This article was originally published on Mar. 19, 1991.
Last in a series.
Millionaire Jack Dorrance slipped away from the party at Kate's Mountain Lodge and into the darkness of a waiting black limousine with a question on his mind.
Was it working?
His children, nieces and nephews had been invited to a three-day retreat at the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia. It was part family reunion, part business meeting, with a clear purpose: to draw them closer to Campbell Soup Co.
One day, they alone would control the company that had turned a nation on to soup. Six of them shared, at the time, a $2 billion fortune in Campbell Soup stock. And Dorrance 's three children stood to collectively inherit an additional $2.2 billion in stock when he died.
But the heirs of that soup legacy were a fractious group, riddled with resentments. They acted less as one family than as nine individuals, threatening, as Dorrance had feared, to end three-quarters of a century of family control of Campbell Soup.
Not tonight, though.
On this placid evening at the end of March 1989, the Dorrances were the picture of solidarity. All wore bandanas of red and white — Campbell Soup colors.
Out on the veranda of Kate's restaurant, they chatted with Campbell Soup executives over plates of ribs and chicken. For many, it was their first chance to talk in depth with the people who managed the business that provided their fortune.
"How do you think things are going? " Dorrance asked his fellow director and Texas quail-hunting buddy, Belton K. Johnson, as the limousine took them back to the hotel.
"Jack, I think it's going just great," Johnson said reassuringly.
"The only problem," he added, "is the one we've talked about before: Can you keep this covey of birds together? "
Dorrance looked off silently.
For four decades, he alone had spoken for the family on company matters. But his imperious ways, made worse at times by drinking, were starting to wear on the next generation.
They had arrived at middle age and were becoming increasingly independent- minded. Contrary to Jack Dorrance 's wishes, some were open to the idea of selling their Campbell stock. And as time passed, they were less and less likely to keep quiet about it.
Ten days after that promising Greenbrier gathering, on April 9, 1989, Jack Dorrance suffered a fatal heart attack while watching television in his Gladwyne home.
Within weeks, the family was at war.
Emotions flared at a family business session in late April. And over the next few months, the meetings turned increasingly acrimonious, culminating in a decision to dissolve a family trust formed to vote their Campbell Soup stock as a block.
In December, three Dorrance heirs and their husbands called for a sale of the company. They have been thwarted so far by a group led by Jack Dorrance's three children, owners of the family's largest block of shares.
But now the unthinkable has become a subject of public speculation: Will the Dorrances sell Campbell Soup Co.?
With 59.5 percent of its stock, the Dorrances represent one of the tightest concentrations of family power in corporate America.
Yet since Jack's death, the Dorrances have become a clan without a leader, a family without a shared purpose.
Jack Dorrance, like his father who built Campbell Soup, had a missionary's zeal for the company. The thought of selling it was heresy. Today, the Dorrances aren't so sure.
The Church of the Redeemer in Bryn Mawr was so crowded for the funeral of Jack Dorrance that people filled the aisles and spilled onto the front steps, according to some who were there. Members of the family sat on the right; company directors on the left.
Afterward, at an elaborate reception at Jack's Gladwyne mansion, his elder son, John T. Dorrance 3d — "Ippy" — acted statesmanlike as he received guests with his brother and sister, Bennett and Mary Alice.
Though they avoided talking about it, the future of the company was on everyone's mind. "I think everybody knew there would be changes, but I think everybody was going out of their way not to talk business," said Jack's friend Belton Johnson.
Some of the directors whispered among themselves, said Johnson. The nine Dorrance heirs were clustered in groups. Jack's three children kept to themselves. The Hamiltons, van Beurens and Norrises were off together. The Colkets, Webers and Strawbridges moved between the two groups.
Through the spring, the camps would consolidate. On June 16, 1989, the cousins would convene again, this time in the Wayne home of Dorrance "Dodo" Hamilton. The agenda: Where do we go from here?
