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Annenberg, Moses Louis (11 February 1878–20 July 1942), publisher and race wire operator, called by contemporaries "Moe"  

John Cooney

Annenberg, Moses Louis (11 February 1878–20 July 1942), publisher and race wire operator, called by contemporaries "Moe", publisher and race wire operator, called by contemporaries “Moe,” was born in Kalwichen, East Prussia, the son of Tobias Annenberg, a storekeeper, and Sarah Greenberg, who were Orthodox Jews. In 1882 Tobias Annenberg moved to the United States, opening a store in “the Patch,” a tough neighborhood and breeding ground for criminals in Chicago. He saved enough money to send for his wife and children in 1885....

Article

Barnett, Claude Albert (1889-1967), entrepreneur and journalist  

Robert L. Harris

Barnett, Claude Albert (16 September 1889–02 August 1967), entrepreneur and journalist, was born in Sanford, Florida, the son of William Barnett, a hotel worker, and Celena Anderson. Although his parents separated when he was young, Barnett came from a proud black family, especially on his mother’s side. He attended elementary school in Chicago and in Mattoon and Oak Park, Illinois, where he frequently lived with his mother’s family. He went to Oak Park High School near Chicago and worked as a houseboy for ...

Article

Blackwell, Henry Browne (1825-1909), social reformer, editor, and entrepreneur  

Debra Viles

Blackwell, Henry Browne (04 May 1825–07 September 1909), social reformer, editor, and entrepreneur, was born in Bristol, England, the son of Samuel Blackwell, a sugar refiner and antislavery reformer, and Hannah Lane. After business reversals the family moved in 1832 to New York, where their household became a haven for abolitionists, women’s rights advocates, and self-emancipated slaves. In 1838 the debt-ridden Blackwells moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. When his father died a few months later, thirteen-year-old Henry went to work to support the family, initially as a clerk in a flour mill. In 1845 he joined the two illiterate millers as a partner, and two years later his brother made him a partner in a hardware firm. Within a few years the enterprising Henry (“Harry” to his friends) had his finger in many economic pies—among them an agricultural publishing firm, land speculation, and sugar beet production (perhaps after his father, who had sought an alternative to slave-based sugar cane). At the same time Harry moved to the forefront of women’s rights agitation and abolitionism....

Article

Cannon, Poppy (2 Aug. 1905–1 April 1975), cookbook author, journalist, and advertising executive  

Laura Shapiro

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 ...

Article

Cooper, Kent (1880-1965), journalist  

Sandra Opdycke

Cooper, Kent (22 March 1880–31 January 1965), journalist, was born in Columbus, Indiana, the son of George William Cooper, a lawyer who served as mayor of Columbus and as a U.S. congressman, and Sina Green. Starting as a delivery boy, Cooper worked for Columbus newspapers from the time he was eleven until he entered Indiana University in 1898. In 1899, when his father died and he had to withdraw from college, he returned to reporting, first at the ...

Article

Dahl, Arlene Carol (11 Aug. 1925–29 Nov. 2021), actress, author, and cosmetics executive  

Bruce J. Evensen

Dahl, Arlene Carol (11 Aug. 1925–29 Nov. 2021), actress, author, and cosmetics executive, was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Norwegian parents, Idelle Ingeborg (Swann) Dahl and Rudolph Sylvester Dahl, a Ford car dealer.

Dahl was an only child who took singing and dancing lessons at her mother’s urging. During the Great Depression, Arlene made a little money working in clubs on weekends. Before graduating from Washburn High School in June of ...

