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1951 Horatio Alger Award Winner

James L. Kraft*

Kraft-Phoenix Cheese Corporation

"When you put your name on a product, you put your heritage and reputation on the line."

James Kraft was born in 1874 on a farm near Ontario, Canada. He was the second of 11 children raised by Mennonite parents. As a teenager, he worked in a grocery store, and later invested in a cheese company in Buffalo. He went to Chicago to look after the company branch, where his partners eased him out of the business. Stranded in Chicago in 1903 with only $65 in his pocket, he bought a horse and wagon and began to sell wholesale cheeses to small stores. By 1909, several of his brothers joined his company, which was incorporated as JL Kraft & Bros. Co. Kraft served as president of the company, which began to manufacture its own products, including the industry's first processed cheese. In the 1930s, the company expanded to include products such as Miracle Whip, Parkay, and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Today, Kraft is the world's second largest food company.

* Deceased