Strauss, Levi
The name Levi Strauss is famous worldwide, and will be forever linked to the world’s first blue jeans, a product he helped to create. But Strauss was more than just the manifestation of his various denim products. He started his business when San Francisco was a raw, rowdy town and when he was only in his early twenties. The man and the city grew up together, as Strauss helped to make it the commercial capital of the West. Continue Reading »
Sutro, Adolph
Adolph Sutro, full name Adolph Heinrich Joseph Sutro, was a German merchant, entrepreneur, and politician who emigrated from Aachen, Germany to San Francisco with a ferocious ambition to attain success in the “New World.” Rarely lacking doubt in his own capabilities, Sutro pursued a variety of businesses in pursuit of both financial success and public renown, including the construction of the Sutro Tunnel as part of the development of the Comstock Lode silver mine in Nevada and the development of a large real estate portfolio in his adopted hometown of San Francisco. 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 »
Timken, Henry
Henry Timken developed the tapered roller bearing and went on to found a company to manufacture roller bearings that grew into a large, multinational corporation. The Timken Company, formerly Timken Roller Bearing Axle Company, remains, to this day, one of the most successful global family businesses in the United States. Continue Reading »
Untermyer, Samuel
German-American entrepreneurship can be found across the whole spectrum of American business in the period since 1720. The legal profession is no exception. Guggenheimer & Untermyer was one of the most successful and prominent German-American law firms during its life span, approximately 1855 to 1986. The firm was founded in the mid-1850s by Adolph (Abraham) Levinger, a Bavarian-Jewish immigrant. Samuel Untermyer later transformed it into an entrepreneurial Wall Street firm that represented a host of prominent clients, both German-America and native-born, Jewish and Gentile, during the late nineteenth century and throughout much of the twentieth. Continue Reading »
Villard, Henry
A financier and investor, Henry Villard helped realize many important infrastructure ventures in the U.S. and in the process made and lost several fortunes. 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 »

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