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Bell, James Ford (16 August 1879–07 May 1961), corporate executive, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of James Stroud Bell, a miller, and Sallie Montgomery Ford. His family relocated to Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1888, and Bell received his early education in the public schools there. After preparing for college at the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, he entered the University of Minnesota. Bell graduated with a B.S. in chemistry in 1901 and immediately joined his father’s firm, the Washburn Crosby Company. Initially employed as a salesman in Michigan, he soon became fully acquainted with all facets of the firm’s operations. He married Louise Heffelfinger of Minneapolis in 1902; the couple had four children....

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Birdseye, Clarence (09 December 1886–07 October 1956), inventor and entrepreneur, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Clarence Frank Birdseye, an attorney and legal scholar, and Ada Underwood. When Birdseye was in his teens, his family moved to Montclair, New Jersey, where he completed his high school education. Interested in both food and natural history from an early age, he signed up for a cooking course in high school and trained himself to be a more than competent taxidermist, attempting for a time to earn some income by training others in that skill. Birdseye attended Amherst College on a sporadic basis between 1908 and 1910, but he left before graduating because of financial problems. In an attempt to pay his college bills, he had collected frogs to sell to the Bronx Zoo for feeding their snake population and caught rats in a butcher shop for a Columbia University faculty member who was conducting breeding experiments. Following his departure from Amherst in 1910, he worked as an office boy for an insurance agency in New York, and then briefly as a snow checker for the city’s street cleaning department....

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Borden, Gail (09 November 1801–11 January 1874), surveyor and inventor, was born in Norwich, New York, the son of Gail Borden, a pioneer and landowner, and Philadelphia Wheeler. The Bordens moved at least twice in the early 1800s, first to Kennedy’s Ferry, Kentucky, which became Covington soon after their arrival, and then to New London, Indiana, in 1816, where Borden learned surveying. Borden attended school in Indiana during 1816 and 1817....

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Douglas Pike and Lisabeth G. Svendsgaard

Bunker, Ellsworth (11 May 1894–27 September 1984), businessman and diplomat, was born in Yonkers, New York, the son of George R. Bunker, a founder of the National Sugar Refining Company, and Jean Polhemus Cobb. Bunker was educated in private schools in Dobbs Ferry, New York, and attended Yale University, where he majored in history and economics. After graduating in 1916, he entered the family business as a dockworker. In 1920 he married Harriet Allen Butler, with whom he was to have three children. Bunker advanced quickly in the National Sugar Refining Company and was named a director of the company in 1927. He went on to become secretary, treasurer, president, and chairman of the board, retiring in 1950. He remained a member of the board of directors until 1966....

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Chester, Colby Mitchell, Jr. (23 July 1877–26 September 1965), lawyer and business executive, was born in Annapolis, Maryland, the son of Colby Mitchell Chester, a lieutenant commander (later a rear admiral) in the U.S. Navy, and Melancia Antoinette Tremaine. He attended Yale University, where he was awarded a Ph.B. from the Sheffield Scientific School in 1897 and a B.A. in 1898. Chester then enrolled at New York Law School, where he received an LL.B. in 1900. That same year he was admitted to the New York bar but delayed the practice of law to join his father, then commander of the battleship USS ...

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Clark, Catherine Taft (31 December 1906–02 May 1986), business executive, was born in Whitewater, Wisconsin, the daughter of Warren G. Taft, a machinist, and Louise West. Taft attended public schools in Whitewater, but as her father died when she was a child, she was unable to attend college. Instead, at nineteen she took a job as secretary to the local college president, where she claimed to learn as much as a formally enrolled student. From there, Milwaukee was her next stop; she worked at Schuster’s, a major department store, where she gained experience in retailing and marketing....

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Crowell, Henry Parsons (27 January 1855–23 October 1944), businessman, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Henry Luther Crowell, a wholesale shoe merchant, and Anna Eliza Parsons. Due to ill health, Henry left school at seventeen to work in the family business. While in Cleveland he attended a ...

