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Kaufmann, Edgar Jonas, Sr. (01 November 1885–14 April 1955), retailer and patron of architecture, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Morris Kaufmann, a merchant, and Betty Wolf. Kaufmann’s grandfather was a horse trader in the Rhineland town of Viernheim, Germany. Two of his uncles left Germany in 1868 for Pittsburgh, where they were first peddlers and then tailors. In 1872 the two brothers were joined by Kaufmann’s father and another uncle. In 1877 the four Kaufmann brothers opened a department store in downtown Pittsburgh, doors away from the cast-iron Mellon Bank. In 1905 Edgar Kaufmann attended the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University, after which he spent two years as an apprentice at the Marshall Field store in Chicago, at Les Galeries Lafayette in Paris, and at the Karstadt store in Hamburg. He returned from Europe in 1908, and by 1913 he held or controlled a majority interest in the family store. In 1909 he married his cousin Lilianne Kaufmann; they had one child....

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Kirstein, Louis Edward (09 July 1867–10 December 1942), retailing executive and civic leader, was born in Rochester, New York, the son of Edward Kirstein, an eyeglass manufacturer, and Jeanette Leiter. After completing grammar school, Kirstein engaged in a number of business occupations. He managed the business affairs of minor league baseball teams in the South and later owned the American Association team in Rochester. Early in his career, he experienced a series of financial mishaps and reportedly turned down an offer from ...

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Lubin, David (10 June 1849–01 January 1919), merchant, agricultural reformer, and pioneer internationalist, was born in the Jewish settlement of Klodowa in Russian Poland, the son of Simon Lubin and Rachel Holtz. While David was still an infant, his father died of cholera. His mother soon married Solomon Weinstock, a peddler, who, following an anti-Jewish pogrom, fled with his new family to London, England, before eventually coming to the United States in 1855. Settled in New York City, Lubin attended public schools until the age of twelve, when he became an apprentice jeweler in North Attleboro, Massachusetts....

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Nelson, Donald Marr (17 November 1888–29 September 1959), business executive and government official, was born in Hannibal, Missouri, the son of Quincy Marr Nelson, a locomotive engineer, and Mary Ann MacDonald. He studied chemical engineering at the University of Missouri, graduating with a B.S. degree in 1911. Shortly thereafter he married Estelle Lord, who died in 1923. In 1926 he married Helen Wishart; they separated in 1940 and were divorced in January 1945. The following month Nelson married his secretary, Marguerite S. Coulbourn; twenty-six years old at the time, she died only two years later, in February 1947. In November 1947 Nelson married Edna May Rowell, but the marriage ended in divorce. He married Lena Peters Schunzel in February 1959. He had no children....

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Straus, Jesse Isidor (25 June 1872–04 October 1936), merchant and diplomat, was born in New York City, the son of Isidor Straus, a merchant, and Ida Blun. Straus received his early education (1882–1889) from the Collegiate Institute of Dr. Julius Sachs, who influenced him to attend, and graduate from in 1893, Harvard University. Early on, Jesse developed an ascetic, frugal approach to life; in a notebook kept during college he accounted for every penny spent. Along with his fiscal exactitude ran a compulsion to work that often drove Jesse beyond his physical endurance into illness....

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Whalen, Grover Michael Aloysius Augustine (02 June 1886–20 April 1962), promoter, official greeter, and businessman, was born in New York City, the son of Michael Henry Whalen, a hauling contractor, and Esther De Nee. After graduating from DeWitt Clinton High School, Whalen attended Packard Business College. In 1904 he entered New York Law School while working part-time as a clerk in the ...