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Eisler, Gerhart (20 February 1897–21 March 1968), Communist journalist and politician, was born in Leipzig, Germany, the son of Rudolf Eisler, a philosopher, and Marie Ida Fischer. Eisler grew up in Vienna, Austria, where his father was an assistant professor without tenure (Privatdozent) at the university. The socialist sympathies of his parents, his own studies in anarchist and Marxist literature, writing for his school journal, and eventually his experiences as a young officer during World War I were all factors that influenced Eisler’s future. He was active in the revolution in November 1918 and joined the Communist party of German-Austria....

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Will Hays [left to right] Will Rogers and Will Hays, c. 1925. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-83080).

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Hays, Will H. (05 November 1879–07 March 1954), motion picture industry official, lawyer, and politician, was born William Harrison Hays in Sullivan, Indiana, the son of John T. Hays, an attorney, and Mary Cain. He graduated from Indiana’s all-male Wabash College in 1900 and privately studied law. Upon passing the Indiana bar, Hays opened a law office in Sullivan and became city attorney. He moved through a variety of political offices in Indiana before he was named chairman of the Republican National Committee in June 1918. When ...

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Murphy, George (04 July 1902–03 May 1992), actor, dancer, and politician, was born George Lloyd Murphy in New Haven, Connecticut, the son of Michael Murphy, a university and olympic track coach, and Nora Long. In his autobiography Murphy called his family “close-knit” and “dominated by a loving father who constantly demanded the best of us.” His father died in 1913 and in 1917, at the age of fifteen he ran away from home after his mother’s death with the intention of joining the navy in order to serve in World War I. He returned shortly after, finished high school, and attended Yale University. Discontented with school, Murphy left Yale in his junior year and worked in a number of occupations from toolmaking to coal loading before his girlfriend, Julie Johnson (real name Juliette Henkel), taught him to dance....

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Wilkinson, Bud (23 April 1916–09 February 1994), college football coach, sports commentator, and politician, was born Charles Burnham Wilkinson in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Charles Patton Wilkinson, a successful mortgage broker, and Edith Lindbloom Wilkinson, who died when Bud was seven years old. After his mother’s death, Bud attended the Shattuck Military Academy in Faribault, Minnesota. He thrived at the school and quickly became a standout student and athlete. He graduated in 1933....