The Marshall Fields: The Evolution of an American Business Dynasty / Edition 1

The Marshall Fields: The Evolution of an American Business Dynasty / Edition 1

by Axel Madsen, Multimedia Product Development, Inc. Staff
     
 

At a time when the average American earned $500 a year, Marshall Field enjoyed a tidy annual income of $40 million. Unlike his robber-baron contemporaries, however, Field was the enlightened prince of the Gilded Age. Always looking toward the future, he built his department store empire on a solid foundation of quality, customer service, and a hard-earned

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Overview

At a time when the average American earned $500 a year, Marshall Field enjoyed a tidy annual income of $40 million. Unlike his robber-baron contemporaries, however, Field was the enlightened prince of the Gilded Age. Always looking toward the future, he built his department store empire on a solid foundation of quality, customer service, and a hard-earned reputation for honesty and good character. His attempts to secure the future of his family and his fortune were less successful.

The Marshall Fields follows this terse and industrious young farm boy’s career as he learns how to make millions by knowing what women want. It reveals the tactics and innovations that enabled Field to keep his business growing while many around him succumbed to the ravages of the Chicago fire, bank panics, and constant, fierce competition. But Field’s phenomenal success came at a high price.

Noted biographer Axel Madsen creates a moving portrait of an aging and lonely tycoon whose estranged wife departed for Europe and may have died a drug addict; whose dissolute son may have committed suicide or been shot by a floozy; and whose iron-clad will was designed to keep his immense fortune intact for at least four generations.

Armed with this enormous wealth, the succeeding Field generations caromed wildly between rebellion and folly, haunted by a palpable sense of alienation and a deep fear of the hereditary insanity that led many family members to suicide or to commitment in mental institutions. You’ll meet the jazz-age playboy who suffered that peculiar kind of public contempt reserved for idealists with money, the diligent businessman who tried to expand the family fortune, and the contentious half-brothers who finally managed to dissolve it.

This multigenerational saga of money, madness, and mystery tells a Jekyll-and-Hyde story of American capitalism–a tale of drive and nerve and moral stumbles. Sometimes shocking, often absurd, and always absorbing reading, The Marshall Fields offers a rare and unforgettably intimate look at the glorious and tragic history of one of America’s most venerable business families.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780471024934
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
09/02/2002
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
1,016,731
Product dimensions:
0.94(w) x 9.21(h) x 6.14(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments.

Introduction.

CHICAGO.

1. A Place to Linger.

2. Silent Marsh.

3. Partnerships.

4. Fire, Panic, and More Fire.

5. Instincts.

6. Marshall Field & Company.

7. Paid to Think.

8. Mile-a-Minute Harry.

9. Nannie.

10. Hostilities.

11. Giving Back.

12. Politics.

13. Delia.

14. Son and Father.

15. The Will.

16. Grandsons.

NEW YORK.

17. Secrets and Spies.

18. How to Spend It.

19. Audrey.

20. Evolutions.

21. Roosevelt Radicals.

22. Patriot Games.

23. Coming of Age.

24. Bearing Witness.

25. Cold War.

26. Successions.

LOS ANGELES.

27. The Crunch.

28. Each Generation Speaks for Itself.

Notes and Sources.

Bibliography.

Index.

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