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Booth, Maud Elizabeth Charlesworth Ballington (13 September 1865–26 August 1948), Salvation Army leader, cofounder of the Volunteers of America, and prison reformer, was born in Limpsfield Surrey, England, the daughter of Samuel Beddome Charlesworth and Maria Beddome, Samuel’s first cousin. Her father served as the minister of an aristocratic country parish but was reassigned to a church in a poor section of London in 1868. William Booth, the itinerant Wesleyan preacher who had broken from the Methodist church three years earlier to found the Christian Mission (renamed the Salvation Army in 1878), had rented the building across the street from Maud’s father’s church, and Booth’s open-air meetings introduced Maud to the Salvation Army’s noisy style of street-corner evangelism....

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Comstock, Elizabeth Leslie Rous Wright (30 October 1815–03 August 1891), Quaker minister and reformer, was born in Maidenhead, Berkshire, England, the daughter of William Rous, a shopkeeper, and Mary Kekwick. Her parents were Quakers with family ties to the Society of Friends going back to the seventeenth century. They reared her in a strict Quaker atmosphere, an upbringing reinforced by education in Quaker schools at Islington and Croyden. In 1839 Elizabeth Rous returned to Croyden as a teacher; in 1842 she joined the staff of the Friends school at Ackworth. She remained there until her marriage in 1848 to Leslie Wright, a Quaker market gardener of Walthamstow in Essex. They had one child. After her husband’s death in 1851, Elizabeth Wright kept a shop for a time at Bakewell in Devonshire. In 1854 she immigrated with her daughter and an unmarried sister to Belleville, Ontario. Four years later she married John T. Comstock, a prosperous Quaker farmer of Rollin, Michigan, where Elizabeth Comstock and her daughter moved....

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Davis, Katharine Bement (15 January 1860–10 December 1935), social worker, prison reformer, and sex researcher, was born in Buffalo, New York, the daughter of Frances Bement and Oscar Bill Davis, a manager for the Bradstreet Company, precursor of Dun and Bradstreet, the credit rating firm. When her father suffered business reversals following the panic of 1873, Davis had to postpone plans for college and work as a public school teacher for ten years. She continued her studies independently and in 1890 entered Vassar College at the age of thirty, graduating two years later with honors....

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Farnham, Eliza Wood Burhans (17 November 1815–15 December 1864), author, prison reformer, and proponent of the superiority of women, was born in Rensselaerville, New York, the daughter of Cornelius Burhans and Mary Wood. Her father’s occupation is not known; her mother, a Quaker, died in 1820, after which her five children were scattered. Eliza eventually went to live with an aunt and uncle in Maple Springs, New York. The aunt, she later recalled, raised her through “neglect and hardship” ( ...

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Gibbons, Abigail Hopper (07 December 1801–16 January 1893), prison reformer and abolitionist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Isaac Tatem Hopper and Sarah Tatum, Quakers. Her father earned a moderate living as a tailor and later as a bookseller but devoted most of his time to aiding runaway slaves and free blacks. Her mother was a minister in the Society of Friends. Two years after her mother’s death in 1822, her father remarried, and in 1829 he moved with most of his family to New York City. Abigail joined them in 1830 and helped support the family by teaching at a Quaker school....

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Griffith, Goldsborough Sappington (04 November 1814–24 February 1904), civic and religious leader, prison reformer, and philanthropist, was born in Harford County, Maryland, the son of James Griffith and Sarah Cox. His father died in the War of 1812, leaving Griffith, not one year old, the youngest of eight. His mother subsequently remarried and, when Griffith was twelve, moved to Baltimore with her husband and family of fourteen children. Griffith left school and obtained regular employment in a tobacco manufacturing house to help support the family. He continued his education in night school and devoted his leisure time to reading. Several years later he found a rewarding position as a paperhanger and, at the age of twenty-two, with $500 in savings and a knowledgeable partner, began a prosperous paperhanging and upholstery business. In 1854 he sold this thriving business to his half brothers and turned his attentions to his very successful wholesale and retail carpet business in which he was joined by his nephews....

