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Grace, William Russell (10 May 1832–21 March 1904), founder of W. R. Grace & Co. and twice mayor of New York City, founder of W. R. Grace & Co. and twice mayor of New York City, was born in Riverstown, Ireland, the son of James Grace, a landowner and farmer, and Eleanor Mary Russell. Grace, like so many Irishmen of his generation, left his famine-ravaged homeland in the mid-nineteenth century seeking a new life in the Americas. Well educated in Jesuit schools and coming from the minor gentry of Ireland, young William arrived in Peru in 1854....

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Jackson, Maynard Holbrook, Jr. (23 March 1938–23 June 2003), Atlanta mayor, businessman, and national political leader, was born in Dallas, Texas, the second of five children and the eldest son of the Reverend Maynard Holbrook Jackson, Sr., and Irene Dobbs Jackson, a professor of French. The family moved to Atlanta, Georgia, in 1945 when Reverend Jackson was chosen as the new minister of Friendship Baptist Church. A large youth who grew into a six-foot-three, three-hundred-pound adult, Maynard, Jr., was a poor athlete but a brilliant student who skipped grades six and seven, as well as his junior and senior years of high school, and enrolled in Morehouse College at age fourteen. When his father died the following year, his maternal grandfather, the Atlanta civic and political leader John Wesley Dobbs, became his surrogate father. Dobbs was one of the most important leaders in Atlanta’s black community for more than four decades. He was known as the “Mayor of Auburn Avenue” (the location of several of Atlanta’s largest black businesses), and he served as the national grand master of the Prince Hall Masons from 1932 until his death in 1961....

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Ladd, William Sargent (10 October 1826–06 January 1893), financier, merchant, and mayor of Portland, Oregon, was born in Holland, Vermont, the son of Nathaniel Gould Ladd, a physician, and Abigail Mead. Ladd’s father moved the family to New Hampshire in 1830, and at age fifteen William started work on a farm. Four years later he taught school and then became a station agent for the Boston, Concord & Montreal Railroad at Sanbornton Bridge. In 1851 he arrived in San Francisco, responding to reports from a schoolmate, Charles Elliott Tilton. Tilton had written that wealth and opportunity awaited in Portland, Oregon, by supplying miners and prospectors in the area. Portland, Ladd learned, provided the primary source of provisions for the miners in the northern California region, where gold was plentiful. Tilton had moved his own business to San Francisco, specialized in the China trade, and extended his sales network northward. Thus, Ladd had an available supplier in the region, so he acquired a stock of goods and opened a general mercantile business called W. S. Ladd & Company in Portland....