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Conrad N. Hilton

Hard work, faith in God, an abiding patriotic confidence in the United States and the capacity to dream as large as his imagination would allow were the cornerstones of Conrad Hilton's life.

Born in a primitive adobe dwelling on Christmas Day, 1887, in San Antonio, New Mexico Territory, Conrad Hilton was one of seven children born to a Norwegian immigrant father and a German-American mother. Working at his father's general store, the young boy developed entrepreneurial skills that would guide him for a lifetime.

The most enduring influence to shape Mr. Hilton's philanthropic philosophy beyond that of his parents was the Roman Catholic Church and its Sisters. He credits his mother, Mary, with guiding him to prayer and the Church whenever he was troubled or dismayed — from a boyhood loss of a beloved pony to severe financial losses during the Great Depression. His mother continually reminded him that prayer was the best investment he would ever make.

Conrad Hilton was recognized worldwide for his leadership and vision during the Depression and World War II as well as in prosperity. Using extraordinary instinct, enthusiasm and business acumen, he created the largest and most profitable international hotel chain.

Beginning with his first purchase, the 40-room Mobley Hotel in Cisco, Texas, in 1919, to the thousands of guest rooms at Hilton properties throughout the world at the time of his death, his name remains synonymous with hotels. He capitalized on this global success by taking advantage of his role as an entrepreneurial statesman to promote a post-World War II philosophy of reconciliation and nonviolence, as reflected in a Hilton corporate motto of that time, "World Peace Through International Trade and Travel."

Conrad Hilton successfully combined a lifetime of professional achievement together with a genuine feeling of concern and responsibility toward the less fortunate. This most sensitive of human qualities is reflected beautifully in his Last Will and Testament wherein he creates a legacy by directing that his wealth be eternally reinvested to alleviate human suffering throughout the world.
Conrad N. Hilton Foundation v1.0