The chief glory of America is, that it is the country in which genius and industry find their speediest and surest reward. Fame and fortune are here open to all who are willing to work for them. Neither class distinctions nor social prejudices, neither differences of birth, religion, nor ideas, can prevent the man of true merit from winning the just reward of his labors in this favored land. We are emphatically a nation of self-made men, and it is to the labors of this worthy class that our marvelous national prosperity is due. This being the case, it is but natural that there should be manifested by our people a very decided desire to know the history of those who have risen to the front rank of their respective callings. Men are naturally cheered and encouraged by the success of others, and those who are worthy of a similar reward will not fail to learn valuable lessons from the examples of the men who have preceded them. With the hope of gratifying this laudable desire for information, and encouraging those who are still struggling in the lists of fame and fortune, I offer this book to the reader. I have sought to tell simply and truthfully the story of the trials and triumphs of our self-made men, to show how they overcame where others failed, and to offer the record of their lives as models worthy of the imitation of the young men of our country.