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Eaton, Amos (17 May 1776–10 May 1842), geologist, botanist, and educational reformer, was born in Chatham, New York, the son of Azubah Hurd and Abel Eaton, farmers. In 1790 Eaton went to Duanesburgh, New York, to live with a relative, Russell Beebe, who taught him land surveying. A blacksmith by trade, Beebe helped Eaton manufacture his own surveying instruments. From 1791 to 1795, Eaton studied the classics under private tutors in Chatham and nearby Hillsdale. He entered Williams College in 1795 and graduated in 1799. Also in 1799, Eaton began to study law in Spencertown, New York, and married Polly Thomas. They had one child before Polly died in 1802. The earliest hint of Eaton’s promise as an educator was realized with the publication of his surveying manual, ...

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Thomas Smith Grimké. Portrait of Thomas Smith Grimké (1786-1834). Oil on canvas. Portrait by Abraham G.D. Tuthill. Courtesy of Miami University Art Museum, Oxford, Ohio.

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Grimké, Thomas Smith (26 September 1786–12 October 1834), lawyer, educational and peace reformer, politician, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the second son of John Faucheraud Grimké and Mary Smith Grimké. John Grimké, a native Charlestonian of French Huguenot stock, was educated at the University of Cambridge, an officer in the American Revolution, and head justice of the state’s Court of Appeals. Mary Grimké, a descendant of an English landgrave, the state’s founding aristocracy, and the famous Irish rebel leader Rory O’Moore, was a co-founder of Charleston’s female benevolent society. Other children included ...

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Prichard, Edward Fretwell, Jr. (21 January 1915–23 December 1984), lawyer, public official, and educational reformer, was born in Paris, Kentucky, the son of E. F. Prichard, a horse-breeder, beer distributor, and sometime politician, and Aileen Power. A precocious boy and voracious reader, young Prichard skipped grades and spent his afternoons not at the playground but at the Bourbon County courthouse soaking up Kentucky legal and political lore....

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Tutwiler, Julia Strudwick (15 August 1841–24 March 1916), educator, reformer, and humanitarian, was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The daughter of Henry Tutwiler and Julia Ashe, she grew up in a home devoted to education, which became her lifework. Her father had earned a master’s degree in foreign languages at the University of Virginia and had accepted a position as the first professor of ancient languages at the University of Alabama when it had opened in 1831. Resigning in 1837 because of a financial dispute, he established Greene Springs Academy in Havana, south of Tuscaloosa. His daughters studied Latin, science, and mathematics with boys, upsetting many citizens. Tutwiler and her father taught slaves and poor white children to read. This experience influenced her to devote her life to serving others. Many of her classmates gained prominent positions as adults and supported her causes....

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Vaux, Roberts (21 January 1786–07 January 1836), philanthropist, educational reformer, and penologist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Richard Vaux, a merchant, and Ann Roberts, both members of the Society of Friends. Roberts Vaux was descended on his father’s side from George Vaux of Sussex, England, a physician, who had sent his son, Richard, to Philadelphia in 1768 for mercantile training among Quaker friends and relatives. After acquiring wealth in the Atlantic carrying trade during the American Revolution, Richard Vaux, a Tory sympathizer, married Ann Roberts in 1784. She was descended from an illustrious and prosperous family that traced its American roots back to Hugh Roberts, a friend of ...