Men of Scottish birth have figured
conspicuously in the mercantile affairs of America, and the career of the
subject of this sketch demonstrates clearly and emphatically how a young
man can come to this country alone, without friends, influence or backing,
and by industry, perseverance and ability to grasp and take advantage of
the opportunities that present
themselves from time to time, and by honourable business methods, make
himself an honoured and influential citizen in his adopted country.
Alexander Bruce Adam, President of Edson Keith & Company, Chicago, Ill.,
was born in Dunfermline, Scotland, July 2, 1839, and was the son of
Alexander and Bruce Wilson Adam. He received his education in the grammar
and high schools of his native town.
In 1859 he came to America
and began his business career, entering the employ of Hogg, Brown and
Taylor, of Boston, Mass., with whom he remained until 1864, when he went
to Chicago and be came connected with the wholesale millinery house of
Keith, Faxon & Company, one of the leading firms in this line in America.
started as a salesman, in which
position he showed such ability, that in 1866 he was sent by his firm to
Europe as their buyer. He was so successful in this venture that for many
years he made regular European trips and built up for his firm not only an
enormous business but a national reputation as importers of millinery,
making this the first house in the West to bring out this line of
merchandise direct from Europe.
In 1879, Mr. Adam was admitted as a
partner in the firm and in 1901 was elected President. He has been
connected with this house and its successors for half a century. In 1868,
Mr. Adam married Miss Alice Nash, of Boston, Mass., and they have one
daughter, Mrs. H. W. Shearson. His residence is at 2249 Calumet Avenue,
where he has lived for more than thirty years. He is a member of the
Chicago, Calurnet and South Shore Country Clubs, and the Illinois St.
Andrew Society. He was one of the organizers of the Millinery Jobbers’
Association, a national institution and its first President. His leisure
time and social life is spent in reading and travelling.