce a "style" for suburban shopping that carried across most of the company's stores built in the 1950s and 1960s - white brick, honey-toned fieldstone, some weathered-copper roofs and a composition of intersecting volumes with deep, colonnaded overhangs. The branch also included a first for Marshall Field & Company's branch stores - a restaurant, named "The Trail Rom."

Under McBain, and later presidents Gerald A. Sivage and Joseph Burnham,, the company embarked upon a branch development program which would take it through the 1960s and 70s. The next store to open was in Skokie, Illinois, at the Old Orchard Shopping Center developed in part by Marshall Field & Company in 1956. The store, with its Hawthorn Room restaurant, originally opened at 315,000 sq. ft. in size, but was expanded to 445,000 sq. ft. in a few years.

A suburban store (as Field's referred to its branches in advertising) which opened in 1959 in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin brought the Marshall Field & Company name into the Milwaukee market. The two-story store included "The Linden Room" restaurant.

Next in line was a store in the western suburbs of Chicago, at Oakbrook Center. The 365,000 sq. ft. store opened in 1962, and featured, appropriately enough, "The Oak Room" restaurant.

The final element in the first wave of the branch store development program brought a Marshall Field & Company Store to the southern suburbs near the Indiana border. The River Oaks store included "The Willow Room" for dining and consisted of 264,000 sq. ft. of space. A while after (1969), Marshall Field & Company acquired the 3-store Spokane, Washington department store known as The Crescent, and went about renovating and expanding its flagship in downtown Spokane for that city's 1974 World's Fair.

At the dawn of the '70s, Marshall Field & Company acquired a Cleveland, Ohio retailer of similar character, The Halle Brothers Co.  It would seem that with the purchase of this highly regarded store group, Field's was making steps to become a chain of the highest-class retailers in the country.

In the 1970s, Marshall Field & Company's branches were built in further outlying suburbs, as the population of the Chicago area grew. A new design for the stores retained the crisp white brick of the earlier ones, but emphasized entrances with a colonnade of arches, and a more classic, formal massing. The first of these, in the giant Woodfield Mall in the northwest suburbs, was the third largest branch store at 335,000 sq. ft. Its restaurant was appropriately named "The Seven Arches" as its windows looked out through one of the store's colonnades.

1973 saw the opening of two more branches. The first, a large, 259,000 sq. ft. store in Vernon Hills, Illinois at Hawthorn Center, opened on September 10th, 1973. The "Fairfield Room" restaurant looked out through one of the colonnades, as at Woodfield.

About three weeks later, a smaller, outlying store carried the Marshall Field & Company name to Rockford, Illinois at Cherryvale Shopping Center. The store continued the "new look" of the 70s, and while smaller, at 115,000 sq. ft., it did include a restaurant called "The Fountain View Room."

In February of 1975, Marshall Field & Company opened its 250,000 square foot branch in Aurora, at the Fox Valley Mall. This store deviated in its appearance somewhat, by using flat arches on its colonnade as opposed to the Roman arches used previously. "The Valley Room" continued Field's culinary tradition at this store.

Then, on October 20th, 1975, Marshall Field & Company introduced its most exciting store yet - a 170,000 sq. ft., 7 floor branch on North Michigan Avenue, anchoring Water Tower Place, a mixed use complex consisting of a shopping mall, offices, Ritz-Carlton Hotel, condominiums, cinema complex, and a legitimate theatre.  During this time, the State Street Store underwent a thorough renovation, starting on the First Floor.  Lighter wood, imported crystal chandeliers, and a slight emphasis on self-selection updated the facility, and while it regrettably changed the antique feeling of the store, successfully updated its physical plant without totally destroying the character of the store that had become so familiar over the years.

Later branch stores included those at Orland Square, Louis Joliet Mall, And Stratford Square in Bloomington.

In the early 70s, the success of Marshall Field & Company seemed assured.  Yet, the great traditional retailer saw its market change toward the end of the decade.  It became harder and harder to retain traditions in the light of increased competition from out-of-state retailers in the Chicago market on one hand, and less-tradition bound, but lower-priced stores on the other.

A sad blow was the sudden death in October, 1977 of Marshall Field & Company's 57-year old chairman and CEO, Joseph A. Burnham.  His death came at a time when the company was fighting off a hostile takeover by the (ill-fated) Carter Hawley Hale stores, and Burnham was personally training (the likewise ill-fated) the newly-hired Angelo Arena as president. 

By 1979, cracks appeared in the once-lustrous veneer of the great store, when its remodeling program took on a lower-budget appearance on the flagship's upper floors, and its famous and widely-recognized logo was brutally, and most unattractively, truncated to "Marshall Field's" in what appeared to be a bizarre attempt to dumb down the famous store's traditions to attract more, or for that matter, any customers.  It was during this time, too, that a number of failed Liberty House stores on the west coast came under the Frederick & Nelson banner, and Field's entered the Texas market with new, somewhat generic stores in Houston and Dallas.

Field's had a brief dalliance with the Charlotte, North Carolina-based J.B. Ivey & Co., that would have brought the company and its reputation to the southeast. However, it was sold in the 1980s and wound up in the hands of BATUS, the retail division of the British-American Tobacco Company. BATUS had also acquired Gimbel Brothers and its subsidiary, Saks Fifth Avenue.  As the parent company struggled through the 80s, Field's older branches were closed, Gimbels ceased doing business (though the Milwaukee stores were [rather unsuccessfully] folded into the Chicago Stores division) and the plug was pulled on The Halle Brothers Co. in Cleveland.

One bright spot was the $15M renovation of the State Street store, which had by then been shorn of the elegant and famous Store for Men across the street.  The well-received renovation closed the alley between State and Wabash streets, but confusingly introduced a further atrium into a well-ordered store layout that already had two famous and beautiful ones.  Yet in spite of the changes, customers understood that Field's, ugly logo notwithstanding, was still a cut above the rest, especially as many traditional retailers declined in service, variety and style as time went on.

When BATUS left the retail industry, the stores were sold to the Dayton-Hudson Company. The merger had the effect of upgrading the company's Dayton's and (especially) Hudson's stores, which had been merged into one "DHDSC" unit even though their original signage remained in place.  Though Dayton-Hudson re-branded all of their department stores as "Marshall Field's," and it appeared that the cachet of the Chicago operation enriched the market position of the owner's discount Target stores, the parent company soon renamed itself and eventually sold its legacy properties to the May Company, which was itself swallowed-up whole in late 2005 by Federated Department Stores, which was in the process of consoldating its operations into two divisions: Macy's and the more upscale Bloomingdale's.

Through all of this, Field's was able to remain a landmark in Chicago, but the changeover to the Macy's nameplate in 2006 was received with horror by longtime Field's customers and admirers in the Windy City, so much so that 18 years on, protests against the heavy-handed operation to graft the Macy name onto a store with its own illustrious history continue unabated.  It is sad but true that little, aside from some physical elements (the Tiffany Dome and the Walnut Room are two outstanding examples) very little remains of the elegant and unique store Marshall Field & Company was, and remains fondly in the memories of those that knew and loved it.

Click to read
a 1946 booklet
produced by
Marshall Field
& Company


  1. The Park Forest store actually opened in 1955 and the Oakbrook in 1962 (March 5th).

  2. Randy:

    Thank you for the clarification . . . a nice thing about putting all of this on line, is that the information can be more accurate with readers' assistance.

    Soon, I will add 1970s official pictures of the State Street Store First Floor remodeling.

    The Field's "exhibit" has more information than most of the others, because after visiting the store several times in my youth, I thought, and still do, that it was the best and brightest of any such institution in the USA, and perhaps the world for that matter.

    Again, thanks for helping to keep things accurate

  3. There was also a Marshall Fields in Galleria Dallas in Dallas, TX which is now Saks. As well, there was a Marshall Fields in Houston Galleria which as well is now a Saks and in Town and Country Mall in Houston which has now been torn down and rebuilt as a Lifestyle Center.

  4. I worked in Chicago during the 60's and 70's and I shopped at Marshall Fields each payday. That was twice a month. They had the best and nicest clothes I ever had. Years later I shopped at the the Marshall Fields store in Woodfield in Schaumburg, IL and the one in the West Dundee Mall in West Dundee, IL. When Macy's bought them out it only took one time for me to shop there to know I would never be back. The merchandise is cheap. Marshall Fields come back we need you.

  5. I STILL can't belive Marshall Field's is no more. What on earth was Federated thinking... Macy's is nothing compared to Marshall Field's. They should have kept Field's, along with Bloomingdales, and continued with the more upscale tradition that was Marshall Fields :(


    1. Unfortunately, consumers want the least expensive goods possible (Walmart, Target, etc) and Marshall Field was not that type of retailer. Macy's is trying to be both and failing.

  6. My mother had a colleague who was addicted to the Country Shop. She stipulated in her will that her ashes be scattered there, unfortunately, Field's did not allow it.

    It was always a big deal when the big green drums of detergent showed up. My mother (who worked there very briefly in the 80s - her sister worked there in the 50's for a summer) always ordered them every six months. In fact, the rather posh town we lived in (out in the country then, now exurb) decided upon how the name would work with zip codes based on the Marshall Field & Co chargeplates.

  7. One can certainly see how a Chicagoan could become obsessed with Field's. They carried so many different things of value, and their house brands, at least during the '70s, were of a high order. They used to send me their catalogs, and twice a year, I got one called "Stock Up Selling" or something similar, with staples, even including Marshall Field & Company detergent, paper plates, and even toilet paper!

    I am sure you noticed the "Country Shop" logo in the store directory above. Your mom's colleague would have been happy it's there, I bet.


  8. How I wish I took pictures when I shopped at Field's with my grandmother in the 1960's. Such good memories. Coming off the escalator, zipping around the corner and getting a drink of water at those beautiful water fountains. The Christmas house where Santa sat during the holidays. The children's book department. And the toy counter where I always asked for the little metal toys with the wheels. Does anyone have old interior pictures of the different departments?

  9. Wonderful job in sharing this blog with those of us in love with all things old, especially famous places for fashion.
    As a native Chicagoan I grew up taking the El downtown to the State St. store with my mother, back in the old days of white gloves. Eating there was a definite bonus, to keep up enough strength to spend hours there. There was a ice cream parlor that even existed when my children were young. Hot Fudge sundaes never tasted so good.
    But although we never failed to visit the yard goods, and china/table linen areas, the hats were probably my favorite. When I needed a hat for my 1974 wedding, it was from Field's. It was more important than the dress, and cost more as well. Since today is National Hat Day, I shall now need to go look for some of my many vintage Field's hats in an abundant collection of Chicago hats. I'm sure each of the original owners would have enjoyed this blog about Fields as much as I have. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Dear Mary:

    Thank you for your lovely note. (I like your last name - - it means "bug" in Polish, and it was a term of endearment used by my sweet mom on me before I turned into something much bigger)

    Since I was from Detroit, I first visited Field's in 1974, and was overwhelmed by the architecture, and the aristocratic nature of the store. I will never forget the aisles and aisles of beautiful counters, stretching a whole Chicago city block, the grandiose light-wells soaring upwards, and the chandelier/torchieres above the counters in the wells themselves, helping to create a museum-like atmosphere of utmost refinement and beauty in which to shop.

