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Annenberg, Moses Louis (11 February 1878–20 July 1942), publisher and race wire operator, called by contemporaries "Moe", publisher and race wire operator, called by contemporaries “Moe,” was born in Kalwichen, East Prussia, the son of Tobias Annenberg, a storekeeper, and Sarah Greenberg, who were Orthodox Jews. In 1882 Tobias Annenberg moved to the United States, opening a store in “the Patch,” a tough neighborhood and breeding ground for criminals in Chicago. He saved enough money to send for his wife and children in 1885....

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Barnett, Claude Albert (16 September 1889–02 August 1967), entrepreneur and journalist, was born in Sanford, Florida, the son of William Barnett, a hotel worker, and Celena Anderson. Although his parents separated when he was young, Barnett came from a proud black family, especially on his mother’s side. He attended elementary school in Chicago and in Mattoon and Oak Park, Illinois, where he frequently lived with his mother’s family. He went to Oak Park High School near Chicago and worked as a houseboy for ...

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Blackwell, Henry Browne (04 May 1825–07 September 1909), social reformer, editor, and entrepreneur, was born in Bristol, England, the son of Samuel Blackwell, a sugar refiner and antislavery reformer, and Hannah Lane. After business reversals the family moved in 1832 to New York, where their household became a haven for abolitionists, women’s rights advocates, and self-emancipated slaves. In 1838 the debt-ridden Blackwells moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. When his father died a few months later, thirteen-year-old Henry went to work to support the family, initially as a clerk in a flour mill. In 1845 he joined the two illiterate millers as a partner, and two years later his brother made him a partner in a hardware firm. Within a few years the enterprising Henry (“Harry” to his friends) had his finger in many economic pies—among them an agricultural publishing firm, land speculation, and sugar beet production (perhaps after his father, who had sought an alternative to slave-based sugar cane). At the same time Harry moved to the forefront of women’s rights agitation and abolitionism....

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Cannon, Poppy (2 Aug. 1905–1 April 1975), cookbook author, journalist, and advertising executive, was born Lillian Gruskin in Cape Town, South Africa, to Robert and Henrietta Gruskin, Jewish immigrants from Lithuania. (Henrietta’s maiden name is unknown.) The family moved to the United States in ...

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Cooper, Kent (22 March 1880–31 January 1965), journalist, was born in Columbus, Indiana, the son of George William Cooper, a lawyer who served as mayor of Columbus and as a U.S. congressman, and Sina Green. Starting as a delivery boy, Cooper worked for Columbus newspapers from the time he was eleven until he entered Indiana University in 1898. In 1899, when his father died and he had to withdraw from college, he returned to reporting, first at the ...

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Dana, William Buck (26 August 1829–10 October 1910), publisher and entrepreneur, was born in Utica, New York, the son of James Dana, a hardware merchant, and Harriet Dwight. He was born into the local mercantile elite and into a family profoundly affected by contemporary religious revivals. Prior to graduating from Yale in 1851, Dana won election to Skull and Bones, and in his senior autograph book, a classmate prophetically praised his financial ability. Returning to Utica, he studied law with his father’s counsel for a year and practiced successively with brother-in-law J. Wyman Jones and future brother-in-law N. Curtis White. Dana’s dependence on class, kin, and friendship ties characterized his entire career. He prospered at law, learning management and, from clients, much about business. He also evidenced Utica’s entrepreneurial spirit, becoming partner to a brother in an agricultural and seed warehouse and investing in the latter’s screw company....

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Dietz, Howard (08 September 1896–30 July 1983), lyricist and publicity director, was born in New York City, the son of Herman Dietz, a jeweler, and Julia Blumberg. While a student at Townsend Harris Hall, a public high school for unusually able students, Dietz took a job as a copyboy on a newspaper, the ...

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Fishback Antolini, Margaret (10 March 1900–25 September 1985), poet and advertising copywriter, was born in Washington, D.C., the daughter of Frederick Lewis Fishback and Mabel Coleman. Her parents' occupations are unknown. She graduated from Central High School (now Cardozo Senior High School) in Washington, D.C., in 1917 and went on to Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland, from which she graduated as a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 1921. She taught English and history at Columbia Junior High School in Washington, D.C., for her first year after college. The next year she found a job in New York City in the organizational department of Tamblyn & Brown, a prominent fund-raising firm, but she soon found more creative work in the advertising division of R. H. Macy & Company, where she was quickly promoted. In 1926 she started at Macy's as an assistant copywriter, and in two weeks she was promoted to divisional copywriter. From 1930 to 1942 she held the rank of institutional advertisement writer, and from 1940 to 1942 she was chief copywriter for the company....

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Malcolm Stevenson Forbes. Platinum print, 1985, by Thomas John Shillea. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust.

