Be My Guest is the inspiring saga of the man behind one of America's great success stories. Conrad Hilton was born in San Antonio, Socorro County, Territory of New Mexico. Born into a family of six, including two sisters named Felice and Eva; a brother, Carl; his mother, Mary Laufersweiler Hilton; and his father, named Augustus Holver Hilton, or Gus. His father was a big man physically - a robust six footer with big hands, big feet, a handlebar mustache, and a big voice.
Gus bought his first hotel in Cisco, Texas, and built his first hotel in Dallas, Texas. Then he bought his second hotel, the famous Waldorf Astoria in New York, in 1931, which became a Hilton Hotel 15 years later. This had been Gus' first big dream, and he worked hard to make it a reality, suffering heartbreak and struggling against the odds - over this infinitesimal building in the middle of nowhere - more than at any other time in his career, barring the Depression.
Conrad Hilton went to Goss Military Institute in Albuquerque when he was almost 12. At 15 he met his wife, Helen Keller. She has written a book called Optimism. In the book, she wrote, "Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement; nothing can be done without hope," and summed up by stating that, "Optimism is the harmony between man's spirit and the spirit of God pronouncing [his] works good." At 16 his father had sold his coal mines for $10 thousand, which in those days made him one of the richest men in the territory. In 1904 the dollar was worth something. Men worked for a dollar a day and, on that, lived decently and raised families of five or six. With his money Gus was the equivalent of a millionaire.
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