    Everything was of such a high order; the staff definitely had "manners," the clientele was sophisticated, but there were also things like that Ice Cream Parlor on the Third Floor, North State. I actually have a picture of it from a Marshall Field & Company Annual Report; I will publish it in due course, since I think it may bring back more memories for you. Did you know that Field's home-made ice cream had the highest butter-fat content of any made in the U.S.? That's probably why the memory is so indelible!

    Thank you for sharing your memories, and I do appreciate your kind comments on this true institution - if we still had it today, I think the world would certainly be a better and more humane place.


  11. I have an original oil painting of Sam Hecht. Any suggestions of whom may want it?

  12. From Donna
    Thanks for the memories. I helped open the store at Hawthorne Center worked for 9 years in bedding, and loved it! Mom took me to State Street every year at Christmas to shop (bags and bags we carried on th "L")and, of course, to eat "under the tree". Mom, now 93 had been an employee there years ago.I also had a cousin at Old Orchard. The company was super, great sales training, products,and staff that gave a great schedule (they even let me tranfer to Woodfield while at college),discounts and TIME AND A HALF for Sundays. Wfew! Thanks for letting me vent!Please come back. Miss you and the Frango mints.

  13. Macy's will never be what Marshall Field's was. It will probably go down as the biggest mareing blunder in retails history. Bring back Marshall Field's. It is not too late.

  14. What a delight to find this web site. I am about your age Bak and remember my Aunt trekking me downtown to go shopping every forth Saturday. We had to dress up, I was always in a young man’s suit, as she called it, with short britches and she with white gloves and furs. It was not shopping as we know it today but an experience. I was a little kid but knew this was something to be appreciated and a little taste of the finer things of life. We would lunch in the Walnut Room or Carson's Highland Room. I was never allowed to order a hamburger. It had to be something I couldn't get anywhere else. It was an all-day event. Before heading home she would stop in the ladies room. This wasn’t a small door off a hallway; it was a huge sitting room that sold refreshments, repaired shoes and you could check or pickup packages when you were ready to leave. I remember I always got coconut milk while waiting for her to come out and can still remember the taste 50+ years later. In those days you could leave a young kid at a counter and knew they would be there when you returned. The staff actually watched me. What service you received then. Not the snarly unhappy people you encounter at check outs now.

    I remember all the things you mentioned in your article. It brought back great memories. It's a shame that Macy's, although they keep the building up, didn't carry on the traditions. I think they could have kept it a special place rather than homogenizing it to their standards. The quality and specialty was lost. Perhaps not a good business move on their part.

    I appreciate your hard work in this endeavor and will bookmark this site for frequent updates and more walks down memory lane. Pete

  15. Macy's made a huge public relations blunder by obliterating our beloved regional stores. So many famous and loved names were tossed aside in city after city.
    Did they really think that because we all loved "Miracle on 34th Street" and watched the parade on Thanksgiving Day, that we would embrace the Macy name. I resent them to this day!

  16. Sadly, their Houston stores were very lackluster and run of the mill, if you will. I don't think MF ever took Texas seriously. I guess that Neiman Marcus was too much to compete with! Both locations eventually morphed into Saks, with the Town and Country location being demolished for one of those "lifestyle centers". Speaking of Macy's, I will never forgive them for what they did to our Foley's! The Macy's stores in Houston always look bare and about to go out of business.

  17. Unfortunately Field's was already turning away from its heritage as a great institution by the time that they came to Texas. If you read Michael Lisicky's book about Hutzler's (Available through The Department Store Museum bookshop) you will see that Angelo Arena, who had become CEO of Marshall Field & Company by this time, is not painted in a particularly positive light, and I wonder to what degree the lackluster image you report was a result of the store's changing management at the time. Arena's predecessor, Joseph Burnham, passed away suddenly, prior to Arena's assumption of the position. He was reportedly a prince of a man, who was not above getting on the floor and selling handbags on a Sunday during the holidays, as much to help out as to get to know his customers.

    The two initial stores in Houston and Dallas were designed by Philip Johnson, a noted, but not really infallible desigenr of buildings, who might be called the first "celebrity architect." Certainly those who love the great old department stores hold him in disrespect for the role he played in the destruction of the beautiful "City of Paris" on Union Square. He and the client, Neiman-Marcus, bitterly fought even the preservation of the lovely oval atrium which was a landmark of the old store.

    Don't take it from me, just seek out the comments on elsewhere on this site for some criticism of what eventually replaced what remains a sadly-lost landmark building in San Francisco.

    While I have only seen rough sketches and aerial views of the Texas stores, now occupied by Saks Fifth Avenue, I wonder how they relate to the above anecdote. The fact that Field's pulled out of the Texas market before to long indicates that the story was not a happy one from any perspective.


  18. To anonymous above, regarding your trips to Field's when a young boy . . .

    Sorry I have taken so long to respond. Your tales are very poetic and really do convey what was described as "That's Field's" (meaning something good) as opposed to "That's not Field's" (meaning the opposite).

    I guess we have to be thankful for our memories. I for one, am glad you shared your story, and agree with you that "the quality and specialty was lost." I will continue to work hard to make this a place of memory, and at least we can say that the "quality and specialty" have not been forgotten.


  19. What a wonderful blog reminding me of the glory days of department stores. They used to be such special places. I miss Field's.

  20. Dear smkelly8:

    We all miss it! I am glad, though, that you stated that my work on the blog reminded you of the "glory days of the department stores." That is exactly what I am trying to do, and I feel as though the amount of time spent compiling and presenting this material has been worthwhile.


  21. I cried the day Fields "died". Marshall Field's will ALWAYS be Chicago!
    I remember every Saturday going down to State Street to shop. Like others have said, it was not shopping, it was an experience!
    I have been searching in vain (about 10 years) for the recipe of the little tea cookies with the pink icing that you would sometimes get if you were very lucky (if they were passing them out) at the Crystal Palace. Would you be able to find out?

  22. As a native Clevelander....I experienced the demise of our beloved Halle's which merged with Field's in the early 70's-
    I was disappointed to hear that Federated refused to keep the Marshall Field name on the state street store-
    The store is ruined & all that is left are the memories....
    Outside of New York City....fine department store shopping as we knew it is finished-
    It's a shame.....

  23. Please don't forget the Marshall Field's that had a short occupation at Northbrook Court Mall in the former Sears/JCPenney anchor spot on the west end of the mall.

  24. I was a buyer for this chain, and I can't even tell you the amount of pride that would well up inside of you when you stood on the selling floor of your department and just looked around. I have bought for 4 other companies, but the Marshall Fields downtown store took my breath away every visit. I buy for a national chain now, and I long to feel those feelings. It started as a child when I went uptown with my grandmother. The smell, the sights....sigh... I am so glad you are trying to preserve some of this for future generations, although I truly wish they could experience it as I did. Let's all keep documenting it with stories and pictures so it does not just fade away. Thanks

  25. I really appreciate your comments . . . they are very accurate indeed and sum up a very, very special place. As an infrequent visitor to Chicago, it was always a pleasure to walk through those doors because Field's was unique. It is hard to describe today what that means, but your comment about "the smells, the sights" allows a little window into the store which was truly the best in the US.

    In particular, I celebrate small details that helped the store have its own character, like the beautifully hand lettered signs on pedestals throughout the store which made it seem somehow "human," the character of the (beautifully dressed) sales staff, or the aisle after aisle of substantial counters which gave the first floor a museum-like quality.

    Thanks for remembering with me.


  26. Marshall Field's built a beautiful store in Dallas in the 80's. Not listed in above branches. The store did very well, catering well to conservative Dallasites, until closed by the May co. The IM Pei designed store facade was amazing. The store now operates as a Saks Fifth Avenue.

  27. Hello!
    Thanks for your comments. I only include "suburban stores" up to the late 1970s, when Fields began struggling and began to lose a lot of its character. The Texas stores were good ones, of course, but the entire adventure wasn't too long-lived (1979-1996) when you consider the age of the company as a whole.

    I do believe that the stores were the work of Philip Johnson, and the concave facades only. Readers can find a newly posted picture of one of them on Flickr, I believe.


  28. T Bold em: boldbackroads@gmail.com29 December, 2011 19:15

    Where can one purchase one or more of the Xmas (M F & Co.) tree ornaments? I don't see them in their online cat.

  29. You have both Hudson's and Feild's but no Dayton's? Where is the love for minneapolis? You're missing Dayton's, Donaldson's and Power's. All premiere regional department stores in their time!

  30. Please have some patience . . . this is a huge undertaking, and until I have better access to the Minnesota newspapers of the past, I cannot add these stores because I have insufficient information at present. I recommend that you take the time too look at the welcome page, and you will see that it has been my intention to add them. Wherever I can, I visit libraries and pore over old newspapers, clipping files, scrapbooks, and archives to find this information, and share it freely with the general public, but I am not a magician and most definitely not a millionaire, so it isn't a matter of lacking "love for Minneapolis" but one of time and accessibility of credible information.

    If your are in Minnesota, and want to spend many hours at the library, seaching for photos, logos, histories, department locations, and all sorts of other information, and are prepared to dilligently scan and archive the information, I would be happy to send you detailed instruction on what would make such an exhibit possible. Until then, though, we shall have to wait until the information becomes more accessible for me to perform the work, as I have with the other exhibits herein.


  31. I think you are doing a wonderful job Bak. I stumbled upon your blog and read several pages. I remember the old B. Altman in Short Hills as I worked in that mall right before it closed in 1990.Even though it was a suburban store at the end of it's life, you could still see remnants of it's style and greatness, esp. in the people who had worked there for many years. I worked at Bonwit Teller in the mall there. I felt some of that "grand dame of retail" before they closed as well. Some of the women and men I worked with actually came from NYC flagship that was destroyed by Donald Trump who replaced it with his ghastly tower! Some of the furnishings and paintings were sent there, and I actually have a beautiful hand-carved wooded mirror I bought from the store before they closed. It is one of my most cherished posessions. I learned alot at Bonwit's and I am still in retail and use many of the things I learned from them in my everyday operations. I met many friends there and still keep in contact with some, 2 have even worked for me to this day! What a wonderful retailer, gone like so many. Keep up the good work and be well! Joseph Licata

  32. Thank you, Joseph, for the kind & important comments. I appreciate your thoughts on the work I have done to put this material together; I am so gratified that people like you have memories stirred . . . this way we keep the essential quality of these institutions alive.

    Thanks again for your wishes,


  33. Hi,

    My wife and I found a Marshal Field & Co. Household Utilities Porcelain Top Kitchen Table for sale and would like to buy it but know nothing about them. Do you or anyone out there know anything about them and how much they are worth?

    Alan Baranowski

  34. Field's and Wanamaker's were the two standard barriers by which every other department/specialty store deemed to be. They were merchants with palaces of buildings, who treated their staffs with respect and dignity. While architecturally I will give some credit to Dayton/Hudson, May Co and yes, even Macy's for preserving and upgrading the State Street store, it is still not what it was with the Field's name...even as it began to error, it was so far superior to any of its contemporaries....even Nordstrom or Neiman's.

  35. Changing the name to Macy's was the final step in a long progression. For over a decade Marshall Field's had been making itself more and more like Macy's.

