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1951 Horatio Alger Award Winner

David Sarnoff*

Chairman
Radio Corporation of America

"Television will become an important factor in American economic life."

David Sarnoff was born in 1891 near Minsk, Russia. He came to the United States in 1900, settling with his family in New York City. Six years later, his father was incapacitated by tuberculosis and Sarnoff became an office boy with the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America. He rose to commercial manager. In 1911, he installed wireless equipment on a ship that was hunting seals off Newfoundland and used the technology to relay the first remote medical diagnosis from the ship's doctor to a radio operator at Belle Isle. He later demonstrated the first use of radio on a railroad line. Marconi was purchased in 1919 by the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), which put Sarnoff in charge of radio broadcasting. In 1929, he directed the company to buy the Victor Talking Machine Company, the largest manufacturer of records and phonographs. He became president of RCA in 1930. Sarnoff went on to help RCA produce the first fully functional all-electronic color television system in 1951.

* Deceased