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Alexander, Joseph Addison (24 April 1809–28 January 1860), Presbyterian scholar and minister, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Janetta Waddel and Archibald Alexander, a Presbyterian minister. Alexander, who was always called Addison, grew up in Princeton, New Jersey, where in 1812 his father was called to be the first professor at Princeton Theological Seminary. At an early age, Alexander displayed the ability in languages that would make him a marvel throughout his life. By the time he began formal instruction with local tutors, his father had taught him the rudiments of Latin and Greek and also introduced him to Semitic languages. By the time he graduated from the College of New Jersey as a seventeen-year old in 1826, he had read the Koran in Arabic, made considerable progress in Persian and Syriac, and begun the wide-ranging study of contemporary European languages that he never stopped. It was his habit, begun before entering college and continuing to the week of his death, to read the Bible daily in at least six languages. Alexander’s nephew and biographer, Henry Carrington Alexander, concluded that he read, wrote, and spoke Latin, German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese; that he read without helps and wrote Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, Greek, Romaic, and Chaldean; that he could read Ethiopic, Dutch, Sanskrit, Syriac, Coptic, Danish, Flemish, and Norwegian; and that he knew enough Polish, Swedish, Malay, Hindustani, and Chinese to peruse works in these languages. The linguistic marvel was also a social recluse who never married and who, despite great interest in travel and world affairs, lived contentedly in Princeton as a student and professor his whole life. ...

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Allen, Alexander Viets Griswold (04 May 1841–01 July 1908), Episcopal priest, theologian, and educator, was born in Otis, Massachusetts, the son of Ethan Allen, a teacher and Episcopal priest, and Lydia Child Burr. His father served churches in Massachusetts and Vermont. Both parents were strongly evangelical in the Episcopal manner of the time, emphasizing biblical authority and teaching more than sacramental theology—a conviction that produced conflict in several of the churches that Allen’s father served. Their piety shaped Allen’s early views, leading him to enroll at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, in 1859. Kenyon was an Episcopal institution then of an evangelical stamp. An excellent student, Allen delivered the valedictory address upon graduating in 1862 and immediately entered Bexley Hall, a theological seminary in Gambier....

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Allen, Young John William (03 January 1836–30 May 1907), missionary, educator, and journalist in China, was born in Burke County, Georgia, the son of Andrew Young John Allen and Jane Wooten. Because of the early death of both parents, Allen was raised by an aunt and uncle, Wiley and Nancy (Wooten) Hutchins, who lived in Meriwether County, Georgia. He received a sizable inheritance from his father, which financed his education at several small private schools near his home in Starrsville, Georgia, including the Baptist-run Brownwood Institute in LaGrange, Georgia, and the Morgan H. Looney schools in Palmetto, Georgia. His inheritance also allowed him to collect a personal library, which made him the envy of his classmates as early as 1850, when he was only fourteen years old. He began college work at Emory and Henry College in Virginia in 1853 but transferred to Emory College in Oxford, Georgia, in the spring of 1854. At Emory, Allen acquired the secular learning of the European tradition as well as knowledge of Christianity. His extracurricular activities included membership in a debating society and religious study groups, both of which prepared him for his subsequent careers in China....

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Andrews, Lorrin (29 April 1795–29 September 1868), missionary and educator, was born in East Windsor (now Vernon), Connecticut, the son of Samuel Andrews and his wife, whose name is unknown. Andrews grew up on the frontier in Kentucky and Ohio and later attended Jefferson College in Pennsylvania. After graduation he studied at Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey, where he graduated in 1825. He worked as a mechanic and printer while in school, and later as a teacher. On 26 April 1827 he volunteered his services to the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) and was accepted for work in the Sandwich Islands, as Hawaii was then called. His various job experiences and his life in rough pioneer country where hard work was valued prepared him well for his missionary tasks....

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Angela, Mother (21 February 1824–04 March 1887), educator and religious sister, was born Eliza Marie Gillespie in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, the daughter of John Purcell Gillespie, an attorney, and Mary Madeleine Miers. After the death of her father the family moved to Lancaster, Ohio, in 1838. Eliza was educated by Dominican nuns in Somerset and later attended the Ladies’ Academy of the Visitation in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C....

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Benjamin W. Arnett. Courtesy of the Ohio Historical Society.

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Arnett, Benjamin William (06 March 1838–09 October 1906), African-American religious, educational, and political leader, was born in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, the son of Samuel G. Arnett and Mary Louisa (maiden name unknown). Arnett was a man of “mixed Irish, Indian, Scots, and African ancestry” (Wright, p. 79). He was educated in a one-room schoolhouse in Bridgeport, Pennsylvania. Arnett worked as a longshoreman along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and briefly as a hotel waiter. His career as a longshoreman and waiter ended abruptly when a cancerous tumor necessitated amputation of his left leg in 1858. He turned to teaching and was granted a teaching certificate on 19 December 1863. At that time, he was the only African-American schoolteacher licensed in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. For ten months during the academic year 1884–1885, Arnett served as a school principal in Washington, D.C. He returned to Brownsville in 1885, teaching there until 1887. Although largely self-educated, he attended classes at Lane Theological Seminary in Cincinnati. A man of many interests, he was an occasional lecturer in ethics and psychology at the Payne Theological Seminary at Wilberforce University, served as a historian of the AME church, was a trustee of the Archaeological and Historical Society of Ohio, served as a member of the Executive Committee of the National Sociological Society, and was statistical secretary of the Ecumenical Conference of Methodism for the western section from 1891 to 1901....

