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O’Leary, Daniel (29 June 1846?–29 May 1933), pedestrian, was born in the village of Carrigroe, County Cork, Ireland, the son of a farmer. His parents’ names are not known. Raised amid widespread famine and desolation, O’Leary worked on his father’s farm until age twenty, when he immigrated to the United States. Unable to find employment in New York City, he moved to Chicago, Illinois, and secured a job in a lumberyard. During the winter of 1866 O’Leary moved to Bolivar County, Mississippi, where he picked cotton. In 1868 he returned to Chicago and became a door-to-door book salesman. After achieving modest success as a book canvasser, the Chicago fire of 1871 wiped out many of his clients and left O’Leary with a $3,000 debt in idle inventory and unpaid bills. After the fire he started peddling his books in the Chicago suburbs. In addition to walking several miles from house to house, O’Leary began and ended each day by walking ten to fifteen miles from the city to the suburbs. He maintained this regimen for nearly two years, building the physical stamina that would enable him to become a long-distance race walker....

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Peck, Annie Smith (19 October 1850–18 July 1935), mountaineer, author, and feminist, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the youngest of four children of Anna Power Smith Peck and George Bacheler Peck. Her father was a lawyer, a legislator, and a merchant, affording Peck a comfortable early life. But she yearned to have the same education afforded her brothers and wanted, like them, to attend Brown University but could not because she was a woman. Instead she attended Rhode Island State Normal School (now Rhode Island College), a preparatory school for teachers, graduating in 1872. Despite her parents’ disapproval Peck next enrolled in the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, which had just begun to admit women, graduating in 1878 with a degree in classical languages. She traveled to Athens to become the first woman to attend the American School of Classical Studies and in 1881 received a master’s degree specializing in Greek from the University of Michigan. From 1881 to 1892 she was a professor of Latin at Purdue University and at Smith College, making her one of the first American women college professors. When she realized she could support herself lecturing about archaeology and mountaineering, illustrated by her own photographs, she quit teaching. She never married....

Article

Washburn, Bradford (7 June 1910–10 Jan. 2007), mountaineer, photographer, cartographer, and museum director, was born Henry Bradford Washburn, Jr. in Cambridge, Massachusetts, into a family that traced its roots to Plymouth Colony. His father, Henry Bradford Washburn, Sr., was the dean of the Episcopal Divinity School; his mother, Edith Buckingham Hall, was an amateur photographer and the widow of Rev. Samuel Colgate. In addition to a younger brother, Sherwood, born in ...

Article

Weston, Edward Payson (15 March 1839–13 May 1929), long-distance walker, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Silas Weston, a merchant, and Maria Gaines, a writer of popular romances. As a child, Weston moved with his family to Boston, where he attended public school. At age fourteen he was employed as a candy, magazine, and newspaper vendor on trains from Boston to Providence; a year later he worked the New York–Fall River Steamship Line. His first recognition as an athlete came in 1861 when he walked from Boston to Washington, D.C., in ten days to attend ...

Article

Workman, Fanny Bullock (08 January 1859–22 January 1925), travel writer and mountain climber, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, the daughter of Alexander Hamilton Bullock, a Republican politician and one-term governor of Massachusetts, and Elvira Hazard. Her mother was one of three surviving children of Augustus George Hazard, wealthy landowner and cofounder of Hazard Powder Company (one of the most prominent manufacturers of gunpowder in the mid-nineteenth century). Raised in affluence, Fanny Bullock was privately tutored during her early childhood. As an adolescent, she completed her education at finishing schools in New York City, Paris, and Dresden. She returned to the family home in Worcester at the age of twenty and met William Hunter Workman, a Yale-educated physician who was twelve years her senior. In 1881 she married Workman, with whom she had one child....