William H. Danforth
|Born||September 10, 1870
|Died||December 24, 1955
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
|Occupation||Founder, Ralston Purina|
|Spouse(s)||Adda Bush (m. 1894-death)|
William H. Danforth (September 10, 1870 – December 24, 1955) founded Ralston-Purina in St. Louis, Missouri in 1894. He was a co-founder of the American Youth Foundation (AYF) and the author of the book, I Dare You!.
Ralston's checkerboard logo evolved from a personal development concept Danforth put forth in his book I Dare You (ISBN 0-7661-2786-9) in which he used a checkerboard to explain it. Danforth proposed that four key components in life need to be in balance. In the illustration, "Physical" was on the left, "Mental" on top, "Social" on right and "Religious" on the bottom. To be healthy, you needed the four squares to stay in balance and one area was not to develop at expense of the other. The concept became intertwined with the company in 1921 when it began selling feed that was pressed in cubes called "checkers."
Danforth's son was Donald Danforth, a former chief executive of the company. His grandsons include former U.S. Senator John Danforth and former Washington University chancellor William "Bill" H. Danforth.
Per the 1880 census, Danforth was raised in Mississippi County, MO. Mississippi County, MO is also home to former Missouri Governor Warren E. Hearnes, who lost a 1976 Senate race to William H. Danforth's grandson, Senator John Danforth.
Through the Danforth Foundation he subsidized the construction of 24 Danforth Chapels on college campuses around the United States, and one in Japan. Berea College, which Danforth attended, has one of them. It is part of the Draper Building. The outer wall contains stones from Danforth's personal collection, obtained from various locations of historic importance, such as the Temple of Gandhi.
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