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Addicks, John Edward O’Sullivan (21 November 1841–07 August 1919), promoter and aspiring politician, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of John Edward Addicks, a politician and civil servant, and Margaretta McLeod. Addicks’s father achieved local political prominence and arranged for his son to take a job at age fifteen as a runner for a local dry goods business. Four years later Addicks took a job with a flour company and, upon reaching his twenty-first birthday, became a full partner in the business. Like many Quaker City merchants, Addicks speculated in local real estate in the booming port town, avoided service in the Civil War, and achieved a modicum of prosperity in the postwar period. He became overextended, as he would be most of his career, however, and went broke in the 1873 depression....

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Bankhead, John Hollis (08 July 1872–12 June 1946), lawyer, businessman and U.S. senator, was born in Moscow in Lamar County, Alabama, the son of John Hollis Bankhead (1842–1920), a farmer and later U.S. senator, and Tallulah Brockman. After spending his childhood in Wetumpka and Fayette, Alabama, he received an A.B. from the University of Alabama (1891) and an LL.B. from Georgetown University (1893). In 1894 Bankhead married Musa Harkins of Fayette, with whom he had three children. Settling in Jasper, he became a lawyer for the Alabama Power Company and for leading railroads. From 1911 to 1925 he was president of the Bankhead Coal Company, a firm founded by his father, which owned one of Alabama’s largest mines....

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Bard, Thomas Robert (08 December 1841–05 March 1915), businessman and politician, was born in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, the son of Robert McFarland Bard, a lawyer, and Elizabeth Parker Little. His father died when Thomas was nine, putting the family in somewhat straitened circumstances and placing adult responsibilities on the eldest of two sons. Bard began the study of law after graduating from the Chambersburg Academy in 1859, but a worsening family financial situation compelled him to seek more immediately remunerative employment on a railway survey crew....

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Bowen, Thomas Meade (26 October 1835–30 December 1906), U.S. senator and mining entrepreneur, was born in Burlington, Iowa. His parents’ names and occupations are unknown. Bowen was educated at Mount Pleasant Academy (Mount Pleasant, Iowa) and began practicing law in 1853 at the age of eighteen. He was elected to the Iowa House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1856 but served only one term before moving to Kansas, where he joined the Republican party over the issue of free soil. During the Civil War, Bowen organized and commanded the Thirteenth Kansas Infantry and was eventually brevetted a brigadier general in 1863. When the war ended, Bowen was stationed in Arkansas. He settled in Little Rock, where he married Margarette Thurston and established himself as a planter and a prominent lawyer. Whether they had children is not known....

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Johnson Newlon Camden. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-101787).

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Camden, Johnson Newlon (06 March 1828–25 April 1908), oil company executive, pioneer industrialist, and U.S. senator, was born in Collins Settlement, Lewis County, Virginia (now Jacksonville, W.Va.), the son of John Scrivener Camden, a justice of the peace, and Nancy Newlon. Camden’s father bought a house and tavern in Sutton, Braxton County, and moved the family there in 1837....

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Clark, William Andrews (08 January 1839–02 March 1925), businessman and politician, was born in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, the son of John Clark, a farmer and Presbyterian elder, and Mary Andrews. In 1856 Clark moved to Van Buren County, Iowa. He taught school in Iowa and briefly in Missouri. He also attended Iowa Wesleyan College for two years as a law student, although the precise years of his attendance and whether he graduated are unknown. Most likely his college years fell between 1859 and 1862....

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Joseph F. Guffey Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-115055).

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Guffey, Joseph F. (29 December 1870–06 March 1959), U.S. senator and businessman, was born in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, the son of John Guffey and Barbaretta Hough, wealthy farmers. From an early age he was interested in politics, and he and his sister, Emma Guffey Miller...

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George Hearst. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-93136 ).

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Hearst, George (03 September 1820–28 February 1891), mine owner and U.S. senator, was born in Franklin County, Missouri, the son of William G. Hearst and Elizabeth Collins, farmers. The family lived in a log cabin. Since no public schools operated in the area until Hearst was about eight years old, his childhood education was very intermittent. As a youth he visited local lead mines and became fascinated with the operations. When his father died, George took over the farming operation, which consisted of three mortgaged farms, a few slaves, and a crossroads country store. He studied mining, borrowing books from a local physician and visiting the nearby Virginia Mine. Using his savings, Hearst leased lead and copper mines and turned a profit, later pointing out that the best mining school was his practical experience in Franklin County....

