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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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Barron, Clarence Walker (02 July 1855–02 October 1928), financial journalist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Henry Barron, a teamster, and Elana Noyes. He was educated at the Prescott Grammar School in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and Boston’s English High School, where he distinguished himself by writing prize-winning essays on railways and civil service reform. Preparing for a journalism career, Barron supplemented his writing talents by teaching himself shorthand, an activity he later would call “the best training for young men in practical life” ( ...

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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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Bush, John Edward (15 November 1856–11 December 1916), businessman and politician, was born a slave in Moscow, Tennessee. In 1862 his master moved him and his mother to Arkansas to keep them from being freed when the Union army moved into western Tennessee. His mother died when Bush was only seven years old. He was educated in the freedmen’s and public schools of Little Rock and was considered a good student by his teachers. He paid his school tuition by molding bricks. In 1876 he graduated from high school with honors and was immediately appointed principal of Capital Hill School, a public institution for African Americans in Little Rock. In 1878 he moved to Hot Springs, where he was named to head that city’s African-American high school....

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Butler, Ellis Parker (05 December 1869–13 September 1937), author and humorist, was born in Muscatine, Iowa, the eldest of eight children of Audley Gazzam Butler, a pork packer, and Adela Vesey. At the age of seventeen he left Muscatine High School after one year for a job as a billing clerk and salesman at Muscatine Spice Mill to help support his family. He later held similar jobs at an oatmeal mill, a crockery shop, and, for his last years in Muscatine, a wholesale grocery store where his father, whose pork business had failed, was a bookkeeper....

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Ellis Parker Butler. Ellis Parker Butler, no date. Glass negative by Bain News Service. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-DIG-ggbain-50425).

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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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Cardozo, Jacob Newton (17 June 1786–30 August 1873), economist and journalist, was born in Savannah, Georgia, the son of David N. Cardozo, a member of the Sephardic Jewish mercantile community who had served in the South Carolina militia during the American Revolution (the identity of his mother is unknown). Cardozo had a modest formal education; he left school at the age of twelve and subsequently became a lumber clerk. From an early age he displayed a remarkable intellectual curiosity and a talent for writing. His career in journalism began in 1816 when he joined the staff of the ...

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Carey, Henry Charles (15 December 1793–13 October 1879), economist, publisher, and social scientist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Mathew Carey, an economist and publisher, and Bridget Flavahan. His father, an Irish patriot and political exile, also worked periodically in social science. Carey never received any formal education and instead was taught by his father. In addition, he read many of the books that made their way through his father’s publishing house, Carey & Lea (later known as Carey, Lea & Carey). In 1802 he went to work for his father, eventually becoming a partner and head of the firm, which was at the time the largest publishing and bookselling house in the country. Carey became the American publisher for Thomas Carlyle, Sir Walter Scott, and ...

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Carey, Mathew (28 January 1760–16 September 1839), publisher and economist, was born in Dublin, Ireland, the son of Christopher Carey, a prosperous baker, and Mary Sherridan, both Catholics. He was an avid reader but not a good student. He was taunted at school because of his lameness (the result of having been dropped by a nurse) and his small stature; for the rest of his life he was quick to take offense at any imagined slight to his dignity. In 1775 he was apprenticed to a bookseller who was also copublisher of the ...

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Chandler, Harry (17 May 1864–23 Sept. 1944), newspaper publisher and promoter, of Southern California, was the eldest of four children born in Landaff, New Hampshire to Moses Knight Chandler and Emma Jane (Little) Chandler, who worked in a bobbin factory in neighboring Lisbon....

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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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Coxe, Tench (22 May 1755–16 July 1824), promoter of American industrial growth and journalist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of William Coxe, a landowner and merchant, and Mary Francis. His great-grandfather Daniel Coxe, besides securing the family’s fortune as the principal proprietor of colonial New Jersey, apparently bequeathed to his great-grandson an intense appetite for land speculation. At age six Tench was enrolled in the academy division of the Philadelphia College and Academy (later the University of Pennsylvania), where he appears to have been an indifferent student. In 1772, after attending college for only a brief time (it is not clear what he studied), Coxe opened a small trading business. Four years later he became a partner in his father’s commercial firm, Coxe, Furman, and Coxe. Active in the social world of Philadelphia’s elite, Coxe also became a member in 1775 of the United Company of Philadelphia for Promoting American Manufactures, one of the nation’s earliest joint stock manufacturing companies....

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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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Marshall Field III In military uniform during World War I. Photograph by Arnold Genthe. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-93592).

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Field, Marshall, III (28 September 1893–08 November 1956), investor, newspaper publisher, and philanthropist, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Marshall Field II and Albertine Huck. Being the grandson of the first Marshall Field, the Chicago multimillionaire merchant and real-estate developer, meant that Field would be heir to fabulous wealth—all the sooner when his father, unhappy and passive in his active father’s shadow, committed suicide in 1905 and then when his beloved grandfather died of pneumonia two months later. Field’s mother, who had lived in England with her husband and their children and who disliked Chicago, returned to England. The grandfather’s will provided well for Albertine and gave Field and his younger brother a $75 million trust together. Field attended Eton (1907–1912) and then Trinity College, Cambridge (1912–1914), studying mostly history and vacationing with the horsy set. He returned to the United States in 1914 and married Evelyn Marshall the following year; the couple had three children, including Marshall Field IV. He also studied high finance and played polo. In April 1917 he volunteered as a private, despite his earlier rheumatic fever, in the First Illinois Cavalry (quickly converted to artillery service). He was soon commissioned and promoted, saw action in France as a captain with the Thirty-third Division, and was decorated for gallantry at Saint-Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne....

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Filson, John (10 December 1753?–01 October 1788), author, historian, and land surveyor, was born in East Fallowfield Township near Brandywine Creek in Chester County, Pennsylvania, the son of Davison Filson and Eleanor Clarke, farmers. After attending common schools in the vicinity of his birthplace, Filson studied Greek, Latin, mathematics, and surveying at West Nottingham Academy in Colora, Maryland. He inherited part of a modest estate following his father’s death in 1776, but, eschewing life on the farm, he taught school and surveyed lands in the area during the American Revolution....

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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....