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Dorsey, James Owen (31 October 1848–04 February 1895), ethnologist and missionary, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Thomas Anderson Dorsey and Mary Sweetser Hance. As a child, James showed an aptitude for languages, learning to read Hebrew by the age of ten. He entered Central High School in Baltimore in 1862 and in 1867 began studies at the Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia. Ordained as a deacon in 1871, Dorsey immediately left for the Dakota Territory, where he began missionary work among the Ponca Indians, a Siouan tribe. He quickly learned to speak the Ponca language well enough to communicate without an interpreter, and he was working on a Ponca grammar and dictionaries in 1873 when serious illness forced him to return east. Dorsey contacted the Smithsonian Institution, hoping to have his materials published, but his work was judged to be insufficiently professional....

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Fishberg, Maurice (16 August 1872–30 August 1934), physician, anthropologist, and Jewish community worker, was born in Kamenets-Podolski, Russia, the son of Philip Fishberg and Kate Moverman. Raised in a traditional Jewish household, Fishberg was introduced to modern scientific study in a Russian government school before immigrating to the United States in 1890. He attended the Medical College of New York University, where he received his M.D. in 1897. That same year he married Bertha Cantor; they had two children. Fishberg was initially engaged in private practice on New York’s Lower East Side, later securing a post as chief medical examiner for the city’s United Hebrew Charities. There Fishberg treated immigrant patients who relied on the support of the Jewish community and made recommendations to community leaders on how social conditions and medical care for the Jewish poor could be improved. While at the United Hebrew Charities, Fishberg became concerned with the attempts of immigration restrictionists to paint Jewish immigrants as carriers of disease. His early medical scholarship, therefore, mustered scientific data in an attempt to dispel myths concerning “Jewish pathology,” particularly the common accusation that immigrants were responsible for the spread of tuberculosis. Fishberg demonstrated, in fact, that Jews were more immune to tuberculosis than other immigrants, a fact he attributed to their religious customs and previous exposure to urban life in European towns and cities....

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Voth, Henry Richert (15 April 1855–02 June 1931), missionary and ethnologist, was born in the Mennonite village of Alexanderwohl in southern Russia, the son of Cornelius Voth, a farmer and cabinetmaker, and Helena Richert. In 1874, together with his parents and the other residents of his home village, he migrated to south central Kansas, where he helped settle a new community of Alexanderwohl directly north of the town of Newton....