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Bacon, Benjamin Wisner (15 January 1860–01 February 1932), clergyman and theological professor, was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, the son of Susan (née Bacon) and Leonard Woolsey Bacon, a clergyman. Bacon grew up surrounded by the traditions, habits and the learning of a family of distinguished New England clerics. His paternal grandfather, ...

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Baker, Osmon Cleander (30 July 1812–20 December 1871), Methodist educator and bishop, was born in Marlow, New Hampshire, the son of Isaac Baker and Abigail Kidder. At the age of fifteen he began his studies at Wilbraham Academy in Massachusetts. Wilbur Fisk, the first major Methodist theologian to receive notice outside of the denomination, was the principal of the school, which Methodists had founded a decade earlier. While a student there in 1828, Baker was converted, joined the church, and was licensed to exhort. In 1830 he entered the first class at Wesleyan University, in Middletown, Connecticut, where Fisk, the first president, continued to have a profound effect on the young student. After Baker had spent three years at Wesleyan, ill health forced him to withdraw from the university....

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Bapst, John (07 December 1815–02 November 1887), missionary and educator, was born at La Roche in the canton of Fribourg, Switzerland, the son of a prosperous farmer. He received a classical education at the Jesuit College of Fribourg and entered the Society of Jesus in 1835. Two years after his ordination in 1846 the Jesuits were expelled from Switzerland as the result of a brief war in which Swiss Catholics were defeated by Swiss Protestants. Though his success in theological studies seemed to destine him for a career as a professor of theology, Bapst was sent to the United States as a missionary to the Penobscot Indians in Old Town, Maine. It was a daunting assignment since he knew neither English nor the Abnaki language of the Indians. However, with the help of an Indian girl who knew French, he was able to communicate with the natives and learn their language, which he felt somewhat resembled Hebrew....

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Barbelin, Joseph-Felix (30 May 1808–08 June 1869), clergyman and educator, was born near Lunéville (Meurthe-et-Moselle), France, the oldest child of Dominic Barbelin, Secretary of the Treasurer General for the region of Lunéville, and Elizabeth Louis. The Abbé Joseph L'hommée, his granduncle and godfather, was an early mentor. Barbelin completed preparatory studies at the College of Lunéville where another granduncle, the Abbé Pierre L'hommée, taught. Dreaming of missionary work with Native Americans, Barbelin entered the major seminary at Nancy, France....

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Barbour, Clarence Augustus (21 April 1867–16 January 1937), clergyman and educator, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Heman Humphrey Barbour, a probate judge, and Myra Barker. Barbour received his A.B. from Brown University in 1888. At Brown he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, chosen Senior Class Day orator, and received many other honors. He also taught in the evening public school program of Providence and, during his senior year, served as principal of the Richmond Street Evening School, supervising sixteen teachers who taught 400 pupils. In 1891 he completed his B.D. at Rochester Theological Seminary, was ordained to the Baptist ministry, and accepted a call as the pastor of the Lake Avenue Baptist Church in Rochester, New York. His decision to enter this field was perhaps influenced by his father’s efforts to improve the welfare of convicts and reform drunkards. The same year he married Florence Isabelle Newell; they had four children....

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Bardin, Shlomo ( December 1898–16 May 1976), Jewish educator, was born Shlomo Bardinstein in Zhitomir, Ukraine, the son of Haim Israel Bardinstein and Menia Weissburd, members of Zhitomir’s Jewish bourgeoisie. After completing his secondary education at the Zhitomir School of Commerce in 1918, he left Russia for Palestine, which was probably when he shortened his name to “Bardin.” From 1920 he worked as an administrative assistant at the Hebrew Secondary School in Haifa before leaving in 1923 for the University of Berlin, where he studied history and economics. Two years later he entered University College in London for a year’s study of English. Bardin returned to Haifa in 1926 and spent two years teaching at the Hebrew Boarding School. He went to New York City in 1928 and was accepted as a graduate student at Columbia University’s Teachers College. At Columbia he studied comparative education with progressive educators who urged him to research the Danish Folk High School to examine its creative use of music to reach disaffected youth. He received his M.A. in 1930. In 1931 Bardin married a sculptor, Ruth Jonas, daughter of a wealthy Brooklyn lawyer; the couple would have two children....

