As well as co-founding what was to become the largest zinc smelting operation in the United States, Edward Hegeler launched Open Court Publishing to foster the discussion of philosophy, science, and religion. He and his wife, Camilla Weisbach Hegeler, commissioned W. W. Boyington to design their 57 room Mansion and employed August Fiedler to design its interior.
Their daughter, Mary Hegeler, married Dr. Paul Carus, editor of Open Court Publishing, and together they raised their six children in the Mansion, too. The Mansion was a hub of intellectual thought and cultural activities as these families grew. The Foundation today continues this legacy with their educational and cultural programs.