History of the Foundation

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Portrait of Axel Wenner-GrenAxel Wenner-Gren was a Swedish industrialist who in the early years of the 20th Century had the foresight to recognize the potential of both the domestic vacuum cleaner and door-to-door marketing techniques. By 1925 he owned the Electrolux Corporation, which he rapidly expanded into a multimillion dollar enterprise. 

The original endowment to the Foundation was just under $2 million in Electrolux stock. In 1945 Wenner-Gren also provided funds to purchase a brownstone on the Upper East Side of New York City, which was the Foundation’s US headquarters until 1979. He also provided funds for the purchase of Burg Wartenstein Castle (Austria), which served as the Foundation’s European headquarters and conference center from 1958 until 1980. Other than these contributions, the endowment has never been added to and the Foundation does not engage in fund-raising activities.

Read "The Life of Axel Wenner-Gren: An Introduction" by Dr. Ilja Luciak, the introduction to the conference volume, "Reality and Myth: A Symposium on Axel Wenner-Gren."

More biographic information on Axel Wenner-Gren is available on Wikipedia.

Read other profiles from the People of Wenner-Gren Foundation.

Return to the History and People of Wenner-Gren Foundation.