This article traces the development of divergent standards of business success for men and women as the American economy transitioned from proprietary to managerial capitalism. The nineteenth-century Victorian equivalency between manhood and independence gave way to a twentieth-century equivalency between manhood and managerial status. This gendered ideal obfuscated other constructions of personal and firm success, particularly that of a rising generation of business women who defined success in terms of independence, self-fulfillment, and public service. As the new standard of masculine success naturalized goals of ever-expanding profits and market control, it marginalized the world of most business men, as well as business women. Current constructions of center and peripheral industries, modern and traditional firms, unlimited growth and social responsibility may unknowingly reflect this gendered hierarchy of success created a century ago.