Person:Adolphus Busch (1)

Adolphus Busch
d.10 Oct 1913 Prussia, Germany
  1. Adolphus Busch1837 - 1913
  2. Ulrich Busch
m. 1861
  1. Augusta Busch1860 - 1942
  2. Nellie Busch1862 - 1934
  3. Eddie Busch1864 - 1879
  4. August A. Busch, Sr.1865 - 1934
  5. Peter Busch1869 - 1905
  6. Adolph Busch1869 - 1898
  7. Edmee Busch1871 - 1955
  8. Anna Louise Busch1875 - 1936
  9. Clara Hazel Busch1876 - 1959
  10. Carl Busch1879 - 1915
  11. Wilhelmine Busch1884 - 1952
Facts and Events
Name Adolphus Busch
Gender Male
Birth[2][4][9] 10 Jul 1837 Mayence, Rheinhessen-Pfalz, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
Alt Birth[7][8] 10 Jul 1839 Darmstadt, Hessen, GermanyCastell Hesse
Immigration[2][7] 1857 St. Louis County, Missouri, United States
Occupation[1][8] 1861 salesman of brewers' supplies
Occupation[1][8] brewer - first pasteurized beer in the USA
Occupation[1] yeast maker during Prohibition
Occupation[1][8] owner and breeder of fine horses, including Clydesdales
Marriage 1861 to Lilly Anheuser
Military[2][7][8] Apr 1861 Union Army (Corporal)
Residence[2][7][8] Pasadena, Los Angeles, California, United States
Naturalization[6][7] 19 Feb 1867 St. Louis City, Missouri, United States
Residence[2][4][7] 1880 St. Louis City, Missouri, United States
Death[2][7][8] 10 Oct 1913 Prussia, GermanyCause of death: Pneumonia
Alt Death[7] 10 Oct 1913 Langenschwalbach, Darmstadt, Hessen, Germany
Burial[3] St. Louis City, Missouri, United StatesBellefontaine Cemetery

Biographical Summery

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  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Generations of the Cohesive Clan", in Life. (New York, New York: Time, Inc.), page 131, 2 May 1955.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Death of Adolphus Busch, in Brewers Journal. (Gibson Publishing Company), volume 41, page 188, October 1913.

    The Famous St. Louis Brewer Dies in Germany After a Long Illness—Was One of the Country's Most Eminent Citizens— Enjoyed a Popularity Which Comes to Few Men.