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Danforth, William Henry (10 September 1870–24 December 1955), food industry executive, was born in Charleston, Missouri, the son of Albert Hampton Danforth, a general store proprietor and bank president, and Rebecca Lynn. An intelligent and responsible boy, he was sent to live alone and attend the Manual Training School in St. Louis, Missouri, at the age of fourteen. He was soon invited to stay with the family of a classmate, with whom he remained until his graduation in 1887. Although he was already drawn to a career in business—his senior class essay was entitled “A Commission Merchant”—he enrolled in Washington University in St. Louis, where from 1887 to 1892 he majored in engineering. Upon graduating, he found work as a salesman for a brick company, but, since the business was both seasonal and dependent on the economy, he found it unsatisfactory. Two older friends whom he had met at the Methodist church where he was active in Sunday school work, George Robinson and William Andrews, owned a retail feed store near the university and proposed that Danforth join them in producing formula horse and mule feed. Reasoning that horses had to eat all year and in bad times as well as good, he borrowed one-third of the $12,000 capital investment from his father and on 1 January 1894 formed the Robinson-Danforth Commission Company with them, serving as secretary-treasurer. In October of that year he married Adda Bush, with whom he had two children....

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Dole, James Drummond (27 September 1877–14 May 1958), businessman, was born in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, the son of Charles Dole, a Unitarian pastor, and Frances Drummond. Dole was educated at Roxbury Latin School in Boston, Massachusetts, and entered Harvard University in 1895. Part of his university studies included horticulture and agricultural science (for example, food processing technology). After he graduated in 1899 with an A.B. degree, Dole decided to move to Hawaii where his second cousin ...

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Dorrance, John Thompson (11 November 1873–21 September 1930), business owner and inventor, was born in Bristol, Pennsylvania, the son of John Dorrance, a businessman, and Elizabeth Cottingham Thompson. After graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1895, he received a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Göttingen in 1897. He turned down teaching positions offered by several colleges and became a chemist at the Joseph Campbell Preserve Company, a Camden, New Jersey, food-processing firm controlled by his uncle Arthur Dorrance. The Campbell operation was producing nearly 200 products at the time, including several types of soup that did not sell particularly well. Inspired by the widespread consumption of soup he had witnessed in Europe and noting the inability of the three most prominent American soup manufacturers to attain profitable national distribution, Dorrance immediately began experimenting with condensed soups. The technology of condensing soups proved to be rather simple; the process involved little more than reducing the amount of water in conventional recipes. Condensed soup had significantly reduced packaging and distribution costs relative to the large, water-laden cans then on the market, and thus could be sold at about a third of the price....

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Fleischmann, Charles Louis (03 November 1834–10 December 1897), yeast manufacturer and inventor, was born near Budapest, Hungary, the son of Alois (or Abraham) Fleischmann, a distiller and yeast maker, and Babette (maiden name unknown). Following his education in Vienna and Prague, Fleischmann began his business career at age nineteen as a general store clerk in Tasgendorf, Austria. He emigrated to the United States as did his six siblings. While eating at his sister’s wedding in New York in 1866, he concluded that the inferior liquid yeast used in baking resulted in a poor quality American bread and determined to create a reliable, solid yeast. After the wedding Fleischmann returned to Austria to retrieve a superior strain of yeast that his father had developed. Returning to the United States permanently, he worked in a New York City distilling business for two years before moving in 1868 to Cincinnati, Ohio....

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Gerber, Daniel Frank (06 May 1898–16 March 1974), businessman, was born in Fremont, Michigan, the son of Daniel Frank Gerber, a businessman (who was known by his middle name) and Dora Pauline Pratt. Gerber attended public schools in Fremont and in 1916 graduated from St. John’s Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin. He entered the army in 1917 and served in France during World War I. He earned the rank of sergeant and in 1918 was awarded the croix de guerre (cross of war) by the French government. Discharged in 1919, he entered the Babson Institute of Business Administration in Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts. In 1920 he joined his father in the family business, the Fremont Canning Company, which the elder Gerber helped to establish in 1901....

