Alvah Curtis Roebuck

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Alvah Curtis Roebuck
Born(1864-01-09)January 9, 1864
DiedJune 18, 1948(1948-06-18) (aged 84)
Resting placeAcacia Park Cemetery, Chicago, U.S.
Years active1891–1948
Known forCo-Founding Sears, Roebuck & Co.
Spouse(s)Sarah Blanche Lett
Children3 (2 sons, 1 daughter)

Alvah Curtis Roebuck (January 9, 1864 – June 18, 1948) was the co-founder of Sears, Roebuck and Company with his partner Richard Warren Sears.

Early life[edit]

Alvah Curtis Roebuck was born on January 9, 1864, in Lafayette, Indiana. He began work as a watchmaker in a Hammond, Indiana, jewelry store at age 12.


Roebuck co-founded Sears, Roebuck and Company with Richard Warren Sears in 1891.[1][2]

In 1895, Roebuck asked Sears to buy him out for about $20,000. At Richard Sears' request, Roebuck took charge of a division that handled watches, jewelry, optical goods, and, later, phonographs, magic lanterns and motion picture machines. His business interests did not end with Sears. He later organized and financed two companies: a manufacturer and a distributor of motion picture machines and accessories. Roebuck also served as president (1909–1924) of Emerson Typewriter Company, where he invented the improved typewriter, called the "Woodstock."

After several years in semi-retirement in Florida, the financial losses he suffered in the stock market crash of 1929 forced Roebuck to return to Chicago. By 1933, Roebuck had rejoined Sears, Roebuck and Co., where he largely devoted his time to compiling a history of the company he helped found.

In September 1934, a Sears store manager asked Roebuck to make a public appearance at his store. After an enthusiastic public turnout, Roebuck went on tour, appearing at retail stores across the country for the next several years.

Personal life and death[edit]

Roebuck married first wife Kittie Rice 2 September 1890, in York, Ontario, Canada, and had a son Theodore Roebuck born 2 July 1891. Roebuck later married Sarah Blanche Lett.[3] They lived in Tujunga, Los Angeles, California.[3] They had a son, Alvah Curtis Roebuck, Jr., who also lived in Tujunga, and a daughter, who lived in Evanston, Illinois with her husband Raymond H. Keeler.[3]

Roebuck died on June 18, 1948 while visiting his daughter in Evanston, Illinois.[3] He was 84 years old.[4] He was buried at the Acacia Park Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois.[3]


  1. ^ "Sears, Roebuck Founder Dies". The Terre Haute Tribune. June 19, 1948. p. 9. Retrieved July 30, 2016 – via It was from his partnership with Richard W. Sears in 1891 that the huge mail order business grew.
  2. ^ "Sears Co-Founder Dies In Evanston". The Anniston Star. June 20, 1948. p. 9. Retrieved July 30, 2016 – via It was from his partnership with Richard W. Sears in 1891 that the huge mail order business grew.
  3. ^ a b c d e "A.C. Roebuck Dies At Age 84. One of the Founders of Store Firm". Alton Evening Telegraph. Alton, Illinois. June 19, 1948. p. 2. Retrieved July 30, 2016 – via
  4. ^ "A. C. Roebuck Dies. Store Cofounder. Partner of Sears in Starting Business in 1891. Sold His Share Early in Century". The New York Times. June 20, 1948. Retrieved 2008-06-14.

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