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Isaac T. Hopper. From the frontispiece to Lydia Maria Child, Isaac T. Hopper: A True Life, 1853. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-75190).

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Hopper, Isaac Tatem (03 December 1771–07 May 1852), Quaker abolitionist and reformer, was born in Deptford township, near Woodbury, New Jersey, the son of Levi Hopper and Rachel Tatem, farmers. Educated in local schools, Isaac Hopper went to Philadelphia at sixteen to learn tailoring from an uncle, with whom he lived. He made his living there as a tailor and soon came to own his own shop....

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Korematsu, Fred (30 Jan. 1919–30 March 2005), prisoner of incarceration camps for Japanese Americans during World War II and civil liberties activist, was born in Oakland, California, the third of four sons of Kakusaburo Korematsu and Kotsui Aoki, immigrants from Japan who owned a flower nursery where the family worked. Korematsu’s given name was Toyosaburo, but when one of his elementary school teachers could not pronounce his first name, she asked to call him “Fred.” He used that name throughout his life. He attended public schools in Oakland, graduating from Castlemont High School, and was involved in the Boy Scouts and the San Lorenzo Japanese Holiness Church as a youth....

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Little, Sophia Louisa Robbins (1799–1893), writer and reformer, was born in Newport, Rhode Island, the daughter of U.S. senator Asher Robbins, an attorney, and Mary Ellery. Educated locally, she married William Little, Jr., of Boston in 1824; they had three children. Her first publication was a poem, “Thanksgiving,” included in a Boston gift book, ...

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Nicholson, Timothy (02 November 1828–15 September 1924), Quaker reformer and printer, was born in Perquimans County, North Carolina, the son of Josiah Nicholson, a teacher and farmer, and Anna White. Both parents came from families long prominent in Quaker affairs in North Carolina, and by Timothy Nicholson’s own account, their influence and that of Quaker neighbors was such that he never questioned Quaker teachings. He was educated in the Quaker Belvidere Academy in Perquimans County and at the Friends Boarding School (now Moses Brown School) in Providence, Rhode Island. He married twice, first in 1853 to Sarah N. White, who died in 1865, and then in 1868 to her sister, Mary White. There were six children by the first marriage and two by the second....

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Peter, Sarah Worthington King (10 May 1800–06 February 1877), penal reformer, women's advocate, and benefactress, penal reformer, women’s advocate, and benefactress, was born in Chillicothe, Ohio, the daughter of Thomas Worthington and Eleanor Van Swearingen. Her father was a wealthy landowner, politician, and a U.S. senator and later governor of Ohio....

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Tutwiler, Julia Strudwick (15 August 1841–24 March 1916), educator, reformer, and humanitarian, was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The daughter of Henry Tutwiler and Julia Ashe, she grew up in a home devoted to education, which became her lifework. Her father had earned a master’s degree in foreign languages at the University of Virginia and had accepted a position as the first professor of ancient languages at the University of Alabama when it had opened in 1831. Resigning in 1837 because of a financial dispute, he established Greene Springs Academy in Havana, south of Tuscaloosa. His daughters studied Latin, science, and mathematics with boys, upsetting many citizens. Tutwiler and her father taught slaves and poor white children to read. This experience influenced her to devote her life to serving others. Many of her classmates gained prominent positions as adults and supported her causes....

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Wittpenn, Caroline Bayard Stevens (21 November 1859–04 December 1932), penal reformer, social worker, and philanthropist, was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, the daughter of Edwin Augustus Stevens, inventor, railroad manager, shipbuilder, and founder of Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, and Martha Bayard Dod, social worker and founder of Holy Innocents Church, now All Saints Parish, Hoboken. Members of the Stevens family, established in Hoboken since the 1780s, were instrumental in developing the steamship lines and railroads of nineteenth-century America. The family tradition of philanthropy and personal involvement in helping others and her parents’ example, especially that of her mother, was a major influence on the socially conscious activities and interests Wittpenn tirelessly exhibited during her adult life....