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In 1869 Joseph Rowntree joined the Cocoa, Chocolate & Chicory Works, owned by his brother, Henry. Joseph became the owner of the company 1883 following his brother's death. His keen interest in social welfare and politics meant he played an active part in the city. For instance he served on the committee York's Quaker schools, established the city's Public Library and provided funding for a journal, the Nation, which promoted social reform.