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Angell, James Burrill (07 January 1829–01 April 1916), educator and diplomat, was born near Scituate, Rhode Island, the son of Andrew Aldrich Angell and Amy Aldrich, farmers and tavernkeepers. He was educated in local schools and at Brown University, where he received an A.B. in 1849 and was significantly influenced by President ...

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George Bancroft. Half-plate daguerreotype (hand-colored), c. 1847, by John Jabez Edwin Mayall. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Dr. and Mrs. Lester Tuchman and Gallery purchase.

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Bancroft, George (03 October 1800–17 January 1891), scholar and diplomat, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, the son of Aaron Bancroft, the founder of Worcester’s Second Congregational Society and later president of the American Unitarian Association, and Lucretia Chandler. The eighth of thirteen children, George passed his childhood in a frugal rural household dominated by paternal activism. In 1811 he entered the Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, run by Benjamin Abbot, a family friend. Attending with a scholarship, Bancroft received a solid grounding in classics, which prepared him for Harvard, where he enrolled at the age of thirteen....

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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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Bowers, Claude Gernade (20 November 1878–21 January 1958), journalist, diplomat, and historian, was born in Westfield, Indiana, the son of Lewis Bowers, a storekeeper, and Juliet Tipton, a milliner and dressmaker. Reared in rural communities in central Indiana, Claude moved to Indianapolis with his divorced mother when he was thirteen. He was a voracious reader and became a confirmed Democrat while at Indianapolis High School. In 1898 Bowers graduated and also won the state oratorical contest but was unable to attend college for lack of funds. Instead he worked for the publishing firm that later became the Bobbs-Merrill Company. In 1900 Bowers became the major editorial writer for the ...

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Brewster, Kingman, Jr. (17 June 1919–08 November 1988), university president and diplomat, was born in Longmeadow, Massachusetts, the son of Kingman Brewster, Sr., a lawyer, and Florence Besse. He was descended on his father’s side from Elder William Brewster of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Brewster’s parents divorced when he was six. His mother subsequently married Harvard University music professor Edward Ballentine, and the new family settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Brewster attended Belmont Hill School outside Boston (1930–1936), where he took an interest in journalism and debating and also took time to work on the reelection campaign of isolationist Republican senator ...

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Brodhead, John Romeyn (02 January 1814–06 May 1873), diplomat and historian, was born in Philadelphia, the son of the Reverend Dr. Jacob Brodhead, minister of the First Reformed Dutch Church, and Elizabeth Bleecker. He lived in Philadelphia until 1826, when his father was called to the Broome Street Reformed Dutch Church in New York City. Brodhead thereafter attended Albany Academy and Rutgers College. Graduating with honors from Rutgers in 1831, he studied law in the office of Hugh Maxwell for four years. After being admitted to the New York bar in 1835, he commenced a legal practice as Maxwell’s partner, but when his father fell ill two years later, Brodhead abandoned a legal career to care for his father at a summer home in Saugerties, New York, where he developed an interest in early American history....

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Clapp, Margaret Antoinette (11 April 1910–03 May 1974), educator and diplomat, was born in East Orange, New Jersey, the daughter of Alfred Chapin, an insurance broker, and Anna Roth. Educated in public schools, she received an A.B. with honors from Wellesley College in 1930, having served as student government president her senior year. Moving back to New Jersey, she commuted to New York City where she attended graduate school part time and taught English literature first at the Todhunter School (1930–1939) and then following its merger, at the Dalton School (1939–1942). She received an A.M. from Columbia University in 1937....

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Coggeshall, William Turner (06 September 1824–02 August 1867), journalist, state librarian, and diplomat, was born in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, the son of William C. Coggeshall, a coachsmith, and Eliza Grotz. At the age of eighteen he headed west and settled in Akron, Ohio. There he launched his career by starting the ...

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Eddy, William A. (09 March 1896–03 May 1962), diplomat, intelligence agent, and military officer, was born in Sidon, a city in present-day Lebanon, to William King Eddy and Elizabeth (Nelson) Eddy, both of whom were Presbyterian missionaries. Eddy was reared in Beirut, where his father taught at the American University. He had a near-native facility with the Arabic language and could recite long passages from the Koran in several Arabic dialects. After completing his undergraduate degree at Princeton University in 1917, Eddy served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War I. For his valor as a captain in the Battle of Belleau Wood he was awarded the Navy Cross, the Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, and two Purple Hearts. As a result of his wartime injuries, Eddy walked with a limp for the rest of his life and often used a cane. In 1917 he married Mary Garvin, also the daughter of Protestant missionaries; the couple had four children....

