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Julius H. Barnes. Right, with Thomas Lamont, left, and Silas Strawn. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-92371).

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Barnes, Julius Howland (02 February 1873–17 April 1959), industrialist and government official, was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, the son of Lucien Jerome Barnes, a banker, and Julia Hill. Moving with his family, he attended public schools in Washington, D.C., and Duluth, Minnesota. Following his father’s death in 1886, Barnes left school to take a job as office boy with the Duluth grain brokerage firm of Wardell Ames. There he rose rapidly, becoming president of the company in 1910 and subsequently reorganizing it as the Barnes-Ames Company. By 1915 Barnes-Ames was the world’s largest grain exporter, and Barnes acquired other business interests, principally in shipbuilding and Great Lakes shipping. In 1896 he married Harriet Carey, with whom he had two children....

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Donald D. Engen. Photograph by Carolyn Russo. Courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution (#99-15320).

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Engen, Donald Davenport (28 May 1924–13 July 1999), naval officer, test pilot, public servant, was born in Pomona, California, the son of Sydney M. Engen, a stockbroker and later an Internal Revenue Service employee, and Dorothy Davenport Engen. Engen spent his childhood years in southern California, principally in Pasadena. When he was in fourth grade, he decided that he wanted to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and become a naval officer....

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W. Averell Harriman. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-105320 ).

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Harriman, W. Averell (15 November 1891–26 July 1986), businessman and government official, was born William Averell Harriman in New York City, the son of the railroad organizer Edward H. Harriman and Mary Averell (Mary Williamson Averell Harriman). He spent his early years in New York and on the family estate of Arden in the nearby Ramapo Mountains. He was educated at Groton and Yale. Harriman did poorly in preparatory studies, which brought admonishment from his father, and it is possible that his stammer, which he carried throughout his long life, resulted from this experience. At Yale he did better academically, and excelled socially....

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Hoffman, Paul Gray (26 April 1891–08 October 1974), automotive executive, government official, and international administrator, was born in Chicago, Illinois, and spent his childhood in a nearby suburb. His parents—George Hoffman, a successful inventor, corporate executive, and entrepreneur, and Eleanor Lott—provided a comfortable family environment oriented toward modern business and civic responsibility. He ended his formal schooling in 1909 after a year at the University of Chicago....

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Vance, Harold Sines (22 August 1890–31 August 1959), automotive executive and government official, was born in Port Huron, Michigan, the son of Samuel W. Vance, a lawyer and circuit judge, and Carrie Sines. After attending public schools and reading law with the partner of his deceased father, he unsuccessfully sought appointment to the U.S. Military Academy. In 1910 he took a job as a mechanic’s apprentice in a local machine shop owned by the Everitt-Metzger-Flanders (EMF) Company, a Detroit manufacturer of cars and car parts....

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Wright, Theodore Paul (25 May 1895–21 August 1970), aviation administrator and educator, was born in Galesburg, Illinois, the son of Philip Green Wright, a college professor, and Elizabeth Quincy. Wright grew up in a financially secure family; his father taught mathematics at Galesburg’s Lombard College and imbued his sons with a sense of social duty. Wright’s two older brothers excelled in their professions, ...