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Anagnos, Michael (07 November 1837–29 June 1906), educator of the blind, was born in the remote village of Papingo in the Epirus region of northwestern Greece, the son of a peasant named Demetrios Anagnostopoulos, whose family held a prominent position within the community; his mother’s name is not known. He attended high school in the city of Ioannina and in 1856 entered the National University of Athens, where he took courses in Greek, Latin, French, and philosophy. Shortly after graduating from the university he went to work for ...

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Andrews, Jane (01 December 1833–15 July 1887), educator and writer of children's books, educator and writer of children’s books, was born in Newburyport, Massachusetts, the daughter of John Andrews, a bookseller and later a cashier, and Margaret Demmon Rand. Andrews was educated at Newburyport’s new Putnam Free School, an academy that quickly attained a reputation for high standards. She also took part in a small writing group (with ...

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Arbuthnot, May Hill (27 August 1884–02 October 1969), educator and children's literature specialist, educator and children’s literature specialist, was born in Mason City, Iowa, the daughter of Frank Hill and Mary Elizabeth Seville. May’s childhood was reminiscent of the quality of family life she advocated throughout her professional life—hers was a family in which it was “as unnatural not to read as not to eat.” Arbuthnot later said that her mother, whose “joy in books and people never failed,” guided May and her brother to “the Alcott books and swung us into Dickens and the Waverley novels at an early age.” Her father read aloud classics such as ...

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Barnard, Frederick Augustus Porter (05 May 1809–27 April 1889), scientist and university president, was born in Sheffield, Massachusetts, the son of Robert Foster Barnard, an attorney, and Augusta Porter. He attended school at the Saratoga Academy across the state border in New York and then at the Stockbridge Academy, where he was a classmate and friendly rival of ...

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Blaker, Eliza Ann Cooper (05 March 1854–04 December 1926), kindergarten and teacher educator, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Jacob Cooper and Mary Jane Gore, shopkeepers. Her Pennsylvania German mother largely carried the burden of supporting the family, which included Eliza and two younger children. Her Quaker father was not a financial success and suffered from ill health after he was wounded during the Civil War. Soon after his death, Eliza enrolled in the Girls Normal School of Philadelphia. Graduating as valedictorian in 1874, she served as a primary and grammar school teacher in the Philadelphia schools. For a short period, she supplemented this work with teaching in an artisans’ night school....

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Bonner, Marita Odette (16 June 1898–06 December 1971), educator and author, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Joseph Bonner, a machinist and laborer, and Mary A. Nowell. Educated in the Brookline, Massachusetts, public schools, she applied to Radcliffe College at the urging of her high school faculty adviser and was one of the few African-American students accepted for admission. She majored in English and comparative literature and founded the Radcliffe chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, a black sorority. A gifted pianist and student of musical composition, she won the Radcliffe song competition in 1918 and 1922. Bonner also studied German, a language in which she became fluent. During her last year in college she taught English at a Cambridge high school. After graduating with a B.A. in 1922, she taught at the Bluefield Colored Institute in Bluefield, Virginia, until 1924 and at Armstrong High School in Washington, D.C., from 1924 to 1930, when she married William Almy Occomy, a Brown graduate. The couple moved to Chicago, where they raised three children....

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Bowman, Thea (29 December 1937–30 March 1990), Roman Catholic nun, educator, and advocate for Catholicism within African American communities, was born Bertha Elizabeth Bowman in Yazoo City, Mississippi, the daughter of Theon Edward Bowman and Mary Esther Coleman Bowman. According to Bowman, her childhood was relatively happy and free from financial worries; her father was a doctor and her mother had been a teacher prior to the birth of their only child. As a young girl Bowman attended a number of African American churches, including Methodist, Baptist, Episcopalian, Adventist, A.M.E., and A.M.E. Zion. Relationships she developed with members of the Catholic Order of the Missionary Servants of the Moly Holy Trinity, which included priests, sisters, and brothers, led her to convert to Catholicism when she was nine years old. In June 1947 Bowman was baptized at Holy Child Jesus Mission in Canton, Mississippi. She made her First Communion the following day....

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Bradley, Milton (08 November 1836–30 May 1911), manufacturer of games and educational materials, was born in Vienna, Maine, the son of Lewis Bradley, a craftsman, and Fannie Lyford. After finishing high school in 1854 in Lowell, Massachusetts, Bradley found work in the office of a mechanical draftsman and patent agent. There he earned enough money to enroll himself in the Lawrence Scientific School at Cambridge, where he studied drafting. Half a year short of completing the two-year course, Bradley moved to Hartford, Connecticut, with his parents. Unsuccessful in securing employment there, he left home in 1856 for Springfield, Massachusetts, where he immediately found work with the Wason Car-Manufacturing Company as a draftsman....

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Bridgman, Laura Dewey (21 December 1829–24 May 1889), first deaf-blind person to receive a formal academic education, was born near Etna, New Hampshire, the daughter of Daniel Bridgman and Harmony Downer. Her father, a substantial farmer and pillar of the Baptist church, served two sessions in the New Hampshire legislature. At age two, Laura and her two older sisters suffered an attack of scarlet fever. Her sisters died, and it was two years before Laura was able to sit up all day and three years until she regained her full strength. The illness left her without any sight or hearing and little sense of smell and taste. The speech she acquired before her illness was forgotten....

