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Ameringer, Oscar (04 August 1870–05 November 1943), humorist and socialist editor, was born in a Swabian village in Germany, the son of August Ameringer, a cabinetmaker. His mother’s maiden name was Hoffman, and she was the previously widowed owner of a twelve-acre farm. Relocated to Laupheim, Ameringer grew up in the relative comfort of the lower middle class, yet he despised the religiosity and anti-Semitism of his Lutheran schooling. An instinctive antimonarchist, storyteller, and musician, he seized his first opportunity, at age sixteen, to flee to the United States. There he would become the “Mark Twain of American socialism,” a famed literary comedian, stage entertainer, and labor and political organizer....

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Browne, Carl (1846–16 January 1914), political agitator, reform journalist, and organizer of "Coxey's Army", political agitator, reform journalist, and organizer of “Coxey’s Army,” was born in Springfield, Illinois. (The date and place of his birth are sometimes less reliably given as 4 July 1849 in Newton, Iowa). Browne was working as a sign painter in western Iowa in 1869 when he suddenly decided to move to California. At that time he desired more than anything else to paint a gargantuan panorama of the Yosemite Valley. He later exhibited this painting up and down the Pacific Coast, such panoramas being a popular form of folk art in the nineteenth century. One unfriendly critic observed, “As an artist Carl Browne belongs to a distinct school. In fact, he constitutes the entire school.” Browne’s response to critics was to affirm that as a young man he had apprenticed with a carriage and house painter (an experience that probably accounted for his love of huge panoramic images and garish colors such as might adorn a circus wagon)....

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Calverton, Victor Francis (25 June 1900–20 November 1940), socialist writer and editor, was born George Goetz in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Charles Goetz, a German-American tailor, and Ida Geiger, the granddaughter of a left-wing refugee from the German 1848 revolution. Radicalized by his father’s denunciations of the Spanish-American War, Calverton read voraciously throughout high school in the Baltimore public schools, transferring his allegiance from Lutheranism to socialism. Although he was tempted to become a professional baseball player, he decided to earn money for college by working as a timekeeper with the Bethlehem Steel Company. In 1921 he graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in English and then spent a year studying psychology at Hopkins. After a brief membership in the Socialist Labor party, he began teaching in the public schools. In 1923 he published the first issue of the ...

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De Leon, Daniel (14 December 1852–11 May 1914), socialist, journalist, and polemicist, was born in Curaçao, Dutch West Indies, the son of Salomon De Leon, a surgeon and official in the Dutch colonial army, and Sarah Jesurun, who came from a wealthy family of Sephardic Jews. In the year that his father died (1864), Daniel’s mother took her sickly twelve-year-old son to Europe for its more salubrious climate and educational opportunities. Although no evidence exists to prove that De Leon attended a Gymnasium in Germany or the University of Leiden in Belgium, as he later claimed, he did acquire some secondary education and knowledge of classical and modern languages....

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Haessler, Carl (05 August 1888–01 December 1972), journalist and socialist trade unionist, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of Herman F. Haessler and Elizabeth Wagner. The political life of that city was dominated at that time by immigrant German social democrats. Haessler earned a B.A. at the University of Milwaukee, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and won a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University, where he studied for two years. He completed his formal education with a Ph.D. degree from the University of Illinois, where he also taught. In 1917 he married Mildred Barnes; they had two children....

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Harrison, Hubert Henry (27 April 1883–17 December 1927), black intellectual and radical political activist, was born in Concordia, St. Croix, Danish West Indies (now U.S. Virgin Islands), the son of William Adolphus Harrison and Cecilia Elizabeth Haines. Little is known of his father. His mother had at least three other children and, in 1889, married a laborer. Harrison received a primary education in St. Croix. In September 1900, after his mother died, he immigrated to New York City, where he worked low-paying jobs, attended evening high school, did some writing, editing, and lecturing, and read voraciously. In 1907 he obtained postal employment and moved to Harlem. The following year he taught at the White Rose Home, where he was deeply influenced by social worker Frances Reynolds Keyser, a future founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In 1909 he married Irene Louise Horton, with whom he had five children....

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Scott, Leroy Martin (11 May 1875–21 July 1929), writer, was born in Fairmount, Indiana, the son of Eli J. Scott and Eleanor S. Reader. He attended high school in Fairmount and graduated in 1897 from Indiana University. His first jobs were on newspapers, initially in Louisiana on a paper owned by his brother, and then on the ...

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Simons, Algie Martin (09 October 1870–11 March 1950), Marxist theoretician and editor, was born in North Freedom, Wisconsin, near Baraboo, the son of Horace Buttoph Simons and Linda Blackman, farmers. Simons worked his way through the University of Wisconsin, where he was a student of historian ...

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Stolberg, Benjamin (30 November 1891–21 January 1951), journalist and reformer, was born in Munich, Germany, of unknown parentage. He was adopted by Michael and Rada Stolberg, Russian immigrants to Germany, who had built a successful chocolate business. His adopted parents provided him with an excellent education, culminating in his graduation from the Realgymnasium in Munich in 1908, the year he immigrated to the United States....

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Wayland, Julius Augustus (26 April 1854–11 November 1912), socialist newspaper publisher, was born in Versailles (pronounced Ver-sāles), Indiana, the son of John Wayland, a grocer, and Micha (maiden name unknown). Four months later a cholera epidemic killed his father. His family had moved from Virginia to Indiana in the late 1840s, and his mother provided for the family by taking in sewing and washing. J. A. (as he was generally known) spent a total of less than two years in school, working at odd jobs to help the family. Frustrated in his attempt to find work as a carpenter, two weeks before his sixteenth birthday he was apprenticed to the printing trade as a “rolling boy” or “printer’s devil” at the local weekly, the ...