Article

Dana, William Buck (1829-1910), publisher and entrepreneur  

Douglas Steeples

Dana, William Buck (26 August 1829–10 October 1910), publisher and entrepreneur, was born in Utica, New York, the son of James Dana, a hardware merchant, and Harriet Dwight. He was born into the local mercantile elite and into a family profoundly affected by contemporary religious revivals. Prior to graduating from Yale in 1851, Dana won election to Skull and Bones, and in his senior autograph book, a classmate prophetically praised his financial ability. Returning to Utica, he studied law with his father’s counsel for a year and practiced successively with brother-in-law J. Wyman Jones and future brother-in-law N. Curtis White. Dana’s dependence on class, kin, and friendship ties characterized his entire career. He prospered at law, learning management and, from clients, much about business. He also evidenced Utica’s entrepreneurial spirit, becoming partner to a brother in an agricultural and seed warehouse and investing in the latter’s screw company....

Article

Dietz, Howard (1896-1983), lyricist and publicity director  

Malcolm Goldstein

Dietz, Howard (08 September 1896–30 July 1983), lyricist and publicity director, was born in New York City, the son of Herman Dietz, a jeweler, and Julia Blumberg. While a student at Townsend Harris Hall, a public high school for unusually able students, Dietz took a job as a copyboy on a newspaper, the ...

Article

Fishback Antolini, Margaret (1900-1985), poet and advertising copywriter  

Dennis Wepman

Fishback Antolini, Margaret (10 March 1900–25 September 1985), poet and advertising copywriter, was born in Washington, D.C., the daughter of Frederick Lewis Fishback and Mabel Coleman. Her parents' occupations are unknown. She graduated from Central High School (now Cardozo Senior High School) in Washington, D.C., in 1917 and went on to Goucher College in Baltimore, Maryland, from which she graduated as a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 1921. She taught English and history at Columbia Junior High School in Washington, D.C., for her first year after college. The next year she found a job in New York City in the organizational department of Tamblyn & Brown, a prominent fund-raising firm, but she soon found more creative work in the advertising division of R. H. Macy & Company, where she was quickly promoted. In 1926 she started at Macy's as an assistant copywriter, and in two weeks she was promoted to divisional copywriter. From 1930 to 1942 she held the rank of institutional advertisement writer, and from 1940 to 1942 she was chief copywriter for the company....

Article

Forbes, Malcolm Stevenson (1919-1990), publisher  

Ellis W. Hawley

Forbes, Malcolm Stevenson (19 August 1919–24 February 1990), publisher, was born in New York City, the son of Bertie Charles Forbes, a newspaper columnist and and Adelaide Stevenson. Reared in a comfortable, upper-middle-class home in Englewood, New Jersey, Forbes attended private schools in Tarrytown, New York, and Lawrenceville, New Jersey. He graduated from Princeton University with a major in political science in 1941, and with the support of his father, the founder of ...

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Cover Forbes, Malcolm Stevenson (1919-1990)

Forbes, Malcolm Stevenson (1919-1990)  

In 

Malcolm Stevenson Forbes. Platinum print, 1985, by Thomas John Shillea. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust.

Article

Grove, Andrew Steven (2 Sept. 1936–21 Mar, 2016), business leader, technologist, and author  

Alan Deutschman

Grove, Andrew Steven (2 Sept. 1936–21 Mar, 2016), business leader, technologist, and author, was born András István Gróf in Budapest, Hungary, the only child of an assimilated Jewish couple: George Gróf, a dairy merchant, and Maria Gróf. At age four the child was hospitalized with scarlet fever, which damaged his ears. In school he had to sit directly in front of the teacher because of his impaired hearing. In ...

Article

Iacocca, Lee Anthony (15 Oct. 1924–2 July 2019), business leader and bestselling author  

Alan Deutschman

Iacocca, Lee Anthony (15 Oct. 1924–2 July 2019), business leader and bestselling author, was born Lido Anthony Iacocca in Allentown, Pennsylvania, the elder of two children of Italian-Catholic immigrants: Nicola Iacocca from San Marco, Italy, near Naples, who sailed to New York in ...

