Grover Cleveland Bergdoll had a reputation as a playboy in early 20th-century Philadelphia.
His family made its fortune in the brewing business. His grandfather, Louis Bergdoll, brought his knowledge of lager beer-making from Germany, and established a brewery in Philadelphia in the mid-1800s. The Bergdoll & Sons Brewing Co. achieved national success and became a household name.
Bergdoll and his siblings lived privileged lives in Philadelphia. He raced cars, flew planes, and made national headlines when he dodged the draft during World War I.
Bergdoll successfully evaded the draft in the United States, eventually fleeing to Germany. After years in exile, Bergdoll returned to America in 1939, was tried and sentenced to seven years in prison. After his release in the mid-1940s, Bergdoll spent most of his later years under psychiatric supervision, including treatment at Westbrook Psychiatric Hospital in Virginia. Bergdoll died in 1966 and was buried in Richmond, Va.