    Many Chicagoans prefer calling it Macy's to seeing the respected Field's name further cheapened.

  36. For me, as an admirer of Field's, the name change from Marshall Field & Company to the truncated "Marshall Field's" was the real indicator that decline was coming. The logo looked bad, and many of the store's unique touches soon became things of the past. It is true, though, that the store retained much that was good until its rightful name disappeared.


  37. The ring of "Marshall Field and Company" definitely has the elegance that it was so famous for. My mother recounts fondly the years that she took the train from Wisconsin with my grandmother to visit the State Street store during Christmas. I remember going as a child with my family for those same joyous trips. I also lived in Chicago for a while and loved spending the day there. It was the best ever. Sorry Macy's but I actually hate shopping in your stores. Merchandise is junk, stores are dirty and run down, clerks are rude, all the amenities of Marshall Fields have left the building. There was nothing like the feeling of shopping at Marshall Field and Company, the quality merchandise, the wealth of selection, the beautiful, well kept, clean stores, and the marvelous clerks that made you feel like family as they carefully wrapped your purchases and loaded them in the iconic green shopping bags. I love you Marshall Field and Company and am deeply saddened by your demise.

  38. I am doing some research on a Marshall Fields bag that is part of the Benz Gallary of Floral Art collection at Texas A&M University. We have a crocheted MF bag, in nearly excellent condition, and would like to know more about its history/dates/what departments used it. Thanks for any info you might have.

  39. Hello, I enjoy reading your site. Brings back memories. I wanted to know if you know more about the art gallery at the downtown Chicago location. I have acquired a very large oil enchanced chromolithograph of an E.I.Couse framed print. The dust cover was intact, except for one end. I took it apart to clean it. the verso of the dust cover had Marshall Field & Co. printed on it. My question is,would you know where I can find more information about the art gallery at Marshall field & Co. circa 1920's-1930's. I'm trying to find out if they ever hosted artists, such as Couse,in an exhibit of their works,which would be for sale.

  40. About the only specific I could offer is to check The Chicago Tribune via ProQuest Historical Newspapers - available through many libraries and search for the information during the desired period.


  41. Thanks so much for the advice! Keep up the good work.

  42. Hello everyone, I was hoping someone somewhere might be able to give me some ideas on how to find out the approximate age of my vintage Marshall Field & Company handbag. It's a tan snakeskin (although I don't know if it's real snakeskin or not)and on the inside on the front of a pocket it has a name on it that looks like Sellestons and there's a bell behind it. I would really like to find out how old this bag is and if anyone has any ideas or suggestions let me know I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

  43. I'm so glad I stumbled across this site. I grew up in Marshall Fields...from visiting the christmas windows as a little girl wearing my white gloves, to learning to sew and then turning myself loose in MF's sewing department with the rich fabrics and amazing trims and buttons, dreaming of the many things i would make, and of course visiting the walnut room for lunch. i'd stop in on the 7th floor on my way home from work to buy a frango mint pie. it was carefully enclosed in a padded bag with dry ice to keep it frozen. i was always warned by the clerks not to touch the ice when i got home, a touch very much appreciated. i was there a few years ago and while the walnut room menu had some of the old items on there, it wasn't the same. the building remains beautiful, but not well maintained like it used to be. back in the day, it was a refuge from the grind of daily life. walk into marshall field and company and you were transformed into all that was clean,shining, fresh and lovely, if only for a little while. macys - shame on you.

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  45. I understand that furniture was manufactured in Oak Park, but not sure what years. When I lived in Oak Park, 1976 to 1988, I was given a used desk that became my son's school desk at home - and only recently, as I was moving to CA discovered a metal plate inside the skinny drawer that one's knees fit under reading, "Marshall Fields". The name is gold, like the metal, and the green background is painted onto the plate.

  46. "One can certainly see how a Chicagoan could become obsessed with Field's. They carried so many different things of value, and their house brands, at least during the '70s, were of a high order. They used to send me their catalogs, and twice a year, I got one called "Stock Up Selling" or something similar, with staples, even including Marshall Field & Company detergent, paper plates, and even toilet paper!"

    I remember the newspaper insert/catalogue that had Toilet paper etc. I wish I could find a copy of that! I believe most of there house hold products were known as the 333 Marshall Field & Company brand. What the 333 stood for I have no idea.

  47. I also remember when store restaurants had the famous Field’s monogram engraved on all the silverware. Vey nice touch but one has to wonder how much of that silverware “magical” jumped in the more then a few purses.. lol!

  48. Thanks, Mike for all of your interesting comments. It is clear that you knew the Field's I did, when I visited Chicago in the 1970s.

    I will admit that I had one of those spoons at one time!

    Looking at your name, I have to wonder, are you related?

    Also, I have some photos of the store as it was remodeled in the 1970s, which were once posted here, but have been removed. I will bring them back soon. They represent, in retrospect, not the best idea for the State Street Store, but even so, it was done with a taste and style that were uniquely Field's.

    Bruce Kopytek

  49. What ever happened to the giant American Flag(95 feet long & 50 feet wide)that was made in Manchester N.H. at the Amoskege mills that was sent to Marshall Field & Co. Chigago.

  50. To BAK : regarding comment on 4/12. Interesting observation that once a retailer deleted the "...and Company" most of them saw a decline in their standards. I never thought of it that way, but it is an accurate statement.

  51. Hello, Tom!

    That seemed like a big deal at the time, and as I said, the logo looked terrible and unbalanced asfter they changed it from Marshall Field & Company. The change indicated that the store was no longer unique and just like others, in my opinion. I wonder what the rationale was at the time - was it to make the store better match a dumbed-down prospective customer base who had trouble pronouncing more than three words in a row, or one which couldn't distinguish between the formal name of the company and it's popular diminutive of "Field's?"

  52. @ BAK....God, I hope the original Marshall Fields and Company customer was not that "dumbed down". Most retailers as you may remember had the "...and Company" after their names. Even the evil Macy's was once known as "R.H. Macy and Company" (although in all honesty, the "and company" was gone by the turn of the 20th Century). so, I guess the rationale is Macy's began the dumbing down of the American Department store. Prior to its purchase of my beloved "Bamberger's" , the company was known as L. Bamberger and Company. Once Macy's purchased it in 1929, it became "Bambger's", even the "L" was gone. I think we just found the missing link, my friend :-)

  53. This comment has been removed by the author.

  54. Oh my- so glad to find you. This has hit a nerve- worked there (Section 70, folks!) in the 60s as I made my way through the School of the Art Institute (SAIC). I will never forgive a) the substitution of metal ones for the original counters on the first floor and b) the introduction of impersonal chaos after that. It was always so beautiful and perfect. They had already started messing with the Walnut Room and even then I prayed they would cause no further damage EVER. I love new as much as anyone but some things were right the first time.

    There are so many happy memories associated with the place, yes- I guess I did not have the white glove experience going downtown as a little girl but I did go downtown as a little barehanded girl and I was not too small to have my junior sensibilities piqued by the architecture and all the rest of it. Never underestimate what a kid takes in. So I bear the Field's imprint as so many of us do.

    Also I agree about the name changes- it's always been Field's to me, and Marshall Field & Co. if feeling formal. I have scavenged the house (I have lived in western NYS for over 40 years now) and pulled together all my Field's boxes and trivia into a sad treasure trove/memorial. I even found one of my baby teeth in a Field's gift envelope. Yes, Field's surrounded me all these years in every corner of the house.

    There is nothing like Field's back home, for sure. Thanks for the web site. I am always amazed to see how profoundly a mere store could affect people of all ages. Macy's has no clue except the ability to recognize a mountain it cannot climb, so it has tunneled, chipped and chopped away trying to bring Field's down to size. Can't happen- we all still own it.

  55. Bruce: Just bought a lithograph titled The Quiver Maker by E. I. Couse with a Marshall Fields' tag on the back. I found that the image is painted in several areas and I can envision Marshall Fields having Couse make an appearance at the store and he embellished the art to promote sales. Have you discovered anything that suggests that Couse or other artists made personal appearances at the store. Thanks for the help. Rick

  56. Hi, Great site! I did not see mention of the fact that the "L" train actually stopped inside Marshall Fields downtown starting in the late 50s. You can read more about it here:
    Having grown up in Oak Park during that bygone era my mother with us young children in tow would on occassion ride the "L" literally into the downtown Field's store then liesurely select wardrobe and household items (that were typically not available in Oak Park). We lunched in the Walnut room then boarded the "L" train inside the store and returned home. My mother did not have to carry bags or packages at all since Marshall Field's would deliver all her selections to the home promptly the next morning. A Field's truck would arrive and the driver would bring everything into the home while a lady would help my mother deploy and arrange everything while checking items, etc. Fields was known for hands-on service at the store and in a customer's home. Just like Doctors making house calls customer service unfortunately is almost non-existent today!

    1. As I recall the El stop was outside the store on the Budget level where the El was underground. No way the trains would have been running through the store 24/7. I have a feeling the first sentence could only be understood by a Chicagoan!

  57. Do you know what happened to the State Street store's company archives ?
    I've tried to find out where they're now housed, but have come up with nothing.
    I'm interested in finding photographs of their window displays from the early part of the 20th century.

  58. I would check on the Seventh Floor, Middle Wabash, where there is a museum and the store's archives.

  59. Thank you for your suggestion.
    I stopped by the State Street store and learned that the Marshall Field's archives are now housed in the Chicago History Museum.

  60. Terrific! Thank you, and now I know, too!


  61. Does anyone have pictures of the cozy cottage when Mrs.Clause, Uncle Misiltoe, and Aunt Holly were with the real Santa? My Grandmother worked in the foundation dept in the 40's and 50s.Every year we would go to the employee Christmas party.What an experience and what great memories I have of those spectacular parties.

  62. My Grandmother was an employee of Marshall Field and Co during the 1940's and 50's. One of the best perks she had, in my opinion, was the employee Christmas party for their family. I have very vivid memories of those events.

    The Party was usually the first Sunday of December, which was always near my birthday, so this became a double special event. I would put on my new holiday dress, the new holy trimmed anklets, and my shiny black patten-leather shoes. My Mother and Grandmother would have their best on, which always included hat and gloves. We would all board the South Shore and go the end of the line at Randolph. We came early so we could see the windows and waited for the doors to open for the quests.

    When the doors opened only the special people were allowed into the store. We would all start up the escalator to the Walnut Room. No one else was in the store and I felt that we were privilege to be there. On the 7th floor you walked into a magical world. The TREE. It was all the way to the sky and Uncle Mistletoe was looking down from heaven. The room was full of different stages, where jugglers, magician, clowns, and more were performing non stop. The Dickens Carolers were singing and the Fairy Queen was spreading her magic dust to every child. The tables were full of Christmas cookies, candies and hot cocoa with the biggest marshmallow in the world. There were no adults stopping you from grogging yourself, so we did.

