1959 Horatio Alger Award Winner
"Believe in yourself and your ideas."
Walter Jacobs started his career as an automobile salesman after graduating from a Chicago high school. He was only 22 when he conceived the idea of renting automobiles, and with his savings purchased 12 used Model T Fords. He repaired and painted the cars and rented a vacant lot. The idea was an immediate success, and within eight months, he had expanded his modest fleet to 20 cars. In five years, the drive-it-yourself operation had grown to a respectable size. Jacobs sold his company to John Hertz, then president of the Chicago Yellow Cab Company, where Jacobs stayed on as vice president. In 1953, Jacobs was named vice president and director of the Hertz properties, which had been purchased by GM and then the Omnibus Corporation. After the name of the company changed to The Hertz Corporation, Jacobs became president and COO. From the original 12 Model Ts, Hertz became the world's largest car and truck rental service.* Deceased