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Blackwell, Randolph Talmadge (10 March 1927–21 May 1981), attorney, educator, and civil rights activist, was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, the son of Joe Blackwell and Blanche Mary Donnell. He attended the city’s public schools for African-American youth and earned a B.S. in sociology from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University in Greensboro in 1949. Four years later Blackwell earned a J.D. degree from Howard University in Washington, D.C. In December 1954 he married Elizabeth Knox. The couple had one child. After teaching economics for a year at Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical College in Normal, Alabama, near Huntsville, Blackwell became an associate professor of social sciences at Winston-Salem State Teachers College in North Carolina....

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Cahn, Edmond Nathaniel (17 January 1906–09 August 1964), lawyer, law teacher, and legal philosopher, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Edgar Mayer Cahn, a prominent lawyer, and Minnie Sarah Cohen. He attended public schools and then Tulane University, from which he received a B.A. in 1925 and a J.D. in 1927....

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Michael H. Cardozo. Courtesy of Michael H. Cardozo V.

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Cardozo, Michael H. (15 September 1910–20 October 1996), lawyer, educator, and government adviser, was born Michael Hart Cardozo IV in New York City, the son of Ernest Abraham Cardozo, a lawyer, and Emily Rebecca Wolff Cardozo. He was a first cousin of United States Supreme Court Justice ...

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Cary, Mary Ann Camberton Shadd (09 October 1823–05 June 1893), African-American educator, journalist/editor, and lawyer, was born in Wilmington, Delaware, the daughter of Abraham Doras Shadd and Harriet Parnell. Although the eldest of thirteen children, Mary Ann Shadd grew up in comfortable economic circumstances. Little is known about her mother except that she was born in North Carolina in 1806 and was of mixed black and white heritage; whether she was born free or a slave is unknown. Shadd’s father was also of mixed-race heritage. His paternal grandfather, Jeremiah Schad, was a German soldier who had fought in the American Revolution and later married Elizabeth Jackson, a free black woman from Pennsylvania. Abraham Shadd had amassed his wealth as a shoemaker, and his property by the 1830s was valued at $5,000. He was a respected member of the free black community in Wilmington and in West Chester, Pennsylvania, where the family had moved sometime in the 1830s, and he served as a delegate to the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1835 and 1836....

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Clark, Charles Edward (19 December 1889–13 December 1963), lawyer, law professor, dean of Yale Law School, and federal appellate judge, was born in Woodbridge, Connecticut, the son of Samuel Clark, a successful dairy farmer, and Pauline Marquand. Clark kept farmer’s hours, believed in the redeeming virtue of hard work and candor, and accepted the conventional personal and family mores of New England Calvinism. His political opinions would change from New England Republicanism to New Deal Democracy, but his personal values remained a constant, rooted in many generations of Connecticut yeomanry....

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Couzins, Phoebe Wilson (08 September 1839?–06 December 1913), lawyer, suffragist, and lecturer, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of John Edward Decker Couzins, a carpenter and builder, and Adaline Weston. Her parents were both politically active. Her father held the posts of chief of police of St. Louis and U.S. marshal for the Eastern District of Missouri. Her mother served as a nurse to the Western Sanitary Commission during the Civil War where she provided aid to wounded and sick soldiers. Both parents instilled in their daughter an activist spirit....

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Cromwell, John Wesley (05 September 1846–14 April 1927), lawyer and historian, was born a slave in Portsmouth, Virginia, the son of Willis Hodges Cromwell, a ferry operator, and Elizabeth Carney. In 1851 Cromwell’s father purchased the family’s freedom and moved to West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where Cromwell entered the public schools. In 1856 he was admitted to the Preparatory Department of the Institute of Colored Youth. Graduating in 1864, he embarked on a teaching career. He taught in Columbia, Pennsylvania, and in 1865 opened a private school in Portsmouth, Virginia. Cromwell left teaching temporarily after an assault in which he was shot at and his school burned down. He returned to Philadelphia and was employed by the Baltimore Association for the Moral and Intellectual Improvement of Colored People. Then he served as an agent for the American Missionary Association and went back to Virginia. He became active in local politics, serving as a delegate to the first Republican convention in Richmond in 1867....

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Donovan, James Britt (29 February 1916–19 January 1970), lawyer and educator, was born in the Bronx, New York, the son of John D. Donovan, a surgeon, and Hattie F. O’Connor, a piano teacher. Donovan received a B.A. in English from Fordham University in 1937. Throughout his schooling he pursued interests in journalism and writing, and upon graduation he persuaded his wealthy father to buy him a small newspaper, with the condition that he complete law school first. Donovan received an LL.B. from Harvard in 1940. He joined a law firm in New York City that represented several newspaper interests. Publishing and insurance law quickly became permanent interests. Donovan married Mary E. McKenna in 1941; the couple had four children....

