Martha Rivers Ingram 101: Famous Billionaire Businesswoman
Zatrun Published at July 03, 2023

In our article “Martha Rivers Ingram 101: Who is the Famous Billionaire Businesswoman?” on, we will cover everything you need to know in detail about the well-known billionaire businesswoman Martha Rivers Ingram, who has piqued the curiosity of our readers.

Who is Martha Rivers Ingram?

Martha Robinson Rivers Ingram is an American billionaire businesswoman and philanthropist born on August 20, 1935. Ingram became the chairman and CEO of Ingram Industries, one of the largest privately held companies in America, following the death of her husband in 1995. She is the author of three books, including two biographies and a history of performing arts in Tennessee. Martha Robinson Rivers was born in Charleston, South Carolina, to John Minott Rivers and Martha Elizabeth Robinson. She attended Ashley Hall in Charleston and graduated from Vassar College with a bachelor’s degree in history in 1957.

Martha Rivers Ingram

Career Life:

Martha Rivers Ingram started working as a public relations director at radio and television station WCSC-AM/FM and WCSC-TV, owned by her father, after her graduation. In 1979, she was appointed as the director of public relations for Ingram Industries by her husband. After her husband’s death in 1995, she became the president and CEO. Ingram is the author of three books. Her first book was a biography of her husband and was published six years after his death in 2001.

In her second book, published in 2004, Ingram wrote about the performance arts scene during the Antebellum era in Nashville, claiming that it was destroyed by the American Civil War and never fully recovered. Her third book was a biography of Kenneth Schermerhorn, the music director of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, and was published in 2006.


Martha Rivers Ingram was one of the founders of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, which opened in 2005. She served as the Chairman of the Board of Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music became the recipient of a $300 million donation from Ingram’s company shares. Thanks to her donations between 2000 and 2004, Ingram was named one of the 50 most generous philanthropists by Business Week.

In 2006, she was honored as the recipient of the 13th Annual Joe Kraft Humanitarian Award by the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee for her philanthropic efforts. She also received the Eli & Edythe Broad Award for her contributions to the arts philanthropy field. As a political activity, Ingram made a donation to the campaign of Democratic candidate Megan Barry, who was running for Mayor of Nashville in 2015.

Personal Life:

Martha Robinson Rivers, born on August 20, 1935 in Charleston, South Carolina, married E. Bronson Ingram II (1931-1995) at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in the same city on October 4, 1958. Her husband was the son of businessman Orrin Henry Ingram Sr., the grandson of Erskine B. Ingram, and the great-grandson of Orrin Henry Ingram. The couple had three sons and a daughter:

Orrin H. Ingram II (born in 1960), CEO of Ingram Industries and President of Ingram Barge Company. John R. Ingram (born around 1961), Chairman of Ingram Content Group, Lightning Source, and Ingram Industries. David Bronson Ingram (born around 1962), President and CEO of Ingram Entertainment. Robin Ingram Patton.


Martha Rivers Ingram published her first book, a biography titled “E. Bronson Ingram: These Unfinished Tasks of Mine,” in 2001. Her second book, “Apollo’s Struggle: A Performing Arts Odyssey in the Athens of the South, Nashville, Tennessee,” was published in 2004. In this book, she argues that the American Civil War damaged the city’s arts scene and that it never fully recovered. She published her third book, a biography titled “Kenneth Schermerhorn: He Will Always Be the Music,” in 2006, which tells the life story of Nashville Symphony Orchestra’s music director, Kenneth Schermerhorn.

Awards and Honors:

  • In 1999, Martha Rivers Ingram was inducted into the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame.
  • She was also honored with the National Business Hall of Fame award by Junior Achievement in the same year.
  • In 2004, she was awarded the Golden Plate Award by the American Academy of Achievement, presented by council member Naomi Judd.
  • Martha Rivers Ingram was also inducted into the Music City Walk of Fame in 2017.

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