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Adams, Marian Hooper (13 September 1843–06 December 1885), Washington hostess, pioneer photographer, and the wife of Henry Adams, Washington hostess, pioneer photographer, and the wife of Henry Adams, was born in Boston to Edward Hooper, a wealthy ophthalmologist, and Ellen Sturgis Hooper, a Transcendental poet. “Clover,” as she was called, grew up among an affectionate clan of community conscious relatives who offered her continuing warmth and encouragement after the death of her mother when she was just five. Her father subsequently gave up his regular practice in order to rear his three children. And he became especially close to Clover, the youngest....

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Allen, William Henry (21 October 1784–18 August 1813), U.S. naval officer and hero of the War of 1812, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of militia general William Allen, a veteran of the Revolution, and Sarah Jones, sister of William Jones, future governor of Rhode Island. William Henry’s parents were prosperous members of Providence society and intended for him to follow a civilian career. His early education provided him with a good grounding in penmanship and mathematics (the latter proved useful in his naval career) and also with considerable skill as an artist. He made very competent sketches in his letters and the blank pages of his journals and did pen and ink portraits of his family. His only surviving likeness, a profile portrait, is probably based on a sketch done by Allen himself....

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Andrews, Regina (21 May 1901–05 February 1993), librarian and dramatist, was born Regina M. Anderson in the Hyde Park section of Chicago, Illinois, to Margaret Simons Anderson, a clubwoman and ceramics artist, and William Grant Anderson, an attorney. Regina grew up in an upper-middle-class family because of her father’s success as a defense attorney, which earned him the nickname “Habeas Corpus.” Her views about race were no doubt shaped by her father’s fighting for racial justice for his clients and his collaboration with the antilynching advocate ...

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Andrews, Stephen Pearl (22 March 1812–21 May 1886), eccentric philosopher and reformer, was born in Templeton, Massachusetts, the son of Elisha Andrews, a Baptist clergyman, and Wealthy Ann Lathrop. He attended the village school and, after the family moved to Hinsdale, New Hampshire, in 1816, was taught at home by his father. In 1828 and 1829 he studied in the classical department of Amherst Academy, where he was influenced by Professor ...

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Astor, Brooke (30 March 1902–13 August 2007), philanthropist and socialite, was born Roberta Brooke Russell in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the only child of John Henry Russell, Jr., a major general in the U.S. Marine Corps, and Mabel Cecile Hornby Howard. Her father, who ultimately became commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, rose in professional responsibility while serving in several important assignments after his daughter’s birth, beginning with his command of the battleship USS ...

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Marilyn Elizabeth Perry

Astor, Caroline (22 September 1830–30 October 1908), society leader, was born Caroline Webster Schermerhorn in New York City, the daughter of Abraham Schermerhorn, a wealthy co-owner of a ship chandlery firm, and Helen White. Related to many prominent New York City families, Caroline grew up proud of her aristocratic background and social standing. After finishing her education in Europe, she married William Backhouse Astor, a son of one of America’s richest families, in 1853. The couple had five children....

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Bailey, Ann Hennis Trotter (1742–22 November 1825), revolutionary war scout, was born in Liverpool, England. Little is known about her parents, although it is believed that her father had been a soldier under the duke of Marlborough’s command. As Bailey was literate, she received an education in Liverpool, although details of it are not recorded. Orphaned as a young adult, she immigrated to America in the wake of relatives named Bell. She arrived in Staunton, Virginia, at the Bells’ home, in 1761. In 1765 she married Richard Trotter, a frontiersman and Indian fighter, and they had a son in 1767. Lord Dunmore, the royal governor of Virginia, recruited men in 1774 to fight the marauding Indians who were disrupting the settlers on or near the Scioto River. Richard Trotter volunteered and followed Colonel Charles Lewis to the point where the Kanawha and Ohio rivers meet, known as Point Pleasant. He was killed in the battle there on 10 October 1774....

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Barnett, Jackson (01 January 1856?–29 May 1934), wealthy American Indian, was born in the Creek Nation, Indian Territory, the son of Siah Barnett, an African-Creek farmer, and Thlesothle, a Creek woman. During his childhood the Civil War violently split the Creek people, and the countryside was ravaged. Siah Barnett fled to Kansas with the Loyal Creeks. Thlesothle died in a refugee camp near Fort Gibson as the war ended. Given into the care of maternal relatives, the orphaned Jackson spent much of his youth and early adulthood transporting people and goods across the Arkansas River at John Leecher's ferry above Muskogee. While working as a ranch hand, Barnett fell from a horse and sustained a head injury. In the 1880s or early 1890s, Barnett relocated westward to the central Creek Nation, where he built a small cabin and established himself in a network of paternal kin. A shy man with a beaming smile, Barnett formed no romantic relationships with women. He spoke both English and Creek, but he had no schooling and led an obscure life as an unskilled laborer....

