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Bancroft, Edward (09 January 1744–08 September 1821), physician, scientist, and spy, was born in Westfield, Massachusetts, the son of Edward Bancroft and Mary Ely, farmers. The elder Bancroft died in 1746 of an epileptic attack suffered in a pigpen, two months before the birth of his younger son, Daniel. His widow married David Bull of Westfield in 1751, and the family moved to Hartford, Connecticut, where Bull operated the Bunch of Grapes tavern. Edward Bancroft was taught for a time by the recent Yale graduate ...

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Bayard, James Asheton (28 July 1767–06 August 1815), attorney and politician, was born probably in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of James Asheton Bayard, a physician, and Agnes Hodge. Following his father’s and mother’s deaths in 1770 and 1774 respectively, Bayard became the ward of his uncle ...

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Carlson, Chester Floyd (08 February 1906–19 September 1968), inventor and patent lawyer, was born in Seattle, Washington, the son of Olof Adolph Carlson, a barber, and Ellen Josephine (maiden name unknown). His father had emigrated from Sweden and suffered from severe arthritis, and both parents developed tuberculosis. The family moved briefly to Mexico for the warmer weather but returned to the United States in 1912 to settle on a rented farm near San Bernardino, California. For a time Carlson was the only student in a country school, and he rode into town on a bicycle to work at odd jobs. His mother died when he was seventeen, and he supported his father....

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Cooper, Thomas (22 October 1759–11 May 1839), lawyer, chemist, and educator, was born in London, England, the son of Thomas Cooper, a relatively wealthy landowner. The name of his mother is not known. Young Cooper attended University College at Oxford, where he was grounded in the classics. He left the university in 1779, refusing to sign the thirty-nine Articles of Faith required for a formal degree. In that year he married Alice Greenwood and attended medical courses in London in 1780. The couple, who eventually had five children, moved to Manchester. Cooper undertook some clinical work and was active in the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society; he was elected vice president in 1785. A growing familiarity with chemistry led him to join a firm of calico-printers near Bolton, his subsequent home. The discovery of the bleaching activity of chlorine in 1785 led Cooper to explore the production of the agent with James Watt. He practiced industrial bleaching successfully for some three years before 1793, when a depression in British trade caused the bankruptcy of his firm....

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Eaton, Amos (17 May 1776–10 May 1842), geologist, botanist, and educational reformer, was born in Chatham, New York, the son of Azubah Hurd and Abel Eaton, farmers. In 1790 Eaton went to Duanesburgh, New York, to live with a relative, Russell Beebe, who taught him land surveying. A blacksmith by trade, Beebe helped Eaton manufacture his own surveying instruments. From 1791 to 1795, Eaton studied the classics under private tutors in Chatham and nearby Hillsdale. He entered Williams College in 1795 and graduated in 1799. Also in 1799, Eaton began to study law in Spencertown, New York, and married Polly Thomas. They had one child before Polly died in 1802. The earliest hint of Eaton’s promise as an educator was realized with the publication of his surveying manual, ...

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Ewbank, Thomas (11 March 1792–16 September 1870), commissioner of patents, inventor, and historian of technology, was born in Durham, England. Little is known of Ewbank’s parentage or early life. He was apprenticed to a “Tin and Coppersmith, Plumb and Shot Maker” for seven years, and in 1812 he made his way to London, where he joined several literary associations sympathetic to the English liberal reformers of the period. In 1819 Ewbank emigrated to the United States, and in 1826, his wife, Mary, and the first of their six children followed, joining him in New York. There he began his professional career as an inventor and manufacturer of tin and copper tubing, occupying the late ...

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Fessenden, Thomas Green (22 April 1771–11 November 1837), writer, inventor, and lawyer, was born in Walpole, New Hampshire, the son of Thomas Fessenden, a minister, and Elizabeth Kendall. Fessenden was brought up on his family’s farm and maintained a lifelong interest in agriculture. He attended Dartmouth College (1792–1796) and met his educational expenses principally by teaching in a village school, during vacations, and by giving evening lessons in psalmody. Fessenden also studied with the jurist ...

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Fossey, Dian (16 January 1932– December 1985), naturalist and zoologist, was born in San Francisco, California, the daughter of George Fossey, an insurance agent, and Kitty Kidd, a fashion model. Her alcoholic father left the family when Fossey was three years old, and her stepfather, Richard Price, was unloving and discouraging. Her uncle Albert Chapin helped take care of Fossey and financed her schooling....

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Fowler, Joseph Smith (31 August 1820–01 April 1902), educator, lawyer, and senator, was born in Steubenville, Ohio, the son of James Fowler and Sarah Atkinson, farmers. He was brought up on their farm and attended local schools. After teaching for a time in Shelby County, Kentucky, to earn money for further schooling, he attended Franklin College in New Athens, Ohio, graduating in 1843. Returning to Kentucky, he taught school in Bowling Green and studied law....

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Klaus Fuchs. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-102575).