The older cousins — Dodo Hamilton, now 62, and her sister, Hope "Happy" van Beuren, 57 — were particularly distraught. Dodo "was emotional about Jack dying. She started feeling her own fragility, being closest in age to Jack," said her cousin Charlotte Weber.
With the sisters' grief came a more practical problem. Much of their wealth was tied up in Campbell Soup stock. Because of the way their grandfather had structured his estate, all the cousins had received their inheritance of company stock free of taxes. But their children would not be so lucky.
For some time Dodo Hamilton had feared that when she died, her heirs would be forced to sell Campbell Soup stock at whatever price they could get in order to pay inheritance taxes.
The June meeting "was highly emotional," Charlotte Weber said. "There was one extreme of people who were saying, 'I have to get my house in order and do estate planning,' and the other extreme of Jack's children who felt the whole pain of the death. "
Someone suggested that perhaps all the cousins should become company directors, so that everyone would have a voice in the boardroom. Four were then directors.
The idea was dismissed by Charlotte Weber's husband, John, who quipped that a family-controlled board would be like Romper Room.
"We don't want people like us running the company. We want professional directors, and we want them selecting a good chief executive," Weber said.
According to a participant, Dodo Hamilton then raised a volatile question: Should they sell the company? That way, they would all be free to invest their money as they chose.
At that, the participant said, Mary Alice Malone, tears streaming down her face, cried: "Dad's not even cold yet and already you're talking about selling the company!"
It was a showdown decades in the making.
The House of Dorrance held old wounds and deep grudges, most arrayed along a fault line that had Jack Dorrance and his children on one side and their cousins on the other.
Over the years, the resentments had hardened into a fundamental rift. At its heart: In the eyes of their cousins, Jack's branch of the family — now represented by Ippy, Bennett and Mary Alice — had wrongfully assumed primacy over the other branches. The cousins had dubbed Jack's branch "the Dorrances with a capital D."
John Weber recalled that even at the Greenbrier retreat, designed to inform and involve all branches of the third generation in the company, Jack Dorrance and his children were housed apart from the others. They also sometimes met separately, he said.
"There was a degree of concern that (this) was polarizing everyone else," Weber said. "This is symbolism. "
For their part, Jack's children did little to dispel the notion. At a 1989 meeting, according to two participants, Mary Alice referred to her cousins as "the little people. "
At another family session, Mary Alice's brother Bennett angered his cousin Dodo by summarily dismissing her concerns about the disposition of her stock.
"Bennett said if I had estate problems, that was my problem, not anyone else's," Dodo said to a confidante.
An unequal division of stock among the heirs is the basis for much of the family dissension. Under his father's will, Jack's children inherited one- quarter of John T. Dorrance 's Campbell shares; the inventor's widow got one-quarter, and the children of each of the four daughters got one-eighth.
In 1954, after the death of Margaret Dorrance Strawbridge, the first of the inventor's children to die, the family decided to sell stock to the public. The sale would establish the value of her estate.
The trust that held the entire family's stock sold 13 percent to outsiders. Subsequent sales have reduced the family's holding to 59.5 percent of Campbell Soup's stock.
Jack's children control about 32 percent of the stock, with the remaining 27 percent family stake spread among six cousins.
Some cousins contend that Ippy, Bennett and Mary Alice simply presumed they would inherit the dominant role in the family by virtue of being Jack's children and holding the largest block of stock. And they bristled at the thought that Ippy might try to assume the mantle because he was Jack's older son.
"There is some resentment about the fact that Jack was the padrone for everyone, and they don't want that role passed down to Ippy like royalty," said a Campbell executive.
But if not Ippy, who?
It is a question that Jack Dorrance avoided and one that the current generation of owners cannot answer.
Three of the cousins — Dodo Hamilton, Happy van Beuren and Diana Strawbridge Norris, along with their spouses — have indicated that they would rather see the family sell the company than continue quarreling over its direction.
