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Adams, Thomas, Jr. (11 April 1846–04 August 1926), manufacturer, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Thomas Adams, a photographer and entrepreneur, and Martha Dunbar. His father, a commercial photographer who served in that capacity with the Union army during the Civil War, engaged in several small businesses after hostilities ended. When in 1866 a friend sent young Thomas a sample of chicle, a reddish-brown gum that coagulated from the sap of the Central American sapodilla tree ( ...

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Allerton, Samuel Waters (26 May 1828–22 February 1914), meat packer, was born in Amenia, New York, the son of Samuel Waters Allerton, Sr., a tailor and woolen mill operator, and Hannah Hurd. The youngest of nine children, he attended school for several years but received little formal education beyond that. The family experienced financial difficulties as a result of the 1837 panic and was forced to move several times, once as far west as Dubuque, Iowa, before settling on a farm in upstate New York in 1842. Eight years later Samuel and his older brother Henry rented a farm in Yates County and began raising and trading cattle and hogs. Shortly thereafter they bought a farm in Wayne County....

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Armour, Philip Danforth (16 May 1832–06 January 1901), meat packer, was born in Stockbridge, New York, the son of Danforth Armour and Juliana Brooks, farmers. One of eight children, five of whom became involved in packing and grain dealing, he was educated at the Cazenovia Academy. In 1852 Armour left the farm to mine gold in California and returned in 1856 several thousand dollars richer. Not long after, he went to Milwaukee, where he started a soap factory that burned to the ground. By this time, one of his brothers, Herman Ossian, had already started H. O. Armour & Company, dealing in grain and provisions. After a couple of years of hide sales in St. Paul, Armour himself went into the provision business with Frederick B. Miles in Milwaukee in 1859. He married Malvina Belle Ogden of Cincinnati in 1862; they had three sons, two of whom worked in the family business....

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Beard, James Andrews (05 May 1903–23 January 1985), cookbook author and American food authority, was born in Portland, Oregon, the son of John Beard, an assistant appraiser of the Port of Portland, and Mary Elizabeth Jones, a hotel and boardinghouse owner. Beard’s formidable mother exercised a powerful influence on her only child. The enticing aromas and tastes of her kitchen dominated his memories of childhood. Recipes and food lore she taught him occupy more than half of his 1964 autobiography, ...

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Becker, Marion Rombauer (02 January 1903–28 December 1976), cookbook writer, arts administrator, and conservationist, was born Marion Julia Rombauer in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of Edgar Roderick Rombauer, a lawyer, and Irma Louise von Starkloff, a cookbook writer. Her outlook and interests were strongly shaped by a freethinking, reform-minded family. She studied art history and French at Vassar College and spent her junior year at Washington University in St. Louis, receiving a B.A. from Vassar in 1925. Hoping to find a career in modern dance or art education, she began teaching in 1929 in the art department of John Burroughs School, an experimental school in Clayton, Missouri....

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Bell, James Ford (16 August 1879–07 May 1961), corporate executive, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of James Stroud Bell, a miller, and Sallie Montgomery Ford. His family relocated to Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1888, and Bell received his early education in the public schools there. After preparing for college at the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, he entered the University of Minnesota. Bell graduated with a B.S. in chemistry in 1901 and immediately joined his father’s firm, the Washburn Crosby Company. Initially employed as a salesman in Michigan, he soon became fully acquainted with all facets of the firm’s operations. He married Louise Heffelfinger of Minneapolis in 1902; the couple had four children....

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Bell, James Stroud (30 June 1847–05 April 1915), businessman, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Samuel Bell, a miller, and Elizabeth Faust. He received his early education in the public schools of his native city and after graduating from Central High School joined his father’s milling and flour brokerage business. Only sixteen years old when he became a part of the firm, Bell joined a line of family millers that extended back for five generations. He received a thorough training in all aspects of the business and became a partner in the newly renamed firm of Samuel Bell & Sons in 1868....