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Greene, Roger Sherman (29 May 1881–27 March 1947), diplomat, medical administrator, and lobbyist, was born in Westborough, Massachusetts, the son of Daniel Crosby Greene and Mary Jane Forbes, two of the earliest American missionaries to work in Japan. He received his early education in Japan, where he spent most of his life before college. At Harvard University he earned an A.B. in 1901 and an A.M. in 1902....

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Richard T. Greener. Courtesy of the National Afro-American Museum.

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Greener, Richard Theodore (30 January 1844–02 May 1922), African-American educator, lawyer, and diplomat, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Richard Wesley Greener, a seaman who was wounded during the Mexican War while serving aboard the USS Princeton, and Mary Ann Le Brune. When he was nine, Greener and his parents moved to Boston but soon left for Cambridge, where he could attend “an unproscriptive school.” Greener’s father, as chief steward of the ...

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David Jayne Hill Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-98315).

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Hill, David Jayne (10 June 1850–02 March 1932), diplomat and college president, was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, the son of Daniel Trembley Hill, a Baptist minister, and Lydia Ann Thompson. Hill lived in various places during his youth as his father followed calls to a number of pulpits in the Middle Atlantic states. In 1870 Hill enrolled at the University of Lewisburg in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, graduating as valedictorian in 1874. That year he married Anna Liddell; they had one son. Hill was to asked to join the faculty, rising quickly to professor of rhetoric in 1877. A battle for control of the college between traditional rural, small-town Baptists in the Lewisburg region and modernists in the metropolitan Philadelphia area soon elevated him further. The latter group won, ousted the president, and replaced him with the 29-year-old Hill. He quickly legalized fraternities, reduced restrictions on student lives, permitted elective courses, and encouraged faculty to play a greater role in governance. To lessen fiscal pressures Hill virtually put the college’s name up for sale and persuaded William Bucknell, a wealthy Philadelphia Baptist, to effectively purchase the University of Lewisburg, which was renamed Bucknell University. Bucknell, in turn, placed money and power in the young president’s hands....

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George F. Kennan. George Kennan, former ambassador to the Soviet Union, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing left, testifying in front of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Feb. 10 1966. Photograph by Warren K. Leffler. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-DIG-ds-07025).

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Kennan, George F. (16 February 1904–17 March 2005), diplomat and historian, was born George Frost Kennan in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Florence James and Kossuth Kent Kennan, a tax attorney who was fifty-two years old at the time. Tragically his mother died of a burst appendix two months after his birth, and he was team-raised by his father, several aunts, and a stepmother who displayed little affection for him. George attended the Fourth Street School in Milwaukee, where swift progress allowed him to skip eighth grade. His father then moved him to St John’s Military School, which was a difficult experience for the quiet and introverted boy. He enrolled at Princeton University in 1921 and graduated in 1925. Kennan later said that “Princeton had prepared my mind for further growth. It had not stimulated in that mind any great latitude of curiosity” (...

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George P. Marsh. Photograph from the studio of Mathew B. Brady. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-BH8201-4981).

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Marsh, George Perkins (15 March 1801–23 July 1882), scholar, politician, and diplomat, was born in Woodstock, Vermont, the son of Charles Marsh, a prominent lawyer, and Susan Perkins. The Marshes were among New England’s aristocracy of Puritan intellectuals. Woodstock, unlike western Vermont of the free-spirited Green Mountain Boys, was a town of law-abiding, substantial settlers, conservative in religion and politics. George, in a milieu of book lovers, became an avid reader, although a lifelong eye ailment periodically forced him to turn from the printed page to the outdoor world. As a child, with his father or friends, he observed firsthand the effects of deforestation in early Vermont settlements, the decline of fish in the rivers, and the destruction of precious topsoil....

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Messersmith, George Strausser (03 October 1883–29 January 1960), educator and diplomat, was born in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania, the son of Charles Messersmith, an entrepreneur, and Sarah Strausser. George Messersmith was raised in Berks County, Pennsylvania, and was educated at home by his mother until he was eleven years old. He then went to public schools, graduated from high school, and continued on with a two-year course of study at the normal school in Kutztown in 1900. There he received sufficient training to allow him to teach school. According to the Department of State ...