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Benton, Thomas Hart, Jr. (05 September 1816–10 April 1879), frontier educator and legislator, was born in Williamson County, Tennessee, the son of Samuel Benton, a congressman. His mother’s name is unknown. His uncle and namesake practiced law as an associate of Andrew Jackson...

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Benton, William (01 April 1900–18 March 1973), advertising executive, educator, and politician, was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the son of Charles Benton, a Congregationalist clergyman and professor of romance languages, and Elma Hixson, a schoolteacher. After brief military service in World War I, Benton attended Yale University and graduated in 1921. In 1928 he was married to Helen Hemingway. They had four children....

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Brokmeyer, Henry Conrad (12 August 1828–26 July 1906), philosopher and politician, was born in the vicinity of Minden, Prussia, the son of Frederick William Brockmeyer (Henry used both spellings), a Jewish businessman, and Sophia (maiden name unknown). Brokmeyer spent his youth in Prussia, but at age sixteen, apparently fleeing Prussian militarism, he emigrated to New York City with little money and little knowledge of English. On arrival, Brokmeyer worked his way as far south as Mississippi, where, it is said, he made a small fortune using slave labor in shoemaking....

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Bryce, James (10 May 1838–22 January 1922), author and statesman, was born in Belfast, Ireland, the son of James Bryce, a schoolmaster, and Margaret Young. The family moved to Glasgow, Scotland, when James was eight. His father instilled in Bryce a wide-ranging interest in the arts and sciences, and after attending Glasgow University he matriculated at Oxford. His entry there was a landmark event: he was the first student to be admitted without having to subscribe to the Thirty-nine Articles of the Anglican Church. Bryce distinguished himself as a scholar at Oxford, producing as his entry for the Arnold Historical Essay Prize a treatise that would be expanded for publication in 1864 as ...

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Butler, Nicholas Murray (02 April 1862–07 December 1947), educator, politician, and president of Columbia University, was the son of Henry Leny Butler, an importer and textile manufacturer, and Mary Jones Murray. From early childhood Butler was an enthusiastic, self-motivated student. He attended public high School in Paterson, New Jersey, graduating at age thirteen after passing a series of rigorous examinations. He continued his education privately from age fourteen to seventeen, learning Latin and Greek and doing further work in mathematics....

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Candler, Allen Daniel (04 November 1834–26 October 1910), politician and compiler of records, was born in Auraria, Georgia, the son of Daniel Gill Candler and Nancy Caroline Matthews, farmers. Candler worked on the family farm, taught school, and attended Mercer University, where he earned an A.B. in 1859 and an M.A. in 1866. During the Civil War he served in the Confederate Army of Tennessee. A wound in 1864 resulted in the loss of one eye. That same year he married Eugenia Thomas Williams; they would have eleven children. At the war’s end he said, “I counted myself quite wealthy [with] … one wife, and baby, one eye, and one silver dollar.”...

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Joshua L. Chamberlain. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-1859).

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Chamberlain, Joshua Lawrence (08 September 1828–24 February 1914), soldier, politician, and educator, was born in Brewer, Maine, the son of Joshua Chamberlain, a farmer and shipbuilder, and Sarah Dupee Brastow. After attending a military academy in Ellsworth, Chamberlain entered Bowdoin College in 1848, graduating in 1852. Three years later, after graduating from the Bangor Theological Seminary, he joined Bowdoin’s faculty and taught a broad range of subjects, including logic, natural theology, rhetoric, oratory, and modern languages. In 1855 he married Frances Caroline Adams; of the couple’s five children, three survived to adulthood....

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Clark, Peter Humphries (1829–21 June 1925), educator, politician, and civil rights leader, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Michael Clark, a barber, and his wife (name unknown). Clark was the product of a complex, mixed racial ancestry that provided the basis for a lifelong struggle to find a place for himself in both the white and African-American worlds. The oral tradition of Peter Clark’s family and of the Cincinnati African-American community contends that Michael Clark was the son of explorer ...

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Cook, John Francis, Jr. (21 September 1833–20 January 1910), public official and businessman, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of the prominent African-American clergyman and educator John Francis Cook (1810?–1855) and Jane Mann. Educated first at his father’s school, Union Seminary, he later attended Oberlin College in Ohio from 1853 to 1855. Upon the death of their father, he and his brother George F. T. Cook, also a student at Oberlin, returned to Washington to assume direction of Union Seminary. Except for a brief tenure in New Orleans as a schoolteacher, John Cook was connected with the seminary until it ceased operation in 1867 after the District of Columbia opened public schools for blacks. While his brother remained in the education field and was for many years superintendent of the “separate colored school system” in the District of Columbia, John Cook embarked upon a career in government service, Republican politics, and business....

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Curry, Jabez Lamar Monroe (05 June 1825–12 February 1903), politician and educational reformer, was born in Lincoln County, Georgia, the son of William Curry and Susan Winn, planters. He attended school in Lincoln County until his family moved to Talladega County, Alabama, in 1838. In 1839 he entered Franklin College (now the University of Georgia) in Athens, Georgia. He graduated from Franklin in 1843 and then enrolled in the Law School of Harvard College. He received his law degree in 1845 and returned to Talladega, where he read law and then joined the bar. In 1847 Curry married Ann Alexander Bowie; they had four children, two of whom died in infancy....