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Baron, Salo Wittmayer (26 May 1895–25 November 1989), educator and Jewish historian, was born in Tarnow, Galicia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the son of Elias Baron, a banker, and Minna Wittmayer. Baron’s orthodox, intellectually enlightened family was one of the wealthiest of the Jewish community in Tarnow. The primary languages spoken in the household were Polish and German. Besides the Barons’ holdings in the town, they also owned an estate in the country and had a share in a family oil field. Private tutors instructed Baron in both secular and religious subjects. He later studied in Kraków and then in Vienna, where he received doctorates in history (1917), political science (1922), and jurisprudence (1923). He also continued his Jewish studies at the rabbinical seminary in Vienna and soon became an instructor in Jewish history at Vienna’s Jewish Teachers College....

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Barton, George Aaron (12 November 1859–28 June 1942), Assyriologist and biblical scholar, was born in East Farnham, Quebec, Canada, the son of Daniel Barton, a farmer and blacksmith, and Mary Stevens Bull. He attended the Oakwood Seminary, Poughkeepsie, New York, becoming a minister of the Society of Friends in 1879, and graduated from Haverford College with an A.B. in 1882 and an M.A. in 1885. Around 1883 he moved to Boston, where he worked in insurance for a year, then from 1884 to 1889 taught mathematics and classics at the Friends School in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1884 he married Caroline Brewer Danforth; they adopted one child. In 1889 he entered Harvard Graduate School (M.A. 1890), where he studied Assyriology with David G. Lyon and Semitics and the Bible with Crawford H. Toy and Joseph H. Thayer. In 1891 he received his Ph.D. for a study, “The Semitic Ishtar Cult,” later published in the ...

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Beach, Harlan Page (04 April 1854–04 March 1933), missionary, missions librarian, and professor of missions, was born in South Orange, New Jersey, the son of Joseph Wickliff Beach and Mary Angeline Walkley, farmers. He prepared for college at Phillips Andover Academy and graduated from Yale University in 1878. He taught at Phillips Andover Academy for two years, then entered Andover Theological Seminary, graduating (B.D.) in 1883. His father opposed his decision to be a missionary, but his mother encouraged him. He married Lucy Lucretia Ward on 29 June 1883 and was ordained to the Congregational ministry on 19 July 1883; later in the same year they were sent by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to serve in North China. After language study he was on the staff of a high school and theological seminary at Tung-chau until December 1889, when his wife’s ill health caused their return to the United States....

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Bennett, John Cook (03 August 1804–05 August 1867), physician, religious leader, and entrepreneur, was born in Fair Haven, Bristol County, Massachusetts, the son of John Bennett, a shipowner, and Abigail Cook. At his father’s death in 1817, he moved with his mother to Ohio to stay with relatives. In 1825, after a three-year apprenticeship with a physician and an oral examination by an Ohio medical society, Bennett received his M.D. and a license to practice. That year he married Mary Barker; they had three children. There is no evidence supporting his claim to have attended Ohio University or McGill College in Montreal; he did, however, become a Freemason in 1826....

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Bingham, Sybil Moseley (14 September 1792–27 February 1848), missionary and teacher, was born in Westfield, Massachusetts, the eldest child of Pliny Moseley and Sophia Pomeroy. Both parents had died by the time Sybil was nineteen, and she supported her three younger sisters by accepting teaching positions in Hartford, Connecticut; Canandaigua, New York; and Ontario Female Seminary. Invited by friends, she attended the ordination ceremony of ...

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Bishop, Robert Hamilton (26 July 1777–29 April 1855), Presbyterian minister and educator, was born at Cult, Linlithgowshire, near Edinburgh, Scotland, the son of William Bishop and Margaret Hamilton, tenant farmers. His parents were devout Presbyterians, and his father was an elder in the Associate Reformed church. He entered Edinburgh University in 1793 and completed his A.B. in 1798 with some financial assistance from his professors. He studied under James Finlayson and Dugald Stewart and imbibed their liberal outlook. Afterward he completed studies at the Associate church’s seminary at Selkirk. He was licensed by the presbytery of Perth in response to a call for ministers from the Associate Reformed church in the United States in 1802. Shortly before leaving for America that same year, he married Ann Ireland; they had eight children....

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Blum, Virgil Clarence (27 March 1913–05 April 1993), educator, author, activist, and clergyman, was born in Defiance, Iowa, one of twelve children of John Peter and Elizabeth (Rushenberg) Blum, both farmers. His grade school and high school years were spent at St. Peter's school in Defiance. In 1932 he began college at Dowling College, Des Moines, Iowa, and the next year transferred to Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. On 31 Aug. 1934 he entered the Society of Jesus at St. Stanislaus Seminary at Florissant, Missouri, where he earned a bachelor's degree in Latin and English in 1938. (A brother, Victor Joseph, also became a Jesuit and became a professor of geophysics and seismology at St. Louis University). Virgil studied philosophy at St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri, continuing studies in the summer until he earned a master's degree in history and political science in 1945....