    Adolphus Busch, president of the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association, St. Louis, died October 10, on his estate at Langen Schwalbach. Prussia. Word of his death was received in this country through a cablegram from his son, August A. Busch, to his grandson, Adolphus Busch III. The message read: "Father passed away peacefully at 8:15."'
    Mr. Busch had been a sufferer from dropsy for seven years, but when his son, August A., left America a few weeks ago to join him at his castle on the Rhine he did not know that his father was dangerously ill.
    Adolphus Busch was born at Mayence-on-theRhine, Germany, July 10, 1837, the son of a well-to-do lumber merchant, (Jlrich Busch, and his wife, Barbara. He was educated at the gymnasium at his birthplace, at the Academy of Darmstadt and the high schools in Brussels. In 1857 he started out for himself and chose America as his home, locating in St. Louis. Practically his first employment in this country was that of a "general hand" in a commission house on the St. Louis levee, and his meager earnings and the small allowance from his father he was forced to spend in living, neither being sufficient to allow him to save anything.
    On corning of age and into possession Of his patrimony, he established himself in the brewers supply business in St. Louis, the present house of Charles F.hlermann Hop & Malt Company, of that city, being now the direct successors of the business he established, and in which he was signally successful. In 1861 Mr. Busch married Miss Lilly Anheuser, daughter of Eberhard Anheuser. In that same year he enlisted in the Union army under the command of General Lyon. He served in the army only a short time. Mr. Busch then became associated with his father-in-law in the brewing business and in 1865 became a partner, the firm becoming known as E. Anheuser & Company. The business was incorporated in 1873 under tne name of E. Anheuser & Company Brewing Association, with E. Anheuser as president and Adolphus Busch as secretary and general manager. In 1875 the name was changed to the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association, and upon the death of Mr. Anheuser in 1880. Mr. Busch succeeded to the presidency, which position he held to the time of his death.
    The Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association has done much toward founding the American bottled beer industry, as well as the beer export trade of the United States.
    Under Mr. Busch's guidance the business has developed very rapidly. Year after year new structures have been added to keep pace with the ever-increasing sales, so that now the entire plant covers an area of over seventy city blocks.
    The Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association owns and
    operates its own railroad to connect with the terminals; also a large automobile garage for its large fleet of delivery trucks, as well as tin, carpenter, wagon, paint, harness and cooper shops. Among the thousands of employes engaged in the establishment are found men of all trades and vocations, from doctor and lawyer to the humblest day laborer. In addition to the home plant, the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association owns and operates branches in most of the important cities in the Union. The buildings comprising the plant are of most modern architecture and are built of red brick, trimmed with granite and white stone, and present a most imposing picture. In fact, this great plant is one of the show places of the city of St. Louis, several guides being constantly employed to take care of the visitors.
    In addition to his brewery interests in St. Louis Mr. Busch also was a director in several banks there and of several public utility corporations. He also was interested in breweries in San Antonio, Texas, Galveston and Ft. Worth, and owned ice manufacturing plants in various parts of the country. He was head of the foreign department of the St. Louis World's Fair.
    Mr. Busch's nhilanthropies were numerous, one of his most recent being a gift of $150,000 to Harvard University for the establishment of a Germanic institute. Every year he gave $5,000 to the convent of the Good Shepherd in St. Louis. His most recent local benefaction was a gift of $25,000 for the erection of a memorial to Carl Schurz, Emil Preetorius and Carl Daenzer, the trio of German editors who were in St. Louis about the time of the Civil War.
    His acquaintance was almost world wide. He was an intimate friend of former Presidents Roosevelt and Taft and of Emperor William of Germany. On two occasions he was decorated by the Emperor for notable achievements, while as recently as September 29 he was decorated by the Grand Duke of Hesse with the cordon and.cross of the first class of the Order of Philip the Good, in recognition of his philanthropy to the people of Germany.
    It is a coincidence that Mr. Busch died during the celebration in St. Louis of the hundredth anniversary of German independence. To the fund for financing this celebration he contributed $5,000. He was made honorary president of the German-American centennial celebration and the day the news of his death came, a telegram was sent him which read as follows:
    "Adolphus Busch, Langen Schwalbach, Germany.
    "To the honorary president of the German-American centennial celebration, to the philanthropist and patron of German art. science and ideals, we all send Cerman fraternal greetings."
    This was signed by Dr. C. J. Hexamer, national president: Adolph Timm, national secretary; E. C. Buechel, president of the festival board, and William C. F. Lenz, national representative for Missouri.
    He celebrated his fiftieth wedding anniversary at Pasadena, March 7, 1911. At that time he gave outright to each of his children a magnificent mansion or estate or directed them to spare no expense in building or purchasing a home to their exact liking and to send the bills to him.
    Though his home was in St. Louis in recent years, Mr. Busch spent but a small portion of his time there. He usually passed the winter in Pasadena, Cal., and his summers in Germany, stopping in St. Louis about six weeks in the spring and fall.
    Mr. Busch was the last of twenty-one children. He is survived by a widow and five daughters—Mrs. Jacob VV. Loeb of Chicago; Mrs. Hugo Reisinger, of New York: Mrs. Paul von Gontard, of Germany; Mrs. Edward A. Faust, of St. Louis, and Mrs. Edward Scharrer, of Stuttgart, Germany. Two sons—August A. Busch and Carl Busch, both of St. Louis—also survive.
    We quote the following tributes from editorials in two of the leading daily papers of St. Louis.
    The Post-Dispatch said:
    The very human qualities of the man drew the public to him in an unusual intimacy. It is not going a whit beyond the fact to say that he was as well liked as he was widely known. There was no mock philanthropy about Mr. Busch. He did not patronize the public with overwhelming benefactions. He did not consider that he owed the public an apology for his great wealth, and he did not sue with huge bribes for forgiveness, forgetfulness or favor. He erected no monuments to vanity. He legitimately went about his own business with an independence which forced admiration from free American citizens—and his generosity, his kindliness, were real, prompted by the heart. Measured by the deeds that sprang from it. it was the heart of a big man.
    Of what use is it to recount the mere money gifts of a man of vast wealth? How little of the true character of the donor can be told in a column of figures. Too often they are set forth for want of something better; too often they conceal, they mislead, they lie. The real generosity and genuine quality of a man are more likely to be expressed in the charity of his right hand of which his left hand neither receives nor gives a sign. Many there are whose tears of grief alone tell of the secret kindness of Mr. Busch. Yet no public appeal, no worthy cause., ever sought of him in vain.
    In his death the world has lost a singular example of successful enterprise coupled with high integrity, St. Louis has lost a big private citizen actively identified with a half-century of its growth, and thousands of men and women and children have lost a good friend.
    The Globe-Democrat is quoted as follows: In the business activities and public munificences of Adolphus Busch, who died yesterday at his German home, some of the great chapters in the history of the industrial life, educational advancement and scientific attainment of St. Louis, were written. In our industrialism, his high executive abilities and boundless energies supplanted a conservative management of the brewing industry with progressive methods which multiplied new processes, opened world markets, and vastly increased the opportunities of labor. These are permanent results which will survive him. along with the memory of his many liberal beneficences in different parts of the country.
    In educational work, his repeated endowments of Washington University have, during a succession of years, contributed much to the raising of that institution of learning from an inferior rank to that much higher place it is now holding, and to that still higher place it is destined to reach through his liberality and that of other St. Louisans of equally great heart and mind. As a joint contributor to that splendid endowment fund of the College of Medicine in the university, his gift was not only to St. Louis but to the world; not only to a city but to all mankind. For already is that light one of the illuminating lights in the world of medical science, and one which is to shine more and more unto what will be, for that science, a much more perfect day. One joy of giving was not to be his. His offer of $50,000 to a fund of $500,000 for a St. Louis grand opera house could not be accepted. Those who know him know with what a fine pleasure he would have paid his great share toward erecting here a temple to that art he loved so much.
    He was a friend of all art; a friend, in fact, of all humanity. Not quick to clasp acquaintance to the heart, or prone to wear his own heart upon his sleeve, when his friendship was won nothing but the demerit of its object could forfeit it. His coun
    sel and his influence will be missed in many St. Louis institutions, of all kinds, to which he had long contributed in financial support and wise direction. He will be missed in a wide social circle to which the news of his death must come as a shock following so soon the announcement of a few days ago that his health was improved. But he has not died before the ripeness of his time. He has lived long to do many big things in big ways.

