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Cohen, Felix Solomon (03 July 1907–19 October 1953), lawyer, was born in New York City, the son of Morris Cohen, an academic and philosopher, and Mary Ryshpan, a former teacher. Cohen attended Townsend Harris High School, which conducted a joint program with City College. After graduating magna cum laude from City College, he earned his M.A. in philosophy from Harvard in 1927. Cohen entered Columbia Law School in 1928, completed his Ph.D. comprehensive exams at Harvard and received his doctorate in 1929, and received his LL.B. from Columbia in 1931. That year he accepted a position as research assistant for a judge on the New York Supreme Court and married Lucy M. Kramer. They had two children....

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William Cranch. Daguerreotype from the studio of Mathew B. Brady. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109848).

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Cranch, William (17 July 1769–01 September 1855), jurist and Supreme Court reporter, was born in Weymouth, Massachusetts, the son of Richard Cranch, a watchmaker, judge, and legislator, and Mary Smith. His mother was Abigail Adams’s sister. Graduated from Harvard at the age of nineteen, Cranch was a classmate there of his cousin ...

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Dane, Nathan (29 December 1752–15 February 1835), lawyer, legislator, and legal writer, was born in Ipswich, Massachusetts, the son of Daniel Dane and Abigail Burnham, prosperous farmers. Dane, one of twelve children, received a common school elementary education. He worked on his father’s farm until he entered Harvard College at the unusual age of twenty-two. Dane’s college career from 1774 to 1778 was interrupted by the American Revolution; he apparently performed militia service in Boston during the British siege of the city in 1775–1776. In his academic studies Dane displayed an aptitude for mathematics, which later bore fruit when, as a legislator, he took special interest in taxation, government finance, and census issues. Throughout his life Dane retained the studiousness that marked his college years....

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Deming, Philander (06 February 1829–09 February 1915), author and pioneer in court stenography, was born in Carlisle, New York, the son of Julia Ann Porter and Rufus Romeo Deming, a minister in the Champlain Presbytery. As his father moved from one pulpit to another, Deming spent his childhood in various small towns in the Adirondack Mountain and Champlain Valley regions of New York State. In such circumstances his father’s library provided much of his education, and he was steeped in writers of the New England tradition such as Emerson and Longfellow. After living for a time in Huntingdon, Quebec, the family returned to upstate New York and settled in the village of Burke in Franklin County. As a young man, Deming savored solitude, and could often be found walking about the countryside, fishing, hunting, and rambling. Among the inhabitants of Burke, he was considered “odd” and uncommunicative, yet he still managed to secure a teaching post there from 1852 to 1854. During that time Deming and his two brothers also built themselves a sawmill, which Deming helped operate as he prepared for college. After studying at Whitestown Seminary in Whitesboro, New York, he matriculated at the University of Vermont from which he graduated in 1861, having been elected Phi Beta Kappa. Three years later he received an advanced degree from the university, remaining active in its alumni programs throughout most of his life....

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David Dudley Field. Daguerreotype from the studio of Mathew B. Brady. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109910).

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Field, David Dudley, Jr. (13 February 1805–13 April 1894), lawyer, law reformer, and codifier of law, was born in Haddam, Connecticut, the son of David Dudley Field, Sr., a noted clergyman, and Submit Dickinson. In 1819 the Reverend Field moved his family from Haddam to Stockbridge in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, a place to which the younger Field would often return. The Reverend Field’s family was a remarkable one; his five other sons who survived to middle age also achieved fame. ...

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Henry W. Halleck, c. 1860–1865. Photograph by J. A. Scholten. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-6377).

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Halleck, Henry Wager (16 January 1815–09 January 1872), soldier, author, and businessman, was born at Westernville, Oneida County, New York, the son of Joseph Halleck and Catherine Wager, farmers. Raised on the family farm but unwilling to accept agriculture as his life’s work, he ran away from home in 1831 to seek a formal education. He was adopted by his maternal grandfather and attended Union College, where he earned an A.B. degree in 1837. Halleck then entered the U.S. Military Academy, graduated third in the class of 1839, and received appointment in the highly regarded Corps of Engineers....

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Hening, William Waller (1767?–01 April 1828), lawyer and legal editor, was born on the family farm about five miles west of Fredericksburg, Culpeper County, Virginia, the son of David Hening and Mary Waller. Hening received his earliest education at a school conducted by the Reverend John Price in Culpeper County. He studied under Adam Goodlett, whom he styled as his “preceptor of the classics.” He read law in Fredericksburg, where he was admitted to the bar in April 1789....