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Colson, Charles Wendell (16 October 1931–21 April 2012), political operative and evangelical leader, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the only child of Wendell Ball Colson, an attorney, and Inez (Dizzy) Ducrow. His father earned a reasonable income, but his mother’s spendthrift behavior often endangered the family’s solvency. Bright and often brash, Chuck, as his friends called him, learned about political intrigue as a volunteer in the Massachusetts governor Robert Bradford’s unsuccessful 1948 campaign for reelection....

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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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Conboy, Martin (28 August 1878–05 March 1944), U.S. attorney and leading Catholic layman, was born in New York City, the son of Martin Conboy, a government worker and police officer, and Bridget Harlow. A graduate of Gonzaga College in Washington, D.C. (A.B. 1898, A.M. 1899), he simultaneously attended Georgetown Law School at night, earning his LL.B. in 1898 and his LL.M. in 1899. In 1900 Conboy joined the firm of Griggs, Baldwin & Baldwin as a law clerk. Admitted to the New York bar in 1903, he remained with the firm until 1929. In 1912 he married Bertha Letitia Mason, with whom he had four children....

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Dembitz, Lewis Naphtali (03 February 1833–11 March 1907), attorney and activist in public affairs, was born in Zirke, Prussia. His father, Sigmund Dembitz, was a surgeon whose degree from a Prussian university precluded his practicing in Austria, which required an Austrian degree. He, his wife Fanny Wehle, and their three children therefore led a wandering existence throughout other parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, particularly Poland, while Sigmund unsuccessfully sought a profitable practice in various small towns. The young Dembitz attended schools in Munchenberg, Brandenburg, Frangbord, and Sagan and graduated at age fifteen from the Gymnasium of Glogau University in Frankfort-on-the-Oder. Dembitz’s family did not observe religious rituals. A schoolmate at Glogau introduced him to Orthodox Judaism when Dembitz was thirteen, however, and as an adult he adhered strictly to its tenets and rituals. His one semester of legal studies in Prague was interrupted by the unsuccessful political uprising of 1848. Although neither he nor his family were active participants, they found that the combination of their sympathy for the uprising’s libertarian goals and their Jewishness, assimilated though it was, made life in the Empire uncomfortable. Thirty-five members of the interrelated Wehle, Dembitz, and Brandeis families therefore immigrated to the United States in 1849....

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Elliott, Walter Hackett Robert (06 January 1842–18 April 1928), Roman Catholic priest, lawyer, and missionary, was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Judge Robert T. Elliott and Frances O’Shea. He was educated in Catholic schools in Detroit and at the age of twelve entered the College of Notre Dame in Indiana. He did not graduate, however, choosing instead to study law with U.S. District Attorney Warner M. Bateman in Cincinnati. He was admitted to the bar in 1861. With the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted in the Fifth Ohio Volunteers of Cincinnati and served until the end of the war....

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Faruqi, Isma‘il Raji al- (01 January 1921–27 May 1986), scholar of religion and Islamic social activist, was born in Jaffa, Palestine, the son of ‘Abd al Huda al-Faruqi, a wealthy Muslim judge; his mother’s name is unknown. In 1941 he received a B.A. in philosophy from the American University of Beirut. In 1942 he was employed as a registrar of Cooperative Societies by the British Mandate in Jerusalem, which appointed him in 1945 as the district governor of Galilee. When Israel became an independent Jewish state in 1948, Faruqi fled to the United States and enrolled as a graduate student at Indiana University. In 1949 he graduated with an M.A. in philosophy and was accepted as a graduate student at Harvard University, where in 1951 he earned a second M.A. in philosophy. He then returned to Indiana University, from which he obtained a Ph.D. in 1952. During his graduate studies, Faruqi translated books from Arabic into English for the American Council of Learned Societies. He married Lois Ibsen some time around 1952; they had three daughters and two sons, the younger of which died on a trip to Mexico in March 1986....

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Gardiner, Robert Hallowell, III (09 September 1855–15 June 1924), lawyer, social gospeler, and Episcopal ecumenical leader, was born in Fort Tejon, California, the son of Major John William Tudor Gardiner and Anna Elizabeth West Hays. While Gardiner was a child, the family moved to Boston where his father, who suffered from crippling arthritis, was a recruiting officer for the Union armies. Sometime after 1865 the family moved to Montreal, Canada, where Gardiner attended high school. He took an extra year at the Roxbury Latin School from 1871 to 1872 and then distinguished himself at Harvard College. He was appointed Latin orator at his graduation in 1876. Throughout his life, Gardiner maintained a keen interest in languages and spoke French, modern Greek, Italian, German, and ecclesiastical Latin. In 1877 he spent a year as an assistant teacher at Roxbury Latin, where he taught French....

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Hogan, William (?1791–03 January 1848), schismatic Catholic priest and lawyer, was born in Limerick, Ireland. Little is known of Hogan’s parents, education, life, and clerical ministry in Ireland. Some of his published letters from the 1820s give his birthplace as Limerick, but no known Irish records of his parents’ names and occupations exist. Records at St. Patrick’s College in Maynooth, Ireland, indicate that Hogan was enrolled in the school studying humanities in 1811, preparing himself for a theological education and the priesthood....