"I don't want to be in a company where the whole family isn't working toward a central aim," Dodo Hamilton told an associate. "It took a long time for our little group to come to the conclusion they were going to be investors in the company and not owners."
Among his cousins, Ippy is considered the prodigal son.
He is described as an ornery child who grew into a recalcitrant adult — offending his pin-striped Campbell Soup colleagues with his rough-hewn ways.
Estranged from his father after his parents' divorce in 1963, he moved with his mother to Switzerland, forever fleeing the Main Line, both as a home and a lifestyle.
Ippy went to the University of Arizona and later settled on an 18,000-acre ranch in the Black Hills of eastern Wyoming, near Devil's Tower national monument.
In his Army fatigues and old work boots, Ippy Dorrance is the antithesis of his cashmere cousins in Philadelphia.
"Ippy has chosen a lifestyle directly at odds, deliberately and aggressively different," said Robert D. Dripps 3d, whose mother, Diana, was Jack Dorrance's third wife.
Ippy Dorrance declined requests for an interview on family or company matters.
Fellow ranchers in Wyoming say they respect Ippy because he works hard and speaks plainly — just like them. He never makes a point of his Campbell Soup inheritance. One friend recalled how he once bluffed Ippy out of a poker hand with a 50-cent raise.
"He's out before daybreak. You'd never know him from anyone else," said Jim Neiman, a neighbor. "I often drive by and see him, and sometimes his two sons, baling hay or fixing a fence. "
Family members saw him differently, though. Ippy's blunt style was viewed as boorish by some of his Eastern cousins, according to associates. And some of Jack's friends were dismayed by what they considered Ippy's disrespectful treatment of his father.
In many ways, Ippy was like his father: withdrawn, understated, laconic. But he chose a quite different lifestyle.
"Ippy had the strength to move away from what he didn't like and start a totally new life," Dodo Hamilton said to an intimate.
While Jack Dorrance grew up knowing Campbell Soup would be his life, Ippy had no such clear path.
Ippy was in his mid-30s before he was given a voice in managing that part of the family fortune that was reserved for him, Bennett and Mary Alice. In the late 1970s, Jack was prodded by William Beverly Murphy, Campbell Soup's longtime chief executive, to appoint his children officers of the trust that held their Campbell Soup stock.
The three would inherit all the Campbell Soup stock in the trust — 41 million shares — when their father died. In the meantime, Jack received the dividends but he could not sell the stock.
So, even as adults, Jack's children were kept on allowances, albeit large ones — a situation that increasingly rankled Ippy.
"Ippy resented the fact that he had to be a supplicant" to his father, one former Campbell official said.
Murphy thought that, in addition to administering the trust, Ippy and his brother and sister ought to start learning more about the family business.
"I knew that one day, they would end up with a heck of a lot of money. And living the way they were, where they weren't dealing in financial matters, I saw this as a way to learn how money was managed," Murphy said.
Ippy was raising cattle, Bennett was in real estate in Arizona and Mary Alice was breeding horses in Chester County.
All three had graduated from the University of Arizona and had little familiarity with Campbell Soup. They didn't spend summers working in Camden. They didn't regularly attend annual meetings. They didn't seek company jobs after college.
"If you got out of college with an income of $100,000, would you be interested in a menial job? " Murphy said. (According to financial filings by Jack Dorrance's estate, each of his children was receiving $100,000 every three months during the last year of his life. )
When finally given a role in managing their family's fortune, the three didn't view their connection to Campbell Soup with the same reverence that their father had, Murphy said.
"One said, 'What are we holding all this Campbell Soup stock for? There's a lot of real estate we could be investing the money in,' " Murphy recounted. "He quite soon learned that that would not be appropriate action. "
As a trust officer, Ippy challenged the way his father handled the business, criticizing him for not expanding fast enough and advocating that he take a more assertive role in management, said a former executive.
