Alvah C. Roebuck was a Caucasian man of English descent. Roebuck was born in Indiana in 1864. A self-taught watchmaker, he began working for Richard W. Sears in 1887 in Chicago. They established Sears, Roebuck and Company in 1893.
Roebuck was in charge of the company's business in watches, jewelry, optics, phonographs and motion pictures. He also started two other companies and invented a typewriter. Roebuck lost money in the stock market crash in 1929, and he returned to Sears, Roebuck and Company in 1933. He spent the rest of his career writing a company history and touring stores. He died in 1948.