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.”

Milton Hershey: Chocolate King, Confectioner, and Creator

Born in rural Pennsylvania in 1857, Milton Hershey attended seven different schools and never made it past the...

Workingman’s Friend, Industry Disruptor: The Walter Chrysler Story

The year 1921 was one of the worst years in the history of the American automobile business. Many...

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...