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Bancroft, Edward (09 January 1744–08 September 1821), physician, scientist, and spy, was born in Westfield, Massachusetts, the son of Edward Bancroft and Mary Ely, farmers. The elder Bancroft died in 1746 of an epileptic attack suffered in a pigpen, two months before the birth of his younger son, Daniel. His widow married David Bull of Westfield in 1751, and the family moved to Hartford, Connecticut, where Bull operated the Bunch of Grapes tavern. Edward Bancroft was taught for a time by the recent Yale graduate ...

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Bronner, Augusta Fox (22 July 1881–11 December 1966), psychologist and expert in juvenile delinquency, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the daughter of Gustave Bronner, a wholesale milliner, and Hanna Fox. Both of his parents were of German ancestry. Bronner’s maternal grandfather had been the founder of Louisville’s Reform Jewish Temple, and the Bronner family was active in the town’s Jewish community. Augusta, the middle child of three, was encouraged by her open-minded family to pursue a career instead of confining herself to housework....

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Burnet, William (02 December 1730–07 October 1791), physician, judge, and member of the Continental Congress, was born in Lyon’s Farms, a town located between Newark and Elizabethtown, New Jersey, the son of Ichabod Burnet, a physician who emigrated from Scotland, and Hannah (maiden name unknown). He was educated at the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) when it was located in Newark under Rev. ...

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Church, Benjamin (24 August 1734– January 1778?), physician, poet, and traitor, was born in Newport, Rhode Island, the son of Benjamin Church, a vendue master, and Hannah Dyer. By 1740 the family had moved to Boston, and in 1750 young Benjamin entered Harvard College. It was at Harvard that Church first developed his writing skills, sharpening his talents through biting satires on his classmates and the professors. After graduating in 1754, Church studied medicine and for several months in 1757 served as surgeon aboard the Massachusetts snow-of-war, the ...

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Dale, Thomas (1700–16 September 1750), physician, jurist, and poet, was born in Hoxton, England, to a gentry family with medical interests. His parents’ names are unknown. He attended Brasenose College, Oxford University, from 1717 to 1720 and in 1721 began study at the University of Leyden, from which he received a medical degree on 23 September 1723 for ...

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Dudley, Benjamin Winslow (12 April 1785–20 January 1870), surgeon and medical educator, was born in Spottsylvania County, Virginia, the son of the Reverend Ambrose Dudley, a Baptist minister, and Ann Parker Dudley. The couple moved with their seven children to Lexington, Kentucky, in 1786, when Benjamin was a year old (seven additional children were born to the Dudleys after the move to Lexington). Dudley’s medical education began in early 1800 under the mentorship of ...

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Elmer, Jonathan (29 November 1745–03 September 1817), physician, jurist, and legislator, was born in Cedarville, Cumberland County, New Jersey, the son of Daniel Elmer, a surveyor, and Abigail Lawrence. Jonathan was born into a locally prominent family. Because he was physically frail, it was decided to give the boy a classical education. He was probably tutored by his grandfather, the Presbyterian minister Daniel Elmer, and also by the Reverend William Ramsay, whose death Jonathan eulogized in print in 1772. Ramsay apparently instilled in him the dual influences of republican ideology and New Light presbyterianism....

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Freeman, Elizabeth (1742–28 December 1829), slave, nurse, and slavery lawsuit plaintiff, was born either in New York or Massachusetts, the daughter of parents probably born in Africa. She apparently became the slave of Pieter Hogeboom of New York quite early. The only trace of her parents is Freeman’s bequest to her daughter of two articles of clothing—a black silk gown given to Freeman by her father as a gift, and another gown that supposedly belonged to Freeman’s mother. During her lifetime and even after her death, she was known as “Mum Bett” or “Mumbet,” a name derived from “Elizabeth.” Lacking a surname for most of her life, she sued for freedom under the name “Bett” and adopted the name “Elizabeth Freeman” after winning her lawsuit in 1781....

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Kilty, William (1757–10 October 1821), jurist and army surgeon, was born in London, England, the son of Captain John Kilty, a merchant seaman, and Ellen Ahearn. Raised in London, Kilty was educated at the College of St. Omer in France. He accompanied his family to Maryland around 1774, settling in Annapolis, where he studied medicine under Dr. Edward Johnson....

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Marsh, John (05 June 1799–24 September 1856), California ranchero and physician, was born in Danvers, Massachusetts, the son of John Marsh and Mary “Polly” Brown, farmers. After graduating from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, in 1819, Marsh received his B.A. from Harvard in 1823. That year he accepted an appointment as a tutor at Fort St. Anthony (later Fort Snelling), in Michigan Territory. For two years Marsh taught school and studied medicine under the guidance of Edward Purcell, the post surgeon. Purcell died without giving his apprentice a certificate, but this did not prevent Marsh from successfully practicing medicine years later in California....