"He had a lot of wild ideas," the executive said. "One was that the Campbell stock was an investment — and one that wasn't producing a lot of return — so who cared if the family sold it? But he got religion real fast. "
Later, "he realized that they were more than just investors," the executive said.
In 1984, at Jack's suggestion, Ippy was elected to the Campbell Soup board of directors. In his early days there, he sometimes appeared ill at ease in conversations with his more polished boardroom colleagues.
"He was very reticent at first," said one former Campbell officer. "He came from a different background and his attempts at conversation were very awkward. He just wasn't connecting. "
Later he would turn aloof and rude, according to some board members.
"He would sometimes openly doubt the veracity of people making reports to the board," said the former official. "You'd have a manager making a presentation to the board and Ippy would be sitting there, silently shaking his head.
"Well, you can imagine how people felt. He tried to use the Will Rogers manner — you know, this unaffected rancher from Wyoming — but he used it with total arrogance. "
"The thing about Ippy is that he hasn't earned his spurs," said Belton Johnson. "He's abrupt, undiplomatic. "
But in time, Ippy's manner began to soften.
Jack recruited his friend Johnson to mentor his son in ways that he could not because of the strain between them.
Like Ippy, Johnson was a rancher. And like the Dorrances, Johnson's family had controlled a multimillion-dollar company, the huge King Ranch in Texas.
"Jack never pushed Ippy. He left it more to Ippy to get involved," Johnson said.
"I think he wanted to get Ippy in the process, and I think he thought only by getting him on the board would there be any chance. He wanted it to take, and it did take."
The members of the third generation are more distant owners than Jack Dorrance.
They speak of Campbell pride and use the company's red-and-white colors for their jockey silks. But none has worked for the company, other than as a board member.
They have scattered. Over the years, they have kept in touch through weddings and funerals. They have jotted notes to each other in Christmas cards, but some have never met each other's children.
"We certainly say hello. We sit down at the same table. (But) we lead different lives. We have different interests. It's not the kind of thing where we call up and say, 'Come on over for potluck,' " Dodo Hamilton told an intimate.
Many in this generation view their stock not as a family heirloom but as an asset, like Treasury bills or real estate. And an asset is managed, not locked away.
Their limited involvement with the company is disquieting for community leaders in Camden, who were accustomed to Jack Dorrance 's constant presence.
"What we're witnessing is an evolution, where the company is controlled now by people without any connection or commitment to this area," said U.S. Rep. Robert E. Andrews, a former Camden County freeholder.
The first Campbell Soup executive to seek out members of the third generation of Dorrances was R. Gordon McGovern, who took over as chief executive in 1980.
In separate visits with them, McGovern was disconcerted to discover how little they knew about Campbell Soup. Jack Dorrance had not kept them well informed about company matters, McGovern found.
Jack, who served as Campbell board chairman for two decades, neither sought nor welcomed suggestions from his children or nieces and nephews. "Jack told 'em nothing. Why bother 'em? " Belton Johnson said.
Some of the cousins were no more knowledgeable than an average Campbell Soup stockholder. And McGovern's visits with family members only served to raise his concerns about the depth of the Dorrance commitment to Campbell Soup.
He learned, for example, that George Strawbridge Jr. had already sold some of his stock and was considering selling more.
Strawbridge used the proceeds to diversify his fortune in 1981 by buying a controlling interest in Delaware Trust Co., now part of Meridian Bancorp.
Another cousin, Tristram C. Colket Jr., struggled with a business venture, Altair Airlines Inc. The talk within the family was that he would have to sell stock to bail out the business. Altair filed for bankruptcy protection in 1982.
Dodo Hamilton, meanwhile, was concerned about having so much of her fortune tied to one company. Was there a way to diversify?
In short, Jack Dorrance 's strategy of silence with the family, which had worked well for decades, was coming apart.
Not only that, but Jack's effectiveness was sometimes impaired by health problems connected to his drinking, said a former Campbell director.
