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Bullard, Arthur (08 December 1879–10 September 1929), writer and government official, was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, the son of Henry Bullard, a prominent Presbyterian minister, and Helen Nelson. After graduating in 1899 from Blair Academy in Blairstown, New Jersey, Bullard enrolled at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. Two years later his growing social consciousness led him to leave college to join New York City’s burgeoning reform community. In 1903 he became a probation officer for the New York Prison Association and a resident worker at the University Settlement on New York’s Lower East Side....

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Cahill, Holger (13 January 1887–08 July 1960), author and curator, was born Sveinn Kristjan Bjarnarson, in Snifellsnessyslu, Iceland, the son of Björn Bjarnarson, a laborer, and Vigdis Bjarnadóttir. Cahill, however, later claimed he was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1893. In the 1890s the Bjarnarsons emigrated to North Dakota, where they hoped to obtain land. Unable to purchase property, Björn worked as a hired hand. Vigdis, whom Cahill later described as a stern “peasant woman” with a poetic streak, and Björn, “a failure in almost everything he did,” quarreled frequently, separating when Cahill was eleven. Struggling to support her son and his younger sister after Björn departed, Vigdis sent the boy to live with an Icelandic family on a nearby farm. After the family removed him from school, put him to work in the fields, and pressured him to be confirmed in the Lutheran church, he ran away. Settled with another family, Cahill finished high school and then set off for Canada, where he worked as a farm laborer and cowherder. By 1907 he was back in the United States, holding a job as a railroad clerk in St. Paul. While there, he later recalled that he read “Tolstoi by the acre” and took a correspondence course in journalism. This was followed by short stints as a watchman on a Great Lakes steamer and as an insurance salesman in Cleveland....

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George Creel. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-92526).

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Creel, George Edward (01 December 1876–02 October 1953), journalist and government administrator, was born in Lafayette County, Missouri, the son of Henry Clay Creel and Virginia Fackler, farmers. He grew up in the Missouri towns of Independence and Odessa, where his mother supported the family by sewing, gardening, and operating a boarding house, because his father was often drunk and unemployed. As a teenager, Creel ran away from home to follow county fairs, then to roam the Southwest. In 1896 he was hired as a cub reporter by the ...

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Daniels, Jonathan (26 April 1902–06 November 1981), journalist, author, and government official, was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, the son of Josephus Daniels, a journalist, and Addie Worth Bagley. Daniels attended public schools in Raleigh until 1913 and then St. Albans School in Washington, D.C., when his father assumed the post of secretary of the navy. In 1921 he received a bachelor of arts degree in English from the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, where he served as editor of the campus paper and was a classmate of novelist ...

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Flagg, Edmund (24 November 1815–01 November 1890), author and civil servant, was born in Wiscasset, Maine, the son of Edmund Flagg and Harriet Payson. He graduated with distinction from Bowdoin College in 1835. Later that year he moved with his widowed mother and sister to Louisville, Kentucky, where he briefly taught the classics in a boys’ school. The following summer, he explored the Illinois and Missouri prairies and published in the ...

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Ford, Guy Stanton (09 May 1873–29 December 1962), historian, editor, and academic administrator, was born in Liberty Corners, Salem Township, Wisconsin, the son of Thomas D. Ford, a medical doctor, and Helen E. Shumway, a teacher. During Guy’s early childhood, his father’s drinking and business failures forced his mother, with her two sons, to move in with a series of relatives, eventually leading them to Sutherland, Iowa, in 1883. Shortly thereafter his father moved to Plainfield, Iowa, a town of about 300 people. In 1884 the family reunited in Plainfield. Thomas Ford was an extremely impractical man and the family lived in relative poverty throughout Guy’s years in Plainfield....

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Gallagher, William Davis (21 August 1808–27 June 1894), poet, journalist, and government official, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Bernard Gallagher, apparently a printer or journalist, and Abigail Davis. At the age of eight Gallagher headed west with his three brothers and mother (a widow since 1814) and settled in Mount Pleasant, Ohio. There he attended the Lancastrian Seminary and learned the printing trade through an apprenticeship....

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Oveta Culp Hobby. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-122229).