    After a while my Mother would appear and tell me it was time to see Santa. Now I knew we were going to see the real Santa. All the other men in red suits and fake beards were just his helpers, but at Marshall Field the real Santa came to talk to us. We would take the escalator to the toy floor and stood in line. The time went by because we had miles and miles, or it seemed to me, of winter scenes and animated figures to keep a sugar high child busy for hours. We finally made our destination to the Cozy Cloud Cottage and were greeted by Aunt Holly and Uncle Mistletoe. Our next stop was to Mrs. Clause, who kept us busy until it was our turn to see Santa. No one had to force me to his lap. I was not a very outgoing little girl, but I had no fear to tell Santa what my wishes were for Christmas.

    When I finished talking to Santa, we headed for the South Shore station and home. I sank into the red velvet chair and waited for the train to start rocking be to sleep. I had about 5 of these glorious days. My Grandmother retired from Fields and by the time my children were born the Parties had stopped. We still had our lunch under the sky high Tree, but I only had those special memories.

  63. I have a copy of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice which has printed in gold on the inside of the blue leather cover that it was for Marshall Field Company - probably bound in 1901. Does anyone know more about this book? Thank you.

  64. I am researching an early copy of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen which is a beautiful blue leather book with gold print and gilted gold edges on all sides of the pages. On the top edge of the inside cover printed in gold it states: Bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe, London, England.On the bottom of the inside cover printed in gold it states: For Marshall Field and Company. Would you have any information on this book? From what I could find it was a first edition trade book - and had plain hardboard covers that others would then have rebound. Since this states it was Marshall Field and Company I am very curious why and when would the store have done this. Many thanks.

  65. What a fantastic memory Jeannine. Thank you, so much, for sharing it. Just lovely.

  66. That's a fantastic memory and you are so lucky to have experienced what no longer seems to exist these days.

  67. Hi, could you tell me anything about a Jane Austen book Pride and Prejudice that was bound for Marshall Field & Company circa 1900? Thank you.

  68. hi, i was hopeing someone can direct me to someone who might help me find out who to sell or find out more information on a piano i have been given 20 years ago it has the marshall fields and co. gold stamp on the front. it was my girfriends grandmothers who passed away . i no longer have room for it and would like to part ways with it.

  69. When you allow uneducated people to come into our country with 3rd world values who don't think standards matter; when you allow schools not to do their jobs to teach the importance of citizenship in a free society; when you allow ignorance to prevail and not hold people accountable; the loss of these great institutions is what will result. I love the old department stores. People mattered in the old department stores that were great! They don't matter anymore :( (I THINK THEY DO BUT THE PEOPLE RUNNING The Big BOX RETAILERS THINK PEOPLE ARE EXPENDABLE). I wish I could have seen all these great department stores in their glory days :).

  70. I grew up in downstate Illinois and remember taking the train with my Mom and Grandmother to State Street. Marshall Fields was always tops and first on the list, next to Carson's. I, too remember eating in the Walnut Room with a million other Mothers and Grandmothers. I'd give anything to have those moments back to tell my Grandmother what great memories I would have of our travels together. For a period of time I worked at Monroe and State and visited Marshall Fields or Carson's when I got paid.

    I live in St Louis now and only get to Chicago on occassion. I miss those sights and sounds from my childhood. Nothing will ever replace Marshall Fields.

    R. Rybarczyk

  71. Dear Bruce, what a wonderful tribute your blog gives to what was once the finest store in the United States...Marshall Fields & Company. I live in Texas, and I was fortunate enough to run across an original watercolor by E. I. Couse, with a Marshall Field & Company price tag on the back. I have visions of the original purchaser strolling the Second Floor South Wabash section of Marshall Fields, State Street, and he/she falling in love with this beautiful work of art. How in the world this work found its way to the southern most tip of Texas is a question that will never be answered, but I am so happy that I found it in an antique shop the other day. The subject matter is of the Art Institute of Chicago building, with 1930's model autos in front of the building. As a fine art consultant, it is now one of the most treasured paintings in my art collection...not one of the most expensive, but certainly one of the most treasured works. I would be happy to send you images of this very special work of art if you will send an e-mail to I sincerely appreciate the effort that you have made in keeping alive the memory of this historic institution! Best regards. Frank

  72. Hi,
    I was wondering if you could give me the archival information for your images?

    Thank you,


  73. Hi, Mattea. If you'll send an e-mail to, I'll send you images of the watercolor. I'm having doubts that the work is by E. I. Couse, due to the subject matter, but it is a sensational painting nonetheless. I have contacted the Chicago History Museum and requested that they help me identify the artist via the Marshall Field & Company archives that they now possess...will let you know if they are able to help me identify the artist. Take care.

  74. I am looking for the menu or anyone that remembers what the tea time plate in the Walnut room had on it. It was served at like 2-4pm. Had finger sandwiches with petit fours and gum drops and Constant Comment tea.

  75. Found this site, after much research. We lived in the country in a small town in Ohio, so we didn't have the money to make a trip to the city "Chicago", so we ordered our "dress" clothes from the catalog. We had to wait until the "grown-ups" looked at all the clothes before we could look. Now this was back in the 40's. I remember my brothers saving their money to buy the serge suits. Couldn't wait til I got old enough to pick out some clothing. Ah! those were the days.

  76. Could you please tell me if marshall fields products were ever sold in the UK MY dad seems to remember using soap and mens hair cream. Iknow they had buying offices here in the Uk could you give me any info onthe Uk side pleas
    Regards DebbI (uk

  77. When I was a very little girl, my parents took me downtown to see Santa. When I asked my mother about all the other Santas on the street corners ringing bells, she replied: "Those are Santa's helpers, collecting coins for the Salvation Army. There is only one real Santa, and he is at Marshall Field's."
    --Gale (Chicago, now Irvine CA)


  79. Oh my - what fun to find this blog. Finding my old Marshall Field & Company charge plate is what sent me to the internet. I showed it to a salesperson at Macy's last night and she stared and stared at it and said, "It's an antique!" Well, not's from the 70s. Don't know what to do with it - seems a shame to toss it. I guess I'll hang onto it.

    One thing I did not see mentioned yet is the College Board. This was a group of college girls that were hired to work at Field's for the summer. My dad was a pastor in Chicago and one of his parishioners worked in the 28 Shop and helped me get the College Board job for the summer of 1970. Each year an outfit was especially designed for the College Board. I'll never forget how expertly the outfits were tailored to fit each girl. I felt like a million bucks when I went outside on my lunch hour (sometimes over to the Picasso statue). Lunch was often a hot dog from the basement snack bar.

    After I was married and had a baby, as did my close friend, we started a tradition of going to Marshall Field's for a day during the Christmas season. Our day consisted of an "el" ride downtown, playing in the toy department, waiting in line to eat at the Walnut room (the mothers took turns shopping while the other stayed in the line with the kids), always ordering the Field's Special, getting fairy dust sprinkled on us, ordering drinks so we could take home the year's decorated glass mug, listening to the elves sing around the store, peeking in on Santa, looking at the windows, and then another el ride home. What great memories. We kept up this tradition with my 2 children and my friend's 4 until some of them were in college!

    Thanks so much for this blog and to everyone for stirring up Field's memories.

  80. Dear BAK -- First, thanks for the terrific website. It's a joy to peruse and makes me extremely nostalgic. Second, I couldn't get through all the comments above, but scanned many of them, so forgive me if I repeat anything already written.
    As a native (almost 60) Field's was my second home. (Note: please either call it Field's or MF&Co. Calling it Marshall Field's endorses their company name change, but more on that below). I had such chauvinism for this store, I took it personally if someone said something disparaging. I knew the store inside and out. As a northsider, I also was well acquainted with the Evanston and Old Orchard stores. However, there was no store like the loop store. Nowhere.
    In 1974 and 1975 I worked summers at the Store for Men -- when it was across the street. (I worked for a very brief time in Evanston in 1972). In 1974 a week of employee training was MANDATORY. We were paid our minimum wage of $1.85/hour AND had to wear a suit and tie (not even a navy blazer/gray slacks was allowed). The Store for Men was the real McCoy: five floors of elegant fixtures and interiors, a PAJAMA shop, a hat shop the size of hotel lobby, salesmen and women who had been at that store for upwards of 25 years, floor walkers!
    But 1975 saw the beginning of the end ... I believe the first sign was installing a giant staircase on the first floor of the men's store that connected the men's budget store to the main store's budget floor. It completely ruined the elegance of that first floor. But worse was in sight. The coup de grace, I believe, was building the Water Tower Store. This was acknowledging the demise of the loop and the emergence of the "new" downtown, north of the river. This only underscored, and in a way endorsed, "white flight" from downtown to the new mall called North Michigan Avenue. (That development represents its own tragedy -- a sophisticated, refined, human-scaled de luxe shopping corridor became and remains an architectural waste land of flip flops and tights). Then, adding insult to injury, as you mention, they dropped the & Company. I was horrified. Tasteless, incorrect, tacky, wrong. Oddly, I am a person who thinks the world would be a better place without this current "branding" phenomenon ... that has completely extinguished the chic of a house brand ... but I guess there's no other explanation than removing the & Company is a textbook example of brand devaluation.
    Everyone was head over heels with Phil Miller. Certainly he had style and credentials -- but he wasn't Field's. (In those days something was or was not "Field's.") After that, things were out of control. Didn't Target then acquire the store? It just began the long, painful process of circling the drain, so that, frankly, when it closed, I said good riddance. It was no longer Field's, it didn't look like Field's, Uncle Mistletoe and Aunt Holly were sent to the graveyard, Frango mints were no longer being made in the store, horrific remodeling occurred (including the removal of the 28 Shop elevator!) ... everything in order to win the unbeatable race of moving with the times, catering to American's never ending desire for cheaper and cheaper merchandise and the downgrading of one-time luxury brands (Louis Vuitton, Lalique et al.), right down to the present world in which we now live of make believe "bling." Disgusting.
    I'll never forget Field's, but holding on to the hope it will come back is ludicrous and fruitless. I say to all those people still "sitting shiva" for Field's, get real. It wasn't Field's when it closed and it won't be if it reopens. If it looks like Macy's, smells like Macy's etc. It's over and never to come back. And if you think what happened to Field's is a travesty -- look down the street at what became of the wonderful, innovative store that was Carson's!
    Thanks for letting me rant. Bruce

  81. This is a great site. It has brought back so many wonderful memories for me.

    As a child, my Mom and Dad would always take me downtown to see the windows at Christmas. I have great memories of eating with my Mom at the Veranda Room after an eye doctor's appt.

    My Dad and I would always eat at the Walnut Room at Christmas time after we had selected a very nice present for Mom. We always got the Chicken Pot Pie and a piece for Frango Mint Ice Cream Pie for desert. Yum!!!!

    Who knew I would be lucky enough to work for them while I went to college. I worked in Fine and Fashion Jewelry in the 1970's.

    I remember receiving a very extensive training course, before you got to work on the sales floor. You had to learn not only how to operate their cash register and learn to ring up cash and credit card sales but how to wrap gifts, fill out very specific forms for delivery of packages. Local delivery verses delivery across country. How to pack small items so they did not get damaged in transit.

    I was able to work with the Antique Jewelry buyer on a trunk show. She would buy specific pieces on consignment with certain customers in mind. Usually she was spot on, the customers purchased the pieces. (Some of the items were quite expensive) Now that is the customer service that gave Field's their name and reputation. I remember handwriting invitations to customers to come to the show. It was very successful.

