Business Leaders

Rea Ann Silva with an oversized version of the Beautyblender sponge

Smithsonian Voices

Rea Ann Silva Invented the 'Beautyblender' and Changed Makeup Forever

Silva’s work as a makeup artist on "Girlfriends" unexpectedly thrust her into the beauty products industry as an innovator and entrepreneur

Rebecca Lukens

Smithsonian Voices

How Rebecca Lukens Became the Nation's First Woman Industrialist

A sudden tragedy thrust this pioneer into the family business and into history, making her the first woman to run an iron mill in the United States

A gangster, civil rights advocate, fashionista and businesswoman, St. Clair successfully took on one of the biggest crime bosses of the era.

Women Who Shaped History

Stephanie St. Clair, Harlem's 'Numbers Queen,' Dominated the Gambling Underground and Made Millions

In the 1930s, the enigmatic figure ran an illegal lottery while championing New York City's Black community

Harry Soref built Master Lock from the ground up.

Master Lock Has Had a Hold on the Industry for 100 Years

A century ago, Harry Soref made his Milwaukee-based company into a world leader with his invention of the laminated steel padlock

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Remembering Tulsa

The Unrealized Promise of Oklahoma

How the push for statehood led a beacon of racial progress to oppression and violence

The exhibition is on view near a neighborhood recreation center that holds classes and homework time, even during the pandemic, and an all-boys high school. "I just feel like this block amplifies all of the messages expressed in the exhibit," says one of the show's organizers.

In a Covid-Affected Washington, D.C. Neighborhood, Black History Is Reinterpreted on a City Block

A powerful outdoor exhibition amplifies a message of "pride, tenacity and possibility"

Maggie Lena Walker

Smithsonian Voices

How Maggie Lena Walker Became the First Black Woman to Run a Bank in the Segregated South

Time to reclaim the legacy and success of the first Black woman in the nation to organize and run a bank in the segregated South

In the recent "Portraits" podcast, LL recounts why he turned to a 100-year-old masterpiece of the richest person in modern history—John D. Rockefeller Sr.—for his power pose.

How a Maverick Hip-Hop Legend Found Inspiration in a Titan of American Industry

When LL COOL J sat for his portrait, he found common ground with the life-long philanthropical endeavors of John D. Rockefeller

Cookbook author Lena Richard (above with her daughter and sous chef Marie Rhodes) was the star of a 1949 popular 30-minute cooking show, airing on New Orleans' WDSU-TV.

Meet Lena Richard, the Celebrity Chef Who Broke Barriers in the Jim Crow South

Lena Richard was a successful New Orleans-based chef, educator, writer and entrepreneur

Women Who Shaped History

A Tour of Beauty Industry Pioneer Madam C.J. Walker’s Indianapolis

The hair-care magnate at the center of the new Netflix series 'Self Made' left her imprint on the city where she launched her career

Left: Walker in 1912; Right: Octavia Spencer as the inspiring businesswoman in the Netflix series “Self Made,” which debuts this month.

Women Who Shaped History

Madam C.J. Walker Gets a Netflix Close-Up

A turn-of-the-century hair-care magnate who shared her wealth gets the spotlight

The Smithsonian's American Food History Project seeks to understand the history of the U.S. through the multi-faceted lens of food.

Food, Glorious Food

How Food Brought Success to a Chef, a Cookbook Author and a Restaurateur

Historian Ashley Rose Young shares research from the Smithsonian’s 23-year-long ‘American Food History Project’

One of Mae Reeves' "showstopper" hats

Entrepreneur Mae Reeves' Hat Shop Was a Philadelphia Institution. You Can Visit It at the Smithsonian.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture recreated one of the first businesses in the city to be owned by a black woman

Crocker's Car heads to Promontory Summit in 1869. The car shuttled railroad president Leland Stanford from Sacramento to officially complete the transcontinental railroad, and probably also carried the iconic Golden Spike to the ceremony.

The Last Remaining Rail Car That ‘Witnessed’ the Transcontinental Railroad’s Momentous Day

‘Crocker’s Car’ brought the tycoon Leland Stanford to connect the East Coast to the West in 1869

In 1911, demonstrators protested following the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City.

Why the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire Makes for a Complicated History

Charged with manslaughter, the owners were acquitted in December 1911. A Smithsonian curator reexamines the labor and business practices of the era

Waldorf Astoria Hotel

What Made Oscar Tschirky the King of Gilded Age New York

During his long tenure as maître d’ at the famed Waldorf Hotel, Oscar had the city’s elite at his fingertips

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify Tuesday before a joint hearing of the Senate Commerce and Judiciary Committees about the use of Facebook data to target American voters in the 2016 election.

History of Now

Before Zuckerberg, These Six Corporate Titans Testified Before Congress

The CEO of Facebook has some ignominious company from J.P. Morgan to Kenneth Lay

Falcon Heavy awaiting launch at the Kennedy Space Center

Trending Today

Watch SpaceX's Successful Launch of Their Falcon Heavy Rocket

After seven years of designing and tinkering, the most powerful rocket in the world hurtled into space

Opening of Sears Department Store

The Rise and Fall of Sears

How the retail store that taught America how to shop navigated more than a century of economic and cultural change

SpaceX launches it's first re-used Falcon 9 rocket

Cool Finds

Watch SpaceX's Recycled Rocket Stick Its Landing

The reused Falcon 9 booster rocket may usher in an era of cheaper and more frequent trips into space