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Adams, Charles (19 December 1845–19 August 1895), soldier and diplomat, was born Karl Adam Schwanbeck in Anclam, Pomerania, Germany, the son of Karl Heinrich Schwanbeck, a cabinetmaker, and Maria J. Markman. Adams was educated at the Gymnasium in Anclam and graduated with very high marks, especially in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin. Soon after his graduation in 1862, he moved to the United States. He had not been in the New World long before he enlisted in the Union army, serving in the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment. He fought in the Civil War for the remainder of the conflict and was wounded two times....

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Bacon, Robert (05 July 1860–29 May 1919), banker, diplomat, and soldier, was born in Jamaica Plain near Boston, Massachusetts, the son of William Benjamin Bacon and Emily Crosby Low. Raised in an old Massachusetts family long prominent in business, he was educated at Hopkinson’s School and at Harvard, graduating in 1880. Although his intellectual abilities were considerable, he won attention for his athletic ability, personality, and good looks, as he would throughout life. After graduation he traveled around the world, then joined the banking firm of Lee, Higginson, and Company. In 1883 he became a member of E. Rollins Morse and Brother. That year he married Martha Waldron Cowdin; they were the parents of three sons and a daughter....

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Bennett, John Charles (06 December 1923–05 May 1980), major general in the U.S. Army and White House aide, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Ivan Loveridge and Ruby Jenrette. Shortly after graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1945, Bennett married Jean Hazelton MacKenzie. They had four children. In 1951 Bennett received an M.A. in English from Columbia University. He received another M.A. in international affairs from George Washington University in 1964....

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Bliss, Tasker Howard (31 December 1853–09 November 1930), soldier, scholar, and diplomat, was born in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, the son of George Ripley Bliss, a Baptist clergyman and professor at Lewisburg Academy (now Bucknell University), and Mary Ann Raymond. After attending Lewisburg Academy for two years, Tasker Bliss was admitted to West Point, where he excelled in foreign languages and finished eighth in his class in 1875. After graduating, he was assigned to the First Artillery in Savannah, Georgia. The next year he returned to West Point for a four-year tour as an instructor in modern languages. His grasp of other tongues included not only his beloved Greek, which he studied relentlessly, but also Latin, French, Spanish, Italian, and Russian. The Custer massacre in 1876 prompted him to request active duty at a frontier post, but Major General ...

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John Adams Dix. Daguerreotype from the studio of Mathew B. Brady. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109924).

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Dix, John Adams (24 July 1798–21 April 1879), politician and general, was born in Boscawen, New Hampshire, the son of Timothy Dix, a merchant, and Abigail Wilkins. He received a varied liberal education, including a year at Phillips Exeter Academy and fifteen months at the College of Montreal. At age fourteen, while being tutored in Boston, Dix pleaded to join the army to defend the nation in the War of 1812. His father, a major, helped him to obtain a commission, and he served in battles at Chrysler’s Field (1813) and Lundy’s Lane (1814). His father’s death during the war caused Dix to stay in the army to help support his stepmother and siblings. Serving as an aide to Major General ...

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William J. Donovan. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109385).

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Donovan, William Joseph (01 January 1883–08 February 1959), lawyer, soldier, and intelligence official, was born in Buffalo, New York, the son of Timothy Patrick Donovan, a railroad yardmaster, and Anna Letitia Lennon. After starting college at Niagara University, Donovan transferred to Columbia University from which he received an A.B. in 1905 and an LL.B. in 1907. He joined the law firm of Love and Keating in Buffalo. In 1912 he and Bradley Goodyear formed a partnership that merged with Buffalo’s leading firm, O’Brian and Hamlin, to become O’Brian Hamlin Donovan and Goodyear. Hamlin’s withdrawal led to the firm’s dissolution in 1920. Meanwhile, in 1914, Donovan married socially prominent Ruth Rumsey. They had two children....

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Dwight D. Eisenhower. Photograph by Louis Fabian Bachrach. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-117123 DLC).

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Eisenhower, Dwight David (14 October 1890–28 March 1969), U.S. Army general and thirty-fourth president of the United States, was born in Denison, Texas, the son of David Jacob Eisenhower and Ida Elizabeth Stover, shopkeepers and laborers. When Eisenhower was a year old, the family moved to Abilene, Kansas. He was a bright, competitive, ambitious, and athletic boy, a bit above average as a student. In 1911 he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. In 1915, after graduating in the middle of his class, he was commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry and assigned to Fort Sam Houston, Texas. There he met Marie Geneva “Mamie” Doud ( ...

