Who is J.C. Owsley? Yesterday, we pointed out a terrific infographic in The New York Times, which listed the top salary earners in the country in 1941, and their tax rates. Among the names were well-known titans of industry: Thomas J. Watson, President of IBM; Eugene G. Grace, President of Bethlehem Steel; and Louis B. Mayer, General Manager of MGM. Number one on the list was a gun manufacturer, Carl Swebilius, and his wife Hulda Swebilius. But two of the names on the list, J.C. Owsley and C.S. Woolman, were labeled "unable to identify" by the Times. In a footnote, the paper attributed the lack of information to possible typographical errors in the documents it had received from the National Archives. According to the list, Owsley earned $486,244 and Woolman earned $442,142 in 1941. Could some of the nation's richest individuals really be so obscure? After some research (and the help of some reader tips), we think we've identified both men -- but Owsley's is the trickier case.
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