"Here we have a chairman who is not communicating with the (family) shareholders and who was incapacitated much of the time. So the question became: Who will actually run this company? The executives? The independent directors? We simply didn't know. "
Jack avoided the issue of succession, not only with executives but also with his own relatives.
"Who was going to go to Jack and say, 'Well now, Jack, after you die … ' He didn't like to talk about personal things, and the company was very personal to him," Dodo Hamilton told a confidante.
Although Jack once said that Mary Alice had the best business sense of his three children, neither she nor her brother Bennett — considered by some board members more personable than Ippy — was groomed as a potential family leader.
And neither has shown any inclination to challenge Ippy's senior position, family business associates say.
"I have never seen them disagree publicly. It's very clear they are together," said one Campbell executive.
Confronting the inevitable — the passing of power from one generation to the next — the directors sought to bring other Dorrances onto the board. The first to be elected, in 1981, was Dodo Hamilton, the oldest member of her generation.
"Dodo was absolutely dedicated to Jack," said one family friend. "She was more dedicated to him than any of the three children. "
She also reveled in her connection to the company. When her cousin and goddaughter, Mary Alice Dorrance, married Stuart Malone that year, Dodo Hamilton threw a dinner party all in Campbell Soup colors — waiters uniformed in red and white, even food prepared in red and white.
Jack Dorrance had always fostered that kind of pride in the family business. Campbell Soup was his life. In the formal dining room of his sprawling mansion in Gladwyne, there was always a soup course for dinner, according to Robert Dripps.
"Here was one of the wealthiest men in the country serving his guests Campbell's soup in silver that was priceless, in soup tureens that were priceless, and believing you probably couldn't have a better soup," he said.
As Jack approached the company's mandatory retirement age of 65, McGovern broached the issue.
After private agonizing, Dorrance surprised shareholders at the 1984 annual meeting by announcing, in an almost offhand, one-sentence statement, that he would step down as chairman.
A longtime Campbell director and Gladwyne neighbor of Jack's was named to replace him: William S. Cashel Jr., a former vice chairman of American Telephone & Telegraph Co.
Some family members were relieved that it wasn't Ippy, who was elected a director of the company that year. They still eyed Jack's older son warily.
As a director, he was mercurial. He vacillated between apparent boredom and — more distressing to his cousins — total immersion, taking off to inspect Campbell operations in Hong Kong, Spain and Argentina.
"For Ippy, it's a mission," said another director. "He will come in and challenge lawyers on language. He really studies every nit and nat, and at his own expense and time. "
Although Jack Dorrance wanted to see Ippy eventually follow him as chairman, he recognized that the idea would meet family resistance, friends say.
"I don't think Jack thought Ippy was at a point where he could designate him without making a lot of people unhappy. So he did nothing," said Belton Johnson.
Also, Jack was well aware that his son didn't have the expertise or family support to guide such a billion-dollar enterprise.
"That lesson was taught to Ippy every day," said a Campbell executive.
Speculation over Ippy's role within the company would resurface in 1987, when Cashel abruptly departed.
The embattled chairman resigned in the face of eroding family support after the failure of a proposed plan to split Campbell Soup stock into two voting classes.
There was no clear-cut successor as chairman. Gordon McGovern had lost favor with some of the Dorrances because of Campbell's disappointing financial performance brought on by his ambitious expansion plan.
At the time, Jack Dorrance still favored McGovern for the chairmanship, and several family members — notably Jack's children — did not want to cross him.
But some cousins felt no such loyalty.
At a board meeting in Camden, George Strawbridge Jr. rose and informed his colleagues that McGovern was unacceptable to his generation. Jack sat by in stony silence.
But McGovern's loss of favor left a void into which Ippy might move, some feared.
In July of 1988, a delegation of four family members — Dodo Hamilton, Happy van Beuren, George Strawbridge and Diana Norris — arrived at Jack Dorrance 's Center City office one morning, according to two of the participants. After coffee and some nervous small talk, they came to the point: Neither Ippy nor McGovern should become the company's next chairman.