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Holman, Jesse Lynch (24 October 1784–28 March 1842), lawyer, judge, and Baptist preacher, was born near Danville, Kentucky, the son of Henry Holeman and Jane Gordon, farmers. In 1789 Holman’s father was killed by Indians, which left his large family poverty-stricken. Holman managed nevertheless to attain a common school education and in his late teens read law in the office of ...

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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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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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Kane, Thomas Leiper (27 January 1822–26 December 1883), lawyer, soldier, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and defender of the Mormons, was born in Philadelphia, the son of John Kintzing Kane, a jurist, and Jane Duval Leiper. He attended school in Philadelphia and from 1839 to 1844 traveled in England and France, studying and visiting relatives. While in Paris he served for a time as an attaché of the American legation. Small in stature and never robust, he would spend most of his life struggling with ill health. In Paris he met Auguste Comte and others who surely encouraged his social conscience, which would be manifested later in his concern for philanthropic causes. In 1844 Kane returned to Philadelphia, where he studied law with his father. Although he was admitted to the bar in 1846 and clerked briefly for his father, who was a federal judge, his interests and activities generally moved in other directions....

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-116776).

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King, Martin Luther, Jr. (15 January 1929–04 April 1968), Baptist minister and civil rights leader, was born Michael King, Jr., in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of the Reverend Michael King ( Martin Luther King) and Alberta Williams. Born to a family with deep roots in the African-American Baptist church and in the Atlanta black community, the younger King spent his first twelve years in the home on Auburn Avenue that his parents shared with his maternal grandparents. A block away, also on Auburn, was Ebenezer Baptist Church, where his grandfather, the Reverend Adam Daniel Williams, had served as pastor since 1894. Under Williams’s leadership, Ebenezer had grown from a small congregation without a building to become one of Atlanta’s prominent African-American churches. After Williams’s death in 1931, his son-in-law became Ebenezer’s new pastor and gradually established himself as a major figure in state and national Baptist groups. In 1934 the elder King, following the request of his own dying father, changed his name and that of his son to Martin Luther King....

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Kinsey, John (1693–11 May 1750), Quaker politician and lawyer, was born in Philadelphia, the son of John Kinsey, a carpenter, politician, and Quaker minister, and Sarah Stevens. The younger John Kinsey likely attended the Friends Public School until the family moved to Woodbridge, New Jersey, sometime between 1702 and 1704. The older Kinsey placed him with a joiner in New York as an apprentice, but as a friend wrote after Kinsey’s death, “having an Inquisitive disposition, and a Genius for something above his then employ, he left his master before his time was out, & applied himself to the Study of the Law.” He probably studied in Philadelphia with ...

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Kohler, Max James (22 May 1871–24 July 1934), jurist, historian, and Jewish communal worker, was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Kaufmann Kohler and Johanna Einhorn. His parents were Jewish immigrants from Germany, and both his father and grandfather, David Einhorn, were leading rabbis of the Reform Movement in American Judaism. Upon the death of Kohler’s grandfather in 1879, his father assumed Einhorn’s pulpit at New York’s Congregation Beth El, and the family moved to that city. There he grew up in an atmosphere infused with a devotion to both religious values and scholarly pursuits. After completing high school, Kohler attended the College of the City of New York, where he won several important literary prizes. Following his graduation in 1890, he entered Columbia University, from which he received both M.A. (1891) and LL.B. (1893) degrees. He was admitted to the New York State bar in 1893 and became an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, resigning after four years to start a private law practice. In 1906 he married Winifred Lichtenauer, who died in 1922. No children resulted from the marriage....

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Lloyd, David ( ?1656–06 April 1731), leading Quaker legislator and jurist of early Pennsylvania, was born in Manafon, Montgomeryshire, Wales, the son of Thomas Lloyd. (His mother’s name is unknown.) After grammar school, Lloyd studied law with George Jeffries, the Welshman who later became lord chief justice of the King’s Bench and lord chancellor of England. On the basis of this legal training, ...

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Lovejoy, Elijah Parish (09 November 1802–07 November 1837), abolitionist editor and preacher, was born near Albion, Maine, the son of Daniel Lovejoy, a Congregational preacher and farmer, and Elizabeth Pattee. Lovejoy graduated from Waterville (now Colby) College in 1826 and a year later moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he conducted a private school and edited the ...

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Maffitt, John Newland (28 December 1794–28 May 1850), Methodist preacher, was born in Dublin, Ireland, to a middle-class family that belonged to the Church of Ireland, a branch of the Anglican church. Information about Maffitt’s family background and early life is decidedly spotty: his parents’ names are unknown, although we do know that his father died when Maffitt was twelve and that his mother shortly thereafter attempted to establish him in a mercantile establishment devoted to tailoring. One account claims he graduated from Trinity College. The teenage Maffitt indulged a love of reading novels and historical romances, however, until a conversion experience in a Methodist meeting at age eighteen or nineteen—accounts conflict on this score—convinced him to become a preacher. The Irish Methodist church did not recognize him as a licensed preacher, and his sporadic attempts at evangelical work both in and beyond Dublin were a mixed success at best. Even so, he displayed a highly melodramatic style, which would personify his later career in the United States. He married Ann Carnic at age twenty. They had seven children; the oldest son, ...

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Malcolm X Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-115058).