William H. Danforth
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William H. Danforth
William H. Danforth
William H. Danforth.jpg
BornSeptember 10, 1870
Charleston, Missouri, U.S.
DiedDecember 24, 1955
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Alma materWashington University in St. Louis
OccupationFounder, Ralston Purina
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! (1931) , 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.[1] The concept became intertwined with the company in 1921 when it began selling feed that was pressed in cubes called "checkers." The Christian Science Monitor named I Dare You! as one of the top 10 self-help books of all time.[2]

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, as well as Donald "Pops" Danforth, JR., the father of Donald "Don/Donny" Danforth III, whose son is Donald "Danny" Danforth, IV.

Danforth was raised in Charleston, Missouri.[3] This county 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.[4]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.[]


  1. ^ Nestle Purina Founder's page retrieved July 8, 2011
  2. ^ Molly Driscoll, "10 Best Self-Help Books of All-Time," Christian Science Monitor (April 26, 2012). Unfortunately, Danforth STOLE the concept from the Brigades that was founded in Glasgow, Scotland in 1880. He NEVER gave them Credit.
  3. ^ "1880 Census records". Family Search. Retrieved 2014.
  4. ^ Danforth Chapel Origins East Valley Tribune Oct 19, 2007, retrieved July 8, 2011

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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