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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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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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Clark, Catherine Taft (31 December 1906–02 May 1986), business executive, was born in Whitewater, Wisconsin, the daughter of Warren G. Taft, a machinist, and Louise West. Taft attended public schools in Whitewater, but as her father died when she was a child, she was unable to attend college. Instead, at nineteen she took a job as secretary to the local college president, where she claimed to learn as much as a formally enrolled student. From there, Milwaukee was her next stop; she worked at Schuster’s, a major department store, where she gained experience in retailing and marketing....

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Fleischmann, Charles Louis (03 November 1834–10 December 1897), yeast manufacturer and inventor, was born near Budapest, Hungary, the son of Alois (or Abraham) Fleischmann, a distiller and yeast maker, and Babette (maiden name unknown). Following his education in Vienna and Prague, Fleischmann began his business career at age nineteen as a general store clerk in Tasgendorf, Austria. He emigrated to the United States as did his six siblings. While eating at his sister’s wedding in New York in 1866, he concluded that the inferior liquid yeast used in baking resulted in a poor quality American bread and determined to create a reliable, solid yeast. After the wedding Fleischmann returned to Austria to retrieve a superior strain of yeast that his father had developed. Returning to the United States permanently, he worked in a New York City distilling business for two years before moving in 1868 to Cincinnati, Ohio....

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Hershey, Milton Snavely (13 September 1857–13 October 1945), candy manufacturer, was born at his family’s homestead in Derry Church, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, the son of Henry H. Hershey and Fannie B. Snavely. In search of elusive wealth and success, Henry Hershey moved his family numerous times, always failing at his varied business ventures, including farming, cough drop manufacturing, and sales. As a result of the instability, Milton’s formal education was haphazard, and he never went beyond the fourth grade....

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Hines, Duncan (26 March 1880–15 March 1959), author, editor, and publisher of travel and restaurant guidebooks for motorists, was born in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the son of Edward L. Hines, a former Confederate army captain, schoolteacher, lawyer, and housebuilder, and Cornelia Duncan. Hines was raised by his grandmother after his mother died, and he attributed his appreciation of the art of dining to his grandmother’s southern cooking. Though he would achieve widespread name recognition as a restaurant critic, his career did not involve food until he reached his mid-fifties. In 1896 he enrolled in Bowling Green Business University but left after two years. For the next forty years he worked in a variety of jobs, mostly public relations; he designed, wrote, and produced corporate brochures, traveling widely from his home in Chicago to visit clients around the country. In 1905 he married Florence Chaffin; they had no children....

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Hormel, George Albert (04 December 1860–05 June 1946), businessman, was born in Buffalo, New York, the son of John Godfrey Hormel, a tanner, and Susanna Decker. His parents were German immigrants. The third of twelve children in a family of modest means, Hormel sought work upon completing the sixth grade. He held several menial jobs before he left home at the age of seventeen for Chicago, where he found employment first in his uncle Jacob Decker’s meat market and then at the ...

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Pillsbury, Charles Alfred (03 October 1842–17 September 1899), manufacturer of flour and grain products, was born in Warner, New Hampshire, the son of George Alfred Pillsbury and Margaret Sprague Carleton. His family moved in 1851 to Concord, where he completed his secondary education at age fifteen. He then spent a year at New London preparatory academy and was accepted to Dartmouth College. During the succeeding four years Pillsbury studied ancient and modern languages, physics, chemistry, and civil engineering, and taught school intermittently to earn money for his tuition. Upon graduation in 1863, he moved to Montreal, Canada, for six years, rising from clerk to partner in a produce commission company. During that period he hired a substitute when the Civil War draft was enacted and remained in Montreal. In 1866 he wed Mary A. Stinson of Goffstown, New Hampshire; they had four children. At the end of the decade Pillsbury experienced financial reverses and difficulties with his partners that nearly destroyed the business. He paid off his debts and moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where his uncle ...

Article

Rudkin, Margaret Fogarty (14 September 1897–01 June 1967), bakery executive, was born in New York City, the daughter of Joseph Fogarty, a trucker, and Margaret Healey. She attended public schools, and on graduating from high school, she was hired as a bookkeeper at a bank in Flushing, Queens. She left the bank after four years to join the brokerage firm of McClure, Jones & Company in New York City as a “customer’s woman” (account service representative), a position she held for four years. In 1923 she married Henry Albert Rudkin, one of the partners in the firm. The couple continued to live in New York City until 1929, when, with the money Henry Rudkin had made on Wall Street, they built a mansion on a 125-acre estate in Fairfield County, Connecticut, that they named “Pepperidge Farm.”...