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Crown, Henry (13 June 1896–14 August 1990), entrepreneur and philanthropist, was born Henry Krinsky in Chicago, the son of Arie Krinsky, a Lithuanian immigrant garment worker, and his wife Ida Gordon. At some point they changed their name to Crown. To help his poor family, Crown took a job at age fourteen as clerk at the Chicago Firebrick Company. In 1912 he began work at the Union Drop Forge Company, while taking night courses in accounting. In 1915 he and his two older brothers, Sol and Irving, formed a small steel-brokerage company, S. A. Crown and Company, and Crown quickly established a local reputation as an aggressive and reliable deal maker with a discerning eye for opportunity, a striking power of recall, and an acute sense of timing....

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Meyer, Henry Coddington (14 April 1844–27 March 1935), manufacturer, editor, and public health reformer, was born in Hamburg, Germany, the son of American citizens Meyer Henry Meyer, a merchant, and Anne Maria Price. He attended private schools in Montclair, New Jersey, and Tarrytown and Yonkers, New York. Meyer’s parents refused to allow the seventeen-year-old Henry to enlist at the start of the Civil War, but in the summer of 1862 Meyer, then age eighteen, joined the Second New York Cavalry (the Harris Light) as a private. In 1863, at Brandy Station, he received a saber wound but returned to duty. In February 1864 he joined the Twenty-fourth New York Cavalry as a second lieutenant. He fought through Pope’s Campaign and in the battles at the Wilderness, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Spottsylvania, North Anna River, Cold Harbor, and Petersburg, Virginia. At Petersburg, on 17 June 1864, following an assault on Confederate forces, Meyer, by then a captain, received his second wound. He had returned to the battlefield to assist a fellow officer who had been wounded, but Meyer, suffering from malaria, was unable to carry the officer to safety. After turning the officer over and clearing his mouth to let him breathe, Meyer headed back to find help, only to be shot in the back. After spending eleven months in the hospital recovering from his wounds, Meyer received a brevet Major commission and was discharged for his disability. For his “distinguished gallantry in action,” which saved his fellow officer’s life, Meyer was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1899....

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Stearns, George Luther (08 January 1809–09 April 1867), manufacturer and abolitionist, was born in Medford, outside of Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Luther Stearns, a physician, and Mary Hall. Stearns’s formal education ended after his father’s death in 1820. At the age of fifteen he moved to Brattleboro, Vermont, and worked for more than three years as a clerk in a relative’s store. In 1827 he returned to Boston and found employment as a clerk in a ship chandlery firm. In this business Stearns learned the importance of reliable sources of supply, and in 1835, with financial support from his mother and his future father-in-law, he acted on his knowledge to establish himself in Medford as a manufacturer of linseed oil. Six years later Stearns entered into a partnership to purchase a patent for an improved method of manufacturing lead pipe. The pipe business produced a sizable fortune for Stearns, and he would draw from it liberally to support his reform interests....