Born in Wehlau, East Prussia May 22, 1864, Paul Frank Beich received his early education at Culm where his father was headmaster. He was the eldest of three sons born to August and Huldah (Volgelsang) Beich. At the age of 18 he emigrated and in February 21, 1887 became a naturalized citizen of the United States of America.
On March 1 of that year he moved to St. Louis, Missouri, to take a place as a traveling salesman for Peckham & Co. candy manufacturers. In 1893 Beich purchased the Chisholm-Gray Company building, first conducting business in the 200 block of East Front Street, and later in the 100 block. In 1899 Beich and Oscar Buffe purchased the Lancaster Caramel Company from M.S. Hershey.
By 1908 the Beich candy factory at the foot of West Grove Street, just west of Union Station, Bloomington was considered one of the city’s leader industries, employing more than 200. By 1929 it employed 400 persons and the Chicago branch, opened in 1911, and employed 200. In 1919 Paul F. Beich was named president of the National Association of manufacturing Confectioners at their annual conference which was held in Springfield, Mass. In 1987 Nestle purchased the company, ending all Beich family involvement.
The Beich collection consists of photocopies and original newspaper and magazine articles from 1887 to 2005, history pamphlets, price lists, promotional material, correspondence, black & white photographs, newsletter, employee listings, employee newsletters, fire newspaper articles award certificates, patents, hand-written recipe notebooks, ledgers and a VHS recording that includes a history of the Paul F. Beich Co.