Leander James McCormick was an inventor, businessman, and real estate tycoon who helped revolutionize agriculture with a mechanical reaper invented by his father, Robert McCormick Jr. Raised in Virginia, McCormick and his brother Cyrus Hall McCormick moved to Chicago, where they built a corporation selling their father’s “Old Reliable” reaper. The device spared farmers from harvesting grain by hand, dramatically improving their efficiency. The McCormick reaper heralded the rise of industrial agriculture. Although the brothers enjoyed tremendous business success, their personal relationship was fraught. Leander James McCormick and much of the rest of the McCormick family believed Cyrus McCormick claimed too much credit for their father’s invention. In his later years, Leander McCormick left the company, investing his wealth in Chicago real estate and becoming the primary donor behind the building of the Leander McCormick Observatory at the University of Virginia.