A Humble History
Building a dream from modest beginnings.
In the early 1940s, Henry Bloch was attending classes at Harvard Business School when he stumbled onto a pamphlet in the Harvard Library that illustrated the challenges facing America's small businesses. The message sparked a desire for Henry to help small companies succeed. He imagined a company providing comprehensive services, including collection and management, accounting, temporary workers, and tax management for small businesses.
With $5,000 borrowed from his aunt, Henry and his older brother, Leon, set forth to make Henry's dream a reality. In 1946, the brothers opened United Business Company, providing bookkeeping services from a rented storeroom office on Main Street in Kansas City, Mo. The business struggled the first year, and Leon returned to law school. Henry, however, was determined to make the company work. He eventually landed a bookkeeping assignment for a small hamburger stand, and business took off. Soon after, Henry's brother Richard joined him and quickly worked his way up to partner.
The business changed in 1955 when a client suggested the brothers advertise tax preparation services in The Kansas City Star. People from all over the city began coming to the Bloch brothers to have their tax returns done, prompting Richard and Henry to specialize exclusively in income tax preparation. As their business expanded, the brothers began to realize that "Bloch" was difficult for customers to pronounce and spell. And so, on Jan. 25, 1955, the brothers incorporated and renamed their business H&R Block, Inc.