Entries in Southeast

Bechtler, Christopher
Jeweler, watchmaker, and gunsmith, Christopher Bechtler founded the most successful private mint in the eastern United States. During its peak production from 1831 to 1840, Bechtler’s North Carolina mint rivaled the output of the federal mints and was a significant stimulus to the economy of the state. Continue Reading »
Bettmann, Otto
Otto Ludwig Bettmann was a German Jewish refugee who emigrated from Berlin to New York City in 1935 and established a unique picture archive in the United States. At a time when photojournalism was on the rise, he was able to channel his personal penchant and obsession for collecting pictures into a thriving business. Continue Reading »
Cone, Moses Herman
A second-generation German-American, Moses Cone began his career as a travelling salesman, or “drummer,” for his father’s Baltimore dry goods business. His customers included Southern mill owners who taught him much about the textile industry. Moses Cone eventually used this knowledge to break into the industry himself, first by securing ownerships stakes in various Southern mills, then by founding Cone Export & Commission Co., and finally by building his own mills in Greensboro, North Carolina. By 1908, the year of his death, Moses Cone and his brother Ceasar led the world in denim production. Continue Reading »
Guenther, Carl Hilmar
Carl Hilmar Guenther established a mill on the Texas frontier in 1851 that grew into one of the largest food processing companies in the nation, producing well-known flour brands such as Pioneer and White Wings, home baking products under the Morrison Mills name, and Sun-Bird and Williams prepared foods. Guenther originally came to America in 1848, seeking greater political freedom and hoping for economic opportunity. Continue Reading »
Jacobs, Joseph
Joseph Jacobs, a second-generation German-Jewish immigrant, built up a large retail drug-store chain in Atlanta in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A scientist by training and an entrepreneur by nature, Jacobs possessed a unique combination of skills that helped him play a defining role in the Atlanta pharmacy trade for decades. Continue Reading »
Kempner, Herschell
Entrepreneurs Harris and Ike Kempner were heavily involved in mercantile ventures and the cotton and sugar trade in Galveston, Texas, and the surrounding area. The father and son were also active in local politics; local, regional, and national charities; and the local Jewish Temple. Between Harris and his son, the Kempner family was active in, created new elements of, and even directed the Galveston commercial sector for nearly a century. Continue Reading »
Kleberg, Robert Justus II
An icon of American frontier life, King Ranch harkens back to a mythical age when the Wild West was tamed and settled. Its success is a testimony to the hard work and vision of second-generation German immigrant Robert Kleberg II. During his long tenure as ranch manager, Kleberg made key improvements in the areas of livestock and health, pasture management, and ranching facilities. His story, though, would be incomplete if one failed to mention the significant contributions he made to the urban and economic development of South Texas as a whole. Continue Reading »
Menger, William
William A. Menger, the son of a master miller in Hanau, Electorate of Hesse, came to prominence as one of the most successful business owners in the frontier state of Texas in the 1860s and 1870s. His Menger hotel, a tourist staple in San Antonio to this day, was a vital and elegant dwelling that catered to military and civilian travelers alike, and housed the largest brewery in the state of Texas for decades. Continue Reading »
Neiman, Carrie Marcus
Carrie Marcus Neiman was a German-American and Jewish co-founder of the Neiman-Marcus department store and an innovator in the department store industry during the early-to-mid twentieth century. As the daughter of German immigrants, Carrie drew inspiration from European fashion and brought high-quality and cutting-edge merchandise to the Neiman-Marcus stores and customers. Continue Reading »
Netzer, Joseph
Joseph Netzer, a German immigrant, was an entrepreneur of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. Along with many others, he journeyed to the US-Mexico border region in the late nineteenth century, attracted by new economic opportunities created by the construction of railroads that connected the industrializing areas of the U.S. with emerging capitalist centers in Mexico, including Monterrey and San Luis Potosi. Netzer, a hardware store owner and plumber by training, rose fairly rapidly to prominence in Laredo business and social circles. He became part of a cosmopolitan business class consisting of ethnic Mexicans, immigrants from western, southern and eastern Europe, from the Ottoman Empire, and from the northeastern and midwestern United States. His life illuminates the role of entrepreneurs who helped to integrate the U.S. and Mexican economies in that era. Continue Reading »
Nolte, Vincent
After coming to New Orleans as a result of the Hope-Baring Operation during the Napoleonic Wars, Vincent Nolte went on to become one of the largest cotton dealers in the city after the war ended. In the great financial crisis of 1825, his business failed for the first time, and in the next great financial crisis of 1837-1839, he went bankrupt a second time. Likewise, his effort to begin anew in Europe also failed. In his final years he turned to writing, leaving behind several economic texts, as well as an autobiography. Continue Reading »
Ochs, Adolph
Adolph S. Ochs was the foremost newspaper publisher of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. He resurrected the New York Times after purchasing it in 1896, and brought his own rigorous editorial standards to the Times and the field of American journalism. Continue Reading »
Reed, John
John Reed, an illiterate Hessian deserter during the Revolutionary War, founded the first commercial gold mining operation in the United States around the year 1803. Continue Reading »
Ringling, Albert C.
The eldest of the seven Ringling brothers, Albert (Al) C. Ringling was the founder and leader of the Ringling Bros. Circus, which grew from a small overland show into the country’s largest and most celebrated touring circus. Continue Reading »
Sanger, Isaac
Isaac and Lehman Sanger arrived in Texas six years after the Republic joined the Union. By the end of the nineteenth century, their firm, Sanger Bros., had become the largest department store in Texas and perhaps in the Southwest. Continue Reading »
Thalhimer, William
Wolff Thalheimer, later known as William Thalhimer, opened a one-room dry goods store in Richmond, Virginia, in 1842. By the time of his death at age seventy-three, Thalhimer had survived bankruptcy to establish a family-owned business that would remain in operation for the next 150 years, managed almost exclusively by family. Continue Reading »
Wagener, Frederick
Frederick W. Wagener emigrated from Bremerhaven in 1848 along with thousands from the so-called Forty-Eighters generation. He founded and operated a successful retail grocery business before the Civil War, and during the postwar period expanded his operations to include wholesale groceries, naval stores, and cotton. Continue Reading »
Waldthausen, Kurt Gerhard
Kurt Waldthausen's career is typical of the modern globalized manager and entrepreneur: after beginning his career in Bremen and with stints in Pakistan, Brazil, Columbia, and Argentina, Waldthausen held management positions at several subsidiaries of German companies based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Drawing on his global experience as a manager, Waldthausen started his own international executive recruiting firm, Waldthausen & Associates, in 2000 to focus on helping companies from the German-speaking world place candidates in their U.S. subsidiaries. Continue Reading »