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J. Reuben Clark. Being sworn in as undersecretary of state by William McNeir. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-98312).

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Clark, Joshua Reuben, Jr. (01 September 1871–06 October 1961), diplomat and church leader, was born near Grantsville, Utah, the eldest of the ten children of Joshua Reuben Clark, Sr., and Mary Louisa Woolley, Mormon farmers. Although the family was poor, Clark showed great promise early on and was encouraged to pursue an education. He graduated from the University of Utah in 1898 and went on to Columbia University Law School in 1903. While there he came to the attention of both ...

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Deganawidah (fl. 1450), Huron spiritual leader and mystic, and, according to Iroquois legends, principal founder of the League of the Hau-Dé-No-Sau-Nee, or People of the Longhouse. The oral traditions reveal little about his youth, personal life, or events after the formation of the league....

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Holcombe, Chester (16 October 1844–25 April 1912), missionary and diplomat to China, was born in Winfield, New York, the son of the Reverend Chester Holcombe, a Presbyterian minister, and Lucy Thompkins. Holcombe’s mother, who had intended to be a missionary herself prior to Chester’s birth, passed on that intention to her son. Following graduation from Union College in 1861, Holcombe entered the teaching profession. He taught for a number of years at both the high school level and the normal school level in Troy, New York; Hartford and Norwich, Connecticut; and Brooklyn, New York. During the 1860s he also began to study theology and in 1867 was licensed by the Presbytery of Lyons, New York, to begin preaching. In 1868, the same year he was ordained, he began work in Georgia as a missionary for the American Sunday School Union. This first experience as a missionary turned out to be of short duration, for in 1869 Holcombe, accompanied by his wife, Olive Kate Sage, and his brother Gilbert Holcombe, departed for China as a missionary of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions....

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Parker, Peter (18 June 1804–10 January 1888), medical missionary and diplomat, was born in Framingham, Massachusetts, the son of Nathan Parker and Catherine Murdock, farmers. The member of a family of devout Calvinists, Parker had a series of religious experiences at the age of fourteen or fifteen that reinforced his overwhelming fear of sin but promised salvation through Jesus....

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Peixotto, Benjamin Franklin (13 November 1834–18 September 1890), diplomat and Jewish community leader, was born in New York City, the son of Daniel Levi Maduro Peixotto, a physician, and Rachel Seixas. In 1836 Peixotto’s family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he received an elementary education and then engaged in the retail clothing business and several speculative enterprises. Active in public and Jewish affairs, Peixotto was a follower and correspondent of ...

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Tenney, Charles Daniel (29 June 1857–14 March 1930), missionary, educator, and diplomat in China, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Rev. Daniel Tenney, a Congregational minister, and Mary Adams Parker. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth College in 1878 and his M.A. in 1879; in 1900 his alma mater awarded him an honorary doctor of laws. Reared in a religious household and educated during a time of growing interest in missions among college students, he decided to enter divinity school after a year of teaching at an academy in New Hampshire. Immediately upon graduation from Oberlin Theological Seminary in Oberlin, Ohio, in 1882, Tenney was assigned by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to Shanxi, China. He thereby joined what became known as the “Oberlin Band,” dedicated to educational and evangelistic work in this poverty-stricken province. His wife, Anne Runcie Jerrell of Bridgeton, New Jersey, whom he had married in March of that year, accompanied him. The couple would have five children, two daughters and three sons. While at Taigu, Shanxi, Tenney founded a primary school where Kong Xiangxi, banker and Guomindang official, learned English and became acquainted with Christianity....

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van Dyke, Henry (10 November 1852–10 April 1933), Presbyterian minister, poet, and diplomat, was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, the son of Henry Jackson van Dyke, a prominent Presbyterian minister, and Henrietta Ashmead, the daughter of a notable Philadelphia attorney. Van Dyke studied at the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and attended Princeton College, where he wrote Princeton’s “Triangle Song,” received a B.A. in 1873, and earned an M.A. in 1876. The following year he graduated from Princeton Seminary and then studied at the University of Berlin for two years before being ordained a Presbyterian minister....

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Williams, Edward Thomas (17 October 1854–27 January 1944), missionary and diplomat, was born in Columbus, Ohio, the son of William Williams, a cooper, plasterer, and housing contractor, and Dinah Louisa Hughes. Although raised a Baptist, Williams was attracted to the Disciples of Christ and attended Bethany College, established to prepare students for the ministry. He was influenced by his teacher, Charles L. Loos, who became his father-in-law in 1884, when Williams married Caroline Dorothy Loos, with whom he would have two children. After graduating in 1875, Williams was ordained a minister, and for the next twelve years he served a number of congregations, including the leading liberal church in Cincinnati (1881–1887). Williams became a prominent Disciples exponent of reform Darwinism and doctrinal innovation, which brought him into conflict with the conservatives, who emphasized the denomination’s dedication to primitive Christianity. An advocate of the social gospel, Williams in 1887 volunteered for missionary work in China....