Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Leiter, Levi Zeigler

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

LEITER, Levi Zeigler, merchant, b. in Leitersburg, Md., 22 Nov., 1834. Here in the town founded by his ancestors he received a good education and remained until eighteen years of age. He spent one year in Springfield, Ohio, arriving in Chicago in 1854. Entering first the house of Downs & Van Wyck, then that of Cooley, Wadsworth & Co., in which he remained through its various changes until January, 1865, when with Marshall Field, who entered the house at the same time, and who with young Leiter had secured an interest in the business in consideration of valuable services, they sold their interest to John V. Farwell, purchasing a controlling interest in the business of Potter Palmer. This connection continued two years, when they purchased the remaining interest of Palmer, the firm then becoming Field, Leiter & Co. By the exercise of rare intelligence, based upon the soundest principles, the business was rapidly increased until it occupied a leading position in the country. Having large real estate and other interests, and desiring to be free from the exacting duties of a larger business. Mr. Leiter sold his share in the house to his partner in January, 1881. He has contributed to the development of a higher life in Chicago. He never accepted public office, but has given much time to the public as an active director in the Chicago relief and aid society, the American Sunday-school union, to numerous clubs, the Chicago art institution, and the Chicago historical society. Mr. Leiter's winter residence is in Washington, D. C. — His eldest daughter, Mary Victoria, married, in January, 1895, George Curzon, member of parliament of Great Britain and assistant secretary for foreign affairs, now Lord Curzon, having been elevated to a barony in September, 1898, and appointed governor-general of India. — His son, Joseph, b. in Chicago, 4 Dec, 1868, attended St. Paul's school, Concord, N. H., and graduated at Harvard university in 1891. After extensive tours in Europe, he became actively interested in assisting his father in his business affairs. He is a director of the Chicago city railway company, of the Chicago Edison company, the Alley elevated railroad company, and is a member of the staff of the governor of Illinois. Mr. Leiter's fame became wide-spread in 1897-'8 by reason of his unsuccessful operations in the Chicago wheat-market.