Seagram Ltd. and Bronfman Family
The Seagram Company Ltd. founder, Samuel Bronfman, began his business career as a hotel entrepreneur in Manitoba, Canada, in the 1910s. When the passage of provincial prohibition laws forced the closing of their profitable hotel bars, the Bronfmans entered the mail-order beverage alcohol business. In 1927, they acquired the Joseph E. Seagram & Sons Company of Waterloo, Ontario, one of Canada's oldest and most prestigious distillers, and in 1928, merged it with other Bronfman enterprises to form Distillers Corporation-Seagrams Limited.
After the repeal of Prohibition in the United States, Seagram entered the U.S. market with a line of high-quality, blended whiskey and then expanded rapidly by acquiring distilleries in North America and the United Kingdom to produce wine, rum, and Scotch whiskey. By the 1950s, Seagram was one of the world's largest beverage alcohol firms. Built and led by Samuel Bronfman and his sons Edgar, Sr. and Charles, Seagram remains a firm headed by Bronfman family members.
The Seagram Company records and Bronfman family papers tell the story of one of North America's most successful businesses and entrepreneurial families. We invite scholars' attention to these archives and our grants supporting research in Hagley's collections.
The Hagley Center for the History of Business, Technology and Society awards travel grants for visiting scholars. Some housing is available on the property. The Center also organizes conferences, research seminars, and academic programs. For more information, email clockman@Hagley.org.