Henry Parsons Crowell

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Henry Parsons Crowell (1855–1943) was an American businessman, founder of the Quaker Oats Company and a philanthropist.[1]

At the end of the 19th century, steam engines, telegraph and telephone systems, electricity and typewriters were part of the explosion of technology in America.[2]


Henry Parsons Crowell knew how to listen, persevere and address the challenges these new inventions were creating, and mediate the conflicts between those who wanted to keep the traditions of the old century and those who pushed for the ways of the future. A book was dedicated to him written by Joe Musser, called Cereal Tycoon.[3][2]


Henry Parsons Crowell had a dramatic impact on the lives of millions of people. As the founder of the Quaker Oats Company he helped change the eating habits of Americans, and in the process helped to create entirely new methods of marketing and merchandising that some still consider revolutionary, even by today's standards.[3][2]

One of the wealthiest men of Chicago when he died in 1943, Henry Parsons Crowell, gave away nearly 70 percent of his earnings for more than 40 years. Born into a wealthy family in 1855 and endowed with a large inheritance after the death of his father, Crowell had the opportunity to live well and do little. He chose to work hard, never compromising, even when doing so would bring him more prosperity. His shrewd business sense and marketing genius brought him to the highest levels in business as the founder of the Quaker Oats Company and other major enterprises. Crowell viewed all things as a stewardship from God.

Businessmen over the years came to know Jesus Christ personally because of the influence of Henry Parsons Crowell. In whatever he did, Crowell sought to honor God whether it was through business or his 40 years as chairman of the Trustee board of the Moody Bible Institute. The Henry Parsons Crowell and Susan Coleman Crowell Trust carefully states that the purpose of their personal family Trust is to fund the teaching and active extension of the doctrines of evangelical Christianity.

Today, more than 75 years later, that directive still guides the Trustees as they disburse funds from the Trust to organizations whose missions are in line with Mr. Crowell’s vision. His vision and mission have blessed hundreds of ministries every year all around the world.[4]

Legacies and contributions[edit]

Henry Crowell became enormously wealthy in several other businesses. But it is what he did with his wealth, donating over 70 percent of his wealth to Crowell Trust, and the stewardship of his time and money that hold such interest and value for today's people and Christians alike.[2] The Moody Bible Institute named a 12-story building after him, Crowell Hall.[5] He was regarded as one of the most respected Christian business man in early 20th century in the US.[4][3][2]


Musser, Joe (1997). The Cereal Tycoon. Moody Press. ISBN 0-8024-1616-0.

Day, Richard Ellsworth, "Breakfast Table Autocrat The Life Story of Henry Parsons Crowell". Moody Press, Chicago, 1946.


  1. ^ Musser, Joe (1997). The Cereal Tycoon. Moody Press. ISBN 0-8024-1616-0, p.3, 154.
  2. ^ a b c d e Musser, Joe (1997). The Cereal Tycoon. Moody Press. ISBN 0-8024-1616-0, p. back cover.
  3. ^ a b c Joe Musser (2002-10-01). Cereal Tycoon: The Biography of Henry Parsons Crowell. Moody Publishers. ISBN 0-8024-1616-0. 
  4. ^ a b WikiBinble entry for Quaker Oats
  5. ^ History of Moody Bible Institute