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Bennet, Sanford Fillmore (21 June 1836–11 June 1898), physician and writer of popular verses and hymn texts, was born in Eden, New York, the son of Robert Bennet and Sally Kent. After spending his early years in New York, Bennet moved with his family to Lake County, Illinois. By the age of eighteen Bennet was teaching school in Wauconda, Illinois. In 1858 he entered the University of Michigan but did not complete a degree there, deciding instead to accept a position as the head of the Richmond, Illinois school district. After his marriage to Gertrude Crosby Johonnatt, Bennet moved to Elkhorn, Wisconsin, where he became co-owner and editor of the ...

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Brawley, Edward McKnight (18 March 1851–13 January 1923), Baptist minister, educator, and editor, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of free African-American parents, Ann L. (maiden name unknown) and James M. Brawley. Brawley’s parents took a keen interest in the education and professional development of their son, providing him private schooling in Charleston, sending him at the age of ten to Philadelphia to attend grammar school and the Institute for Colored Youth, and having him apprenticed to a shoemaker in Charleston from 1866 to 1869. He enrolled as the first theological student at Howard University for a few months in 1870; he transferred to Bucknell University in Pennsylvania in January 1871. The first African-American student at Bucknell, Brawley completed his education with the encouragement and financial support of a white couple named Griffith and his own work teaching vocal music and preaching during school vacations. The white Baptist church in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, with which he had affiliated, ordained him to the ministry the day after his graduation, 1 July 1875; he was examined by a board composed largely of professors and other learned individuals. In 1878 he received the A.M. from Bucknell and, in 1885, an honorary doctor of divinity degree from the State University in Louisville, Kentucky....

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Carus, Paul (18 July 1852–11 February 1919), editor, author, and philosopher, was born in Ilsenburg, Germany, the son of Dr. Gustav Carus, the first superintendent-general of the Church of Eastern and Western Prussia, and Laura Krueger. As the son of a well-known theologian and state church official, Carus was afforded an appropriate Gymnasium education, which focused on mathematics and the classics. He studied at the Universities of Greifswald, Strasbourg, and Tübingen, eventually earning his Ph.D. degree from Tübingen in 1876. His first professional position was as an educator at the military academy in Dresden, an appointment he soon resigned because of conflicts over his liberal religious views. He then lived briefly in England (1881–1884) before traveling to the United States and settling in LaSalle, Illinois, where he lived for the remainder of his life....

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Eliade, Mircea (09 March 1907–22 April 1986), historian of religions and writer, was born in Bucharest, Romania, the son of Gheorghe Eliade, an army officer, and Ioana Stoenescu Vasile. Though handicapped by myopia, Eliade became a voracious reader at an early age. A lifelong patriotic sentiment was instilled in him during World War I when his father was at the front and Bucharest was occupied for more than a year by troops of the Central Powers. After the war his father was retired at the rank of captain with a small pension; thereafter the family lived in genteel poverty....

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Jacobs, Joseph (29 August 1854–30 January 1916), literary critic, folklorist, and Jewish historian, was born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, the son of John Jacobs and Sarah (maiden name unknown). He received a B.A. from St. John’s College, Cambridge, England, in 1876, and the following year he went to Berlin to study with the famous Jewish scholars Moritz Lazarus and Moritz Steinschneider. Upon returning to England, he studied anthropology with Sir Francis Galton. He married Georgina Horne (date unknown); they had three children....

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Peel, Robert (06 May 1909–08 January 1992), educator, journalist, historian, and religious scholar, was born in London, the son of Arthur James Peel and Anne Susannah Monk. His mother, a Christian Science practitioner for many years, was a decisive influence. He was also close to his sister Doris Peel (1907-1990), a poet whose writing on spiritual themes attracted a devoted following. He never married....

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Pendleton, James Madison (20 November 1811–04 March 1891), Baptist minister, professor, and journalist, was born in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, the son of John Pendleton and Frances J. Thompson, farmers. The year following Pendleton’s birth (he was named in honor of President Madison), the family relocated to a farm near Pembroke in Christian County, Kentucky, where he lived until he was twenty years old. In 1829, at age seventeen, he was baptized and joined Bethel Baptist Church, which licensed him to preach in 1831. He spent the next two years preaching at various churches in or around Christian County. Hopkinsville Baptist Church ordained him to Christian ministry in 1833, when he enrolled in the Christian County Seminary in Hopkinsville where he studied until 1836, obtaining an education in the Greek and Latin classics. During this period, he continued to preach locally. His education was superior to that of most Baptist ministers west of the Appalachian Mountains in the nineteenth century. In 1837 he accepted an invitation to become the pastor of the Baptist Church in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where he had a successful ministry for twenty years as the first Baptist pastor in western Kentucky to enter the ministry as a full-time profession. In 1838 he married Catherine Stockton Garnett; they had three daughters and two sons....

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Summers, Thomas Osmond (11 October 1812–06 May 1882), minister and theologian, was born on the Isle of Purbeck, Dorsetshire, England, the son of James Summers and Sarah (maiden name unknown), poor working people. Both parents died before he was six, so his grandmother and aunt raised him. In 1830 Summers came to New York and was immediately naturalized. He proceeded to Washington, D.C., where in 1832 he joined the Methodist Episcopal church, which he saw as offering an alternative both to his childhood Calvinism and to a nagging religious skepticism. Within two years the Methodists licensed him to preach, and the Baltimore Conference, which admitted him on trial in 1835, ordained him as a deacon in 1837 and an elder in 1839....

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Ware, William (03 August 1797–19 February 1852), writer, editor, and Unitarian minister, was born in Hingham, Massachusetts, the son of Henry Ware, Sr., a Unitarian minister and Harvard professor, and Mary Clark. As a youth in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Ware was prepared for college by his cousin Ashur Ware and Rev. John Allyn. He graduated from Harvard in 1816 and then stayed an additional three years to study theology with his father, who had been appointed Hollis Professor of Divinity in 1805....