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Colgate, William (25 January 1783–25 March 1857), manufacturer and philanthropist, was born in Hollingbourne parish, Kent, England, the son of Robert Colgate, a gentleman farmer, and Sarah Bowles. In 1795 he emigrated with his family to the United States because his father, an outspoken critic of King George III, was forced to flee England to avoid prosecution for treason. The family disembarked in Baltimore, Maryland, and purchased a modest estate in nearby Harford County, which was lost two years later when it was discovered that they did not possess a clear title. They then moved to present-day Randolph County, West Virginia, where his father attempted unsuccessfully to farm and mine coal. In 1800 they returned to Baltimore, where he and his father went into business with Robert Mather, a soap and candle maker. After the partnership dissolved two years later and his family relocated to Ossining, New York, he remained in Baltimore and opened his own soap and candle works....

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Fels, Samuel Simeon (16 February 1860–23 June 1950), soap manufacturer and philanthropist, was born in Yanceyville, North Carolina, the son of Lazarus Fels, proprietor of a general store, and Susanna Freiberg. Before and during the Civil War, the family prospered, largely through the entrepreneurial efforts of Samuel’s father, despite an unsuccessful attempt to make and sell soap....

Article

Malone, Annie Turnbo (09 August 1869–10 May 1957), African-American businesswoman, manufacturer, and philanthropist, was born in Metropolis, Illinois, the daughter of Robert Turnbo and Isabella Cook, farmers. Little is known of the early childhood of Annie Turnbo Malone, except that she was second youngest of eleven children. Her parents were former slaves in Kentucky. Her father joined the Union army during the Civil War, and her mother escaped to Illinois with her small children. After the war, Robert Turnbo joined his family at Metropolis, where he became a farmer and landowner. Following the death of both parents, Annie went to live with older brothers and sisters in Metropolis and, later, Peoria and Lovejoy, Illinois. She completed public school education in Metropolis and attended high school in Peoria. Because of ill health, she did not complete her high school education. In these early years, Malone dreamed of making products to enhance the beauty of black women. She experimented with chemistry while in high school, and believing that “woman’s crowning glory is her hair,” she developed a scalp treatment solution to grow and straighten hair....

Article

Procter, William Cooper (25 August 1862–02 May 1934), business executive, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of William Alexander Procter, an executive at the Procter & Gamble Company, and Charlotte Elizabeth Jackson. His father was the eldest son of William Procter, who cofounded the Procter & Gamble Company with his brother-in-law James Gamble in 1837....