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Havemeyer, Henry Osborne (18 October 1847–04 December 1907), sugar merchant and investor, was born in New York City, the son of Frederick Christian Havemeyer, Jr., a sugar merchant, and Sarah Osborne Townsend Havemeyer. From childhood on he was known as Harry. By the time of his birth the extended Havemeyer family, whose antecedents, originally from Germany, had emigrated from England in the late eighteenth century, was one of New York's wealthiest and most prominent, making their fortune in sugar refining. A substantial part of that fortune had been made by Harry's father, in partnership with his cousin ...

Article

Juilliard, Augustus D. (19 April 1836–25 April 1919), industrialist and patron of the arts, was born at sea during the voyage that brought his parents, Jean Nicholas Juilliard, a farmer, and Anna Burlette, to the United States from Burgundy, France. Although he had been a shoemaker in France, Augustus’s father believed that farming offered greater potential for success in America. He and his family settled near Canton, Ohio. Following Juilliard’s schooling he worked in his brother-in-law’s dry goods store in Bucyrus, Ohio. After making a number of buying trips to New York he decided to settle there. He eventually was employed by one of the leading textile commission houses, Hoyt, Spragues & Company. In 1873, when Hoyt, Spragues declared bankruptcy, Juilliard was appointed receiver. Sometime thereafter he formed his own successful textile commission house, A. D. Juilliard and Company, where he served as senior partner....

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Kaufmann, Edgar Jonas, Sr. (01 November 1885–14 April 1955), retailer and patron of architecture, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Morris Kaufmann, a merchant, and Betty Wolf. Kaufmann’s grandfather was a horse trader in the Rhineland town of Viernheim, Germany. Two of his uncles left Germany in 1868 for Pittsburgh, where they were first peddlers and then tailors. In 1872 the two brothers were joined by Kaufmann’s father and another uncle. In 1877 the four Kaufmann brothers opened a department store in downtown Pittsburgh, doors away from the cast-iron Mellon Bank. In 1905 Edgar Kaufmann attended the Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University, after which he spent two years as an apprentice at the Marshall Field store in Chicago, at Les Galeries Lafayette in Paris, and at the Karstadt store in Hamburg. He returned from Europe in 1908, and by 1913 he held or controlled a majority interest in the family store. In 1909 he married his cousin Lilianne Kaufmann; they had one child....

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Moody, Harriet Converse (18 March 1857–22 February 1932), entrepreneur and patron of the arts, was born in Parkman, Ohio, the daughter of William Mason Tilden, a livestock broker, and Harriet Converse. William Tilden moved his family to Chicago circa 1867. Educated at home by her mother, Harriet later attended the Howland School, a Quaker institution in Union Springs, New York. She continued her education at Cornell University, where she earned a degree in English literature in 1876. Enrolling at the Women’s Medical College of Philadelphia, she returned to Chicago after one year, made her debut, and married Edwin Brainard, a lawyer. The marriage was not a success, and the Brainards were divorced in the 1880s....

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Post, Marjorie Merriweather (15 March 1887–12 September 1973), business owner, entertainer, and philanthropist, was born in Springfield, Illinois, the daughter of Charles William Post, founder of Postum Cereal Company, and Ella Letitia Merriweather. After several of Charles Post’s entrepreneurial ventures failed, his family entered him in a sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan, in 1891. The sanitarium’s doctor, ...

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Reed, Luman (04 June 1785–07 June 1836), merchant, art collector, and art patron, was born at Green River (now Austerlitz), in Columbia County, New York, the son of Eliakim Reed II and Rebecca Fitch, farmers. The family lived in Connecticut until Reed’s father bought a New York farm in 1779. In 1792 they moved to nearby Coxsackie, where Reed attended a district school. There, in partnership with his cousin Roswell Reed, his father opened a store for the sale of agricultural produce and dry goods, in which Luman Reed worked after school; when his father sold the business, Reed worked for the new owner, Ralph Barker. In 1808 Reed married Barker’s sister Mary (known as Polly); the couple had two children....

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Rose, Billy (06 September 1899–10 February 1966), songwriter, show business impresario, and philanthropist, was born on the Lower East Side of New York City, the son of David Rosenberg, a button salesman, and Fannie Wernick. He was born William Samuel Rosenberg, according to most biographical sources, though one source states he adopted that name in school after being born Samuel Wolf Rosenberg. He grew up in the Bronx and attended public schools there, winning junior high school medals for sprinting and English. Medals and honors were important as proofs of stature and worth to Rose, who never grew taller than five feet three inches. In the High School of Commerce, he became an outstanding student of the Gregg system of shorthand, winning first a citywide competition (1917) and then a national competition (1918). In 1918 he left high school shortly before graduation to become head of the stenographic department of the War Industries Board, headed by ...

Article

Walker, A'Lelia (06 June 1885–17 August 1931), arts patron and cosmetics industry executive, was born Lelia McWilliams in Delta, Louisiana, the only child of the Sarah Breedlove, who would become the hair care entrepreneur and philanthropist Madam C. J. Walker, and Moses McWilliams, a sharecropper. In 1888, while still a toddler, she moved with her widowed mother from Vicksburg, Mississippi, to St. Louis, Missouri, where three of her maternal uncles operated a barbershop. At nearby St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church, women parishioners reached out, caring for Lelia in the St. Louis Colored Orphans Home while Sarah worked during the week as a washerwoman. As a choir member, Sarah was exposed to educated, middle-class women—many of whom were members of the National Association of Colored Women—and began to aspire to a better life for herself and her daughter. Sarah’s marriage to an abusive alcoholic named John Davis during Lelia’s adolescence created instability and frequently disrupted her school attendance. In 1901, when Lelia was sixteen years old, her mother left Davis and sent her to Knoxville College in Tennessee, where she remained for less than a year. As an adult, she changed her name to A’Lelia....