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Booth, Maud Elizabeth Charlesworth Ballington (13 September 1865–26 August 1948), Salvation Army leader, cofounder of the Volunteers of America, and prison reformer, was born in Limpsfield Surrey, England, the daughter of Samuel Beddome Charlesworth and Maria Beddome, Samuel’s first cousin. Her father served as the minister of an aristocratic country parish but was reassigned to a church in a poor section of London in 1868. William Booth, the itinerant Wesleyan preacher who had broken from the Methodist church three years earlier to found the Christian Mission (renamed the Salvation Army in 1878), had rented the building across the street from Maud’s father’s church, and Booth’s open-air meetings introduced Maud to the Salvation Army’s noisy style of street-corner evangelism....

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Comstock, Elizabeth Leslie Rous Wright (30 October 1815–03 August 1891), Quaker minister and reformer, was born in Maidenhead, Berkshire, England, the daughter of William Rous, a shopkeeper, and Mary Kekwick. Her parents were Quakers with family ties to the Society of Friends going back to the seventeenth century. They reared her in a strict Quaker atmosphere, an upbringing reinforced by education in Quaker schools at Islington and Croyden. In 1839 Elizabeth Rous returned to Croyden as a teacher; in 1842 she joined the staff of the Friends school at Ackworth. She remained there until her marriage in 1848 to Leslie Wright, a Quaker market gardener of Walthamstow in Essex. They had one child. After her husband’s death in 1851, Elizabeth Wright kept a shop for a time at Bakewell in Devonshire. In 1854 she immigrated with her daughter and an unmarried sister to Belleville, Ontario. Four years later she married John T. Comstock, a prosperous Quaker farmer of Rollin, Michigan, where Elizabeth Comstock and her daughter moved....

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Davis, Katharine Bement (15 January 1860–10 December 1935), social worker, prison reformer, and sex researcher, was born in Buffalo, New York, the daughter of Frances Bement and Oscar Bill Davis, a manager for the Bradstreet Company, precursor of Dun and Bradstreet, the credit rating firm. When her father suffered business reversals following the panic of 1873, Davis had to postpone plans for college and work as a public school teacher for ten years. She continued her studies independently and in 1890 entered Vassar College at the age of thirty, graduating two years later with honors....

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Farnham, Eliza Wood Burhans (17 November 1815–15 December 1864), author, prison reformer, and proponent of the superiority of women, was born in Rensselaerville, New York, the daughter of Cornelius Burhans and Mary Wood. Her father’s occupation is not known; her mother, a Quaker, died in 1820, after which her five children were scattered. Eliza eventually went to live with an aunt and uncle in Maple Springs, New York. The aunt, she later recalled, raised her through “neglect and hardship” ( ...

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Gibbons, Abigail Hopper (07 December 1801–16 January 1893), prison reformer and abolitionist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Isaac Tatem Hopper and Sarah Tatum, Quakers. Her father earned a moderate living as a tailor and later as a bookseller but devoted most of his time to aiding runaway slaves and free blacks. Her mother was a minister in the Society of Friends. Two years after her mother’s death in 1822, her father remarried, and in 1829 he moved with most of his family to New York City. Abigail joined them in 1830 and helped support the family by teaching at a Quaker school....

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Griffith, Goldsborough Sappington (04 November 1814–24 February 1904), civic and religious leader, prison reformer, and philanthropist, was born in Harford County, Maryland, the son of James Griffith and Sarah Cox. His father died in the War of 1812, leaving Griffith, not one year old, the youngest of eight. His mother subsequently remarried and, when Griffith was twelve, moved to Baltimore with her husband and family of fourteen children. Griffith left school and obtained regular employment in a tobacco manufacturing house to help support the family. He continued his education in night school and devoted his leisure time to reading. Several years later he found a rewarding position as a paperhanger and, at the age of twenty-two, with $500 in savings and a knowledgeable partner, began a prosperous paperhanging and upholstery business. In 1854 he sold this thriving business to his half brothers and turned his attentions to his very successful wholesale and retail carpet business in which he was joined by his nephews....

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Hodder, Jessie Donaldson (30 March 1867–19 November 1931), women's prison reformer, women’s prison reformer, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the daughter of William Donaldson, a tradesman, and Mary Hall. Her mother died when she was two, and her father remarried. Following physical abuse by her stepmother, Jessie was rescued and taken in by her paternal grandmother. Later an uncle, Andrew Donaldson, joined and supported the household. In 1883 Andrew Donaldson’s career with the Erie Railroad took the family from Cincinnati to New York City, where Jessie studied music. Either there or possibly in Cambridge, Massachusetts, she met Alfred LeRoy Hodder, whose family also had ties to Cincinnati and who was a favored doctoral student of Harvard University philosopher ...

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Hopper, Isaac Tatem (03 December 1771–07 May 1852), Quaker abolitionist and reformer, was born in Deptford township, near Woodbury, New Jersey, the son of Levi Hopper and Rachel Tatem, farmers. Educated in local schools, Isaac Hopper went to Philadelphia at sixteen to learn tailoring from an uncle, with whom he lived. He made his living there as a tailor and soon came to own his own shop....

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Isaac T. Hopper. From the frontispiece to Lydia Maria Child, Isaac T. Hopper: A True Life, 1853. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-75190).

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Jackson, George (23 September 1941–21 August 1971), political revolutionary and prisoners' rights activist, political revolutionary and prisoners’ rights activist, was born George Lester Jackson in Chicago, Illinois, the second of five children of Lester Jackson, a U.S. Postal Service employee originally from East Saint Louis, Illinois, and Georgia Davis Jackson of Harrisburg, Illinois. Growing up on Chicago’s Near West Side shaped George’s young life. After a white student beat George in kindergarten, his parents enrolled him and his older sister, Delora, in St. Malachy School, a segregated Catholic school. With Chicago’s white neighborhoods largely off-limits and in need of a larger apartment for their growing family, the Jacksons moved into a recently constructed public housing project. As he entered his teen years, the police began routinely picking up George for questioning....