Prominent Dutch American Entrepreneurs

Their Contributions to American Society, Culture and Economy

C. Carl Pegels, University of Buffalo

Published 2011

The book presents the stories of the more successful Dutch American entrepreneurs, active in the United States, with some going back as far as 400 years. The majority of the entrepreneurs covered in the book were active during the past 150 years. Each of the individuals covered represent an enterprise that was well known during its respective era. In some of the cases the individuals were better known than the enterprises they represented, and some became historic figures.

Some of the more famous Dutch American entrepreneurs are Cornelius Vanderbilt, and his son William Vanderbilt, transportation entrepreneurs in the nineteenth century. Also famous during the early nineteenth century was DeWitt Clinton, the driving force behind the building of the Erie Canal. During the twentieth century, there were such famous Dutch American entrepreneurs as Cecil B. DeMille, Darryl Zanuck, and others in the entertainment industry. The most successful entrepreneurs, still alive today, are the billionaire businessmen, the Koch brothers, who own the multibillion dollar Koch Industries, an oil and chemical industry firm.

The book’s audience consists of academics, the public, and specifically the Dutch American public, numbering from 6 to 10 million people. The book is also an important source book and reader for college courses in Entrepreneurship, American History, Culture, Society and Economy.

Preface. PART I: INTRODUCTION AND OVERVIEW. Introduction and Organization of Book. Dutch American Influence on the Development and Growth of the American Economy. PART II: THE SEVENTEENTH AND EIGHTEENTH CENTURIES. New Netherland and Its Directors. Rensselaerswyck and New Netherland. Colonial Era: The Van Cortlandts. PART III: TRANSPORTATION PIONEERS. Construction of the Erie Canal: Dewitt Clinton. Water and Rail Transportation: The Vanderbilts. Freight Transportation and Logistics: Bekins Van Lines and Lynden Transport. Air Transportation Developers: Fokker and Neeleman. PART IV: INDUSTRIAL AND INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT. Successful Entrepreneurs: The Koch Brothers. Three Midwest Manufacturers: The Kuypers, Vermeer and Prince. Infrastructure Construction: The Kiewit Family. PART V: MERCHANDISING AND SERVICES. Two Michigan Merchandising Firms: Meijer and Amway/ Alticor. Merchandising, Entertainment, Real Estate And Services: Astor IV and Huizenga. PART VI: INNOVATION AND DEVELOPMENT. Consumer Products Innovaters: Van Camp, Scheepers and Peet . Innovators and Developers: Electric and Electronic Technology, Edison and De Forest. Contemporary Innovators and Developers: Kolff, Noorda and Schoemaker. PART VII: ARTS, CULTURE AND EDUCATION. Directors And Producers: Motion Picture Industry. Modern Music Producers and Performers: Springsteen, the Van Halens and Their Respective Bands. Book Publishers: Van Nostrand, Kregel, Eerdmans, Zondervan and Baker. Higher Education Promoters: Rutgers, Van Rensselaer, Vanderbilt and Hofstra. For Further Reading.