Instead, they suggested either of two directors: Claudine Malone, a Washington management consultant who had been on the board for 10 years, or Robert J. Vlasic, who joined the board after selling his family's pickle company to Campbell Soup in 1978.
Resigned to the fact that Ippy was too divisive, Jack Dorrance endorsed Vlasic, who was named chairman in November 1988.
He also seemed to realize that his failure to involve the next generation had been a mistake.
"As Jack got into his 60s and he retired as chairman at 65, I think Gordon (McGovern) said, 'Hey, this next generation isn't being prepared for shouldering their responsibility,' " said John Weber, husband of Jack's niece Charlotte.
"I think to Jack's credit, he was willing at that stage to begin a process of making family governance more inclusive," Weber said. According to close associates, Jack envisioned a democratic alternative to his autocratic rule. The vehicle would be a new voting trust formed in September 1987.
In a show of solidarity, six of the Dorrances agreed to pool their shares and vote them as a block. Jack Dorrance 's nearly 32 percent of the shares was not included, although he suggested that they might be added later.
Family members who weren't directors of the company became trust officers, including two in-laws: Charles H. "Carl" Norris Jr., husband of Diana Norris, and John "Archie" van Beuren, husband of Happy. Carl Norris was named trust administrator.
The trust wasted no time in making its presence known at Campbell Plaza.
The trustees demanded that Campbell Soup executives do a better job of keeping the family abreast of all business matters, including confidential information.
"What the family was asking was opening the corporate door to scrutiny that heretofore had not been possible," Archie van Beuren told an associate. "There had been a cabal of management directors and some independent directors who really were calling the shots. "
The assertiveness of the voting trust did not sit well with Ippy and his brother, Bennett. "Here was a group of people pushing agendas and being successful … who really weren't regarded as family members," van Beuren told the associate.
"In a family where ties and loyalties are so close … there's a feeling that in-laws are in-laws," said a friend of Jack Dorrance . "Jack sensed that Carl was not solidly in the Campbell Soup-forever group. "
The friction between the two groups soon surfaced, said a family associate. At a monthly dinner for company directors at the Four Seasons Hotel, Ippy remarked within earshot of everyone that, despite the voting trust, no single voice spoke for the family on company matters.
Some family members, particularly George Strawbridge, were stunned, said a family associate. Seemingly on a whim, Strawbridge felt, Ippy had destroyed the influence with management that the family had been laboring so hard to establish through the voting trust.
"This torpedoed everything," said the family associate.
Sensing that the cousins were becoming restive — with each other and with Campbell executives — Vlasic, the new CEO, made it a priority to draw them closer to the business.
His first project: the Greenbrier meeting in March 1989.
In a way, it worked.
By the time they all met at the Greenbrier, Jack Dorrance was convinced that the next generation would have to become more involved. At the Greenbrier, he saw them asking probing questions and mingling with company executives. Belton Johnson sensed that his friend felt optimistic.
But Jack Dorrance was dead less than two weeks later.
In the two years since his death, the Dorrance cousins have paid far more attention to their company. But the solidarity Jack Dorrance hoped for has not materialized.
Only months after Jack died, two Dorrance factions clashed again.
In a memo seen by some company directors, Carl Norris and Archie van Beuren blamed Campbell's low stock price at the time on Wall Street concerns about "the enigmatic presence of an inept control group" on the Campbell board — a slap at Ippy, according to a family associate.
The memo also said certain family members were seeking director seats for "ego gratification" and were assuming positions "for which they have no qualifications."
The lobby of the Cherry Hill Hyatt was bustling. Stockholders strode through on their way into the auditorium, where the 1990 Campbell Soup Co. annual meeting was about to begin.
Two costumed Campbell Kids wandered about, offering greetings. Caterers filled long tables with Pepperidge Farm cookies, V-8 juice and Godiva chocolates, all Campbell Soup products.
