Entries in Midwest

Anheuser, Eberhard
Today Eberhard Anheuser’s name is synonymous with beer and the brewing industry. However, Anheuser became a brewer just as changes in American consumer behavior sparked massive growth in beer consumption. Over the course of Anheuser’s career, the American brewing industry began a transition from being mostly small-scale in production, locally based in market, and limited in its competitive nature into an industry known for its acute competitiveness, rapidly expanding production capacity, and internationally expanding market. Continue Reading »
Anneke, Mathilde Franziska (née Giesler)
Mathilde Franziska Anneke was an entrepreneur, lecturer, educator, journalist, writer, and a newspaper editor. She was well educated and a free and independent thinker, interested in political and social reform on behalf of women in both the German lands and the United States. Continue Reading »
Brach, Emil Julius
Emil J. Brach opened a small candy shop on North Avenue in Chicago’s largely German-American North Side neighborhood in 1904. By the time of his death forty-three years later, his candy company would be the world’s largest maker of popular-priced bulk candies, with a sprawling factory on Chicago’s west side believed to be the largest candy factory in the United States. Continue Reading »
Busch, Adolphus
Adolphus Busch arrived in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1857 as an unknown immigrant from German-speaking Europe. After partnering with Eberhard Anheuser in an existing brewery in 1865, Busch transformed the operation, eventually known as the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association, into the largest brewery in the world within a quarter of a century. Continue Reading »
Carus, Mary Hegeler
Born on the grounds of her father’s zinc factory, Mary Hegeler Carus took the unusual step for a woman of her time period in pursuing a college career and going on to advanced study in engineering. She then took on the responsibility of running her family’s business, the Matthiessen and Hegeler Zinc Company, resisting the efforts of her siblings to sell the company to outsiders. Continue Reading »
Chorengel, Bernd
The youngest person ever appointed to the presidency of a major international hotel chain (Hyatt International Corporation), Bernd Chorengel exemplifies the contemporary nomadic management class: beginning in Germany, working in Southeast Asia and London, and finally settling in Chicago. Chorengel’s work for Hyatt grew the chain to more than one hundred hotels in over forty countries, as well as introducing numerous iconic hotels along the way. Continue Reading »
DeVry, Herman
Herman Adolf DeVry was an inventor and manufacturer of cameras and portable projectors who eventually found fame and fortune as one of the leaders in the area of career-based education. Continue Reading »
Duesenberg, Frederick S.
The founders of Duesenberg Automobiles and Motors Company, Frederick S. and August S. Duesenberg immigrated to the United States at a young age and settled in Iowa with their parents and siblings. Drawn to racing, they would eventually relocate to Indianapolis, where they would become known in the 1920s and 1930s for producing cars with luxurious interiors, powerful engines, and impressive speeds on the race-track. Continue Reading »
Fruehauf, August ‘Gus’ Charles
August Charles Fruehauf's story and invention of the truck trailer is an integral part of the nation's transportation history in the last century. The Fruehauf Trailer Company facilitated the growth of continental transportation as a viable alternative to rail that brought efficient transportation from the farmer's gate and the factory's loading door. Continue Reading »
Gaertner, William
William Gaertner, a first-generation German immigrant, is remembered as a pioneer of the scientific instrument industry in the United States. Continue Reading »
German Social Entrepreneurs and the First Kindergartens in Nineteenth Century America
Two German women, Caroline Louisa Frankenberg and Margarethe Meyer Schurz, are credited with bringing the kindergarten movement to the nineteenth-century United States by opening kindergartens that served children of German immigrants. They conducted classes in the German language and were social entrepreneurs in that they made an innovative, long-term, social impact on the American educational system. Their primary interest was not personal financial gain, but rather the humanistic, social, and educational development of children. As word spread of their efforts, Anglo-American educators took note and grew the movement, establishing English-language kindergartens and kindergarten training schools for teachers. The creation of kindergartens fundamentally changed how Americans thought about the ideal environment for beginning a child’s education. Continue Reading »
Goelitz, Gustav
Jelly Belly traces its roots to the entrepreneurial efforts of Gustav Goelitz, who came to the United States in 1866 and with his younger brothers, Albert and George, built a successful confectionery business, Gustav Goelitz Candy, in Belleville, Illinois, and later Goelitz Brothers' Candy in St. Louis, Missouri. Continue Reading »
Griesedieck, Joseph
Joseph Griesedieck was one of the most influential brewers in St. Louis in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. From the 1880s to the 1910s, he helped run several city breweries. At the outset of Prohibition, he acquired the Falstaff label and built the Falstaff Corporation around it. While many other brewers failed during Prohibition, Griesedieck kept his company afloat by selling “near beer,” soft drinks, carbonated water, and pork products. After the repeal of Prohibition, he obtained the first federal permit to begin brewing beer legally again. Within five years, the Falstaff Brewing Corporation was operating four plants in three states and had gained a national market. Continue Reading »
Gruen, Dietrich
After learning the watchmaking trade in the Black Forest region, Dietrich Gruen immigrated to the United States, where he eventually patented an improved center pinion for watches. This innovation became the foundation of Gruen’s business ventures, which included the Gruen Watch Company, a leading watch manufacturing firm that operated for half a century. Continue Reading »
Hammer, Adam
Adam Hammer was a German physician who immigrated to St. Louis, after having participated in the uprising in Baden. Soon after his arrival in the United States he became aware of the deficiencies in the American medical education system. He determined that the most effective remedy for the situation would be to carry out a comprehensive reform of the medical sector using the educational and medical practices of Germany as a model. Hammer’s entrepreneurial significance is found in his contributions to society as a social entrepreneur in the worlds of academia and public health, rather than as a profitable commercial entrepreneur. Continue Reading »
Herrmann, August
Between the end of the Gilded Age and the beginning of the Progressive Era, the name August “Garry” Herrmann was known throughout the United States. Herrmann was a man who had a humble beginning; he made millions of dollars during his lifetime through his political involvement and partial ownership of the Cincinnati Reds. As a local politician he served as the right-hand man to one of the most powerful political bosses of his era, George B. Cox of Cincinnati. As president of the Cincinnati Reds and chairman of baseball’s National Commission, he helped to usher in the modern World Series and is one of the most important early major league baseball executives. Continue Reading »
Hormel, George
George Albert Hormel, the son of German immigrants, used the knowledge, skills, and values he learned from his family to succeed as an independent meatpacker in an industry dominated by corporate giants. Continue Reading »
Koehler, Oscar
Oscar C. Koehler was the pivot point in a large family of brewers who, over the course of two generations, built up successful businesses in a portion of the Midwest that extended from St. Louis, Missouri, to Davenport, Iowa. In the St. Louis and Davenport metropolitan areas, the Koehlers achieved great social prestige and influence, both within the German-American community and in society as a whole. Their elite status and their ability to leverage capital eventually helped the Koehlers attain even greater business success. Continue Reading »
Lasker, Albert
As president of Lord & Thomas, Albert Lasker not only pioneered new advertising and branding techniques for leading companies such as Sunkist oranges, Wrigley’s Gum, and American Tobacco’s Lucky Strike cigarettes but showed how advertising could also break down social barriers, sharpen political campaigns, and promote philanthropic causes. Continue Reading »
Mallinckrodt, Edward Sr.
Industrialist Edward Mallinckrodt Sr. achieved success in the chemical manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries through a combination of factors that included strong connections to Germany, an awareness of the broader business environment, and an ability to formulate innovative responses to technological and economic changes. Continue Reading »