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James Norris Gamble

James Norris Gamble was born in 1836 in Cincinnati, Ohio, and went on to play a pivotal role at the Procter & Gamble Company. It was James Norris Gamble who is credited with laying the foundations for P&G's most successful product—Ivory Soap.


  • He ventured to the University of Maryland for further study in chemistry, but did not complete a Ph.D. Instead, he returned to Cincinnati to work in the family business.


  • James Norris Gamble began his career as a factory worker at a Procter & Gamble plant in Cincinnati.

    He was made a partner in his father’s business in 1862. His progress was interrupted only by the clarion call of war. When the U.S. Civil War broke out, Gamble joined the Ohio Infantry and was made a captain of the 8th Regiment. He returned to the company after his service to guide it through its greatest period of growth.

    As his business influence expanded, Gamble began to contribute in the civic arena as well. In 1869 he began a decade-long association with Edward A. Ferguson designed to promote construction of a railroad between Cincinnati and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Their enterprise, known as the Cincinnati Southern Railroad Company, was owned wholly by the city of Cincinnati. Other railroad endeavors to which Gamble lent his influence included the Westwood & Cincinnati Railroad Company, of which he was president and sole proprietor, and the Little Miami Railroad Company.

    Gamble also enjoyed a successful career in politics. He served as mayor of Westwood, Ohio (later a part of Cincinnati) from 1895 to 1896 and he sat on Cincinnati’s Board of Parks Commissioners in 1898. As a commissioner, he helped plan and implement the city’s park and roadway system. As chairman of the Honest Election Commission from 1905 to 1912, Gamble worked to reform the electoral system in his native city.

    When Procter & Gamble was incorporated in 1890, Gamble was elected vice-president and director, positions he maintained until his death. In 1912 an aging Gamble stopped participating in Procter & Gamble company business. He devoted himself increasingly to his university and hospital interests until his death in 1932.


Party affiliation: Republican Party


Affiliated with the Masonic order.

Denomination: Methodist


Philosophy of strategic philanthropy.



Chemistry, сincinnati politics, religious groups, and charitable organizations.

James Norris donated money to many organizations, including the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) and the University of Cincinnati, and was instrumental in forming the Christ Hospital Institute of Medical Research.


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Born August 9, 1836
Died July 2, 1932
(aged 95)
  • 1854
    Kenyon College
  • 1854 - 1857
    Kenyon College
  • 1890 - 1912
    Vice-president and director, Procter & Gamble company
    Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
  • 1898
    Commissioner, Cincinnati’s Board of Parks Commissioners
    Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
  • 1905 - 1912
    Chairman, Honest Election Commission
    Cincinnati, Ohio, United States


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