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Bracken, Peg (25 Feb. 1918–20 Oct. 2007), humorist, book author, and food writer, was born Ruth Eleanor Bracken in Filer, Idaho to John Lewis and Ruth McQuesten Bracken. She had one brother, Jack. She grew up in suburban St. Louis, Missouri, and graduated from Antioch College in ...

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Brand, Virgil Michael (16 January 1862–20 June 1926), brewer and numismatist, was born in Blue Island, Illinois, the son of Michael Brand, a cooper and brewer, and Philippine Darmstädter, the daughter of a flour merchant. Michael Brand was born in Odernheim near Alzey in the Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt (not to be confused with the larger village of the same name in the Palatinate) and is said to have left Germany because he was involved in the Revolution of 1848. This is certainly possible, but many German immigrants who left for economic reasons later claimed they had left for political reasons, because it was more glamorous. Philippine Darmstädter was born in Framersheim, the next village over from Odernheim. Michael Brand established a brewery in Chicago under his own name, and it became one of the most prosperous breweries in the city. The firm was one of the very first to adopt Carl von Linde’s refrigeration machine, which meant that the company had an incalculable advantage over its competitors: in the summer, its beer was cold. Michael Brand became extremely wealthy, and in 1890, after a series of mergers, he sold out to English investors, who formed the United States Brewing Company. Michael Brand also established orchards at Brandsville in the Missouri Ozarks, where he sought to encourage viticulture. He owned an extensive library, and he must have had a great love for the classics, for he named his three sons Virgil, Horace, and Armin....

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Douglas Pike and Lisabeth G. Svendsgaard

Bunker, Ellsworth (11 May 1894–27 September 1984), businessman and diplomat, was born in Yonkers, New York, the son of George R. Bunker, a founder of the National Sugar Refining Company, and Jean Polhemus Cobb. Bunker was educated in private schools in Dobbs Ferry, New York, and attended Yale University, where he majored in history and economics. After graduating in 1916, he entered the family business as a dockworker. In 1920 he married Harriet Allen Butler, with whom he was to have three children. Bunker advanced quickly in the National Sugar Refining Company and was named a director of the company in 1927. He went on to become secretary, treasurer, president, and chairman of the board, retiring in 1950. He remained a member of the board of directors until 1966....

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Busch, Adolphus (10 July 1839–10 October 1913), company executive, was born at Mayence-on-the-Rhine, Hesse (in what is now Germany), the twenty-first child of Ulrich Busch, a wealthy land and vineyard owner and merchant; his mother, Barbara Pfeiffer, was Ulrich Busch’s second wife. Educated at the Gymnasium in Mainz, the Academy of Darmstadt, and the pre-university school of Brussels, Busch spoke fluent French, German, and English and had some facility with Spanish and Italian. He briefly worked for his father and then for a mercantile house in Cologne. In 1857 he followed several older brothers to America, going directly to St. Louis, Missouri, where his first job was as a clerk on a river steamer....

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Busch, August Anheuser, Jr. (28 March 1899–29 September 1989), corporate executive and philanthropist, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of brewmaster August Anheuser Busch, Sr., and Alice Zisemann. Busch, known as “Gussie,” was accustomed to wealth and was steeped in a rich family tradition from his grandfather, ...

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Candler, Asa Griggs (30 December 1851–12 March 1929), businessman and civic leader, was born near Villa Rica, Carroll County, Georgia, the son of Samuel Charles Candler, a farmer and merchant, and Martha Beall. Three of Asa Candler’s brothers also rose to prominence: one became a Methodist Episcopal bishop; one a justice on the Georgia Supreme Court; and the third a U.S. congressman. Candler married Lucy Elizabeth Howard in 1878, and they had five children. Lucy Candler died in Atlanta in 1919. Candler married Mary Little Reagan in 1923....