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Barney, Natalie Clifford (31 October 1876–02 February 1972), writer and salon hostess, was born in Dayton, Ohio, the daughter of Albert Clifford Barney, a railroad car heir, and Alice Pike, a painter and philanthropist. Her childhood was spent in wealthy circles in Cincinnati and later in Washington, D.C., and Bar Harbor, Maine. She was educated at home by a French governess and in France at Les Ruches in Fontainebleau. By the turn of the century, she had decided to remain in Paris and write in French....

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Beamer, Todd Morgan (24 November 1968–11 September 2001), passenger aboard United Airlines Flight 93, was born in Flushing, Michigan, a small town northwest of Flint, the son of David Beamer, a sales representative for IBM, and Peggy Jackson Beamer, a muralist. Todd and his two sisters, Melissa and Michele, were raised “with a strong biblical value system and work ethic” ( ...

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Berkeley, Lady Frances (1634–1695?), influential figure in Virginia politics and society, was born Frances Culpeper in Kent, England, the daughter of Thomas Culpeper, a member of the Virginia Company, and Katherine St. Leger. Around 1650 she and her parents immigrated to the colony of Virginia. Members of her family played important roles in Virginia affairs both in the colony and at court. Her father was an original patentee of land in the Northern Neck of Virginia, while Alexander Culpeper, her brother, held an appointment as surveyor general of the colony (1671–1694), and ...

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Bettelheim, Bruno (28 August 1903–13 March 1990), therapist, educator, and author, was born in Vienna, Austria, the son of Anton Bettelheim, a lumber merchant, and Pauline Seidler. Following his father’s death in 1926, he dropped out of the university to take over the family firm. Although successful in business, he re-enrolled ten years later to become, in February 1938, one of the last Jews to obtain a Ph.D. from Vienna University before World War II. While he was a philosophy student, aesthetics was his main subject, but he also studied psychology under ...

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Billy the Kid (15 September 1859–14 July 1881), western outlaw and legendary figure in international folklore, was born Henry McCarty, probably in Brooklyn, New York, probably on the date given, and probably of Irish immigrants; all aspects of his origins, however, remain controversial. In 1873 his mother, Catherine, was remarried, to William Henry Antrim, whereupon the boy took his stepfather’s name and became Henry Antrim. Later, for reasons that are obscure, he adopted the sobriquet William H. Bonney. In adolescence he was called simply Kid, but not until the final few months of his life was he known as Billy the Kid....

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Anne Willing Bingham. Engraving after a painting by Gilbert Stuart. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-101783).

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Bingham, Anne Willing (01 August 1764–11 May 1801), leader of Philadelphia society during the Federalist period, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Thomas Willing, a wealthy importer and partner of Robert Morris (1734–1806), and Anne McCall, who oversaw Anne’s education. Anne studied literature, writing, French, music, drawing, and embroidery. Her childhood and youth were filled with social engagements shared with children of elite families, including her relatives the Byrds and the Shippens. Though her father refused to sign the Declaration of Independence and her family remained in occupied Philadelphia during the Revolution, they remained socially aloof from General ...

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John Birch. In uniform with the rank of captain. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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Birch, John (28 May 1918–25 August 1945), Baptist missionary and military officer, was born John Morrison Birch in Landaur, India, the son of George S. Birch and Ethel Ellis Birch. Both parents were Methodist missionaries under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. George Birch was also an agricultural professor at Ewing Christian College, Allahabad, India, while Ethel Birch tutored English there and conducted women's Bible classes nearby. In 1920 the family returned to the United States. George Birch became a fruit farmer in Vineland, New Jersey, where John Birch first went to school. In 1930 the family, by then including seven children, moved to Rome, Georgia, where Birch attended high school. After graduating at the head of his class, he entered Mercer University; there, he deepened his religious convictions and evangelical passion and graduated magna cum laude in 1939. He completed a two-year course at the Bible Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, in one year and then left in July 1940 for China, sponsored by a World's Fundamentalist Baptist Missionary Fellowship....

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Eliza Violet Gist Blair. Francis Preston Blair and Eliza Violet Gist Blair. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ6-1725).

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Blair, Eliza Violet Gist (1794–05 July 1877), newspaperwoman and political hostess, was born in either Virginia or in Bourbon County, Kentucky, the daughter of Nathaniel Gist, an Indian agent and planter, and Judith Cary Bell. Eliza’s father died in 1797, and a decade later her mother married ...

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Bonaparte, Elizabeth Patterson (06 February 1785–04 April 1879), celebrity, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the daughter of William Patterson, a wealthy shipper and real estate investor, and Dorcas Spear, daughter of a well-to-do merchant. Elizabeth was the eldest daughter in a family of thirteen children. She was known as “Betsy” and received her education from her mother and at a French school in Baltimore. Famed for her beauty as a young woman, she was known as “The belle of Baltimore” (Mitchell, p. 35). She was also ambitious and willful and hungered for a life of excitement and adventure....