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Forbes, Malcolm Stevenson (19 August 1919–24 February 1990), publisher, was born in New York City, the son of Bertie Charles Forbes, a newspaper columnist and and Adelaide Stevenson. Reared in a comfortable, upper-middle-class home in Englewood, New Jersey, Forbes attended private schools in Tarrytown, New York, and Lawrenceville, New Jersey. He graduated from Princeton University with a major in political science in 1941, and with the support of his father, the founder of ...

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Johnson, William (1809–17 June 1851), diarist and entrepreneur, was born in Natchez, Mississippi, the son of William Johnson, a slaveholder, and Amy Johnson, a slave. When William was five years old his mother was emancipated and established her household in Natchez. In 1820 the eleven-year-old William was freed by the Mississippi legislature at the request of his owner. Once emancipated, he apprenticed with his brother-in-law, James Miller, in his barber business in Natchez. Johnson became proprietor of the business—reportedly the most popular barber shop in Natchez—when Miller moved to New Orleans in 1830. Johnson and his African-American staff ran the shop, which served a predominantly white clientele. Johnson’s barbers not only offered haircuts and shaves, they also fitted wigs, sold fancy soaps and oils, and, beginning in 1834, operated a bathhouse at the Main Street location....

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Knight, Sarah Kemble (19 April 1666–25 September 1727), diarist and businesswoman, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Thomas Kemble, a merchant, and Elizabeth Trerice. She married Richard Knight of Boston, of whom little is known, and had one child.

The Boston census in 1707 recorded that Sarah Knight, then a widow, headed her deceased father’s Moon Street household and shop. She kept boarders and may also have taught school. Knowledgeable about law, she served as a copier of legal documents and witness to one hundred or more deeds. In 1704, she traveled to New York to settle a family estate, keeping a diary of her journey that was first published in 1825 in ...

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Koenigsberg, Moses (16 April 1878–21 September 1945), journalist, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Harris Wolf Koenigsberg, a tailor and businessman, and Julia Foreman. Both parents were Jewish immigrants from Poland. Precocious and big for a child, Koenigsberg moved swiftly into the adult world. At age twelve he was unjustly accused of plagiarism and punished, causing him to leave school. Afterward he briefly attached himself to a revolutionary army in Mexico, clerked in a law firm, and became a reporter on the ...

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Loudon, Samuel (1727?–24 February 1813), printer and entrepreneur, was born probably in Scotland. He emigrated to New York in or before 1753, when he established a general store opposite the Old Slip Market. During the next decade and a half, he expanded his business and personal interests. On 24 January 1756 he married Sarah Oakes. By 1757 he had enlarged his trade to sell nautical goods. By 1768 Sarah had died, and Loudon had married his second wife, Lydia Griswold. He had a total of eight children. In the late 1760s and early 1770s he speculated in upper New York land with ...

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Munsey, Frank Andrew (21 August 1854–22 December 1925), author and publisher, was born near Mercer, Maine, the son of Andrew Chauncey Munsey, a carpenter and farmer, and Mary Jane Merritt Hopkins. Aside from a few months enrolled at Poughkeepsie Business College in 1881, Munsey gained his business education through experience. As a boy, working at a grocery in Lisbon Falls, Maine, he taught himself telegraphy, eventually leaving to become a telegraph operator at several hotels in New England. His proficiency led to his appointment as manager of the Western Union office in the state capital, Augusta....

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Osborn, Chase Salmon (22 January 1860–11 April 1949), governor of Michigan, journalist, and entrepreneur, was born in Huntington County, Indiana, the son of George Augustus Osborn and Margaret Ann Fannon, hydropathic physicians. Osborn was named by his abolitionist-oriented parents after Ohio’s then-U.S. senator and soon-to-be ...

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P. B. S. Pinchback. Courtesy of the National Afro-American Museum.

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Pinchback, P. B. S. (10 May 1837–21 December 1921), politician, editor, and entrepreneur, was born Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback in Macon, Georgia, the son of William Pinchback, a Mississippi plantation owner, and Eliza Stewart, a former slave of mixed ancestry. Because William Pinchback had taken Eliza to Philadelphia to obtain her emancipation, Pinckney was free upon birth....

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Elliott Roosevelt Henry A. Wallace, Elliot Roosevelt, Harlow Shaple, and Jo Davison, 1947. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-117441).

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Roosevelt, Elliott (23 September 1910–27 October 1990), advertising executive, public figure, and author, was born in New York City, the son of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the thirty-second president of the United States, and Eleanor Roosevelt. He attended Groton Academy in Massachusetts (1923–1929) and Hun School in New Jersey (1929–1930). He declined to follow the family tradition and did not go to Harvard but entered the business world instead. He was an advertising account executive in one firm (1930), vice president of another (1931), and then an account executive in yet another (1932). He became aviation editor for the ...