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English, William Hayden (27 August 1822–07 February 1896), congressman, vice presidential candidate, and historian, was born in Lexington, Indiana, the son of Elisha G. English and Mahala Eastin. Elisha, a landowner and railroad vice president, was a Democrat who served in the Indiana legislature for nearly twenty years and was friends with many important politicians. William benefited from his father’s contacts and status and was influenced by his views....

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Frelinghuysen, Theodore (28 March 1787–12 April 1862), lawyer, politician, and educator, was born in Franklin Township, Somerset County, New Jersey, into one of New Jersey’s most prominent families. His great-grandfather, Theodorus Jacobus Frelinghuysen, participated prominently in the eighteenth-century religious movement known as the “Great Awakening”; his father, Frederick Frelinghuysen, served as a captain of artillery at the battles of Trenton and Monmouth and later was a Federalist U.S. senator. His mother, Gertrude Schenck, died when he was a boy, and the chief feminine influences in young Theodore’s life were his stepmother, Ann Yard, and his paternal grandmother, Dinah Frelinghuysen, both women of strong Christian convictions. His education prepared him for the kind of leadership expected of his social class: the Reverend Robert Finley’s Academy at Basking Ridge, College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) class of 1804, and law study with ...

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Gayarré, Charles Étienne Arthur (09 January 1805–11 February 1895), historian and politician, was born Carlos Esteban Gayarré in New Orleans, the Creole son of Don Carlos Gayarré, a wealthy slaveholding planter, and Marie Elizabeth de Boré. He spent his early years on the sugar plantation of his slaveholding maternal grandfather. In 1825 he graduated from the College of Orleans in New Orleans. In 1826 he published a pamphlet favoring a continuation of capital punishment. From 1826 to 1828 he studied law in a law office in Philadelphia, passing the bar there in 1828. A year later he returned to New Orleans, where he passed the Louisiana bar and also prepared his ...

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Gibbs, Jonathan C. (1827–14 August 1874), clergyman, educator, and politician, was born free in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Maria Jackson and Jonathan C. Gibbs, a Methodist minister. He learned carpentry as a youth and followed that trade until the Presbyterian Assembly helped him enroll at Dartmouth College in 1848. Gibbs, who was one of only two black students at Dartmouth, claimed that he had been rejected by eighteen colleges before being accepted. After graduating from Dartmouth in 1852 he attended the Princeton Theological Seminary. He was ordained as a Presbyterian minister and pastored churches in Troy, New York, and in Philadelphia. While in New York Gibbs campaigned for the extension of black suffrage in the state. When he moved to Philadelphia in 1859 he became prominent in the local Underground Railroad. During the Civil War he joined the freedmen’s relief efforts, campaigned against segregated city streetcars, encouraged black enlistments in the army, served as vice president of the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League, and continued his participation in the black convention movement. He represented Philadelphia at the black national convention in Syracuse in 1864, which severely criticized the Republican party for its failure to endorse black suffrage and which gave birth to the National Equal Rights League....

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Charles Frederick Gunther. Courtesy of the Chicago Historical Society (IChi-10584).

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Gunther, Charles Frederick (06 March 1837–10 February 1920), Chicago confectioner, politician, and antiquarian collector, was born Carl Friedrich Guenther in Wildberg, Wurttemberg, Germany, the son of Marie and Johann Martin Guenther, a candle and soap maker. The family immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1842, and at age ten Gunther began work as a government mail carrier, traveling forty miles daily by horseback. In 1850 they resettled in Peru, Illinois, an important ice harvesting center on the canal linking Chicago with the Mississippi watershed. Gunther found work as a cashier in a bank, where he came in contact with many of the merchants who shipped 100,000 tons of ice down the southern rivers during prosperous years....

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Hadley, Herbert Spencer (20 February 1872–01 December 1927), politician, lawyer, and educator, was born in Olathe, Kansas, the son of John Milton Hadley and Harriett Beach, farmers. He earned an A.B. in 1892 from the University of Kansas and an LL.B. in 1894 from Northwestern University. In 1901 he married Agnes Lee; they had three children....

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Hayakawa, S. I. (18 July 1906–27 February 1992), semanticist and politician, was born Samuel Ichiye Hayakawa in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, the son of Ichora Hayakawa, a Japanese immigrant to Canada who ran an import-export business, and Tora Isono. Hayakawa went to high school in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and graduated with a B.A. from the University of Manitoba in 1927. He went to Montreal and studied for his master’s degree in English literature at McGill University. To support himself during these student days, he drove a taxicab in Montreal and worked as a department store clerk....

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Logan, James (20 October 1674–31 October 1751), provincial councilor, scholar, and William Penn's secretary in America, provincial councilor, scholar, and William Penn’s secretary in America, was born in Lurgan, County Armaugh, Ireland, the son of Scottish Quakers Patrick Logan, a minister and teacher, and Isabel Hume. His father, who earned an A.M. from Edinburgh University, taught him Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and at age thirteen he was apprenticed to Edward Webb, a Quaker linen draper in Dublin. Logan returned to Lurgan six months later, then moved with his family to Bristol when his father was appointed master of the Friar Meetinghouse School. He replaced his father in this position in 1693 and later earned the respect of William Penn when the colonial proprietor served on the school’s supervisory board. Penn invited Logan to be his secretary in Pennsylvania, and he was with the Penn family aboard the ...