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Heinz, Henry John (11 October 1844–14 May 1919), industrialist, was born in the Birmingham section of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Henry Heinz, a brick manufacturer, and Margaretha Schmidt, German immigrants. He spent his childhood and youth in Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania. At age fourteen he attended the newly opened Allegheny Seminary in Sharpsburg, but he decided against a career in the Lutheran ministry....

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Heinz, Henry John, II (10 July 1908–23 February 1987), business executive and philanthropist, was born in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, the son of Howard Heinz, a business executive, and Elizabeth Grainger Rust. He was the grandson of Henry J. Heinz, the founder of H. J. Heinz Company, one of the largest international food processing and distribution corporations. Heinz, known as Jack, attended Yale University and graduated in 1931 with a B.A. in English. He pursued postgraduate studies in economics at Trinity College, Cambridge University, England (1931–1932)....

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Hershey, Milton Snavely (13 September 1857–13 October 1945), candy manufacturer, was born at his family’s homestead in Derry Church, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, the son of Henry H. Hershey and Fannie B. Snavely. In search of elusive wealth and success, Henry Hershey moved his family numerous times, always failing at his varied business ventures, including farming, cough drop manufacturing, and sales. As a result of the instability, Milton’s formal education was haphazard, and he never went beyond the fourth grade....

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Hines, Duncan (26 March 1880–15 March 1959), author, editor, and publisher of travel and restaurant guidebooks for motorists, was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the son of Edward L. Hines, a former Confederate army captain, schoolteacher, lawyer, and housebuilder, and Cornelia Duncan. Hines was raised by his grandmother after his mother died, and he attributed his appreciation of the art of dining to his grandmother’s southern cooking. Though he would achieve widespread name recognition as a restaurant critic, his career did not involve food until he reached his mid-fifties. In 1896 he enrolled in Bowling Green Business University but left after two years. For the next forty years he worked in a variety of jobs, mostly public relations; he designed, wrote, and produced corporate brochures, traveling widely from his home in Chicago to visit clients around the country. In 1905 he married Florence Chaffin; they had no children....

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Horlick, William Alexander (23 February 1846–25 September 1936), manufacturer, was born in Ruardean, Gloucestershire, England, the son of James Horlick, a saddler, and Priscilla Griffiths. Educated in local schools and at Candover boarding school, near Winchester, William was apprenticed to a harness maker before opening his own shop. Immigrating to the United States in November 1869, he settled in Racine, Wisconsin, where he worked for James A. Horlick, a relative who had resided there since 1844. The following year William married James’s daughter, Arabella Rozelia Horlick, with whom he had four children....

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Hormel, George Albert (04 December 1860–05 June 1946), businessman, was born in Buffalo, New York, the son of John Godfrey Hormel, a tanner, and Susanna Decker. His parents were German immigrants. The third of twelve children in a family of modest means, Hormel sought work upon completing the sixth grade. He held several menial jobs before he left home at the age of seventeen for Chicago, where he found employment first in his uncle Jacob Decker’s meat market and then at the ...

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Hutton, E. F. (07 September 1875–11 July 1962), stockbroker, businessman, and syndicated columnist, was born Edward Francis Hutton in New York City, the son of farmer James Laws Hutton, an Ohioan who moved to New York to seek work. His mother’s name is not known....

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Ingram, Edgar Waldo (28 December 1880–20 May 1966), founder of the White Castle hamburger chain and the originator of American fast food, was born in Leadville, Colorado, the son of Charles W. Ingram, a land agent, and Frances Amelia West. The Ingrams soon moved to the San Luis Valley in Colorado, then to Omaha, Nebraska, and later to St. Joseph, Missouri. Young Ingram, called “Billy,” graduated from high school in St. Joseph in 1896 and the same year moved back to Omaha, where for a couple of years he was a reporter and editor for the ...