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Hill, Nathaniel Peter (18 February 1832–22 May 1900), U.S. senator and mining entrepreneur, was born in Montgomery, New York, the son of Nathaniel Peter Hill, a farmer and state legislator, and Matilda Crawford. After managing the family farm in New York for several years after his father’s death, Hill graduated from Brown University in 1856 and remained with the university as a professor of chemistry. In 1860 he married Alice Hale, with whom he had three children. He supplemented his academic position by serving as a consultant and chemical analyst for numerous corporations in Rhode Island. In 1864 Hill accepted an opportunity to go west and investigate the mines of Colorado. He was employed by a group of eastern capitalists to report on the prospects of opening new mines in the San Luis Valley. While faithfully carrying out his duties for his employers, he also kept an eye open for opportunities of his own. Sufficiently impressed, he resigned from Brown, deciding that his future lay in the West....

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Herbert Hoover. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-24155 DLC).

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Hoover, Herbert Clark, Jr. (04 August 1903–09 July 1969), undersecretary of state and businessman, was born in London, England, the son of Herbert Clark Hoover, the thirty-first president of the United States, and Lou Henry Hoover. The fact that Hoover’s father was president remained the dominant fact of his life. Hoover followed in his father’s footsteps, graduating from Stanford University in 1925 with a degree in petroleum geology. That same year he married Margaret Watson, with whom he would have three children. He received his M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School three years later and remained at Harvard for the next two years as an instructor and researcher. In 1928 the Guggenheim Foundation awarded him a grant to survey West Coast air routes....

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Hoover, Herbert Clark (10 August 1874–20 October 1964), engineer, philanthropist, and thirty-first president of the United States, was born in West Branch, Iowa, the son of Jesse Clark Hoover and Hulda[h] Minthorn, farmers. Orphaned at the age of nine, he lived with a variety of relatives in Iowa and finally spent his teenage years in Newberg and Salem, Oregon. Although his parents belonged to a “progressive” branch of Quakers who permitted some organ music and gospel hymns at their meeting house, Hoover’s religious training was quite rigorous under the tutelage of his mother, an ordained Quaker minister....

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Hunt, H. L. (17 February 1889–29 November 1974), Texas oilman and supporter of archconservative political causes, was born Haroldson Lafayette Hunt in Ramsey, Illinois, the son of H. L. Hunt, Sr., and Ella Rose Myers, farmers. Hunt left home at sixteen, working as a laborer in the West. For a short time he attended Valparaiso University in Indiana but went into cotton farming in Arkansas about 1911. He later speculated in land, but the post–World War I recession wiped him out. In 1921 he decided to try the oil business in Arkansas, buying and selling leases but not yet becoming rich. In 1930 he learned that Columbus “Dad” Joiner was wildcatting in East Texas, activity that the experts said would surely fail. It did not. The result was one of the greatest oil strikes in history—the East Texas field. Hunt investigated, decided to buy Joiner out for $95,000, and soon became the largest independent operator in East Texas. He was on the way to accumulating a fortune....

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George Wallace Jones. Daguerreotype from the studio of Mathew B. Brady. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109921).

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Jones, George Wallace (12 April 1804–22 July 1896), miner, merchant, and political leader, was born in Vincennes, Indiana Territory, the son of John Rice Jones, a lawyer and jurist, and Mary Barger. After studying at the Catholic College in St. Louis, Jones, armed with letters of introduction, entered Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky. He met a host of then and future political leaders and “formed a warm friendship” with ...

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Jones, Samuel Milton (08 August 1846–12 July 1904), manufacturer, mayor, reformer, nicknamed "Golden Rule", manufacturer, mayor, reformer, nicknamed “Golden Rule,” was born near Beddgelert, Caernarvonshire, Wales, the son of Hugh Samuel Jones, a stone mason and tenant farmer, and Margaret Williams. In 1849 the family immigrated to the United States, settling near Collinsville, New York. During his childhood the young Jones attended school for a total of only thirty months, never studying grammar nor advancing beyond fractions in arithmetic. At the age of fourteen he took a job in a sawmill, and soon after secured a position as wiper and greaser on a steamboat. In 1865 Jones moved to the Pennsylvania oilfields, where he remained for most of the next twenty-one years. Working as a driller, pumper, tool dresser, and pipe liner, he saved enough money to go into the oil business for himself. In 1875 the young oilman married Alma Bernice Curtiss of Pleasantville, Pennsylvania, and during the next ten years three children were born to the couple. In 1881 Jones’s infant daughter died, and his wife’s death followed four years later. Jones characterized these losses as “the greatest trial and severest shock” of his life....

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Robert S. Kerr Photograph by Mary Dean, 1954. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-114948).