(1827 - 1899)
Businessman and Politician
Born in Carlsrule, Germany in 1827, Marx worked in his father’s store where he learned the import/export business. He came to the USA in 1848 after the Prussian revolution was crushed. He arrived in Toledo with his brother in 1851 (part of the “Forty-Eighters”) and opened a grocery store.
Marx started a German-language newspaper called the Toledo Express, sold the store and bought into the R. Brand and Company in 1860 by buying Peter Lenk’s shares. After R. Brand’s death five years later, in partnership with Rudolph’s nephew Adolph, Guido took over the firm. He wasted little time in expanding the business, traveling to Germany, Spain, France and Hungary to begin the import of European wines. He also promoted Lake Erie wines. In a short time, R. Brand & Co. became the largest wine wholesaler west of the Atlantic Coast, eclipsing even Chicago and Cincinnati.
in 1869 he was elected to the Toledo City Council. He subsequently was elected to the Ohio Legislature in 1871 and reelected in 1873. That same year, the Governor of Ohio appointed him as the representative of Ohio at the Vienna Austria Exposition of 1873. Marx later would be named to the Board of Judges (for alcoholic beverages) at both the Philadelphia International Exposition of 1876 and the Chicago Colombian Exposition of 1893.
In 1875, Guido Marx was elected Mayor of Toledo, serving as the city’s first chief executive of Jewish heritage.
He built a spectacular (for the time) four story Italianate style commercial building at 120-124 St. Clair Street to house the R. Brand & Co.
In 1877, President Rutherford B. Hayes appointed him as ambassador to Chile. That landed him squarely in the middle of the so-called “War of the Pacific” which pitted Chile against the combined forces of Peru and Bolivia.
He died in 1899 at the age of 72. R. Brand, the company he guided for almost 30 years, was sold to employees and went out of business about 1916 when Ohio voted “Dry.”