  3. Find A Grave.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Adolphus Busch, in United States. 1880 U.S. Census Population Schedule. (National Archives Microfilm Publication T9), 1880.

    Name: Adolphus Busch
    Age: 41
    Birth Date: Abt 1839
    Birthplace: Germany
    Home in 1880: Saint Louis, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri, USA
    Street: Lafayette Avenue
    House Number: 1819
    Dwelling Number: 40
    Race: White
    Gender: Male
    Relation to Head of House: Self
    Marital Status: Married
    Spouse's Name: Lillie Busch
    Father's Birthplace: Germany
    Mother's Birthplace: Ger
    Occupation: Brewery
    Household Members:
    Name Age
    Adolphus Busch 41
    Lillie Busch 34
    Harry Webber 24
    Augusta Busch 20
    Nellie Weber 18
    Eddie Busch 16
    Gussie Busch 14
    Adolph Busch 11
    Edmee Busch 9
    Peter Busch 8
    Annie Busch 5
    Clarissa Busch 4
    Charlie Busch 1

    Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: Saint Louis, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri; Roll: 733; Family History Film: 1254733; Page: 454B; Enumeration District: 300

  5.   Adolphus Busch, in Movers and Shakers, Scalawags and Suffragettes: Tales from Bellefontaine Cemetery, Author Carol Ferring Shepley (Missouri History Museum), pages 45-51, 2008.

    Title Movers and Shakers, Scalawags and Suffragettes: Tales from Bellefontaine Cemetery
    Edition illustrated
    ISBN 1883982650, 9781883982652

    Preview available on Google Books.

  6. Busch, Adolphus Naturalization Card, in Missouri Secretary of State, Reel Number C-25790, Volume 02, Page 218, 29 Feb 1867.