    I read the above comment with reference to the employee dress code. I still have my book. The code was very specfic and strict. Women had to wear hose at all times, no open toed shoes, appropriate hemline. Dresses could only be so many inches above the knee, too short and an employee would be sent home. Hair had to be neat. For men, beards were to kept neat and trimmed. No long hair. Suits and ties were required. No casual clothes. No one really complained it was what added to the Marshall Field atmosphere and the privledge of working for Marshall Field's.

    I remember learning to wrap packages and providing the complimenary gift card. In Fashion Jewelry, items were place in the sturdy white box with the gold Marshall Field and Co. Logo, then it was wrapped in gold cord and after the customer had written a personal note on a gold gift card it was attached to package with the same gold cord.

    I remember in Fine Jewelry, items were placed in the appropriate green leather gift box. The leather box was put in a white MF & Co. box and then complimentary wrapping was offered to the customer. Lovely heavy white wrapping paper again with the gold MF & Co. logo, and white ribbon. The gift card was a little nicer, it came in its own little envelope. I remember practicing making the white bows. As if that was not enough, the customer could get it delivered locally the next day. No charge for shipping. All arriving neat and tidy on the Marshall Field and Co. small green delivery truck, with a uniformed guy bringing it to your door with a smile on his face.

    Now that is the customer service, that kept people loyal to Marshall Field's.

    They also provided free seminars to employee's about the items they were selling so they were knowledgeable about the merchandise they were selling and could provide that knowledge to their customers.

    All in all great memories and lovely people to work with. Great customers too!!!!!

  82. Selfridges is a high end English department store. It was founded in the early 1900's by Harry Selfridge. He had worked for Fields and based his business model on what he had learned in Chicago. He married one of the Buckingham girls.

  83. my mother and her family were from Chicago, she grew up on Elmdale ave, went to Senn, grad in 1938. She absolutely adored Chicago, and along with that was Marsshall Field's!When we lived in Ohio and other places, but Grandma and my cousins
    still lived in Chicago, we always got our gifts from Fields, loved opening the boxes to see what treasure we received!In the 80's ,from Michigan' I took my daughter on a bus trip to Chicago, to spend a day downtown, and we spent most of the day at Marshall Fields, where I was just amazed at the architecture, history, g oods, and the old clock outside. I have studied the Chicago architecture, and know some of the history of the Fields, and of Mrs. Fields, and their fabulour mansion in the late 1800's, and the whole story of the family, architecture, history of the merchandising kings, just keeps me searching for more info.I am glad I was able to shop there a few times before it closed, and that is such a shame. I am glad my mom and grandmother are not here to see that-

  84. In 1963, when I was 16 years old, I applied for and got a job as a sale's associate for Marshall Field's in downtown Chicago. I worked weekends and summers all though high school and college. I really enjoyed working (and shopping) at Field's. I bought a Singer sewing machine with my first money and still use that machine today. I have NEVER stepped a foot into Macy's.

  85. In 1963, at the age of 16, I applied for a got a job as a sales associate at Marshall Field's in downtown Chicago. I worked weekends and summers throughout high school and collage. I bought a Singer sewing machine there with my first paychecks. I still use that machine to this day. Field's was a very classy operation and I was proud to work there. I have never stepped into Macy's to this day.

  86. marshall fields dropped the company when bactus bought them.......they were no longer their own company..............they were by the british at that time which also owned gimbels and saks
    fifth avenue

  87. I'm curious about how the store's layout changed in 1982 when they moved the Store for Men into the main store. Anybody know?

  88. It was not a change for the better, in my opinion.

  89. Thank you for this great website, and the work that you've put into it. I'm a native Chicagoan (From the city, not the suburbs!) who studied in New York City in the early '70's. When I went back home for the holidays and vacations, I always bought a few presents from Marshall Field's for my New York friends. Even the most jaded New Yorkers would be deeply impressed with something for them in the tastefully elegant store wrappings from Marshall Field's! The store advertised quite rightly in "The New Yorker" back then: "There's nothing like it back home!" Oh well, "Sic transit Gloria Swanson!"

  90. Thank you for your wonderful site! I will have to come back later when I have time to read and enjoy the beautiful photography. My Grandmother, Margaret Lustfield, worked at the Marshall Field's on State Street. Both of my parents were from Chicago. My Uncle Danny was a Chicago Police officer and took us sailing often in the Summer on his sailboat that he kept in Montrose Harbor. Love Chicago! Thanks again!!

  91. The store for men was built just before WW1. It was originally built to be a home store but a Field executive encountered a man smoking a cigar in the main store elevator and it was decided to keep the men out of the store as not to offend women. In the early 80s they moved menswear to South/middle Wabash 1 st and 2nd floors. In it first incarnation it was very nice but is now a maze. Although they do have a good mens cologne dept and nice shirts and ties.
    Before the GAP you could buy a nice pair of cord Levis for about eight bucks(1966) In those days you bought it from Fields and that made it special not that it was a fancy designer. Fields was the best brand. Great book department and Krochs was right across the street!

  92. I love this blog! It's so interesting reading about Field's and all the other iconic department stores in the country.

  93. This is a fantastic site. I have to be careful or I will spend hours here. I grew up just a bit too late to really enjoy the grand department stores, but MF&Co. was indeed special. I can not stand Macy's anyway and really dislike them for taking this away from Chicago for no good reason. I hope that Hudson's Bay Co. gets a hold of it someday, I think they have done a great job as owner's of Lord and Taylor and now Saks in walking the like between tradition and surviving in this day of cutthroat retail competition. I have been to the Bay story in Vancouver BC a couple time and you can get that feeling of the old full-service department store with some great merchandise too. Thanks again and keep up the great work here!

  94. Looking at the state street store directory I was wondering if any veteran Field employees or long time customers could tell me what the four shops listed below sold?

    The Williamsburg Shop and The Gazebo Shop were both located on the Third Floor Middle Wabash.

    Sunningdale Shop was located on the Sixth Floor North Holden Court.

    The Pilgrim Shop was located Eighth Floor South Wabash.

    My guesses are:

    The Williamsburg Shop sold pewter ware?

    The Gazebo Shop sold updated outdoor furniture and décor?

    The Sunningdale Shop I am assuming would have sold lines of “Better” ladies apparel that would bridge budget lines to the luxury lines ladies apparel?

    The Pilgrim Shop I can only assume with its location close to the bedroom furniture section would be reproductions of VERY early American furniture? Lol!

  95. Hello, Mike!
    I am really glad someone appreciates the directories . . . they took forever to compile.

    The Williamsburg Shop sold licensed home decorative items from Williamsburg, Virginia. Only a few department stores in the U.S. had such shops - also B. Altman & Joseph Horne.

    The Gazebo sold decorative home accessories, and I believe it was written up in the fall 1976 or 77 Chicago Tribune.

    The Sunningdale shop was named after a village in Berkshire, England and sold higher end classic clothing. You can look at the ads in the Chicago Tribune and see what was sold there. The "posthorn" in the logo is a key to the classic nature of the boutique.

    The Pilgrim shop, as you could expect, sold Colonial-style furniture.


  96. P.S. it's too bad that today's department store(s?) don't have the store-in-a-store concept that was popular in the 1960s and 1970s - Just too creative and charming for our age . . .

  97. Well very much enjoyed reading thru the store directory! It shows a great deal of attention to detail! I have no wish to see Marshall Field & Company go the way of Nonsuch palace and disappear from history.

    I would be very interested in hearing what factors caused the down fall of Marshall Field & Company and other great department stores.

    Here are some causes I believe might have played a part:

    Overzealous bean counter management. More profit at any cost.

    The retail merger mania of the 1980’s & 1990’s i.e. Robert Campeau

    Uninspired upper managements not able to keep up with the times and not being able to keep what is good about the old. Please the older generation of shoppers and excite the younger generation of shoppers as well.

    The over used excuse by management was: “The new women does not like or have the time to shop like her mother did. She’s too busy for that!”

    What do think women were doing in the 50’s 60’s & 70’s? They were busy then too if not more so!

  98. Can you tell me anything about the Cochio line of fine leather furniture sold by Field's in the 70's and 80's?

  99. Researching my family genealogy, I discovered a relative who worked for Marshall Fields in 1918, so I was delighted to find your website! His 1918 draft card listed "Merchandising" as his occupation, and MF&Co as his employer. I don't suppose any employee records would still survive?

  100. You might try the Chicago Historical Society museum. I understand they house the Field's archives.


  101. Ah, such wonderful memories! We lived in the southwest suburbs, but my mother would plan an all day outing "downtown" several times a year to shop at Field's. I can recall the delight of reaching the "shoes floor" and spending an hour looking at books. Every Christmas meant a trip to dine under the tree and select one special early gift from the toy department.
    As we grew up, shopping was primarily in the 'burbs, but Field's was a staple. My sister was a member of the College Board at the Oakbrook stare, and, yes, that was quite prestigious Today's shoppers have no idea what the Field's experience was like: knowledgeable help, wonderful variety, items you couldn't find anywhere else, and service, service, service!
    I seem to recall purchasing a computer from Field's from an electronics department which, if I remember correctly, was outsourced to some other vendor but sold in Field's stores in the 90's. Might you remember what they called that department?
    Thanks for the delightful walk down Memory Lane!

  102. This was a treat to find! Growing up in Cleveland I too remember Halle's (mentioned above) but my best memory was visiting Grandma in Forest Park, Il. We would ride the el (I always made us ride backwards) to Marshal Field and Co, just the two of us. She would get me a hot fudge sundae at pink marble ice cream parlor. Your are right mary robak - they never tasted better!

  103. hi there, I wonder if you can help me with a little mystery. I just found your blog and love it! I found this terrazzo style entryway in Logan Square (photo here - not mine: and wondered if you knew anything about it. It seems like it could be related to the Marshall Field's Young Chicagoan line but I don't know if they opened any offshoot shops like that. Any light you could shed on the matter? Thanks for a great blog!

  104. Hello!

    The photo you sent to The Department Store Museum Blog is intriguing. In my opinion, it is probably not related to Field's Young Chicagoan shop in the Store for Men. As far as I know, they didn't have stand-alone shops like that. You might like to check the library for Chicago City directories for the 1940s or so, and see if there is an ad or reference to the shop on Logan Square. That would tell you what type of shop (Millinery, Children's shoes?) that it was. I do like the logo, too.
    Another place to check is the Chicago Tribune online - through ProQuest Historical Newspapers at a library. You might find something if you search "Young Chicagoan" AND "Logan Square" or similar.
    Thanks for your kind comments about my blog. I have been remiss in updating it because I am mired in a book project, but hopefully will be done soon.
    Kind regards:


  105. Does anybody know some of the recipes from Field's before they started to outsource and traded hands. I know they have to exist in the memory of ex-employees or jotted down in family cookbooks. I am the child of a former exec and remember all the confections he would bring home and the wonderful food my Mother and I would have when we would meet him for lunch. Does anybody else remember the bulk bags of Frango rejects sold in the employee store? Please don't let the foods and memory of them die out. We are all getting older... Thank You

  106. My Grandmother was the secretary to the President in the 50s and 60s. When she came to visit us she would bring us wax figures filled with chocolate. The one I really remember was a gray mouse. Do you possibly remember these or have a photo of them? We really looked forward to getting these.

