For one of history’s most successful businessmen, Milton Snavely Hershey came from pretty humble beginnings. But at the turn of the 20th century, the Pennsylvania native built the world’s largest chocolate manufacturing company and used the latest mass production techniques. Not only did Hershey help bring the candy to a wider market, he also put his wealth where he believed it was needed. Through that, he improved conditions for his employees and used his philanthropic endeavors to better people’s lives.
Hershey was born into a rural farming family in September 1857 in Derry Township, and was a descendant of immigrants who had moved to the U.S. from Germany and Switzerland in the 1700s. His mother, Veronica “Fanny” Hershey, became a single parent by the time the future entrepreneur was ten years old, after she became separated from her husband Henry.