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Hobby, Oveta Culp (19 January 1905–16 August 1995), publisher and government official, was born Oveta Culp in Killeen, Texas, the daughter of Isaac William Culp, a lawyer, and Emma Hoover Culp. As a child, Oveta was close to her father and with his encouragement developed an early interest in law. She was educated in the local schools as well as tutored at home, and after graduation from high school she studied at Mary Hardin Baylor College in Belton, Texas, and at the University of Texas Law School in Austin. As a law student she became parliamentarian of the Texas House of Representatives, serving in that post from 1925 until 1931 and later from 1939 to 1941. In her early twenties she also served as a legal clerk in the Texas State Banking Department, and in that capacity she helped to codify Texas banking laws. In addition, in 1930 she served as an assistant to the Houston city attorney....

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Eugene Meyer. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-105094).

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Meyer, Eugene Isaac (31 October 1875–17 July 1959), investment banker, government official, and newspaper publisher, was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Marc Eugene Meyer, a retail merchant, and Harriet Newmark. After growing up in San Francisco, Meyer attended the University of California for one year in 1892. He was a mediocre student who spent much of his time drinking and gambling. After his freshman year, his family moved to New York City and he transferred to Yale. By working much harder academically at Yale, Meyer earned excellent grades and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. After skipping his junior year, he graduated with an A.B. with honors in 1895, ranking nineteenth in a class of 250. Meyer then spent two years in Europe learning French and German and gaining work experience in banking and international finance. On returning to the United States, Meyer was employed by the international banking firm of Lazard Frères, where his father was a partner. However, because his duties there were menial compared with the work he had been doing in Europe, Meyer left the firm in 1901, much against his father’s wishes, to open his own investment firm....

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Olds, Leland (31 December 1890–03 August 1960), statistician, journalist, and government regulatory official, was born in Rochester, New York, the son of George Daniel Olds, a professor of mathematics at the University of Rochester, and Marion Elizabeth Leland. In 1891 his father became chair of the mathematics department at Amherst College and eventually president of the college in 1924. Inspired by conservationist ...

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Post, Louis Freeland (15 November 1849–10 January 1928), writer, reformer, and assistant secretary of labor, was born on a farm in Warren County, New Jersey, the son of Eugene Jerome Post and Elizabeth Freeland, farmers. Post left school at fourteen to take a job as a pawnbroker’s assistant. Then he learned the printer’s trade at the ...

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Price, Byron (25 March 1891–06 August 1981), journalist, director of the U.S. Office of Censorship, and assistant secretary general of the United Nations, was born in Topeka, Indiana, the son of John Price and Emaline P. Barnes, farmers. He received a B.A. in English from Wabash College in Crawfordsville in 1912. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa....

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Carl T. Rowan. Courtesy of Oberlin College.

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Rowan, Carl T. (11 August 1925–23 September 2000), journalist and writer, was born Carl Thomas Rowan in Ravenscroft, Tennessee, the son of Thomas David Rowan, a laborer, and Johnnie Bradford Rowan. The family moved to McMinnville, Tennessee, while Carl was still an infant. Carl and his four siblings grew up in a house lacking electricity and running water. His father often stacked lumber, earning twenty-five cents an hour, but the Rowans, like most black families in McMinnville, were poor....

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Stryker, Roy Emerson (11 May 1893–26 September 1975), government official and documentarian, was born in Great Bend, Kansas, the son of George Stryker, a farmer and rancher, and Ellen (maiden name unknown). When Stryker was three, the family moved to Montrose, Colorado, where he spent his childhood. His father was an ardent Populist who believed in the value of higher learning. After graduating from high school in 1912, Stryker attended the Colorado School of Mines for a few terms, worked on a cattle ranch for several years with an elder brother, and served in the infantry in France during World War I, although he did not see combat. In September 1921, after some further study at the Colorado School of Mines, he married Alice Frasier and moved to New York to study at Columbia University. They had one daughter, Phyllis....

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Truman, Benjamin Cummings (25 October 1835–18 July 1916), journalist and government official, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Henry Hammond Truman, a house carpenter, and Susan Cummings. Truman was educated in public schools in Providence and the Shaker School in Canterbury, New Hampshire. In 1852 he taught school in Merrimack County, New Hampshire. He learned to set type at the age of eighteen and worked as a compositor and proofreader for the ...