  107. I worked at both the State Street and Park Forest stores. They were my first job. I loved the upscale (not a term in use then) atmospheres and the people I worked with were great. In the late 1990's I was visiting my mom in the Chicago area. We went to the Park Forest store to have lunch in the Trail Room only to find out the restaurant had closed the week before. It was not long before the whole store closed. Now it is even torn down. How sad. I am glad for the memories I have of Fields.

  108. Hello BAK, I've been trying to do some research on some old Marshall Fields memorabilia we have, including a catalog from the opening of the State street store in Chicago detailing all the different departments, pretty cool stuff. I was wondering if you could help me out, what's the best way I can contact you to discuss? - Cody L

  109. Cody, you may use my public email address,
    I look forward to hearing from you.
    - Bruce

  110. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  111. Does anyone have information about Marshall Fields having had a 'Fancy Costume" department. I would say in the 1930's, Maybe Cody L - could you check the directory you mentioned on May 14? Appreciate any information, memories...

  112. Indeed, Macy's is nothing like Marshall Field's. Marshall Field's would be more competitive with Bloomingdale's. Macy's would be more competitive with Carson Pirie Scott's State Street store. I miss having both Marshall Field's and Carson Pirie Scott on State Street in Chicago, IL. Chicago lost both it's grand stores on State Street.

  113. @ 9 February 2014. I remember purchasing a Sony Walkman during the 90's in the lower level at Field's on State Street. It was called "SILO" electronics department.

  114. Hi. This site is exactly what I was looking for. Although I grew up at the Woodfield Marshall Field's. Downtown Field's so many memories especially from the holidays.

    I am looking for some help. My great grandfather W. Barnes designed jewelry for Fields, which I have slides of many of these gorgeous and vintage pieces. I would love to get in contact with anyone who is familiar with their antique jewelry. Thanks!

  115. Hello! Today I found an old picture postcard of Marshall Field & Company's 100th anniversary birthday cake. The cake is huge!! Another card is of one of the gigantic twin clocks. They are not dated. Does anyone know when the 100th anniversary was? Found at an estate sale in Charlotte, NC.

  116. Hello! I was looking at some postcards concerning the Marshall Fields Men's Store on east Washington and I saw some magnificent pictures of the Men's Grill at that location. It was a beautiful restaurant with a dome ceiling. Since the building is still in existence I was wondering if the room was still intact and if the building would allow you to visit it? Thanks, look forward to your answer.

  117. I am not certain, but I don't think that the room exists. I was on that floor in the late 1970s or early 1980s and there was a streamlines lunch counter just off the elevators - I assume that at some point, quicker, cheaper, more casual lunches were the order of the day, and apparently that trumped the beautiful interior shown in the post-cards!
    - Bruce

  118. Hello. I am teaching a college course on Chicago bookstores to a group of amazing seasoned learners, Several of them remember the bookstore that was part of fields (which may explain the earlier post about the copy of the Jane Austin book with Marshall Fields stamped on the inside. I have googled about every variation I can think of and the results keep talking about the Barbara's Bookstore branch which was added after Macy's took over. Does anyone out there (including BAK) know anything about the bookstore?

  119. do you know anything about kitchen cabinets with the marshall field logo on front

  120. There was a candy bar Marshall Fields sold in the 1970's - 1980's which was a white chocolate or butterscotch crunchie bar, maybe something like Landis - does anyone remember this or have a knock-off recipe? Thanks!!!

  121. I haven't seen anyone mention the Marshall Field's at North Star Mall in San Antonio, Texas. It was only open for a few years in the 1980s--I'm thinking 1985 to 1988. It was added to the mall in a new wing, like Saks Fifth Avenue before it. After it closed I think the space became something else before ending up as a JC Penney. Incidentally, the gorgeous Frost Bros. department store in the same mall is now a Forever 21, after having been a Marshall's (not a Marshall Field's) for some time.

  122. I found an original Fields box with a new table cloth and matching napkins in it dated 11/16/85. Dept. Class Code 011098499, 011056499,011098299, store #5, or number 1231484 It belonged to a deceased Dr. Borkenhagen. What should I do with it? I can be reached at 708-598-8867 or Thank you. Althea Soltis

  123. If anyone is familiar with the physical layout of the State St building "behind the scenes" specifically relating to the location and operation of the candy factory that was up on 13 and the basement levels below what was then the 'budget floor' (this would have included the receiving area where the small electric trains from the Chicago Tunnel Company made deliveries and took out shipments) please send an e-mail to for further contact.

  124. Here is an interesting Wiebolt link containing the 1985 Wiebolt annual report.

  125. I have a very large ornate buffet table that has an inscription inside the drawer that says " Especially made for Marshall Fields Chicago Illinois" not sure how old it is? How would I find that out ?

  126. Less we forget Marshall Field & Company was in its time much more than a just retail department store.

    It was a major wholesale house that sold Field quality goods other retailers medium & small across the country.

    It was a major manufacture of dry goods. At its peak Marshall Field & Company owned and operated 17 plants that made bedding, shirts, ties, furniture, rugs, fancy lace & burlap bags to name a few.

    Thru Marshall Field & Company’s Hotel Supply Bureau later to know as the Contract Bureau, the company was able to supply hotels, offices and theaters with everything from lamps, furniture, beds drapes, rugs, silverware & china.

    We all remember that Marshall Field & Company also made its own candy too.
    Though not a major part of the overall company it did have a satellite restaurant at Midway Airport called the Cloud Room.

    Marshall Field & Company was responsible building the Merchandise Mart in Chicago. When it opened in 1930, it was the largest building in the world. Much to the company’s chagrin, the dream of dominating the wholesale market and leasing space to other manufactures came crashing down do to changing buying habits and of course the Great Depression.

  127. To be fair, not everything was always buttercups and roses at Marshall Field & Company even at its heyday. At least not ALL the time. Take Marshall Field himself. By all accounts he was described as a cold, distant, stingy and at rare times a bit of a grouch. Typical self-made man trying make a buck. But for all that he did give future generations a fantastic foundation to really grow a very fine company.

  128. I hesitated in posting this comment - because in my opinion it is too easy to judge someone from such a distance. The "typical self-made men trying to make a buck" have provided me with a livelihood over the years, and I really didn't care about their moods or personalities. If Mr. Field was really that bad, his name would not be the household word it was, and after all, his achievement was the fine department store he founded and inspired. A different opinion . . .

  129. My Comment was more meant as a historical note not as an assignation of Marshall Field character.

    Marshall Field was a product of the “Gilded Age” in which he lived as we are of our own.

    Remember this was the age of Robber Barons such as Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Morgan & Carnegie. Great things were accomplished during this period but it would be naïve to think that were a done with ease.

    I learned a long time ago that it is very unwise to lionize a historical figure to the level of a Demi-God. By all means praise their great accomplishments, but also recognize that they were all too human. This is the most difficult job of an historian to maintain perspective.

  130. Who remembers the Marshall Field Noon time Commercials with Chef Burt Wolf during the 1980’s? Chef Wolf would do 60 second spot on how to create a dish using of course merchandise sold at Marshall Field’s.

  131. Anyone remember the fragrance sold by Field's called London Mist?
    It was the best.

  132. My family moved to Evanston in the early sixties and we quickly grew to love Marshall Fields. I have fond memories of Christmas with Santa in the Walnut room. My first job was working in the linen department in Evanston. I worked there off and on for several years through school. I was sent to training in the Chicago store and still remember class and getting off the L and walking right into the basement. Marshall Fields was truly a treasure. I am sad it has changed hands but thankful for the memories of such a wonderful store.

  133. My mom was an elevator operator at the state st store during the forties. I have photos of her in her uniform

  134. I was wondering if anyone could give me the following info about the giant flag:
    1) Is the new flag an exact copy of the original flag OR is it just a new flag?
    2) Where is the original flag?

  135. The best store ever built30 July, 2015 19:34

    I have shopped at many department stores. There was nothing that compared to the experience of the original Marshall Field and Company.

  136. Hello. Does anyone remember when MF&Co had a fine-dining presence at Midway Airport? It was the 1950s, before O'Hare became the primary airport in Chicago. The corned beef has was beyond compare, with a little cream sauce on the side. Thanks, BAK, for this living record.

  137. I believe that the restaurant was named "The Cloud Room." Field's really had great food service. Thank you, also for your kind comments.

  138. Went to Macy's State Street today, and was surprised and shocked to see they still have a Marshall Field's History display on the 7th floor. Even though the store is now Macy's, they have kept nearly all of the selling floors: 8 floors and the basement. The 9th floor is closed as a sales floor, but is used for special events such as the annual flower show. I was expecting the store to have "shrunk" more than that, but am happy that it has kept as much selling space as it has.

  139. BAK - I was talking to my Mom about Fields and was surprised to find that they had a dry cleaners shop on the ninth floor. Do you happen to know if they had an actual dry cleaning plant up there and everything?

  140. I have a M F & Co. phone directory from maybe 1976, and will check and see . . .

  141. Are the Marshall Field's Gift Certificates still able to be used somewhere? Or does anyone think they will be worth sometime in the future?

  142. Are the Marshall Field's Gift Certificates still able to be used somewhere? Or does anyone think the gift certificates will be worth sometime in the future?

  143. I just found your website today and will undoubtedly spend lots of time here reliving past memories.

    Here is a bit of history from the operational side of MF&Co…

    I worked for the Company for 11 years, from 1967 thru 1978. I started as a General Employee (who was a part-time temporary employee who worked in various departments, as opposed to a Regular Employee who was a full-time permanent employee assigned to a specific department) during the Christmas season in 1967. I subsequently became a Regular in the men’s accessories department of the Budget Floor Store for Men and was promoted to Head of Stock (supervisor) and then Assistant to the Buyer. I became friends with a number of the store detectives (the security or loss prevention department was euphemistically called “Special Service”) , transferred to that Department as a store detective, was transferred to the Mayfair Store as their Security Manager, and finally was promoted to the position of Security Manager, Chicago Stores Division (the company security director). I left just as MF&Co. was being sold to BATUS because I already did not like the changes I saw coming (so I was actually the last company security director while MF&Co. was still an independent retailer).

    My memories are fond and many and perhaps I’ll write about some of them in the future. But I do want to test some of the readers’ memories about 2 specific foods that were available at MF&Co…does anyone know what the coconut milk was that was served in the Juice Bowl in the third floor waiting room? And would anyone (perhaps another former employee) remember how the scrambled eggs were made that were sold in the Budget Floor Dinette (they were the absolute best, heaviest, thickest, gooiest scrambled eggs I have ever had, and cannot find any recipe that even comes close) – all the detectives would go for those scrambled eggs every morning before work.

    Anyway, as Bob Hope used to say, Thanks for the Memories!! I’ll be back soon.

  144. When I worked at Marshall Field’s Woodfield I was always amazed how well thought out the building it’s self was. Little things that one would not think to value. An underground shipping/receiving dock, a huge restaurant kitchen, a huge alteration work room, two massive freight elevators that went from the basement to the 3rd floor storage area, a dedicated dumb waiter elevator to take food products from the receiving dock to the kitchens, a locker room for the delivery drivers. Even the round concrete building support piers were outfitted with electrical conduits built in to support piers. I have forgotten how many display windows there originally were. They sure thought of everything when they built that place.