    Record Group St. Louis City Court of Criminal Corrections-CCC, 1866-
    Series Second & Soldiers Papers
    Subseries Naturalization Cards
    County St. Louis City
    Name Busch, Adolphus
    Current Residence
    Record Date 02/19/1867
    Native Country Germany
    Witness 1
    Witness 2

    Source: Partnership between MO State Archives, St. Louis Genealogical Society, and St. Louis Circuit Court

  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 Adolphus Busch, in Saunders Family Tree (Rootsweb WorldConnect), ID: I2396.

    Name: Adolphus Busch
    Sex: M
    Birth: 10 JUL 1839 in Castell Hesse, Darmstadt, Germany
    Death: ABT 1913 in Prussia
    1854 or 1857: Adolphus arrives from Germany to St. Louis

    Cites the following source: U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925
    Name: Adolphus Busch
    Birth Date: 10 Jul 1839
    Birth Place: Cartel Hesse, Darmstadt
    Passport Issue Date: 19 Feb 1867
    Passport Includes a Photo: N
    Source: Passport Applications, 1795-1905 (M1372)

    Cites the following source: U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925
    Name: Adolphus Busch
    Birth Date: 10 Jul 1839
    Birth Place: Castell Hesse, Germany
    Passport Issue Date: 8 Jun 1878
    Passport Includes a Photo: N
    Source: Passport Applications, 1795-1905 (M1372)

    Cites the following source: United States Federal Census
    Date: 06/17/1870
    Name: Adolphus Burk [Adolphus Busch]
    Estimated Birth Year: abt 1839
    Age in 1870: 31
    Birthplace: Hesse-Darmstadt / Hessen-Darmstadt
    Home in 1870: Dwelling 494, St Louis Ward 1, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri
    Race: White
    Gender: Male
    Post Office: Saint Louis
    Household Members: Name Age
    Adolphus Burk (Busch) 31
    Lilly Burk (Busch) 25
    Melly Burk (Busch) 6
    Gustave Burk (Busch) 9
    Edw Burk (Busch) 5
    Aug Burk (Busch) 4
    Will Burk (Busch) 3
    Adolph Burk (Busch) 2
    Florentina Vielhaber 20 Servant
    Louisa Leiber 16 Servant
    Babetta Wunda 14 Servant
    Eberhard Anheuser was living at dwelling 493, St. Louis at the time of the census. Eberhard was the father of Lilly Anheuser Busch

    Cites the following source: 6/19/1880 Census: The following people were living in Saint Louis, Saint Louis, Missouri:
    Name: Adolphus Busch
    Home in 1880: Saint Louis, Saint Louis, Missouri
    Age: 40
    Estimated Birth Year: abt 1840
    Birthplace: Hesse D
    Relation to Head of Household: Self (Head)
    Spouse's Name: Lillie
    Father's birthplace: Hesse D.
    Mother's birthplace: Hesse D.
    Neighbors: View others on page
    Occupation: Brewery
    Marital Status: Married
    Race: White
    Gender: Male
    Adolphus Busch 40 who was a brewer who immigrated in 1854.
    Lillie Busch 35
    Augusta Busch 19
    August Busch 14
    Adolph Busch 12
    Edmie Busch 9
    Peter Busch 8
    Anna Busch 5
    Clara Busch 4
    George Busch 1
    Luzzie Berg 40 a servant
    Laura Walter 17 a servant
    Nelly Watson 27 a servant

    Cites the following source: 06/09/1900 United States Federal Census
    Name: Adolphine Burch [Adolphus Busch]
    Home in 1900: Dwelling #1 Busch Place, St Louis Ward 9, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri
    Age: 60
    Estimated Birth Year: abt 1840
    Birthplace: Germany
    Relationship to head-of-house: Head
    Spouse's Name: Lillie
    Race: White
    Immigration Year: 1854
    Household Members: Name Age
    Adolphine Burch 60
    Lillie Burch (Busch) 54 who had 11 children, 9 of which are still living.
    Minnie L Burch (Busch) 16
    Anna Schumann 38 a daughter. Assumption that she is also known as Augusta Busch.
    Bertha Bauer 30 boarder who was household help