Passing through the lobby largely unnoticed on that morning, Nov. 15, were eight of the nine heirs to the Dorrance family fortune. They exchanged cordial greetings with each other as they were ushered to their seats.
It was the first time that so many third-generation Dorrances had attended the annual meeting. The only one missing was Diana Norris, who was in the midst of a bitter divorce.
As they settled down to hear the reports from Campbell executives, the Dorrance cousins flipped through the glossy annual report with its multicolored proclamation on the cover: REVITALIZED.
The news confirmed that claim. The new CEO, David Johnson, had delivered as promised. Through relentless cost-cutting and layoffs, Johnson had turned around the flagging Campbell Soup Co.
Johnson proudly announced that during its first quarter, Campbell's profits had risen by 26 percent, to $105.1 million — a record. (Later the news was even better. For its second quarter, the company reported profits of $135.3 million — another record. )
As icing, Johnson delighted the crowd by announcing a 4-cent increase in the quarterly dividend, to 29 cents.
The Dorrances nodded approvingly as Johnson, in the inflections of his native Australia, described the company's financial progress under his leadership.
They smiled as a new television commercial featuring the Campbell kids doing a rap routine flashed on huge screens.
And they clapped politely when one of their number, Dodo Hamilton — who a year earlier had declared her desire to sell the company — was recognized for her service on the board of directors, from which she had recently resigned.
But, as it had at the Greenbrier, the genial facade concealed disparate aims and very different perspectives.
The dissidents, Dodo and Happy and their husbands, had reason to feel gratified, for they could claim that the cost-saving measures undertaken at Campbell Soup — and, indeed, the very presence of Johnson — had come in response to their declaration that they wanted to sell.
The loyalists — Ippy, Bennett, Mary Alice and their cousin, George Strawbridge — could also feel pleased. The company they have succeeded in keeping in the family is far stronger today than a year ago.
And all of the cousins must have been relieved when the few questioners in the packed room asked about the appearance of new soups or the disappearance of old ones — not about divisions among the Dorrances.
But when they left Cherry Hill that November day, the Dorrance heirs took their differences with them.
Not one has changed position since the three cousins declared more than a year ago that they wanted to sell.
This is not what Jack Dorrance had in mind.
That March night nearly two years ago, in the limousine at the Greenbrier, Belton Johnson asked Jack Dorrance a question that the two had mulled before: Could the covey be kept together?
More than a year later, Johnson provided an answer.
"When the birds flush, they basically go off in their own direction," he said. "That's exactly what they've done at Campbell.
"They've taken off."
Teresa Banik of The Inquirer library staff and Lex Henkels of the photo staff contributed to this series.
John T. Dorrance 3D, 46
Called "Ippy" ... a rancher in eastern Wyoming, near Devil's Tower national monument ... raises Brangus cattle, a cross of Brahman and Angus, which carry the IPY brand (his four-letter nickname wouldn't fit) ... has become a cause célèbre in Wyoming for his plan to import and hunt exotic game animals on his 18,000-acre ranch ... older son of Jack Dorrance ... left the Main Line after his parents' 1963 divorce and lived in Switzerland with his mother ... graduated from the University of Arizona with a bachelor's degree in business administration with a major in marketing ... married Gundel Sobek and had two sons ... lives in a three-story chalet decorated with stuffed game animals ... elected to the Campbell board in 1984; is also chairman of Vlasic Foods Inc., a Campbell subsidiary.
Mary Alice Malone, 41
Runs Iron Spring Farm, a noted Chester County breeding and training center for horses ... has competed in Olympic qualification trials in dressage, a precision riding technique that she has called "horse ballet" ... graduated from the University of Arizona in 1972 with a degree in English ... in 1981 married Stuart H. Malone, now chairman of the Planning Commission in Highland Township, Chester County ... two children ... the Malones have been active in efforts to conserve Chester County acreage from development ... was elected a director of Campbell Soup in December 1989, joining her two older brothers.