  145. Most importantly as an employee of Marshall Field’s one had a sense of community with the your fellow employees & the company. The store was replete with LOTS of coffee clutches that were filled with employees that were from departments from all over the store.

  146. BAK-I found a 1941 Marshall Field & Company employee handbook [72 pages] that my uncle had saved. He worked there starting Oct.28, 1942 as he wrote on an inside page. His sister also worked there on State St. They both always talked fondly of their employment at MF&C. If you don't have a copy I can mail this one to you or email the pages if you prefer. Sven Lundquist

  147. Hello, Sven! Could you please email me at and I will give you an address. I would love to see it! Thanks - it's a real artifact!

  148. Christmas and Marshall Fields go together. I use to go there to see Santa Claus and the Window decorations, I really loved it. Then I went to work there for 14 years. I have some fond memories.

  149. Hi
    I'm wondering if anyone might know anything about the custom leather shop that was once located at the State Street Marshall Fields. Something else, would anyone know if there are any of the old order books or anything like that? Possibly in a museum or library?

  150. I was wondering what were the approximate hours of operations for the suburban Marshall Field in store restaurants? Did they close in the late afternoons or did they stay open thru the evenings?

  151. They certainly were open for dinner in the evenings. Most of the stores were traditionally closed on Saturday evenings so the restaurants were not open on Saturday for dinner.
    - Bruce

  152. About 5 years ago I came upon your excellent MF blog, and it was a pivotal part in my exploration of Chicago's millinery history. Over time I have done a couple blog posts about MF fashion, with a nod to millinery. Two store events at State St were of significance, in The Chicago Jubilee in 1931, and the Forum of Fashion in 1946.
    Here is a link to all of what I have been putting together, related in some way to Marshall Field & Co., primarily fueled by online archived Chicago Tribune ads from MF.

    If anyone has more information on the Jubilie of 1931, or the Forum, of 1946 I would love to know more about those in particular. Now back to working on another blog, mostly on Marshall Field's charge cards and hatboxes.

  153. The links above are to a most beautifully done study of fashion in Chicago in the mid-20th century, and I highly recommend visiting froufrou4youyou's blog posts. One longs for the day . . .

  154. Can anyone tell me about Marshall Field wardrobe Luggage? We have this really cool old trunk that was made by or for "Marshall field, The luggage center". It would have been something that my great grandfather would have had if he had been wealthy enough to purchase it.

    Probably braking all the rules here, but if anyone has any info e-mail at thanks.

  155. Have an old Dutch Zandaam Clock with a plaque made for Marshall Field & Company from around 1917. Anyone with knowledge on the furniture and clocks made for the store from around then?

  156. Hello History buffs, I have found a print ad from the 19th century for Marshall Fields Linen Department. It is in the original wooden frame with square nails (some repairs with newer nails). I would love to post a picture for you all to see, but have not figured that out yet. Any suggestions? Thank you.

  157. To the Anonymous poster on 09 February, 2016 16:10.
    My father was the section manager of Marshall Field & Company's "Saddle and Harness Shop" until his death in 1968. He and the Shop were part of the 5th Floor, Store for Men for at least 30 years. I'm not sure how long the Shop continued after 1968. They made custom, hand stitched leather goods for horses, riders, and drivers. At their peak they had nearly a dozen craftsmen working on site at the store. They primarily made English style saddlery, but also employed a man in Lake Forest who did Western tooling. Every Tuesday my father would personally drive to key stables in the area to pick up repair items and measure riders and horses for new goods. Marshall Field & Company also provided my father's services as a Ring Master for a few horse shows each year. Ones I can remember him going to (not all each year) were the Kansas City Royal, Illinois State Fair, Kentucky State Fair, Oak Brook Hunt, Wayne/DuPage Hunt, Tulsa Charity, Stephens College (Mo.), South Shore (Chicago), Lincoln Park (Chicago). There were many, many more, of course before I was born. He was a well-known figure in his scarlet coat, gold beaver top hat, white jodhpurs, and high black boots with rouge tops. (Plaid sport coat for hunter/jumper shows.) There was a dapple-grey horse mannequin named “Jack” near the sitting area of his section. But my favorite was an enormous stuffed bear that I believe is now housed at the Field Museum. He and his Assistant Manager were, to my knowledge, the only employees who were allowed to wear “shop coats” over their suits and ties on the sales floor in order to save them from stains and damage.

    For me, Marshall Field’s of the 1950s and 1960s will always be special. In my pre-teen and teen years I spent frequent Saturdays in Chicago specifically for orthodontist appointments. But because we lived in the far west suburbs, I was on my own until we caught the 5:05 back to Geneva. Sometimes this meant lunch in the Walnut Room with my aunt (including white gloves), later lunch with friends in the English Room, often breakfast or lunch in the Annex Grille (salmon salad sandwiches were my favorite). Christmas, as described by many previous commenters, was a magical time. And Field’s was my launching pad for excursions to the many Chicago museums.

    I thoroughly enjoy this site and thank you for all the work you’ve done!

    Kay Snyder

    1. Fantastic insight, and I hope readers can tell that the 1950s-1960s atmosphere of Marshall Field & Company that you describe was indeed special. A great store made great by its staff, its architecture, and its customers. We'll sadly not see the likes of it again soon.

  158. I am glad I found this site. First of all, does anyone know if the Frango liquors are still available in Washington or Oregon? I'm down to my last two bottles. Yes, they really aged well. Secondly, I had the pleasure of working at Marshall Fields in the 80s when it was owned by the British Batus Group. I had a great time and thought that I was going to spend the rest of my working life there. I started with the company in the home store at the Houston Galleria. I was soon transferred to the Town and Country Center store, also in Houston, where I had the pleasure of working in the prewrapped Christmas shop, then their home store, and finally the store for men in men's suits and dress apparel. After a year there I was transferred to the Louis Joliet Store to open a men's suit and shoe area as that store didn't have either. I'm surprised that both the Joliet and the Springhill stores aren't mentioned in the main text of the blog. I also worked as needed in the Oakbrook store as well as State Street. Finally I was offered a choice between the manager's position in the store for men in a new location being built in Columbus, Ohio or an assistant buyer position at state street. I chose the buyer position, unfortunately very shortly after taking the position Dayton Hudson bought Fields from Batus eliminating both the credit and buying departments. They already had both of them in Minnesota. My choice was go back to the suit department or leave. I'm now a retired horticulturist and work in a wine tasting room near Starved Rock. I would still rather be buying suits.

  159. Hello again…I am the former Marshall Field & Co. security director who posted here on October 24, 2015.

    Because of the years I was with MF&Co., I did become eligible for a pension from them when I turned 65. But because of the number of times MF&Co. was bought and sold, I had a very difficult time finding where my pension ultimately was going to come from. In case any of the readers of this blog are former employees trying to find their pension, I thought I would share this summary:

    It took 1½ years, but the federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) finally found that the old MF&Co. pensions are now administered by the Frederick & Nelson Pension Plan 15589501. I do not know which years of old pension administration are handled by Frederick & Nelson; but for reference, I worked there from 1967 through 1978. (This is interesting and ironic because Frederick & Nelson was a subsidiary of MF&Co., not the other way around.) If former MF&Co. employees are looking for their pensions, contacting PBGC with the above information would be a good place to start.

    I also found interesting the comments about the Saddle Shop on the 5th Floor Store for men. Because of my initial years in retail in the Store for Men, I did get to know the manager of that area. And when I transferred to the security department (Special Service), as a surprise gift, he actually hand-crafted for me a leather badge and ID case for my MF&Co. security credentials. This is the kind of person that worked at MF&Co.!!

    I hope this information helps. I will check back often.

  160. Thank you for that information, and I, too, hope that it helps former employees of Marshall Field & Company. As an independent retailer, it was truly one of the very, very best of department stores and a Chicago landmark that remains as a building, but as an institution it has disappeared from the face of the earth.Having worked there for so long, you would of course recognize the sense of awe that one experienced walking into the store, all pristine white, with what seemed like mile after mile of gleaming counters, and a hushed, aristocratic atmosphere that stood in complete contrast to the bustle of State Street outside. The warmth and accommodation of the staff, the excellent displays, and the organization and order of the store characterized the rest of the place. One of a kind, hard to ever match.

    Please feel free to emailo me at if you'd like to add anything to this site, in terms of your experiences and the store in general.

    Thanks again!


  161. Is there any record of the staff that worked as file clerks in Marshall Fields in the 1940's?

  162. Iam trying to find out information about a company called Heller Rose Company, Platinumsmiths, Marshall Field, Annex Building, Chicago
    I bought 2 gold and opal stick pins in two boxes with the above on the insides of both, really not having much luck finding anything

    1. Ah well knew it would have been a long shot, being in the UK ive never heard of either Marshall Fields or Heller Rose, wonder if the Marshall is a relative
      P Marshall

    2. It's not possible since the "Marshall" in this case was the first name of Mr. Marshall Field who is considered the store's founder. He was, though, related to L.H. Field of Jackson, Michigan (cousins, I believe), founder of Field's in that city. The Field annex building housed Marshall Field & Company's Store for Men on its first six floors and basement, but above were (and still are) offices of many diverse firms. Anyone looking for information about a company llike Heller Rose could consult the Chicago Tribune (via or city directories from earlier years.
      - Bruce

  163. There is a True Value store in my neighborhood and the couple that owns It also owns apartments. When tenants move out and leave things behind that are sellable, they clean them up and sell them out in front of their store. Everytime I pass by there I stop to see what kind of new things they have out front. One day I stopped and saw this old trunk. The insides of it were missing but the outside was in pretty good shape and I needed something to store some items in. I purchased it for $30 and brought it home. I cleaned it up and stored my items in it. I decided to also use it for a coffee table. Here it is 2 years later and I just noticed this morning there is a metal plate fastened to it which I never noticed before. Marshall Field & Company is inscribed on it.I never thought that there would be so much information on this store when I looked it up. I was thinking of getting rid of it because it takes up to much room but now that I know some of its history I think I will keep it.

    G Price-Harrisburg,Pa.

    1. The true magic that was Marshall Field & Company lives on, apparently after the store's demise! By all means, keep it - it is a nice little piece of history. Before long, I hope to present a history of the store on this site, and scans of a number of descriptive booklets I acquired recently. Stay tuned!

  164. Working on a college paper re: The World's Fair, and fascinated with the history of Marshall Field! Thanks for your contribution!

  165. I inherited a gorgeous buffet, from my mother, that was from Marshall Fields. It has no other company name on it. The piece is beautiful ... made of cherry wood ... brass handles ... Chippendale style. I'd love to know who made the furniture line for MF.

  166. Please help: In the 1970's I remember being in the toy department and looking through catalogues of various miniature toy castles. Does anyone else remember something similar and any idea as to the maker of the castles? Thanks.

