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Buchtel, John Richards (18 January 1820–23 May 1892), businessman and philanthropist, was born in Green Township in Summit County, Ohio, the son of John Buchtel and Catherine Richards, farmers. His early years were spent on his father’s farm, during which time he received a rudimentary education. In later years Buchtel regretted his lack of formal schooling and donated most of his fortune to educate others. While still a young man, Buchtel acquired a 100-acre farm from his father by paying a $700 encumbrance on the property. In 1844 he married Elizabeth Davidson, whose parents had recently moved to Summit County from Pennsylvania. The Buchtels had no children....

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Cabot, Godfrey Lowell (26 February 1861–02 November 1962), manufacturer, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Samuel Cabot, a physician and prominent member of the unofficial first family of Boston, and Hannah Lowell Jackson. In 1882 Cabot graduated from Harvard, where he studied chemistry. Following graduation, he studied at Zurich Polytechnicum and University in Switzerland and again at Harvard in 1891 and 1892. In 1890 he married Maria Buckminster Moors, with whom he had five children....

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Callaway, Cason Jewell (06 November 1894–12 April 1961), business executive, agriculturist, and developer, was born in LaGrange, Georgia, the son of Fuller Earle Callaway and Ida Jane Cason. His father was the founder of Callaway Mills, Inc., a highly successful cotton processing firm. He attended Bingham Military School in Asheville, North Carolina, followed by one year at the University of Virginia. He enjoyed a successful year at Charlottesville, but his father decided that he needed skills training. Therefore, he enrolled at Eastman School of Business in Poughkeepsie, New York. Young Callaway was given responsibility for Valley Waste Mills, a division of his father’s Callaway Mills. At age twenty he organized Valley Waste Mills into a great commercial success as a pioneering recycling operation. His achievements gained his father’s attention as well as that of other top managers in the firm, since the waste division netted more than $1 million in profits during the three-year period just before U.S. entry into World War I....

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Andrew Carnegie. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-101767).

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Carnegie, Andrew (25 November 1835–11 August 1919), industrialist and philanthropist, was born in Dunfermline, Scotland, the son of William Carnegie, a handloom weaver, and Margaret Morrison. William Carnegie was sufficiently prosperous to have four looms in his shop and to employ three apprentices. Although shunning political activism, he was an enthusiastic supporter of the political views of his wife’s father, Thomas Morrison, Sr., an early leader of the Chartist movement and a friend of William Cobbett to whose journal, ...

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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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Davis, Arthur Vining (30 May 1867–17 November 1962), industrialist, financier, and philanthropist, was born in Sharon, Massachusetts, the son of Perley B. Davis, a Congregational minister, and Mary Vining. Educated in Hyde Park, Massachusetts, and at Roxbury Latin School in Boston, Davis enrolled at Amherst College and graduated in 1888 at the top of his class. He left for Pittsburgh, where ...

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Duke, Benjamin Newton (27 April 1855–08 January 1929), industrialist and philanthropist, was born in Orange (now Durham) County, North Carolina, the son of Washington Duke and Artelia Roney, farmers. His mother died when he was three, and he was raised with the assistance of his aunts until 1863, when his widowed father was drafted into the Confederate army. The younger Duke spent the war years with his maternal grandparents in nearby Alamance County with the rest of his siblings, including his younger brother ...

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Duke, Washington (20 December 1820–08 May 1905), industrialist and philanthropist, was born in Orange (now Durham) County, North Carolina, the son of Taylor Duke and Dicey Jones, farmers. His early life was largely spent working on his father’s farm, and he had little opportunity for formal education beyond a brief stint in a local common school. Duke began farming on his own at an early age, and in 1842 he married Mary Caroline Clinton, with whom he had two sons. His first wife died in 1847, and he then married Artelia Roney in 1852, with whom he had a daughter and two sons. By the late 1850s Duke, by dint of hard labor and frugal savings, owned and farmed 300 acres approximately four miles north of a new hamlet known variously as Durham’s Depot or Station (later the city of Durham). Tragedy continued to stalk his home, however; in 1858 his oldest son died of typhoid fever and was shortly followed by Duke’s second wife. Duke, gaining strength from his membership in the local Methodist church, continued to raise his children with the help of an unmarried sister and his sisters-in-law....

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Falk, Maurice (15 December 1866–18 March 1946), industrialist and philanthropist, was born in Allegheny (later part of Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania, the son of Charles Falk, a tailor, and Sarah Sanders, who came as newly-weds from Germany in the 1850s. They soon moved to Irwin Station, an eastern suburb of Pittsburgh, where Falk attended public school. At age fourteen Maurice returned to Pittsburgh to work in his uncle’s tailoring establishment. Intent on becoming an industrialist, he attended business school at night. In 1888 he married Laura Klinordlinger. None of their children survived infancy....

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Folger, Henry Clay (18 June 1857–11 June 1930), industrialist, book collector, and philanthropist, was born in New York City, the son of Henry Clay Folger, a dealer in wholesale millinery, and Eliza Jane Clark. After attending Brooklyn’s Adelphi Academy on a scholarship, Folger entered Amherst College. When his father’s business failed during his junior year, Folger briefly attended the City University of New York. He returned to Amherst after being guaranteed the necessary funds by patrons who included Charles M. Pratt, an oil merchant and the father of Folger’s roommate. In March of his senior year Folger attended a lecture delivered by the aged poet and essayist ...

