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Shortly after the end of World War II, Ira Marks founded Whitehall Co. Jewelers. Marks served as an Army officer and was wounded while leading his troops in Italy, earning him a Purple Heart and Bronze Star. The family business began with seven locations in Chicago and later grew to more than 150 stores, most of which were found in regional malls. Whitehall Co. Jewelers was a branch of Mark Brothers Jewelers—a larger Chicago-based jewelry chain that was established in 1895. In spite of its ties to the wildly successful Mark Brothers Jewelers, Whitehall filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June 2008 after years of financial struggle. But, Whitehall Co. Jewelers will always have a place in Chicago history as it was one of the first businesses to hire African-Americans and women.


Berns, S., & Jaffin, M. (2008, August 12). Whitehall Jewelers to hold bankruptcy liquidation sale. Business Wire.…

Janega, J. (2000, March 18). Ira Marks; founded Whitehall Co. Chicago Tribune.…

Jones, S. M. (2008, June 24). Whitehall Jewelers likely to sell assets. Chicago Tribune.…

Whitehall Company. (2019). About us.

Catalog ID AD0905