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Julius H. Barnes. Right, with Thomas Lamont, left, and Silas Strawn. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-92371).

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Barnes, Julius Howland (02 February 1873–17 April 1959), industrialist and government official, was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, the son of Lucien Jerome Barnes, a banker, and Julia Hill. Moving with his family, he attended public schools in Washington, D.C., and Duluth, Minnesota. Following his father’s death in 1886, Barnes left school to take a job as office boy with the Duluth grain brokerage firm of Wardell Ames. There he rose rapidly, becoming president of the company in 1910 and subsequently reorganizing it as the Barnes-Ames Company. By 1915 Barnes-Ames was the world’s largest grain exporter, and Barnes acquired other business interests, principally in shipbuilding and Great Lakes shipping. In 1896 he married Harriet Carey, with whom he had two children....

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Johnson Newlon Camden. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-101787).

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Camden, Johnson Newlon (06 March 1828–25 April 1908), oil company executive, pioneer industrialist, and U.S. senator, was born in Collins Settlement, Lewis County, Virginia (now Jacksonville, W.Va.), the son of John Scrivener Camden, a justice of the peace, and Nancy Newlon. Camden’s father bought a house and tavern in Sutton, Braxton County, and moved the family there in 1837....

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Colyar, Arthur St. Clair (23 June 1818–13 December 1907), industrialist and politician, was born in Washington County, Tennessee, the son of Alexander Colyar and Katherine Sevier Sherrill, farmers. As a boy Colyar moved with his parents to Middle Tennessee, where he received a country-school education in Coffee and Franklin counties. He later read law while teaching school and was admitted to the bar in Winchester in 1846. Colyar married Agnes Erskine Estill in 1847; they had eleven children before she died in 1886. In 1888 he married Mary McGuire....

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Comer, Braxton Bragg (07 November 1848–15 August 1927), industrialist and governor of Alabama, was born at Spring Hill in Barbour County, Alabama, the son of John Fletcher Comer, a planter and lumberman, and Catherine Drewry. Comer was one of the cadets at the University of Alabama who fired on federal troops before they burned the university in the Civil War. He later completed his college training at Emory and Henry, graduating in 1869. In 1872 he married Eva Jane Harris; they had eight children including Donald (born James MacDonald) and Hugh, the sons who took over the family’s textile mills. After a brief foray in plantation management, Comer moved to Anniston and organized a wholesale grocery and commission business. Five years later, in 1890, he moved to rapidly growing Birmingham. In the “Magic City” he built a grist mill, became a banker, and organized Avondale Mills, which was to become the basis of his fortune....

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Peter Cooper. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-11083).

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Cooper, Peter (12 February 1791–04 April 1883), inventor, manufacturer, and civic benefactor, was born in New York City, the son of John Cooper and Margaret Campbell. His father was a struggling merchant who moved the family successively to Peekskill, Catskill, and finally Newburgh, New York, in search of financial success. Assisting his father in a series of occupations (hatter, brewer, shopkeeper, and brickmaker), Cooper obtained valuable practical work experience. Given his family’s relative poverty and constant movement, Cooper was only able to obtain a year’s worth of formal schooling; this deficiency in his formal education haunted him throughout his life....

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Crane, Winthrop Murray (23 April 1853–02 October 1920), industrialist, governor of Massachusetts, and U.S. senator, was born in Dalton, Massachusetts, the son of Zenas Marshall Crane, a paper manufacturer, and Louise Fanny Laflin. A member of a wealthy and politically prominent western Massachusetts family, Crane attended Wesleyan Academy (later Wilbraham Academy) in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, and Williston Seminary in Easthampton. He left school in 1870 to work in his family’s paper mills. After trying every job from floor sweeper to mill superintendent, he found his niche in sales....

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Davis, Henry Gassaway (16 November 1823–11 March 1916), industrialist and U.S. senator, was born in Woodlawn, Baltimore County, Maryland, the son of Caleb Davis and Louise Warfield Brown. Davis’s father, a construction contractor who worked for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, suffered debilitating financial reverses when Davis was young, and his mother supported the family by operating a girls’ school....

