American Originals

American Originals traces the stories of those who charted their own paths, overcame barriers and achieved a better life for themselves and those around them by embracing personal responsibility, hard work and an entrepreneurial spirit.

The American Dream has been caricatured as wealth accumulation and material success like owning a house or buying a car. This has done a great disservice to the American ethos and American culture. The essence of the dream is earned success, achievement, recognizing opportunity and includes an appreciation for the role of entrepreneurship and the contributions that entrepreneurs have made to society.

By highlighting these success stories, we hope to demonstrate the value that these leaders have created and inspire others to follow in their footsteps. The American Dream and being an American Original is all about ordinary people achieving extraordinary things. As Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Orel Leonard Hershiser once said: “Great things can happen to ordinary people who are willing to work hard and never give up.”

Overcoming Barriers through Purpose and Entrepreneurship: Lessons from 21 Amazing American Originals

Over the last two-and-one-half years, we at the Archbridge Institute, in conjunction with the American Business History Center, have written...

The Ultimate Rags to Riches Story: Mary Pickford

On February 11, 1898, John Charles Smith of Toronto hit his head and died of a cerebral hemorrhage. The...

Proud Father of the Modern Airline System: CR Smith and American Airlines

Few industries have had a greater impact on the world than our airline system. This global network was built...

The Unsung Story of the Greatest Industrial Designer

Outside of the field of product and transportation design, too few people know who Raymond Loewy was. The best-known industrial...

Gail Borden: Texas Pioneer, Quirky Visionary

Born in upstate New York in 1801, Gail Borden was raised there and in Kentucky and Indiana. As...

Henry J. Kaiser: California Dreamer, Workers’ Friend

First building roads in Washington State, he soon helped build the western infrastructure, including Hoover Dam and Grand Coulee Dam. He played a key role in America’s victory in World War II by building hundreds of warships at an unprecedented pace. He also created aluminum and steel industries on the West Coast, doing more to bring manufacturing to California than anyone else.

James J Hill: Empire Builder without Peer

Jim Hill left poverty in rural Ontario after his father died when the son was only fourteen years old. He landed in St. Paul, Minnesota, where over the next fifty years he did more to shape the northwestern United States than any other single person. This is his story.