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Bloomingdale, Alfred Schiffer (15 April 1916–20 August 1982), cofounder of Diners Club and adviser to President Ronald Reagan, was born in New York City, the son of Hiram Bloomingdale and Rosalind Schiffer. Alfred Bloomingdale attended Brown University, where he played varsity football, graduating in 1938 after spending a year in a hospital recovering from a football-related back injury. He began his business career working as a salesman at Bloomingdale Brothers, the firm founded by his grandfather Lyman and great-uncle Joseph in 1872. In 1941 he switched careers and became a theatrical agent, producer, and financial backer of Broadway shows and Hollywood movies. Among his clients were ...

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Harlow, Bryce (11 August 1916–17 February 1987), public relations official and presidential adviser, was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the son of Victor Harlow, head of Harlow Publishing Company, and Gertrude Gindling. He held part-time jobs as a youth in Oklahoma City, beginning at age eleven as an airplane mechanic at a local airport. He attended public schools and received his B.A. and M.A. in political science from the University of Oklahoma in 1936 and 1942, respectively....

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Elmo Roper. Courtesy of the Nebraska State Historical Society.

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Roper, Elmo (31 July 1900–30 April 1971), market researcher and public opinion analyst, was born Elmo Burns Roper, Jr., in Hebron, Nebraska, the son of Elmo Burns Roper, a banker, and Coco Malowney. He attended the University of Minnesota (1919–1920) and the University of Edinburgh (1920–1921), but he did not receive a degree. In 1922 he married Dorothy Shaw; they had two children....

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Valenti, Jack (05 September 1921–26 April 2007), advertising executive, presidential adviser, motion picture industry executive and lobbyist, was born Jack Joseph Valenti in Houston and grew up in southeastern Texas. Both his parents, Joe and Josephine Valenti, were the children of Sicilian immigrants. He graduated from Sam Houston High School in Houston at age fifteen and attended night school at the University of Houston. During World War II, he flew more than fifty bombing missions over enemy territory in Germany and Italy. After the war, he continued his education, graduating from the University of Houston in 1946. He used the GI Bill to earn an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School in 1948 and then joined Humble Oil and Refining Company to work in advertising and promotion....