Advertisement

Isaac Rice’s Gambits

Isaac Rice, a music teacher, innovator in the game of chess, and businessman who developed the U.S. Navy’s first modern submarines and helped found the company today known as General Dynamics, was born in Bavaria on this date in 1850. He emigrated to the U.S. at age 6, studied music in Paris, returned to America as […]

Read More

Argosy Books

Louis Cohen, a bibliophile and rare book collector who founded Argosy Books in Manhattan, died at 87 on this date in 1991. Cohen stocked the White House libraries of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, established libraries for the University of Texas and the University of Kansas, and donated thousands of Hebrew books to Bar-Ilan University […]

Read More

The First Woman on the Stock Exchange

On this date in 1967, Muriel Siebert, age 35, became the first woman member of the New York Stock Exchange (alongside 1,365 men), after campaigning for months to overcome sexist obstructions. In 1975, Siebert & Company became the nation’s first discount brokerage house, democratizing Wall Street investing by greatly lowering the fees involved. Today, more […]

Read More

Helena Rubinstein

Helena Rubinstein, creator of a cosmetics empire was born in Krakow, Poland on this date in 1872. She emigrated to Australia in 1902 and began to develop “beauty creams” made with a lanolin base, which was hugely abundant in the sheep-rich country. Within a few years she had fashionable salons in Sydney and in London. […]

Read More

The Short Season, Part 2

HUSTLING FULL-TIME IN THE CATSKILLS by Elliot Podwill   To read Part 1, click here.   THE SOCIAL DARWINIAN universe we inhabited filtered down to adolescent social mores. A friend in high school was on several occasions turned down for dates by girls because his family car was dingy. (No subways or buses ran in South Fallsburg.) […]

Read More

Florsheim Shoes

Milton Florsheim, a Chicago cobbler who transformed the shoe industry by slapping the family name on his shoe soles and pull-up straps and then launching a chain of brand-name retail stores, was born in Chicago on this date in 1868. His father owned a shoe store. Florsheim Shoes were marketed, says his great-grandson John Florsheim, as […]

Read More

The Tomato Queen

Tillie Ehrlich-Weisberg Lewis, who introduced the pomodoro tomato to California’s agricultural fields and built the fifth largest canning business in America, using workers of all races and ethnicities in her enterprise and marrying a labor organizer who sought to organize them into the American Federation of Labor, was born in Brooklyn on this date in 1896. […]

Read More

B. Altman and Co.

Benjamin Altman, the founder of the B. Altman and Co. department store, was born in New York on this date in 1840, five years after his parents emigrated from Bavaria and opened a small dry goods store. Altman opened his own store in 1865 and grew it into a department store chain with a flagship store on Fifth […]

Read More

Electrifying Germany

Industrialist Emil Rathenau, who met Thomas Alva Edison in Paris at the 1881 international electricity exhibition and purchased the right to use his patents to bring power stations, railways, and electrical machines to Germany, died at 76 on this date in 1915. In 1884, Rathenau contracted with the magistrate of Berlin to string city streets with electricity […]

Read More

The Russian Oligarchs

Mikhail Khodorkovsky was found guilty of fraud related to his control of Siberian oil fields through his Yukos corporation and was sentenced to nine years in prison on this date in 2005. Khodorkovsky, who was behind bars until Vladimir Putin pardoned him in 2013, is half-Jewish (on his father’s side). Many of the Russian oligarchs, most of […]

Read More