Samuel Abraham Marx was born in Natchez, Mississippi and graduated from MIT's Department of Architecture in 1907. Marx sailed for Europe two weeks after graduating and spent eighteen months traveling and studying at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Upon his return to America, he worked briefly for Killham & Hopkins in Boston and for Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge in Chicago before opening his own practice. While his earliest recognized works were for the interior designs of hotels and department stores, Marx became a respected residential architect, designing homes that were heavily influenced by Mies van der Rohe.
Marx's senior thesis, Design for a Synagogue, exhibits outstanding rendering abilities and his propensity for stripped-down, monumental massing that would continue throughout his career. In his work on the Alexander Hamilton Memorial in Chicago's Lincoln Park, Marx provides an architectural framework for the figurative sculpture by British sculptor John Angel. Rather than enclosing the sculpture in a traditionally defined space, Marx's proposal juxtaposes rectilinear slabs of granite, slate, and limestone to form a unique environment that has a great deal in common with the houses he was designing at the time.