List of Swiss Americans

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This is a list of notable Swiss Americans, including both original immigrants who obtained American citizenship and their American descendants.

To be included in this list, the person must have a Wikipedia article showing they are Swiss American or must have references showing they are Swiss American and are notable.



  • Robert Abplanalp (1922 - 2003), businessman, inventor of the aerosol valve
  • Steve Ballmer (1956 - ) businessman and CEO of Microsoft Corporation
  • Meyer Guggenheim (1828–1905) statesman, patriarch of Guggenheim family[1]
  • Simon Guggenheim (1867–1941) businessman, politician, and philanthropist
  • Otto Frederick Hunziker (1873–1959) pioneer in the American and international dairy industry
  • Henry Clay Frick (1849–1919) industrialist and art patron, once known as "America's most hated man".[2] as per CNBC one of the "Worst American CEOs of All Time".[3]
  • Milton Hershey (1857–1945) confectioner, philanthropist, and founder of The Hershey Chocolate Company
  • S. S. Kresge (1867–1966) merchant, philanthropist and founder of the The S. S. Kresge Company, now Sears Holdings Corporation.[4]
  • Robert Lutz (1932 - ) General Motors Vice Chairman of Product Development and Chairman of GM North America, the world's largest automaker[5]
  • James G. Sterchi (1867–1932) furniture store magnate
  • Bruce Tognazzini (1945 - ) usability consultant in partnership the Nielsen Norman Group

The arts[edit]

Actors and directors[edit]

Visual artists[edit]



Law and politics[edit]

Governors and presidents[edit]

Congressmen and senators[edit]


Historical figures[edit]

  • Fernand Auberjonois (1910–2004) highly respected journalist, foreign correspondent of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Toledo Blade[21]
  • Mary Katherine Campbell (1905-1990) only Miss America winner to hold beauty title twice. 1922 & 1923. Mother was of partial Swiss ancestry. [22]
  • Edward Walter Eberle (1864–1929) admiral in the United States Navy, served as Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy and third Chief of Naval Operations[23]
  • Robert Frank (1924 - ) important figure in American photography and film[24]
  • Adolph Rickenbacker (1886–1976) Pioneer of the electric guitar and founder of the Rickenbacker guitar company, whose products would be an important influence on 1960s music through, among others, The Beatles, The Who and The Byrds.
  • Eddie Rickenbacker (1890–1973) automobile race car driver and automotive designer, hero of World War I, government consultant in military matters and a pioneer in air transportation[25]
  • John Sutter (1803–1880) Californian famous for his association with the California Gold Rush (in that gold was discovered by James W. Marshall in Sutter's Mill) and for establishing Sutter's Fort in an area that would later become the capital of California, Sacramento[26]
  • John Augustus Sutter, Jr. (1826–1897), his son, a U.S. Consul to Acapulco, Mexico and the founder and planner of the City of Sacramento, California
  • William Wirt (1772–1834) author and statesman who is credited with turning the position of United States Attorney General into one of influence[27]
  • Henry Wirz (1822–1865) the only Confederate soldier executed in the aftermath of the American Civil War for war crimes[28]
  • John Joachim Zubly (1724–1781) pastor, planter, and statesman during the American Revolution[29]
  • J. Edgar Hoover (1935–1972) first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States.
  • Felix Zollicoffer (1812–1862) newspaperman, three-term US Congressman from Tennessee, officer in the United States Army, and a Confederate brigadier general during the American Civil War


Scientists and engineers[edit]



  • Henry Bouquet
  • Chesley Sullenberger (1951 - ) American airline transport pilot (ATP) who successfully carried out the emergency ditching of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River, saving the lives of the 155 people on the aircraft.[42]
  • Christoph Meili (1968 - ) whistleblower.[43]
  • Helen Keller (1880–1968) author, political activist and lecturer. First deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.
  • Gary Gygax (1938–2008) writer and game designer, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D)


  1. ^ [1] "Meyer, though a native speaker of German, was Swiss-German."
  2. ^ "American Whiskey". Retrieved 2008-06-28. 
  3. ^ [2] "Portfolio's Worst American CEOs of All Time." April 30, 2009.
  4. ^
  5. ^ [3] "The legendary Swiss manager has been tasked with bringing fresh momentum to the sputtering engine of the world's largest automobile group."
  6. ^ a b Swiss Roots: Renee Zellweger
  7. ^ [4] "...and my mother is Swiss and Swede."
  8. ^ [5] "His father had mainly Swiss and British roots."
  9. ^ [6] "Born Willi Wyler ... to a Swiss father and a German mother"
  10. ^ [7] "The actress, who's Alaskan/Swiss on her mother's side, was born in Schweigmatt, Germany."[8]
  11. ^ Swiss Roots: Film
  12. ^ Swiss Roots: Jewel Kilcher
  13. ^ Swiss Roots: Herbert Hoover
  14. ^ a b c d [9] "Swiss ancestry."
  15. ^ [10]
  16. ^ [11]
  17. ^ [12] "Ethnicity Swiss/German"
  18. ^ [13] "Born to an aristocratic Swiss family, Albert Gallatin (1761-1849) emigrated from Switzerland to America in 1780."
  19. ^ [14] "Swiss and German ancestry."
  20. ^ Robert Parkinson, Peter Staub. Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, 2002. Retrieved: 5 August 2010.
  21. ^ - Blade's man in Europe brought world to Toledo
  22. ^ "An American of 10 Generations". New York Times. 1907-05-12. 
  23. ^ Mueller Science - Specialities: Switzerland
  24. ^ [15] "Though Swiss by birth, Frank traveled the world before settling in the United States in 1953."
  25. ^ Swiss Roots: Eddie Rickenbacker
  26. ^ [16] "German-born Swiss pioneer settler and colonizer in California; the discovery of gold on his land in 1848 precipitated the California Gold Rush."
  27. ^ [17] mentioned as one of several "Swiss Americans"
  28. ^ Swiss Roots: Henry Wirz
  29. ^ New Georgia Encyclopedia: John J. Zubly (1724-1781)
  30. ^ Louis Agassiz - Britannica Student Encyclopaedia
  31. ^ (German) Structurae [en]: Othmar Herrmann Ammann (1879-1965)
  32. ^ CERN Scientific Information Service
  33. ^ NOAA Central Library
  34. ^ [18] "After his graduation in the spring of 1900, he became a Swiss citizen, worked for two months as a mathematics teacher, and then was employed as examiner at the Swiss patent office in Bern."
  35. ^ Edmond Fischer
  36. ^ [19] "Swiss-born U.S. psychiatrist"
  37. ^ [20] "Swiss Roots: How much do you know about your Swiss heritage? Ben Roethlisberger: Honestly, I didn't know a whole lot until recently; then I started feeling it out a little more and hearing a little more about it. Now, when people ask me where I'm from, I'm quick to say, "Well, I'm Swiss." I'm sure I have a lot of things in me, but that's one of the things I tell people—that I'm Swiss."
  38. ^ de:William Heffelfinger
  39. ^ [21] "Martin Buser, a long-time Swiss citizen, is scheduled to be sworn in today as a United States citizen by Judge Ben Esch after crossing the finish line yesterday as winner of the 2002 Iditarod."
  40. ^ [22] "The Wanderones were German-Swiss"
  41. ^ [23]
  42. ^ ""Held vom Hudson" stammt aus Wynigen" (in German). Berner Zeitung. 2008-01-20. Retrieved 2009-01-20. 
  43. ^ [24] "the name of the 30-year-old former Swiss bank guard is already being entered into the ranks of the righteous gentiles -- those persons who have taken risks to help Jews."

External links[edit]