  167. In the late 50's or early 60's in the toy department there was an array of play food. It was so realistic. I chose a small black cast iron pan with sunny side up eggs in it. I think my first Ginny doll also came from Field's. They had wonderful Ginny wardrobe pieces, dresses, coats, straw hats and little round toed plastic shoes. I also remember spending a lot of time in the Stamp Collector's dept, perusing stamps. Later as a young adult I frequented Fields, riding the El from Roger's Park. I worked at a large Rehabilitation agency, now Anixter Center, and took my clients who experienced developmental and other disabilities on field trips to the store. At Christmas we went to The Walnut Room filling a table enjoying all the special Christmas menu items including snowman sundaes. I remember noticing how one of the clients with Down's syndrome had a look of awe in his eyes as we sat there. I purchased the most unique and beautiful costume jewelry on the first floor. The most fun was going through the costume jewelry sale items which were often placed in a clear acrylic tray on top of the counter. I still have two angel themed pins (Broaches) popular in the early 90's from there that I had used in a collage that was at an art fair, thus saved from being destroyed in a fire. I also remember buying 2 uniquely costumed teddy bears, a pink and a blue ballet dancer. And finding a Betsy Johnson dress on sale in the Junior one Super Sunday. I still remember that dress, it's cut and fabric. And some pink tennis shoes with glitter trim. And the bargain basement sales were great with high quality clothing items reduced to low prices- there were crowds, and clothes were all over the floor. Then there were Super Sundays---I sometimes found heavy items that I'd then have to schlep home on the El, like a wooden designer toy box with a slide out drawer,and a stainless steel bullet garbage can.
    I have many other memories of specific items I purchased--I loved the bags of day old chocolate chip cookies for 1.00 you could get in a basket by the bakery on 7. And a lot of Leibkuchen the year in the mid eighties when Christmas at Field's had a German theme- the crowds for the after Christmas sale, going through baskets of ornaments. One of the best things I ever bought at Field's which I found during that after Christmas sale was a bag of hand carved and polished wooden animals from Germany. They were in a basket on the floor under a tree. I especially remember the crocodile, a pale green with saw tooth edges on this back. (Sadly lost in a fire). I also remember often stopping at the cafeteria on 7 and getting the wonderful cole slaw that had peanuts in it.
    When my son was a toddler I brought him to Fields and found him designer clothes-Oillily and a tiny little orange down jacket (can't remember the designer-"Donald Lawrence"?)) and took him to see the impromptu shows on the selling floor with the little singing elves and on to Cozy Cloud cottage. On one visit we had a terrible accident, he got his finger caught in a moving escalator, it was saved and he is OK, but I remember the excellent response service at the store-someone stayed and sat with us, reassuring me. They wrapped the wound and helped us into the ambulance- all so comforting.
    Anyway, you can probably tell what a devoted Field's fan I am. For me, going to Marshall Field's on any given day was an incredibly uplifting and enriching experience. From reading other posts here, I get how Marshall field's holds profound memories for so many of us. I guess we are very lucky in this. Thanks for bearing with my rambling thoughts and for this site!

  168. I found a Marshall Fields box with a pin in it that belonged to a lady born in 1827 how do I find out if it really is from them or the value

  169. I just came across a picture in a frame with a label on back Marshall Fields and Company under the company name it has-- Picture Galleries then the name- A. Wheeler amount 450- and salesperson no 3788 it appears. Not sure if the photograph in the frame is original to the frame thinking perhaps someone had frame and placed photo in yet it is professionally matted with the Marshall Field & Company label. I just stumbled across this site and simply love reading the wonderful stories.


  170. Good afternoon. This is the prior security director for Marshall Field and Co. who has posted here before…

    The brand of “Marshall Field and Co.” was importantly protected. In fact, while still an independent retailer (prior to its first purchase, by BATUS), employees were never allowed to refer to the company as “Marshall Field’s” – it was ALWAYS referred to as “Marshall Field and Co.” Such was the dignity and formality of the organization which was steadfastly embraced by customers and employees alike, even in casual conversation among the employees.

    These were also the days when men were required to wear suits (not even sportcoats and slacks) and women were required to wear dresses or full business suits (with skirt, blouse and jacket). Floor supervisors – who almost invariably would be male – could readily be identified by a boutonniere in their lapels and were always ready and eager to lend a hand to any shopper; and “the customer is always right” was the mantra, because that WAS the party line within the company – REALLY!!!

    Nothing prompted this post, just continued fondness for the good old days with Marshall Field and Co.

  171. That's why you will never see the ugly, truncated "Marshall Field's" logo on these pages. Marshall Field & Company held on to its traditions and dignity as an institution longer than most. I am glad that you were a part of that, and to a young man at the time, it was very, very obvious that Marshall Field & Company was something special indeed.

  172. I really miss Marshall Field & Co. I worked part time in Special Services as a security officer back in the mid 60's. My regular job was with the CPD. All I can say is that it was a special honor for me to work there. What a great store, and I miss you too Patricia. Sincerely, RF ... My E-mail (

  173. Their Watch repair shop was the best. I had a military watch that needed to be repaired. I took this watch to at least 3 different Jewelers, all of them told me that my watch could not be repaired. I decided to try Marshall Field & Co. I had to wait about a week but they repaired my watch. This was back in about 1967. This watch is still running fine today in 2017.

  174. Does anyone who worked at Marshall Field & Company in Chicago remember the great hotdogs and the best tasting Raspberry Juice. I believe the juice bar was located on the Mezzanine floor. Does anyone out there know where they purchased their Raspberry juice from? A cold Raspberry juice and a hotdog, on a hot summer day, was such a great treat.

  175. My spelling is a little off. Should have spelled HOTDOG like this, HOT DOG or HOT DOGS. I am sure though that you all understood what I meant to say.

  176. Marshall Field & Company did not have a Mezzanine in the State Street Store; at least not one accessible to the public. I am guessing that your experience may have been in the budget floor "Snack Shop" or Ice Cream Parlor on the Third Floor.

  177. Hello Bruce, you know better than I, but I seem to remember that in order for one to get to the Juice Bar, you had to walk up a few stairs from the 3rd floor on to what i thought was the Mezzanine part of the building. Do you have any idea or information on where one can buy that same great tasting Raspberry Juice?

  178. Hello, I have a Wind Up Marshall Field & Company Wrist Watch with a white face, and Marshall Field & Co. printed on the face of watch. I purchased this Watch in 1967 or 68 (not sure.) I believe I paid approximately $100 for it. The original brown leather band was replaced with a Shell Cordovan leather watch band. I think it has Swiss Made on it.
    Does anyone know what it could be worth today. It has a gold colored back too, and I don't know for sure if the back is real Gold or not?

  179. I was just going through my linen closet and found tucked at the back of the top shelf two wrapped rolls of Hudson's toilet paper. I forgot I had them, but remember grabbing them when we helped move my husband's grandmother out of her Lake Orion MI home in 1988 because it struck me as so funny that Hudson's had their own brand of toilet paper. I guess now almost 30 years later, and with Hudson's gone, they are pretty cool even if just toilet paper. Do you know what years they sold toilet paper ... or as the label reads Facial Quality Tissue?

  180. i am not sure if this is appropriate for this site, but for those wanting a bit of memorabilia and cannot afford the ever higher prices on ebay, amazon is selling a Christmas ornament

    this must date from 2004 (or 05 latest?) and was originally $12. amazon is selling these for $15. there were six left when I checked a moment ago. I got mine in the mail today and it is truly lovely. fine work. a perfect Christmas memory to go along with my 3 xmas boxes

  181. Hi, I was curious if anyone knew if there where online copies of the Marshall Field Catalogs? Looking for 1909-1911. Helping to restore a house and we have catalog numbers for William Morris wallpaper but they are from a Marshall Fields Catalog.

    Any help would be great.

    Todd Linscott

  182. At Christmas time, Marshall Field would sell a special Christmas wine. Does anyone know the winery that produced this wine for them? Possibly the winery makes it under a different label now.

  183. My wife and I own a brick home in North Judson, Indiana constructed in 1931. I've been told that it was based on a design purchased at Field's in Chicago by John Woytinek. It's a Neo-Classical Colonial Revival style (similar to Jefferson's Monticello, though of course not so grand) and includes seven sets of french doors. I can provide photos -- if anybody can help me learn more about it, I'd much appreciate it.

  184. Thank you for sharing this blog with those of us in love with all things old, especially famous places for fashion.

  185. I cannot express how grateful I am to you for all the work you have put into this is simply phenomenal. I am enjoying reading about all the old grand stores, even the ones I was never fortunate enough to visit in person.
    My biggest regret thus far is the fact that my husband and I lived in Evanston for 2 years in the mid seventies, and I did not visit the magnificent main store downtown. I was quite young and very close to broke at that time, so perhaps I felt it would be too much temptation.
    I really missed out on something quite wonderful.

  186. I worked for this company for 30 years, went thru 6 ownership changes and finally retired as a store VP under the Macy's name. I was at State St for 2 renovations (including the Holden Ct incorporation) at Water Tower for one renovation, went to MN to run a Dayton's, to Columbus to run the City Center store and then back to State St. for the last year it was Field's. State St generated $236 million in sales that's on my review! The person that did the windows was severed by Macy's after 25 yrs. She was also the company archivist and cataloged much of the info at the Chicago History Museum and does do presentations on Marshall Field's history and the windows during her tenure. I will insure she knows about this site. It has been quite a trip down memory lane to read thru all this commentary, thank you!

  187. Hello! Can you please contact me at In my opinion, "the" book about Marshall Field & Company has not yet been written, and I would like to speak with the archivist you mentioned. Thank you! It's always been my opinion that Marshall Field & Company was the very best of the best - and it was people like you that made it that way.
    - Bruce

  188. “Give the lady what she wants” In my opinion was the best book ever written about Marshall Field & Company. I loved the way it included not only the triumphs, but the conflicts.

  189. Hello, Mike!

    Thank you; I thoroughly agree . . . and it is on my bookshelf too. The store, though, in my opinion, is crying out for a modern work to do it justice in terms of graphics, photos, and new information. I'd love to take on this task, if I found the right publishing partner.
    Are you a relation to the Field family? I worked with Marshall Field III on a renovation project in Jupiter, Florida many years ago.

  190. The story behind the famous display windows of years past; The history of the Walnut Room and the Great Tree.

  191. Can fields come back??
    Maybe extend that walnut room- it would explode with business upon opening. I loved the walnut room- i would get a chicken pot pie, and a slice of 'frango mint fantasy cake' which i double dog dare ANY human to try and finish..sooo rich, chocolately and satisfying.
    The main floor always had such a golden aura to it- like going back to my happy place, completely crystallized in time..i knew when i was amongst the perfumes and jewellery that magic existed- and everyone who worked there knew that- i was just passing thru.
    They would have crazy sales too..the basement bargain that had the 35% off all half priced items- you could walk out of there with high ticket items for dollars.
    The windows at holiday were amazing as well..i can still remember the crowds around those windows, and how cold it would get just standing there, watching this tiny window into a mysterious world.
    Yeah...marshall fields needs to be here(reopen)- i actually think it would do really well right about now, mainly due to nostalgia , but MF&C held so much novelty, kids today would love it too.. it was never "childcentric", but child friendly, and it felt like being apart of an adult wold of finer living.
    I can remember it like i was there yesterday!

  192. Anybody have any info on this???


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