Biographies of Some Great Donors

 

Philanthropy Hall of Fame
Colorful biographies of 55 of the greatest givers from U.S. history can be read here

Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
 by Ron Chernow
A highly readable, comprehensive, and fair biography of one of America’s first moguls and most influential large-scale philanthropists. Read Martin Morse Wooster’s reviewpublished in Philanthropy magazine.

A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America by John J. Miller
A book-length history of one of America’s most effective twentieth-century foundations, respected by friend and foe alike for its influence on the nation’s intellectual life. Read Wooster’s review for Philanthropy.

Julius Rosenwald: The Man Who Built Sears, Roebuck and Advanced the Cause of Black Education in the American South by Peter M. Ascoli and You Need a Schoolhouse by Stephanie Deutsch
Biographies, both by family members, of the man who befriended Booker T. Washington and built 5,000 schoolhouses for African-American children who would otherwise have grown up in ignorance in the first half of the twentieth century. Read Juan Williams’ review of You Need a Schoolhouse and Martin Morse Wooster’s review of Julius Rosenwald for Philanthropy magazine.

George Eastman: A Biography by Elizabeth Brayer
This Pulitzer Prize-nominated biography profiles the business success and vast philanthropy of the founder of Eastman Kodak, whose charities included the Eastman School of Music, MIT, the University of Rochester, the Hampton and Tuskegee Institutes, dental clinics across the globe, and other projects, many of them launched anonymously.

Tuxedo Park by Jennet Conant
A biography of Alfred Loomis, who became one of the most powerful men on Wall Street in the 1920s then used his fortune to conduct advanced scientific research. At a time when the U.S. government was unseeing and slow to act, his philanthropic leadership pushed through crash efforts to create radar and the atomic bomb in time to win World War II.

Foundation Builders: Brief Biographies of Twelve Great Philanthropists
 by Martin Morse Wooster
Includes chapters on famous donors like Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller Sr., George Eastman, and J. Paul Getty.