Born in Maryland, Col. Eli Lilly (1838-1898) came to Indiana in the 1850s. He enlisted in the Civil War and organized the 18th Indiana Light Artillery Battery. After the war Lilly opened a pharmaceutical lab in Indianapolis that quickly became a prominent business. Eli Lilly and Co.'s achievements include the first insulin product and development and mass production of the Salk polio vaccine.
Lilly turned the business over to his son, Josiah, and grandsons Josiah K. Jr. (1893-1955) and Eli (1885-1977) joined the company. J.K. Jr. improved business efficiency and expanded sales. Eli applied mass production techniques to drug manufacturing and made the company one of the industry's most desired workplaces. Eli made personal contributions to the Indiana Historical Society, Indiana Landmarks, Conner Prairie and the Episcopal Church.
Ruth Lilly (1915-2009), Col. Lilly's great-granddaughter was a philanthropist who supported youth programs, health education, higher education and poetry. The Lilly Endowment, one of the nation's leading philanthropic institutions was formed in 1937.
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