One of the most important Jewish families in Chicago

One of the most important Jewish families in Chicago

Chicago has one of the most significant Jewish communities in the United States. In the early 1830s, the first groups of Jews immigrants became to arrive at this city from different places around the world, like Germany, Eastern Europe (most of them from Russia and Poland) and the Middle East. The first colonies established in the Chicago limits, later to other places in the city like Hyde Park, Kenwood, South Shore and Near Westside. Some of them started their own stores and business, which later became in important companies for the American economy. Among these entrepreneurs was the Pritzker family. Currently, it is considered one of the richest families in the United States.

In 1881, Nicholas J. Pritzker, a Ukrainian Jewish, immigrated to Chicago and years later found the Pritzker & Pritzker law firm. One of his sons was Abram Nicholas Pritzker, the father of Jay Pritzker, who co-founded Hyatt Hotels Corporation and other companies. Abram was known for his work as a criminalistics lawyer and philanthropic contributions, which includes the funding of the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago.

The Pritzker family is known not only for being the owners of Hyatt Hotels Corporation but for other companies like Royal Caribbean Cruisers and the TransUnion credit bureau. They also founded the Marmon Group.

Jay Arthur Pritzker

He was born in 1922 and died in 1999. Jay graduated from the Northwestern University School of Law in 1947. He was a vital key for the diversification of his family businesses which were focused only on the Pritzker & Pritzker law firm, building a holding with more than 50 different organizations.

In 1957 he co-founded with his brother Donald Pritzker the Hyatt Hotels Corporation, one of the most important hotel chains in the world. In 1983 he owned Braniff Airlines, which was sold in 1988.

Through his life, Jay Pritzker founded multiple companies in different industrial sectors and led the Pritzker family business. Furthermore, in 1979 he created the Pritzker prize, which is one of the most important awards in architecture, giving $100.000 dollars to the winner.

In 2004, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion was built in the Millennium Park in Chicago, as a recognition of Jay Pritzker work and for what he did in Chicago.

Marmon Group

Created in 1953 and with headquarters located in Illinois, Chicago, this holding is formed by multiple companies from different industrial sectors, like transportation equipment and electrical components production, retail, construction, among other things. Currently, as it was mentioned above, Marmon Group is owned by Berkshire Hathaway group.

This holding was created in 1953 after the acquisition of Colson Corporation by Jay Pritzker and his brother Donald. Ten years later, the company changed its name for Marmon Group, due to the purchasing of Marmon-Herrington, one of its major acquisitions. Marmon-Herrington produces transfer cases and axles for heavy vehicles, like trucks, buses, and railroads. In 1976, Marmon Group acquires Cerro Corporation and years later purchased the TransUnion, which provides credit reports and information management systems in more than 30 countries around the world, being one of the most important and biggest credit bureaus in the planet.

In 2013, Marmon Group was acquired for Berkshire Hathaway group, one of the greatest conglomerates around the world, led by the well-known Warren Buffet, who is considered the third richest man on the planet. This holding owns companies like Helzberg Diamonds, NetJets Lubrizol, and other important organizations. Besides, it has participation in The Coca-Cola Company, American Express, Kraft Heinz Company, IBM, among other giant businesses. With this acquisition, Jay Pritzker and his family greatly increased its wealth, making them one of the richest families in the world.

Hyatt Hotels

Besides the Marmon Group, Pritzker family found the Hyatt Hotels Corporation, which operates more than 600 hotels and resorts around the world and has more than 95.000 employees. Also, this organization owns more than 10 brands related with Hotels and vacation properties, such as Hyatt Regency, Hyatt House, Ziva, Andaz or Grand Hyatt.

This hotel chain offers multiple lodging services in its hotels and resorts, some of them are: the Grand Hyatt hotels which are the most luxury branch, with installations located in the major cities around the world. Hyatt Regency hotels which have services for pleasure and business travelers. Hyatt Ziva hotels which are all-inclusive resorts located in the most touristic places around the world.

Image courtesy of Michael at
Image courtesy of Michael at

Pritzker Legacy

The Pritzker family is considered one of the most significant and influential families in Chicago and the United States, not just for its companies and wealth, but for their multiple philanthropic contributions like the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago, the Pritzker Military Museum and Library, the Pritzker School of Law at Northwestern University, or the Pritzker Traubert Family Library at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, among other donations.

Related: Ancient Wisdom by Yosef Meystel