In 1891, Harper’s Weekly noted that “nine persons out of ten in Chicago and the Northwest, if asked who was the most distinguished figure in commerce in that important section of the country, would, without hesitation, reply, ‘Marshall Field.’? In the 21st century, few would know who he was, or the vital role he played in the evolution of department stores. Marshall Field was born in Conway, Massachusetts, on August 18, 1834. His father was a farmer, and Field, like so many of the great titans, led the life of a country boy, working the farm and receiving a basic education. When he was 15, his father lost the farm. Field saw his potential inheritance vanish with the title. He went to work as “hired help? on his brother’s farm, but quit after two years and headed for Pittsfield, MA, where he began his life as a merchant. Starting as a clerk in a dry-goods store, Field learned the art of merchandising from top to bottom.