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Bennett, M. Katharine Jones (28 November 1864–11 April 1950), philanthropist and church leader, was born in Englewood, New Jersey, the daughter of Henry Jones and Winifred Davies, natives of North Wales. Her father was a prosperous builder. Her first name was Mary, but she was known as Katharine and tended to use just an initial for her first name. Entering Elmira College in Elmira, New York, in 1881, she graduated four years later with an almost perfect academic record. After teaching in both public and private schools in her native Englewood, she was drawn into social and religious service. In 1894 she was named national secretary of young people’s work for the Woman’s Board of Home Missions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), commuting to its New York City office. During this period she also became a member of the governing board of the College Settlements Association, organized in 1890 by graduates of several eastern women’s colleges in an effort to advance the growing settlement house movement....

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Sydney V. James and Gail Fowler Mohanty

Brown, Moses (12 September 1738–06 September 1836), merchant and philanthropist, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of James Brown, merchant, and Hope Power. The father died the next year, leaving a variety of properties and businesses, which indicates that his family was far from poor. Moses Brown had a few years of formal schooling before being apprenticed to his merchant uncle, Obadiah, to learn the intricacies of eighteenth-century commerce and to be adopted as a son and partner. After Obadiah died in 1762, Moses managed the business, and in 1774 married Obadiah’s daughter Anna, who bore three children, two of whom lived to maturity. Moses joined his three surviving brothers in the firm of Nicholas Brown & Co. to operate the family businesses. The profits of trade were diversified by manufacturing and money-lending. The Brown brothers inherited profitable candle and chocolate works and started a plant to smelt and work iron. They also tried at least one ill-fated slaving voyage....

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Coffin, Charles Fisher (03 April 1823–09 September 1916), banker, Quaker minister, and philanthropist, was born at New Garden, Guilford County, North Carolina, the son of Elijah Coffin, a teacher and banker, and Naomi Hiatt, a Quaker minister. In 1824 his family moved to Milton, Indiana, and in 1833 they went to Cincinnati for a year before moving to Richmond, Indiana, where Charles would live for the next half-century....

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Drexel, Katharine (26 November 1858–03 March 1955), philanthropist and mother superior, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Francis Anthony Drexel, a wealthy banker, and Hannah Jane Langstroth. When Drexel was an infant her mother died. In 1860, sixteen months after her mother’s death, her father married Emma Bouvier, who thereafter raised Katharine and her two sisters. Drexel lived in luxury, receiving the benefits of private tutoring in her home and the ease that immense wealth could bring in the second half of the nineteenth century. As a young woman she traveled extensively with her parents in the United States and in Europe. In 1883 her stepmother, who was known for her generous aid to Philadelphia’s poor, died. Two years later her father died, leaving his daughters an inheritance of more than $14 million that he had put in a trust fund for them and was to be distributed to various Philadelphia charities after they died....

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Empie, Paul Chauncey (10 February 1909–01 September 1979), Lutheran clergy, official in relief work, and ecumenist, was born of French Huguenot ancestry in St. Johnsville, New York, the son of Charles G. Empie, a Lutheran pastor, and Grace Dieffendorf. He graduated from Muhlenberg College in 1929 with an A.B. degree and from the Lutheran Technological Seminary in Philadelphia in 1932 with a B.D. degree. Empie had married Katharine Goodwin Smith in 1931; they had six children. After serving as the pastor of a Lutheran congregation in Philadelphia for five years (1932–1937), he became the superintendent of the Lutheran Home for Orphans and Aged in Philadelphia and then the secretary for stewardship of the Ministerium of Pennsylvania of the United Lutheran Church in America for three years (1941–1944)....

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Heathcote, Caleb (06 March 1666–01 March 1721), merchant, manor lord, and Anglican activist, was born in Derbyshire, England, the son of Gilbert Heathcote, a trader in hides and iron who served as mayor of Chesterfield, England, and Anne Dickens. While living in England Heathcote became a merchant specializing in trade with New York, where he settled in 1692 after the woman to whom he was betrothed fell in love with his brother Samuel and married him instead....

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Kane, Thomas Leiper (27 January 1822–26 December 1883), lawyer, soldier, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and defender of the Mormons, was born in Philadelphia, the son of John Kintzing Kane, a jurist, and Jane Duval Leiper. He attended school in Philadelphia and from 1839 to 1844 traveled in England and France, studying and visiting relatives. While in Paris he served for a time as an attaché of the American legation. Small in stature and never robust, he would spend most of his life struggling with ill health. In Paris he met Auguste Comte and others who surely encouraged his social conscience, which would be manifested later in his concern for philanthropic causes. In 1844 Kane returned to Philadelphia, where he studied law with his father. Although he was admitted to the bar in 1846 and clerked briefly for his father, who was a federal judge, his interests and activities generally moved in other directions....

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Lane, John (08 April 1789–10 October 1855), Methodist clergyman and a principal founder of Vicksburg, Mississippi, was born in Fairfax County, Virginia, the son of William Lane and Nancy (maiden name unknown), farmers. His father was a revolutionary war soldier who in 1791 moved his family to Elbert County, Georgia. John was the youngest of ten children. His mother died in 1804 but not before she had made a strong impression on him to live a sober and responsible life. Placed in the home of an elder brother until he gained maturity, he subsequently taught school to earn money to attend Franklin College (later the University of Georgia). In this period he resided with the Reverend Hope Hull, a Methodist preacher who influenced Lane toward the ministry and introduced him to the South Carolina Methodist Conference, 12 January 1814....

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Pemberton, Israel (19 May 1715–22 April 1779), Quaker merchant and philanthropist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Israel Pemberton, a merchant and religious leader, and Rachel Read of Burlington, New Jersey. He attended the Friends Public School and then entered his father’s mercantile trade. In 1737 he married Sarah Kirkbride of Bucks County, who died in 1746; they had seven children. A year later, Pemberton married Mary Jordan. His younger brothers, James Pemberton and ...

Article

Pierson, Abraham (1609–09 August 1678), colonial minister, missionary, leader of Branford, Connecticut, and cofounder of Newark, New Jersey, was born in Yorkshire, England. Nothing is known about his parents or his youth. He prepared for the ministry at Trinity College, Cambridge University, graduated in 1632, and was subsequently ordained as pastor at Newark, Nottinghamshire, before emigrating to America in 1639 or 1640. Pierson settled in Southampton, Long Island, which at the time was part of the Connecticut Colony. However, he preferred the religious climate of the New Haven Colony, which required prospective church members to present evidence of spiritual conversion and undertake a public profession of faith. Consequently, sometime after 1643 he, his wife, Abigail (Wheelwright), and their children crossed Long Island Sound to the New Haven Colony, which, under the influence of Puritan divine ...

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Porter, Eliza Emily Chappell (05 November 1807–01 January 1888), educator, relief worker, and missionary, was born in Geneseo, New York, the daughter of Robert Chappell and Elizabeth Kneeland, farmers. In 1811 her father died, increasing her emotional attachment to her highly religious mother. Nevertheless, when affluent relatives offered a home to the bright, attractive child, she agreed to live with them in Franklin, New York. She was educated with the family’s children but could not overcome her longing for her mother and guilt at the separation. She returned at twelve and, amid bouts of illness made worse by harsh medical treatments, sought comfort in religion. She joined the Presbyterian church in 1822; at fifteen she and her mother moved to Rochester to continue her education. Upon the death of her sister in childbirth, both returned to Geneseo....