    Cites the following source: 1910 United States Federal Census
    Name: Adolphus Busch
    Age in 1910: 70
    Estimated Birth Year: abt 1840
    Birthplace: Germany
    Relation to Head of House: Head
    Father's Birth Place: Germany
    Mother's Birth Place: Germany
    Spouse's Name: Lily A
    Home in 1910: St Louis Ward 10, St Louis (Independent City), Missouri
    Marital Status: Married
    Race: White
    Gender: Male
    Year of Immigration: 1857
    Household Members: Name Age
    Adolphus Busch 70 who is President of a Brewery.
    Lily A Busch 66 who had 12 children, 7 still living
    Carl Busch 31 who is single and no profession listed.
    Edward A Faust 41 son-in-law who was born in Missouri. He is a Vice President of a Brewery. His parents were born in Germany.
    Anna L Faust 35 a daughter who has 2 living children.
    Leicester B Faust 11 grandson
    Andrey B Faust 7 grandson
    Ida Spiller 24 servant
    Mina Bessier 24 servant
    Wensel Mendl 29 valet

    Cites the following source: New York Times Obit 11 Oct 1913
    New York Times

    ADOLPHUS BUSCH DIES IN PRUSSIA; St. Louis's Millionaire Brewer Suffered from Dropsy for Seven Years.

    LANGENSCHWALBACH, Prussia, Oct. 10. -- Adolphus Busch, the St. Louis brewer, died here to-day. Mr. Busch had been a sufferer from dropsy for seven years, but when his son, August A., left here a few weeks ago to join him at his castle on the Rhine, he did not know that his father was dangerously ill.

    The last time Adolphus Busch figured conspicuously before the public was on March 7, 1911 when he celebrated his golden wedding anniversary at his winter home in Pasadena, CA in a manner that was said to have been unprecedented for its elaborateness in the world's history. The gifts received by Mr & Mrs Busch included tokens from William H. Taft, who was then President; Col. Roosevelt, the German Emperor, and from hosts of friends who were less widely known. The total value of the gifts was placed at $500,000 and the value of the floral tributes at $50,000. Mr. Busch's gift to his wife, who before her marriage was Lillie Eberhard Anheuser was a crown of gold studded with diamonds and pearls. It was valued at $200,000.

    The public benefactions in honor of his golden wedding announced by Mr. Busch to the guests who assembled, including a holiday for 5,000 employees in St. Louis, a gift of $5,000 to the German Children's Hospital in NY, a gift of $5,000 to the German Seaman's Home in Hoboken, and many gifts to individuals.

    Mr. Busch was born in Mayence-on-the-Rhine on July 10 1842 (7/10/1839). He was one of a family of 21 brothers who then dealt in wines and brewers' supplies. The family was wealthy, and young Adolphus was sent to the best schools in the country; his education having been finished by a course at the Collegiate Institute in Belgium. He came to the US in 1857 and settled in St. Louis.

    The young man's first occupation in the city where he later accumulated great wealth was as a clerk in a commission house. At the outbreak of the civil war, Mr. Busch joined the Federal Army and served for 14 months. He then learned that he had been bequeathed a portion of his father's estate and this capital he used to obtain a foothold in the same business the family had conducted in Germany. He opened a wholesale brewers' supply store, and four years later he combined this business with the proprietorship of the Bavarian Brewery, which had previously been owned by Eberhard Anheuser. This was five years after Mr. Busch had married Mr. Anheuser's third daughter, and Mr. Busch and his father-in-law became equal partners in the consolidated concern.

    Mr. Busch attributed the success of his business to his discovery of a process of bottling beer so that it would withstand any climatic changes. Their firm at first carried the name of Anheuser & Co., but this name was changed upon Mr. Anheuser's death in 1880 to the Anheuser-Busch Company. The trade increased steadily until in 1891 the sales passed the million-barrel mark. Mr. Busch took an interest in other business matters besides those having to do with his brewery. He served for a time as president of the South Side Bank and the Manufacturers' Railroad Company. He founded the Busch Glass Company, a bottle-making concern, and was a Director of the Louisiana Purchase Company. He traveled extensively prior to 1908 in order to keep in touch with his business interests in various parts of the world.

    Hr. Busch took a keen interest in Harvard University to which he made 3 gifts totaling $350,000 for the erection of a Germanic Museum to be known as Adolphus Busch Hall.

