Joseph Biggs

Joseph Biggs owned and ran an exclusive catering service in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He catered parties held by various social clubs and by the city’s elite families, including the Ryersons, the McCormicks, and the Fields. In addition to providing Chicago’s wealthy households with elaborate luncheons and dinners—complete with a host of waiters, when necessary—Biggs also supplied his customers with small, frequent orders of everyday groceries, like mushrooms and citrus fruits. The DeKovens were among Biggs’s most frequent customers, both for large and small orders; it is perhaps no surprise, then, that his company began operating out of the DeKoven house years later, after they bought it from Louise DeKoven Bowen, the daughter of John and Helen DeKoven and an early benefactor of Jane Addams’s Hull House.