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Bryan, Anna E. ( July 1858–21 February 1901), kindergarten educator, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the daughter of Parish G. Bryan, a piano maker, and Eliza H. Belle Richard. She graduated from Louisville’s Girls High School in 1878. While visiting with friends in Chicago she heard about the idea of the kindergarten, which had been introduced to the United States in the late 1850s by German immigrants, and enrolled in a training school run by the Chicago Free Kindergarten Association. In 1884, after completing what was apparently a rather minimal course, she began teaching at the Marie Chapel Charity Kindergarten in Chicago. In 1887 she returned to Louisville to direct a training school being organized by the Louisville Free Kindergarten Association....

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Castro, Sal (25 October 1933–15 April 2013), high school teacher and community activist, was born Salvador Castro in Los Angeles, the only child of Carmen Buruel and Salvador Castro, both Mexican immigrant workers. Because his father was undocumented he was deported in 1935 as part of a repatriation movement that blamed Mexican immigrants for taking jobs from “real Americans” during the Great Depression; Castro and his mother were spared being part of this tragic episode. The separation eventually led to his parents divorcing; his mother later remarried....

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Churchman, William Henry (23 November 1818–18 May 1882), educator of the blind, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Quakers Micajah Churchman and Eliza (maiden name unknown). At the age of fifteen his eyesight began to fail, which was attributed to strain from reading and “overstudy” of languages and mathematics. At age eighteen he entered the newly founded Pennsylvania Institution for the Blind as an advanced pupil who had the equivalent of a common-school education but needed specialized training in the skills relevant to the blind, especially writing and reading raised print. A model pupil of the institution, he graduated three years later and spent a year as a teacher there before taking an appointment in 1840 as a teacher of mathematics and music at the Ohio Institution for the Blind in Columbus....

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Cooke, Flora Juliette (25 December 1864–21 February 1953), progressive educator, was born in Bainbridge, Ohio, the daughter of Sumner Hannum and Rosetta Ellis. When she was five years old her mother died, and she was sent to live with her mother’s close friends, Charles and Luella (Miller) Cooke of Youngstown, Ohio, who legally adopted her in 1881. Cooke attended public schools in Youngstown and, after graduating from high school in 1884, taught school in Ohio for five years. Assigned 125 first graders at the Hellman Street School in Youngstown in 1885, she created activities and games to keep some children busy while she taught others. The principal of the school, Zonia Baber, a recent graduate of the Cook County Normal School in Chicago, not only approved but had helpful suggestions. Since Cooke lived far from the school, in bad weather she boarded with Baber and, as she noted in a speech honoring Baber in 1944, had “two years of intensive professional training (most of it given after midnight).” In 1887 Baber returned to Chicago to head the geography department at the Normal School, leaving Cooke as principal. Two years later Baber persuaded Colonel ...

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Cooper, Sarah Brown Ingersoll (12 December 1835–11 December 1896), educator, was born in Cazenovia, New York, the daughter of Samuel Clark Ingersoll, a mechanic, and Laura Case Hopkins. Sarah was only five years old when her mother died, and she and her two sisters were reared by a great aunt. When she was twelve years old, her first article was published in the ...

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Crosby, Fanny (24 March 1820–12 February 1915), poet and author of gospel hymn texts, was born Frances Jane Crosby in Putnam County, New York, the daughter of John Crosby and Mercy Crosby, farmers. (Her mother’s maiden name and married name were the same.) At the age of six weeks, she developed an eye infection, for which a man falsely claiming to be a physician prescribed the application of hot poultices; the tragic result was permanent blindness. That same year her father died, and her mother went to work as a maid. Fanny was first sent to live with her grandmother, and later with a Mrs. Hawley, who realized the child’s precociousness and set her to memorizing much of the Bible. Within two years, Fanny had committed the entire Pentateuch (complete with genealogies), most of the poetic books, and the four Gospels to memory....

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Dobbs, Ella Victoria (11 June 1866–13 April 1952), leader in elementary education and founder of the Department of Applied Arts at the University of Missouri, Columbia, was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the daughter of Edward O’Hail Dobbs, a railroad employee, and Jane Jackson Forsythe. Ella’s mother, an invalid, died after a long illness when her daughter was only eight years old. Ella did not know her father well but developed a deep affection for her stepsister, who became a mother to her. A delicate child, Ella early had a desire to be a first-grade teacher. Ill health interrupted her schooling, but she supplemented her education with independent reading and extension courses....

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Dorothy Canfield Fisher. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-110621).

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Fisher, Dorothy F. Canfield (17 February 1879–09 November 1958), author and educational leader, was born Dorothea Frances Canfield in Lawrence, Kansas, the daughter of James Hulme Canfield, a professor of economics and sociology at the University of Kansas, and Flavia A. Camp, an artist. As a child Dorothy summered with relatives in Arlington, Vermont. In 1890 she went to Paris with her mother, visited her mother’s studio in the Latin Quarter, and attended a convent school....

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Fuller, Sarah (15 February 1836–01 August 1927), educator and advocate for deaf children, was born in Weston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Hervey Fuller and Celynda Fiske, farmers. After receiving her early education in Newton Lower Falls, Massachusetts, Fuller attended the Allan English and Classical School of West Newton. ...

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Gallaudet, Edward Miner (05 February 1837–26 September 1917), educator, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, noted educator of the deaf and principal of the Connecticut Asylum for the Education and Instruction of Deaf and Dumb Persons (now the American School for the Deaf), and Sophia Fowler, a deaf graduate of the Connecticut Asylum. Edward attended Trinity College in Hartford, supporting himself by teaching part time at the Connecticut Asylum, where he continued to work full time after leaving Trinity College....