    His wealth was estimated at $60 million and his annual income was said to be $2,000,000.

    Mr. Busch was a friend of the German Emperor and it was through correspondence with him that he learned that the German Government had many interesting German relics which it would be glad to present to Harvard if the university could provide a proper hall in which to exhibit them. It was on receiving this information that Mr. Busch decided to provide funds to erect the German museum at Harvard. Mr. Busch retained a deep love for his native country. He purchased a Castle on the banks of the Rhine River and its vast estate, to which he made frequent visits until his physical condition became impaired.

    Mr. Busch was the last of 21 children. He is survived by a widow and 56 daughters, Mrs. Jacob W. Loeb of Chicago, Mrs. Hugo Reisinger of New York ,Mrs Paul Von Gontard of Germany, Mrs. Edward A. Faust of St. Louis, and Mrs. Edward Scharrer of Stuttgart, Germany. Two sons, August A Busch and Carl Busch, both of St. Louis also survive.

    Colonel Adolphus Busch (July 10, 1839 - October 10, 1913) was the co-founder of Anheuser-Busch with his father-in-law, Eberhard Anheuser. His great-great-grandson, August Busch IV is now president and CEO of Anheuser-Busch.


    He was born in 1839 in Kastel, Germany (now Mainz-Kastel, Wiesbaden, Germany). He was the second youngest of 22 siblings. The family worked in winery and brewery supplies. He attended the Collegiate Institute of Belgium in Brussels, and left his home in 1857 with three of his brothers for St. Louis, Missouri:

    * Johann, who established a brewery in Washington, Missouri,
    * Ulrich Jr, who married another daughter of Eberhard Anheuser, and lived in Chicago, and
    * Anton, who was a hop dealer, but returned home to Mainz.

    His first job in St. Louis was working as a clerk in the commission house. He was also an employee at William Hainrichshofen's wholesale company.

    He became acquainted with Lilly Anheuser, whose parents had a small brewery which her father Eberhard Anheuser (1805-1880) acquired in 1860, renaming it from the Bavarian Brewery to the E. Anheuser Brewery.

    He married 17 year old Lilly Eberhard Anheuser on March 7, 1861 in St. Louis. They had the following children: Adolphus Busch II; August Anheuser Busch I; Carl Busch; and five daughters.

    During the American Civil War he served in the United States Army for 14 months. It was at this time that he learned that his father had died and that he had inherited a portion of his father's estate. He used the money to start a wholesale brewer's supply store, and four years later he bought a share in the Bavarian brewery from Eberhard Anheuser, his father-in-law. The company was first called "Anheuser and Company", but at the death of Eberhard Anheuser in 1879, it was changed to "Anheuser Busch Company".

    The rapid success of the Anheuser Brewer made its owner independent and permitted him to perform philanthropic activities, such as assisting in the repair of the devastating 1882 flooding of Kastel-Mainz by the Rhine River.

    In 1891 Adolphus bought from Carl Conrad the trademark and name Budweiser.

    He envisioned a national beer with universal appeal. Toward this end, he created a network of rail-side ice-houses and launched the industry's first fleet of refrigerated freight cars. Success came when Adolphus found a method to pasteurize the beer so it kept fresh. The beer could now be shipped all over the country. He was also an early adopter of bottled beer. In 1901 sales surpassed the one million barrels of beer benchmark.

    In 1912, Busch constructed the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, Texas, then the tallest building in the state.

    He and Lilly often travelled to Germany where they had a mansion in Langenschwalbach, Germany (now Bad Schwalbach, Germany); he died there in 1913 while on vacation. He had been suffering from dropsy since 1906. His body was brought back in 1915 by ship to the United States and then a train to St. Louis and he was buried in Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis.

  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 Adolphus Busch, in The State Historical Society of Missouri: Historical Missourians, Article researched and written by Todd Barnett.

    Introduction: Adolphus Busch was a German immigrant who was instrumental in building the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association in St. Louis, Missouri, into the largest brewery in the United States. He is recognized as one of the most successful businessmen of his era, and is memorable for both his extravagant spending habits and his charitable giving.

