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Old 09-20-2005, 11:14 AM   #1
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Default Marshall Field & Co - a Chicago institution

I heard on the news today that Federated the company that owns both the Macy's and Marshall Field lines of department stores will soon convert all Marshall Field & Co. stores to become Macy's. The name Marshall Field & Co. will cease to exist after over a century of being a Chicago institution. It was, especially in its early days, a major tourist attraction, drawing even foreign royalty.

My mom was born and raised in Chicago and has told me her memories of the place. A few years ago, while researching books by one of my favorite authors, Emily Kimbrough, I discovered Miss Kimbrough's book Through Charley's Door. It's her account of getting a job there in the 1920s, starting out in the advertising department, knowing absolutely nothing about advertising. She had a bunch of trials by fire right from the beginning: being thrown into the frenzy of getting out the weekly newspaper ads, dealing with difficult clients (the department heads), having to stay up all night for photo shoots, learning to write ad copy, and eventually taking over as editor of the company's "Fashions of the Hour" magazine. Delightful and hilarious adventures she had, many that many of us here can relate to one way or another.

I've read the book many times since I found it at a rare & used bookseller's several years ago and enjoyed family stories of the place, so I feel a little wistful at the news that the Marshall Field and Co. name will soon be mere history. It was quite a place, by all accounts.

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