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Drake, Benjamin (1795?–01 April 1841), writer and lawyer, was born in Mays Lick, Kentucky, the son of Isaac Drake and Elizabeth Shotwell, poor homesteaders who had emigrated from Plainfield, New Jersey, in 1788. (Edward Mansfield, a close friend of the family, writes that Drake was born in 1795, but Drake’s birthdate appears in some other sources as 22 November 1794). By the time Drake was born, his parents had managed to secure a freehold title of 200 acres, where they raised sheep, corn, and wheat. Like that of many farmer’s children, Drake’s early schooling was crude, and his father owned only a handful of books, including a Bible, Dilworth's and ...

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Du Ponceau, Pierre Étienne (03 June 1760–01 April 1844), scholar and lawyer, was born in St. Martin, Isle of Ré, France, the son of a French army officer. He was trained first for the military, which he had to abandon because of poor eyesight, and then for the Roman Catholic priesthood by Benedictine monks at St. Jean Angely and at the Episcopal College in Poitou. After 1775 Du Ponceau served as a secretary and assistant to minor government officials in Paris and to the philologist Count de Gebelin. He came to the United States in 1777 as secretary and nominal military aide to Prussian army officer Baron ...

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Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher Seated right, with J. E. Fellows, dean of admissions at the University of Oklahoma, seated left, and, standing left to right, Thurgood Marshall and Amos T. Hall, 1948. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-84479).

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Fisher, Ada Lois Sipuel (08 February 1924–18 October 1995), civil rights pioneer, lawyer, and educator, was born in Chickasha, Oklahoma, the daughter of Travis B. Sipuel, a minister and later bishop of the Church of Christ in God, one of the largest black Pentecostal churches in the United States, and Martha Bell Smith, the child of a former slave. Her parents moved to Chickasaw, Oklahoma, shortly after the Tulsa race riot of 1921....

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Fisher, Sydney George (11 September 1856–22 February 1927), lawyer and historian, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Sidney George Fisher and Elizabeth Ingersoll. His father, a prominent Philadelphia attorney, was active in public affairs and contributed numerous essays to the popular press on political and constitutional issues....

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Flint, Weston (04 July 1835–06 April 1906), librarian, attorney, and government official, was born in Pike, Wyoming County, New York, the son of Nicholas Flint and Phebe Burt Willoughby, farmers. He grew up on the family farm in Cattaraugus County, New York, and was educated at the Chamberlain Institute, the Alfred Academy (later Alfred University) in Alfred, New York, and Union College in Schenectady, New York, from which he graduated in 1860....

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Frelinghuysen, Theodore (28 March 1787–12 April 1862), lawyer, politician, and educator, was born in Franklin Township, Somerset County, New Jersey, into one of New Jersey’s most prominent families. His great-grandfather, Theodorus Jacobus Frelinghuysen, participated prominently in the eighteenth-century religious movement known as the “Great Awakening”; his father, Frederick Frelinghuysen, served as a captain of artillery at the battles of Trenton and Monmouth and later was a Federalist U.S. senator. His mother, Gertrude Schenck, died when he was a boy, and the chief feminine influences in young Theodore’s life were his stepmother, Ann Yard, and his paternal grandmother, Dinah Frelinghuysen, both women of strong Christian convictions. His education prepared him for the kind of leadership expected of his social class: the Reverend Robert Finley’s Academy at Basking Ridge, College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) class of 1804, and law study with ...

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Garfield, Harry Augustus (11 October 1863–12 December 1942), lawyer, educator, and public official, was born in Hiram, Ohio, the son of James A. Garfield, the twentieth president of the United States, and Lucretia Rudolph (Lucretia Rudolph Garfield). A witness to the fatal shooting of his father in 1881, Garfield grappled with the implications of that tragedy for the rest of his life. He earned a B.A. at Williams College, 1881–1885, and after teaching briefly at St. Paul’s, a private school for boys, he studied law at Columbia University, 1886–1887, and in England at Oxford University and the Inns of Court, 1887–1888. In the latter year he married Belle H. Mason; they had four children....

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Francis P. Garvan Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-92321).

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Garvan, Francis Patrick (13 June 1875–07 November 1937), attorney and collector, was born in East Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Patrick Garvan, paper merchant and tobacco farmer, and Mary Carroll. He attended public school in Hartford, then went on to Yale (A.B., 1897), to Catholic University for a year, and to New York University Law School (LL.B., 1899)....

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Gillett, Emma Millinda (30 July 1852–23 January 1927), lawyer and educator, was born on a homestead in Princeton, Wisconsin, the daughter of Richard J. Gillett, a lawyer and justice of the peace, and Sarah Ann Barlow. After her father’s death in 1854, Gillett’s mother took her two daughters back to Girard, Pennsylvania, to be near her own family. Gillett graduated from Lake Erie Seminary in Painseville, Ohio, in 1870 and became a teacher. She taught for ten years but grew increasingly discontented with her situation. Describing herself as “tired, nervous and unhappy” in her work and dissatisfied with the “mere pittance” she earned, she resolved to leave teaching and to follow her long-held dream, the study of the law....