    Early Life & Education: Adolphus Busch was born on July 10, 1839, in Kastel, a small community near Mainz, Germany. He was the twenty-first child born to Ulrich Busch, a successful businessman from Mainz, and the fourteenth with his second wife, Barbara Pfeifer Busch. They provided Adolphus with a first-rate education. He went to the gymnasium in the city of Mainz and the academy at Darmstadt. After this, he studied French at the Collegiate Institute of Brussels, one of the best colleges in Belgium. Adolphus worked at his father’s lumber yard for a short time, and then went to work for a shipping house in Cologne, a port on the Rhine River in western Germany, where he learned a lot about the river trade. Busch moved to St. Louis in 1857 after hearing many tales about greater business opportunities in America. He was able to put his knowledge of river trading to good use as a clerk in a shipping house. Although he started off cleaning windows and sweeping floors, his hard work and intelligence were noted. He was soon a familiar face along the row of merchant houses on the riverbank known as “Commission Row,” hunting bargains and judging the quality of the merchandise that arrived in the city. He was especially skilled at judging brewing supplies, like hops, malt, and barley, a skill that would come in handy later as a brewer. After his father died, Adolphus inherited a sizeable amount of money from his father’s estate which allowed him to partner with a local merchant to start a trading business, Wattenburg, Busch & Co., in 1859.

    Family Ties: About the same time that Adolphus Busch came to St. Louis, a wealthy soap manufacturer named Eberhard Anheuser purchased a struggling business called the Bavarian Brewery. Anheuser bought brewing supplies from Busch and the two became friends. On March 7, 1861, Adolphus married Anheuser’s daughter, Lilly, in a double wedding ceremony in which his older brother, Ulrich, married Lilly’s older sister, Anna. A little over a month after the wedding, the Civil War started and Adolphus Busch joined the Union Army. He was honorably discharged with the rank of corporal after serving out his three month enlistment. Because of his shrewd investments, Busch profited during the war years when many of his peers suffered severe financial losses due to the wartime disturbance of the river trade. By the war’s end, Anheuser was too busy running his successful soap business to continue to give attention to his small brewery. He felt it would help to bring in someone younger and more energetic to manage the business. Having firmly established himself as a successful business manager and salesman, Busch invested in the brewery in 1865 and joined Anheuser in the brewery’s management. Between 1863 and 1884, Adolphus and Lilly Busch had thirteen children—five boys and eight girls. Three girls died in infancy, but the remaining five, Nellie, Edmee, Anna Louise, Clara, and Wilhelmina, all married either German or German-American men and lived into late adulthood. Clara married Baron Paul von Gontard of the German empire, and became a famous trendsetter in the city of Berlin. Anna’s husband, Edward Faust, and Nellie’s husband, Edward Magnus, eventually served as vice presidents in the brewery. Of Busch’s five sons, one, Carl, was born with disabilities and required special care, while three others, Edward, Adolphus Jr., and Peter, died of appendix-related medical conditions by mid-adulthood. Only August A. Busch lived past his mid-thirties. He became second in command to Adolphus at the brewery, and eventually took over the brewery’s leadership after his father’s death.

    A Good Captain: Once Adolphus Busch joined the management of the struggling Bavarian Brewery, the company’s fortunes changed immediately. Busch’s leadership and salesmanship skills, keen business sense, and good judgment in the hiring of employees helped him grow the brewery to great success in a short amount of time. Busch not only wanted the brewery to be successful, he wanted to make it look successful as well. He set up an elegant office with expensive carpeted floors, easy chairs, and artistic decorations. This plan backfired at first because some bankers assumed he was frivolous with money and were reluctant to give him a loan to expand the brewery. Eventually, he did get the loan, and as the business expanded so did Busch’s role in the company. The company eventually became a stock-selling corporation with Busch and his wife as the major stockholders. In 1879 the corporation’s name was changed to the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association. The brewery’s expansion allowed it to brew and sell more beer to the country’s rapidly increasing population. The more beer that was sold, the more profits increased. Much of the profit was then used to further expand the brewery, and the cycle of sales, profit, and brewery expansion continued. In 1885 Anheuser-Busch became the leading brewery in St. Louis and by the late 1890s was the highest selling brewery in the nation. Busch also made business decisions that improved the lives of his workers. In 1891, in response to a boycott of Anheuser-Busch beer from the American Federation of Labor, Busch became the first major brewer to sign an agreement with a labor union. This prompted other brewers to do the same. In the years after this, the average wage for American brewery workers increased and hours worked per week declined. In 1910 Busch instituted a “happiness fund” to provide entertainment for current workers, pensions for retired workers, and aid to the families of needy workers.

