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Milestones: 47 Years Ago In TIME

2 minute read
Melissa August, Harriet Barovick, Elizabeth L. Bland, Sean Gregory and Rebecca Winters

There once was a time when America celebrated corporate leaders rather than those who exposed corporate misdeeds, as in 1955, when TIME named General Motors president Harlow Herbert Curtice man of the year:

Because of the success of the American economic system, the U.S. rolled through 1955 in two-toned splendor to an all-time crest of prosperity, heralded around the world. Much of this prosperity was directly attributable to the manufacture and sale of that quintessential American product, the automobile… Production alone would not make Harlow Herbert Curtice, 62, the Man of the Year. Nor would the fact that he is president of the world’s biggest manufacturing corporation–and the first president of a corporation to make more than $1 billion in net profits in a year. Curtice is not the Man of 1955 because these phenomenal figures measure him off as first among scores of equals whose skill, daring and foresight are forever opening new frontiers for the expanding American economy by granting millions to colleges, making new toasters that pop up twice as fast, or planning satellites to circle the earth. Harlow Curtice is the Man of 1955 because, in a job that required it, he has assumed the responsibility of leadership for American business. In his words, “General Motors must always lead.” –TIME, Jan. 2, 1956

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