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Fuchs, Klaus Emil Julius (29 December 1911–28 January 1988), physicist and spy, was born in Russelheim, near Frankfurt, Germany, the son of Emil Fuchs, a Lutheran minister, and Else Wagner. Klaus Fuchs studied mathematics and physics at Leipzig University (1928–1931) and continued his undergraduate studies in physics at Kiel University (1931–1933). As a student at Kiel University, he joined, first, the Social Democratic party and, in 1932, the German Communist party. After the Reichstag fire in February 1933, and the attendant Nazi reprisals against the political Left, Fuchs went into hiding in Berlin for a few months, then migrated to Britain in September 1933. He continued his studies in physics at Bristol University, where he secured a position as a research assistant to Neville Mott. In his research Fuchs applied quantum physics to questions of the electrical resistance of metallic films, working with Bernard Lovell, who was later knighted for his achievements in physics. In 1937 Fuchs was granted a Ph.D. in physics at Bristol. A paper that resulted from his doctoral research, “A Quantum Mechanical Calculation of the Elastic Constants of Monovalent Metals,” appeared in the ...

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Geddes, James (22 July 1763–19 August 1838), civil engineer, judge, and surveyor, was born of Scottish parents (names unknown) near Carlisle, Pennsylvania. As a youth, Geddes studied mathematics with a tutor and studied languages independently. In 1793 he visited the area that later became New York state’s Onondaga County; he moved there the following year. He organized one of the state’s first salt works, helping to establish the salt industry, which would dominate the area’s economy for many years....

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Grant, Madison (19 November 1865–30 May 1937), lawyer and naturalist, was born in New York, New York, the son of Gabriel Grant, a physician, and Caroline Amelia Manice. His parents were wealthy and supported his private education in New York, private tutoring in Germany, and extensive travel in Europe and the Middle East. He graduated from Yale University in 1887 and received his LL.B. from Columbia College (now Columbia University) in 1890. Grant practiced law after his graduation, but his primary interests were those of a naturalist. He also played an important role in restricting immigration in the United States in the 1920s....

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Hourwich, Isaac Aaronovich (26 April 1860–09 July 1924), author, lawyer, and statistician, was born in Vilna, Russia, the son of Adolph Hourwich and Rebecca Sheveliovich. Although his father’s occupation is unknown, it is known that Hourwich was born into a middle-class Jewish family and that his father was a well-educated man....

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Keating, William Hypolitus (11 August 1799–17 May 1840), scientist, explorer, and lawyer, was born in Wilmington, Delaware, to Baron John Keating, a colonel in the Irish Brigade of the French army, and Eulalia Deschapelles. Keating’s father settled initially in Delaware after resigning his commission. The family moved to Philadelphia, and Keating entered the University of Pennsylvania in 1813, receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1816. His interest in mineralogy and mining took him to Europe for five years, where he studied at the Paris School of Mines and visited mines in various countries. He returned to the United States and summarized his studies in a monograph, ...

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Mullan, John (31 July 1830–28 December 1909), army explorer, road builder, and lawyer, was born in Norfolk, Virginia, the son of John Mullan, a civil servant, and Mary Bright. The eldest of ten children, Mullan grew up in Annapolis, Maryland, where his father was postmaster at the U.S. Naval Academy. He received his education, beginning at the age of nine, at St. John’s College in Annapolis, from which he received a B.A. in 1847 and an M.A. in 1855. Family tradition holds that Mullan sought a personal interview with President ...

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Oliver, Andrew (13 November 1731–06 December 1799), jurist and scientist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Lieutenant Governor Andrew Oliver and Mary Fitch. A scion of wealth and power, Oliver developed early into a dilettante. At Harvard College he pursued extracurricular studies in French and such arts as music, astronomy, and cryptography. He also developed skill as a jeweler, and his letters often contain comic verse. Graduating with the class of 1749, Oliver continued study toward master’s degrees at Yale (1751) and Harvard (1752). ...

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Rankine, William Birch (04 January 1858–30 September 1905), attorney, promoter, and company director, was born in Owego, New York, the son of James Rankine, an Episcopal clergyman, and Fanny Meek. His father was a cousin of the Scottish engineer William John Macquorn Rankine....

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Renwick, Edward Sabine (03 January 1823–19 March 1912), engineer, inventor, and patent expert, was born in New York City, the son of James Renwick and Margaret Anne Brevoort. James Renwick was an eminent teacher, engineer, and writer whose career was closely tied with the early history of Columbia University. Edward had two older brothers, Henry Brevoort Renwick, who also became an engineer and patent expert, and ...

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Scopes, John Thomas (03 August 1900–21 October 1970), high school science teacher, was born in Paducah, Kentucky, the son of Thomas Scopes, a railroad machinist who had immigrated from England, and Mary Alva Brown. When the family moved from Paducah to Danville, Illinois, Scopes and his sisters experienced bigotry firsthand. They were ostracized as southerners who sounded different. They and two African-American students were seated separately from the rest of their class during school assemblies....