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Cover Iacocca, Lee Anthony (15 Oct. 1924–2 July 2019)

Iacocca, Lee Anthony (15 Oct. 1924–2 July 2019)  

Bernard Gotfryd

In 

Lee Iacocca, 1980, by Bernard Gotfryd

Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA

Article

Johnson, John H. (19 Jan. 1918–8 Aug. 2005), businessman, magazine and book publisher  

Margena A. Christian

Johnson, John H. (19 Jan. 1918–8 Aug. 2005), businessman, magazine and book publisher, was born Johnny Johnson, the grandson of slaves and the only child of Leroy Johnson and Gertrude Jenkins Johnson in Arkansas City, Arkansas. His father was a sawmill worker who died in a work accident. His mother cleaned houses and worked as a cook, saving enough money for them to eventually move to Chicago since Arkansas City did not have a high school for blacks....

Article

Johnson, William (1809-1851), diarist and entrepreneur  

Devorah Lissek

Johnson, William (1809–17 June 1851), diarist and entrepreneur, was born in Natchez, Mississippi, the son of William Johnson, a slaveholder, and Amy Johnson, a slave. When William was five years old his mother was emancipated and established her household in Natchez. In 1820 the eleven-year-old William was freed by the Mississippi legislature at the request of his owner. Once emancipated, he apprenticed with his brother-in-law, James Miller, in his barber business in Natchez. Johnson became proprietor of the business—reportedly the most popular barber shop in Natchez—when Miller moved to New Orleans in 1830. Johnson and his African-American staff ran the shop, which served a predominantly white clientele. Johnson’s barbers not only offered haircuts and shaves, they also fitted wigs, sold fancy soaps and oils, and, beginning in 1834, operated a bathhouse at the Main Street location....

Article

Knight, Sarah Kemble (1666-1727), diarist and businesswoman  

Barbara E. Lacey

Knight, Sarah Kemble (19 April 1666–25 September 1727), diarist and businesswoman, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Thomas Kemble, a merchant, and Elizabeth Trerice. She married Richard Knight of Boston, of whom little is known, and had one child.

The Boston census in 1707 recorded that Sarah Knight, then a widow, headed her deceased father’s Moon Street household and shop. She kept boarders and may also have taught school. Knowledgeable about law, she served as a copier of legal documents and witness to one hundred or more deeds. In 1704, she traveled to New York to settle a family estate, keeping a diary of her journey that was first published in 1825 in ...

Article

Koenigsberg, Moses (1878-1945), journalist  

James Boylan

Koenigsberg, Moses (16 April 1878–21 September 1945), journalist, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Harris Wolf Koenigsberg, a tailor and businessman, and Julia Foreman. Both parents were Jewish immigrants from Poland. Precocious and big for a child, Koenigsberg moved swiftly into the adult world. At age twelve he was unjustly accused of plagiarism and punished, causing him to leave school. Afterward he briefly attached himself to a revolutionary army in Mexico, clerked in a law firm, and became a reporter on the ...

Article

Loudon, Samuel (1727?–24 February 1813), printer and entrepreneur  

Kevin J. Hayes

Loudon, Samuel (1727?–24 February 1813), printer and entrepreneur, was born probably in Scotland. He emigrated to New York in or before 1753, when he established a general store opposite the Old Slip Market. During the next decade and a half, he expanded his business and personal interests. On 24 January 1756 he married Sarah Oakes. By 1757 he had enlarged his trade to sell nautical goods. By 1768 Sarah had died, and Loudon had married his second wife, Lydia Griswold. He had a total of eight children. In the late 1760s and early 1770s he speculated in upper New York land with ...

Article

Meloney, Marie Mattingly (8 Dec. 1878–23 June 1943), editor, journalist, and public relations pioneer  

Julie Des Jardins

Meloney, Marie Mattingly (8 Dec. 1878–23 June 1943), editor, journalist, and public relations pioneer, was born Marie Mattingly in Bardstown, Kentucky. She was the youngest daughter of Peter Cyprian Mattingly, a physician, and Sarah Irwin, a college graduate and editor of Kentucky Magazine...