    The King of Beers: Busch was always looking for ways to get Anheuser-Busch beer into new markets around the country. He embraced innovations in industrial technology and made frequent trips to Europe to adopt the latest brewing methods. Busch addressed the major problem of beer spoilage by investing in refrigerated railroad cars and setting up ice supply centers along railroad lines that carried his beer to markets far away from St. Louis. He also bought huge refrigeration machines to be used inside the brewery. By 1873 the Anheuser-Busch brewery found a way to use Louis Pasteur’s method of pasteurization in the bottling of beer. In this process, bottles were heated with steam and rapidly cooled off, killing the bacteria that caused spoilage. This meant that Busch could ship bottled beer anywhere in the country, even the world, without having to worry about it spoiling. At the time, most beer was made and sold locally in the United States and many regions had their own unique tastes in beer. The Budweiser brand was created in 1876 to appeal to a wide variety of tastes, so it could be sold everywhere. It did not take long until Anheuser-Busch bottled beer was selling so well that Busch called it “the cream of our business.” Budweiser was marketed as the “King of Beers,” and went on to become the world’s best-selling brand of beer. Busch was also involved in several other business activities. Many of his business ventures helped lower the costs of making and transporting Anheuser-Busch beer. Busch was either president, director, or a major stockholder in several companies related to brewing, marketing, or transporting beer, such as those dealing with banking, telephone communication, railroads, electric power, diesel engines, ice production and refrigeration, or bottling facilities. As profits from the Anheuser-Busch brewery steadily climbed and money from his other investments poured in, Busch became extremely wealthy.

    The First Citizen and the Prince: Adolphus Busch lived a royal lifestyle. He owned mansions in Missouri, California, New York, and Germany, and built a luxury hotel named after himself in Dallas. He gave mansions as gifts to his children and paid for extravagant ceremonies at family weddings and funerals. He toured the country in a luxurious private railcar which he often loaned to family and friends at his expense. On his fiftieth wedding anniversary, a huge celebration was thrown in Pasadena where his wife was seated on a throne and given a crown worth $200,000. Another celebration was held for his brewery workers in St. Louis where an estimated 50,000 bottles of beer, 10,000 cigars, and 30,000 sandwiches were provided. Busch also had rich and powerful friends, including Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft, Edward VII of the United Kingdom, and the Emperor of Germany. Busch’s nickname among his friends was “the Prince.” Busch was also a generous philanthropist. He funded a medical clinic at the University of Missouri and made sizeable gifts to Washington University for the study of science, medicine, and the German language, and Harvard University for a museum of Germanic culture. Busch allowed free public access to the beautiful gardens at his estate in California. A group of religious leaders named Busch the “First Citizen of St. Louis” because he donated money to so many of the city’s charities. Busch also served as a director and major promoter of the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis.

    Death & Legacy: In 1906 Adolphus Busch caught a cold that turned into pneumonia. After this, he grew increasingly weaker until his death from a heart attack on October 10, 1913. His estate was worth approximately $60 million at the time of his death. Busch’s funeral was attended by thousands of mourners, including a representative from the Emperor of Germany. Reportedly, twenty-five truckloads of flowers arrived at the funeral and florists were sold out for miles around. Funeral services were held in all thirty-six cities where there were branches of the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Association and St. Louis observed a five-minute moment of silence in Busch’s honor. The buildings built by Busch’s donations to Harvard and Washington University, both called Adolphus Busch Hall, and the Hotel Adolphus in Dallas are still in use today. The museum Busch founded at Harvard, now called the Busch-Reisinger Museum, is still the leading museum of Germanic culture in the United States. In 2007, the United States Department of Labor Hall of Fame honored Adolphus Busch for promoting fair labor practices. The Anheuser-Busch brewery stayed under the leadership of the Busch family until 2008, when it was purchased by the Brazilian-Belgian brewer InBev. The resulting corporation, Anheuser-Busch InBev, is the largest brewing association in the world.

  9. He was the youngest of the 21 or 22 children of his parents.