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du Pont, T. Coleman (11 December 1863–11 November 1930), industrialist and senator, was born Thomas Coleman du Pont in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of Ellen Susan Coleman and Antoine Bidermann du Pont, a businessman. He was a great-grandson of Eleuthère Irénée du Pont...

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Elkins, Stephen Benton (26 September 1841–04 January 1911), statesman and industrialist, was born in Perry County, Ohio, the son of Philip Duncan Elkins and Sarah Pickett Withers, farmers. His paternal grandfather was a Virginia slaveholder who emancipated his slaves and moved to Ohio in 1821. Stephen grew up on a farm at Westport, Missouri, after his parents resettled there in the 1840s. He graduated from the University of Missouri in 1860 and taught school for one year before enlisting in the pro-Union Westport Home Guard in 1861. Elkins, whose father and brother joined Confederate units, found border warfare too vicious for his taste, and after a few months of service he quit the home guard and maintained the status of noncombatant....

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Flanders, Ralph Edward (28 September 1880–19 February 1970), industrialist and U.S. senator, was born in Barnet, Vermont, the son of Albert Wellington Flanders, a farmer and woodworker, and Mary Lizzie Gilfillan, a schoolteacher. At the age of six his family moved to Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and two years later to a farm near Lincoln, Rhode Island. Graduating from a country school at fifteen, the eldest of nine children in a poor family that needed his wages, he became an apprentice machinist....

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Green, Benjamin Edwards (05 February 1822–12 May 1907), lawyer, diplomat, and business promoter, was born in Elkton, Kentucky, the son of Duff Green and Lucretia Maria Edwards. He grew up in Washington, D.C., where his father, a determined supporter of Andrew Jackson, moved in 1825 to edit the ...

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Kohler, Walter Jodok (03 March 1875–21 April 1940), manufacturer and politician, was born in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, the son of John Michael Kohler, Jr., a manufacturer and businessman, and Lillie Vollrath. His father came to the United States from his native Austria at the age of ten in 1854. In 1871 his father moved to Sheboygan and two years later started a foundry and machine shop to make agricultural implements. He added the manufacture of enamelware and after a few years dropped the production of implements. In 1888 the original company was incorporated as Kohler, Hayssen and Stehn Manufacturing Company and was devoted to the manufacture of enamel bathroom fixtures and kitchenware. In 1898 the old Sheboygan plant was sold and new production facilities built on open farmland west of Sheboygan. In 1912 the firm became the Kohler Company....

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Truman H. Newberry Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-98130).

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Newberry, Truman Handy (05 November 1864–03 October 1945), businessman and senator, was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of John Stoughton Newberry, a lawyer, congressman, and manufacturer who founded the Michigan Car Company, and Helen Parmelee Handy. Newberry attended Michigan Military Academy in Orchard Lake, Charlier Institute in New York City, and Reed’s School in Lakeville, Connecticut. He graduated with a Ph.B. from the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale College in 1885. Newberry began his business career as a staff member of the Detroit, Bay City, and Alpena Railroad, of which he became superintendent of construction. After his father’s death in 1887, Newberry assumed total control of the family’s business enterprises, including the presidency of the Detroit Steel and Spring Company. He also engaged in various other manufacturing activities. In 1888 he married Harriet Josephine Barnes, with whom he had a daughter and twin sons....

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Romney, George (08 July 1907–26 July 1995), industrialist and politician, was born George Wilcken Romney in Chihuahua, Mexico, the son of Gaskell Romney, a construction contractor, and Anna Pratt. From the beginning, Romney’s Mormon faith strongly influenced his life. His parents had moved to Mexico to escape American laws discriminating against Latter-day Saints. After Mexican revolutionary leader ...

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Stettinius, Edward Reilly (15 February 1865–03 September 1925), businessman and second assistant secretary of war, was born in Chicago, Illinois, but grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Joseph Stettinius, a wholesale grocer, and Isabel Reilly Gorman. Edward was an excellent student who had to drop out of St. Louis University in 1881 at age sixteen to take care of his mother and chronically ill brother, his father having died years earlier. He held a number of clerical jobs over the next seven years. In the late 1880s he became involved in stock brokering with several firms. He speculated heavily and lost a great deal of money. After his mother’s death in 1891, Stettinius left for Chicago where he lost even more money on the stock market....

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Stuart Symington Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-100465).