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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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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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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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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....