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Grant, Frederick Dent (30 May 1850–12 April 1912), soldier and government official, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Ulysses S. Grant, a soldier and, later, U.S. president, and Julia Dent (Julia Dent Grant). Fred, as he was known, led a normal childhood until his father’s rise during the Civil War afforded opportunities for extraordinary experiences. Ulysses S. Grant allowed Fred to accompany the armies during the Vicksburg campaign (Mar.-July 1863) and to escort him to Washington, D.C., when he went to be commissioned lieutenant general (Mar. 1864). Fred never served as a soldier, but he came under hostile fire while with his father, displaying coolness that General Grant acknowledged by an honorary staff appointment....

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Alexander Haig. Gouache on illustration board, 1984, by Eraldo Carugati. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

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Haig, Alexander Meigs, Jr. (02 December 1924–20 February 2010), general, White House chief of staff, and secretary of state, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Alexander M. Haig, Sr., a lawyer, and Regina Anne (Murphy) Haig. His father died when he was young, and he was raised in the Roman Catholic faith by his mother. After graduating from Saint Joseph’s Preparatory School in 1943, Haig enrolled at the University of Notre Dame. Two years later he transferred to West Point Military Academy, from which he graduated in 1947....

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Hershey, Lewis Blaine (12 September 1893–20 May 1977), military officer and director of the Selective Service System, was born in Steuben County, Indiana, the son of Rosetta Richardson and Latta Freleigh Hershey, a farmer. Hershey was raised in northeast Indiana by his father after the death of his mother in 1898. Showing little interest in the family farm, he entered Tri-State College in Angola, Indiana. Working part time as a deputy sheriff, he also played varsity basketball and belonged to several college dramatics clubs. He received a bachelor of science degree in 1912, and he graduated with honors in 1914 with bachelors degrees in arts and pedagogy. His first professional job was as principal of Flint High School in rural Indiana....

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Johnson, Hugh Samuel (05 August 1882–15 April 1942), army officer and government administrator, was born in Fort Scott, Kansas, the son of Samuel L. Johnson (originally Johnston), a lawyer and rancher, and Elizabeth Mead. Seeking better economic opportunities, his family moved successively to Greenburg, Emporia, Greenwich, and Wichita, Kansas, before finally settling in 1893 in Alva, Oklahoma, in the newly opened Cherokee Strip. There Johnson grew up on the “frontier,” attended Northwestern Normal School (1897–1899), and in 1899 won admission to West Point....

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George C. Marshall, Jr. In his Pentagon office, 1943. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-105394).

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Marshall, George Catlett, Jr. (31 December 1880–16 October 1959), soldier and statesman, was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, the son of George Catlett Marshall, Sr., a businessman distantly related to Chief Justice John Marshall, and Laura Bradford. Marshall spent an unexceptional childhood in Uniontown. In 1897 he was admitted to the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, where he first exhibited his leadership abilities and was selected first corporal, sergeant, and captain of the cadets. Soon after graduation in 1901 he applied for and on 2 February 1902 received a commission in the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant. Nine days later he married Elizabeth Carter Coles. They remained happily married until her death in 1927 but had no children....

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McCoy, Frank Ross (29 October 1874–04 June 1954), soldier and diplomat, was born in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, the son of Thomas Franklin McCoy, an attorney, and Margaret Eleanor Ross. Inspired by his father’s volunteer service in both the Mexican War and the Civil War, McCoy decided at an early age to become a soldier. Appointed to West Point, McCoy graduated with the class of 1897 and was commissioned a second lieutenant of cavalry. One year later, he was deployed to Cuba with the expedition that was mounted to liberate that island from Spanish rule. On 1 July 1898 McCoy was wounded at Kettle Hill. Following convalescence in the United States, he returned in 1899 to Cuba, where he became an aide and staff officer of General ...

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Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. [left to right] Kermit Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., on a hunting expedition, 1926. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-90550).

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Roosevelt, Theodore, Jr. (13 September 1887–12 July 1944), public official and military officer, was born in Oyster Bay, New York, the son of Theodore Roosevelt, twenty-sixth president of the United States, and Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt. He grew up in the shadow of his presidential father, who pushed his son toward ever greater accomplishments. He entered Harvard University in 1905 and graduated in 1908. Two years later he married Eleanor Alexander; they had three sons and a daughter....