Bennett Dorrance, 45
Real estate investor in Phoenix ... his company, DMB Associates Inc., is building the largest downtown redevelopment project in Tempe, Ariz ... moved with his mother to Switzerland after his parents' divorce ... graduated from the University of Arizona in 1969 with a bachelor's degree in French; also studied at the University of Grenoble, France ... married Jacquelynn Williams in 1968 and had two children ... lives in the Phoenix suburb of Paradise Valley, with a panoramic view of Camelback Mountain ... became a Campbell director in April 1989 after his father died.
Dorrance Hill Hamilton, 62
Born Mary Louise but known as "Dodo" (short for Dorrance, her middle name) ... never caught without a hat ... grew up in Newport, R.I., and Manhattan but is a longtime Main Line resident ... a graduate of the Foxcroft School in Middleburg, Va ... lives with her husband, Samuel M.V. Hamilton, in a large brick house in Wayne with rose gardens and greenhouses ... three children, seven grandchildren ... member of partnership that owns Spread Eagle Village in Wayne; president of Little House Shop Inc. in Haverford ... the oldest of the nine cousins and the only one born during the lifetime of their grandfather John T. Dorrance ... served nine years on the Campbell Soup Co. board and resigned in the fall of 1990.
Hope Hill Van Beuren, 57
Nicknamed "Happy" ... lives in an oceanfront estate near Newport ... a graduate, like her sister, Dodo, of the Foxcroft School ... married to John Archbold van Beuren, the grandson of an oil partner of John D. Rockefeller Sr ... keeps a low profile among the dissidents, with her husband taking a more active role ... three children ... her son, Archbold D., 33, is the only Dorrance now employed by Campbell Soup; he is business director for ready-to-serve soups.
George Strawbridge Jr., 53
Is a distant relative of the department-store Strawbridges ... of the cousins, he has the smallest stake in Campbell Soup stock ... holds a 10 percent share of Meridian Bancorp of Reading, valued at about $60 million, the result of Meridian's merger with Delaware Trust Co., which he controlled ... married Sally Lester Forman in 1962, had two children and was divorced ... married Nina Stewart Neilson in 1974 and had one child ... well-known in equestrian circles, especially for steeplechase ... educated at the University of Pennsylvania; earned doctorate with distinction in Latin American history ... adjunct professor of political science at Widener University ... owns Augustin Stables in Chester County ... director of Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League ... elected to Campbell board in 1988.
Diana Strawbridge Norris, 51
Her mother died when she was 14 ... debuted on New Year's Eve 1957 at the Bellevue Stratford, with about 800 attending the party hosted by her aunts ... her father, George Strawbridge Sr., was a senior vice president at Janney Montgomery Scott, the venerable Philadelphia brokerage ... married Robert H. Crompton 3d in 1960 and had two sons ... divorced Crompton and married Charles H. "Carl" Norris Jr. in 1974; divorce pending ... during school year, lives with her daughter in Palm Beach, Fla., in a $5 million waterfront mansion ... also owns a 1,300-acre estate, Runnymede, in Chester County ... skis in Vail, Colo., where her family owns a $3 million chalet ... a horticulturist and official of Garden Club of America.
Tristram C. Colket Jr., 52
Entrepreneur ... lives in Paoli ... an amateur pilot who founded Altair Airlines in 1966; the commuter airline filed for bankruptcy-court protection in 1982 ... helped finance and launch National Lacrosse League by buying one of the first franchises, the Maryland Arrows, in 1974; the league folded after two years ... latest venture: reviving a closed aluminum plant in Schuylkill County, Cressona Aluminum Co., a former Alcoa plant that was reopened in 1979 ... 1961 graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, Conn ... lives with his wife, Ruth M. Mueller, on a 250-acre estate in Chester County ... three children ... avid sailor and accomplished horticulturalist.