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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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Carvel, Thomas Andreas (14 July 1906–21 October 1990), corporation chairman, was born Thomas Andreas Carvelas in Athanossos, Greece, the son of a wine chemist. When he was four years old, his family moved to New York City. During the 1920s Carvel played drums and toured with a Dixieland band in the Catskill Mountains. He also worked as a mechanic in his older brother’s automobile garage and served as a test driver for Studebaker automobiles. In the early 1930s Carvel contracted tuberculosis and convalesced at a sanitarium in Saranac Lake, New York. Following medical advice that he work outdoors in the countryside, he began selling ice cream from a truck as well as from a hand cart he pushed around neighborhoods in Hartsdale, New York. On Memorial Day in 1934 his truck developed a flat tire, and he stopped in a vacant parking lot, where he plugged his freezer unit into a nearby pottery shop and continued to sell ice cream. At this point he developed the idea of opening his own ice cream store. He soon earned enough money to buy the pottery store, and his first Carvel ice cream store opened at that site. Carvel credited his father’s background in chemistry with encouraging him to experiment with different flavors and toppings in order to offer a wide variety of choices to consumers. While Carvel conducted experiments and did mechanical work, Agnes Stewart, whom he married in 1937, often ran the store....

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Chamberlain, Samuel V. (28 Oct. 1895–10 Jan. 1975), graphic artist, photographer, and gourmet food writer, was born Samuel Vance Chamberlain in Cresco, Iowa, the son of Dr. George Ellsworth Chamberlain, a surgeon, and Cora Lee Summers. In 1901 the family moved to Aberdeen, Washington, where Chamberlain undertook his early education. In ...

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Chen, Joyce (14 September 1917–23 August 1994), restaurateur, author, and chef, was born Liao Jia-ai in Beijing, China, the daughter of Liao Xin-shi, a railroad administrator and city executive; her mother’s family name was Wu. As a high-ranking Chinese official, Chen’s father was able to employ several servants, but both parents encouraged Chen to learn to do things for herself. She often recalled her mother warning, “You had better learn how to cook … so you don’t [ever] have to eat raw rice” ( ...

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Child, Julia (15 August 1912–13 August 2004), cookbook author and television chef, was born Julia Carolyn McWilliams in Pasadena, California, the eldest of three children of John McWilliams and Carolyn (Caro) Weston. Both of her parents came from wealth and could trace their lineage to the first Anglo settlers in North America. John McWilliams was a leading patron of Pasadena's civic institutions; Julia was raised among the city's social elite, and her family was a fixture at nearby exclusive beach resorts. Julia enjoyed an active, privileged childhood. She attended several local private schools, including the Polytechnic School and the Katharine Branson School, and then, following her mother's wishes, Smith College, from which she graduated in 1934. Social life was, by all accounts, far more interesting than schoolwork. She was, in her words, “really only a butterfly” whose delight in outdoor sports and school escapades was legendary. Her six-foot three-inch height was legendary too. It gave Julia physical and social presence, and her mother was concerned that Julia and her sister would never marry....

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Chu, Grace Zia (23 April 1899–15 April 1999), cooking authority and writer, was born Grace Anna Zia in Shanghai, China, one of nine children of Zia Hong-lai, a Christian religious educator and editor, and Zok-tsung Sze, who was active in the Chinese division of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), a U.S.-based organization that promoted Christian fellowship among women throughout the world. Grace was educated at local institutions run by Protestant missionaries, including the McTyeire School for Girls in Shanghai, which awarded her a secondary school diploma in 1918. The family was orphaned at about this time, and Grace remained at home for a while to help care for her siblings. In 1920 she enrolled at Ginling College in Nanjing and studied there for a year. Through the American YWCA, and with the help of a grant from the McCormick family of Chicago, she received a scholarship to Wellesley College, an all-female institution near Boston, Massachusetts, which had previously welcomed other Chinese students....

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Claiborne, Craig (04 September 1920–22 January 2000), food journalist and restaurant critic, was born in Sunflower, Mississippi, the son of Lewis Edmond Claiborne, a cotton grower and local bank officer, and Mary Kathleen Craig Claiborne. His father lost his lands and fortune shortly after Craig's birth and never again held gainful employment. His mother moved the family to the larger town of Indianola and opened a boarding house. She became famous for her high-quality meals, prepared by black cooks using her recipes. Craig grew up savoring outstanding southern cooking. After graduating from Indianola High School, he attended Mississippi State College before moving to the University of Missouri, where he received a B.A. in journalism in 1942....