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Frick, Henry Clay (19 December 1849–02 December 1919), industrialist, was born in West Overton, Pennsylvania, the son of John W. Frick, a farmer, and Elizabeth Overholt, the daughter of Abraham Overholt, a successful distiller of whiskey and the wealthiest citizen in Westmoreland County. Other than providing a small cottage and a few acres of poor land on his estate, Overholt shared none of his wealth with his daughter and her family. He did, however, serve as a role model for his grandson. From early childhood, Clay, as his family called him, was eager to escape the poverty with which his unambitious father seemed content and was determined that before he reached the age of thirty he would acquire a larger fortune than his grandfather’s....

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Daniel Guggenheim Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-105324 ).

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Guggenheim, Daniel (09 July 1856–28 September 1930), industrialist and philanthropist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Meyer Guggenheim, a merchant, and Barbara Meyer. At age seventeen Daniel Guggenheim ended his formal education and joined the family lace business. For the next eleven years he worked as a lace buyer in Switzerland, the nation from which his father and grandfather had emigrated a quarter-century earlier. By the time Guggenheim returned to the United States, his father had begun to invest in lead and silver mines in Leadville, Colorado. Although initially leery of shifting the focus of their business to mining, the younger Guggenheim soon committed himself fully to the new venture and eventually assumed a leadership role among his brothers. The family firm, M. Guggenheim’s Sons, expanded its interests beyond mining, building the largest smelter in the world in Pueblo, Colorado. The shift in emphasis from extraction to the more technologically advanced smelting industry typified Daniel Guggenheim’s increasing commitment to technological innovation as a fundamental corporate strategy. International diversification became a second part of that plan, as the family interests spread beyond the borders of the United States....

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Letchworth, William Pryor (26 May 1823–01 December 1910), industrialist and philanthropist, was born in Brownville, New York, the son of Josiah Letchworth, a harnessmaker, and Ann Hance. Raised in a strict Quaker home, he was educated at primary school and then went to work for his father in the harnessmaking business. His parents were Hicksite Quakers who were strongly opposed to slavery. Young William frequently attended the Unitarian church and nurtured a social conscience of his own. At fifteen he went to Auburn, New York, to work in the firm of Hayden and Holmes, manufacturers and merchants of saddlery hardware; his salary was forty dollars per year. His personal frugality and industrious attitude impressed his employer, who sent him to New York City in 1845 as a confidential secretary to Peter Hayden, the senior partner who also ran another business in the city, the P. and T. Hayden Company. In 1848 the hardware merchants Samuel and Pascal Pratt of Buffalo offered Letchworth a partnership; he accepted and became the managing partner in a new company, Pratt and Letchworth. Many innovations characterized Letchworth’s business, including the organization of a modified assembly line, which he employed at the Erie County Penitentiary. In the 1860s he experimented with processes to produce malleable iron, and as the Civil War concluded, his new company, the Buffalo Malleable Iron Works, made a significant contribution to the war effort....

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Mather, Samuel (07 July 1851–19 October 1931), industrialist and philanthropist, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Georgiana Pomeroy Woolson and Samuel Livingston Mather, a financier and founder of mining companies. Mather attended public schools in Cleveland and took college-preparatory classes at St. Mark’s School in Southboro, Massachusetts. He had planned to enter Harvard University in the fall of 1869 but was badly injured in an explosion that occurred on 14 July 1869 at the Cleveland Iron and Mining Company in Ishpeming, Michigan, which his father owned and where he was working for the summer. Mather convalesced for two years—much of that time as an invalid—and then embarked on a lengthy trip through Europe. In the fall of 1873 he returned to Cleveland Iron and Mining, where over the following eight years he learned the iron-mining business. In 1881 he married Flora Amelia Stone, with whom he would have four children....

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Mott, Charles Stewart (02 June 1875–18 February 1973), industrialist and philanthropist, was born in Newark, New Jersey, the son of John Coon Mott, a cider and vinegar maker, and Isabella Turnbull Stewart. Charles grew up in the New York City metropolitan area. His father urged him to stay in the family business, but Charles wanted to study mechanical engineering. As a compromise, he enrolled in night classes at the Stevens Institute of Technology in 1892 while working days with his father. During the summer of 1893 Mott did a tour of sea duty after enlisting in the New York State Naval Militia. A year later his father sent him first to Copenhagen to study yeast cultures and then to Munich to study fermentation. In September 1895 Mott reenrolled at the Stevens Institute, and in June 1897 he received a degree in mechanical engineering....

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Pew, John Howard (27 January 1882–27 November 1971), businessman, was born in Bradford, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph Newton Pew, the founder of Sun Oil Company, and Mary Catherine Anderson. He attended Grove City College from 1896 to 1900 and then took graduate courses at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Pew joined the Sun Oil Company in 1901, fifteen years after its founding, and was initially named development engineer at the Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, refinery. He was quickly promoted to assistant supervisor and then to supervisor of the engineering section....

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Pratt, Daniel (20 July 1799–13 May 1873), industrialist and community builder, was born in Temple, New Hampshire, the son of Edward Pratt and Asenath Flint, farmers. Pratt attended school until 1815, when he was apprenticed to carpenter John Putnam. With Putnam’s bankruptcy in 1819, Pratt followed the Yankee immigration to the South, spending two years in Savannah, Georgia, before moving to the state capital at Milledgeville, where he built a number of plantation houses and cotton barges. In 1827 Pratt married Esther Ticknor, with whom he had three children, of which only one lived to adulthood....