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Atwater, Wilbur Olin (03 May 1844–22 September 1907), nutritionist and professor of chemistry, was born in Johnsburg, New York, the son of William Warren Atwater, a methodist clergyman, and Elizabeth Barnes. The family moved from place to place within New England during his childhood. He attended the University of Vermont for two years but graduated in 1865 from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. After three years of teaching school, he moved to Yale’s Sheffield Scientific School as a graduate student in agricultural chemistry under Professor ...

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Bard, Samuel (01 April 1742–24 May 1821), physician and teacher, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of John Bard, a physician, and Suzanne Valleau. Convinced by his good friend Benjamin Franklin that New York City offered a better opportunity for professional advancement, John Bard moved his family there in 1746 and soon became one of its leading physicians....

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Bennett, John Cook (03 August 1804–05 August 1867), physician, religious leader, and entrepreneur, was born in Fair Haven, Bristol County, Massachusetts, the son of John Bennett, a shipowner, and Abigail Cook. At his father’s death in 1817, he moved with his mother to Ohio to stay with relatives. In 1825, after a three-year apprenticeship with a physician and an oral examination by an Ohio medical society, Bennett received his M.D. and a license to practice. That year he married Mary Barker; they had three children. There is no evidence supporting his claim to have attended Ohio University or McGill College in Montreal; he did, however, become a Freemason in 1826....

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Bettelheim, Bruno (28 August 1903–13 March 1990), therapist, educator, and author, was born in Vienna, Austria, the son of Anton Bettelheim, a lumber merchant, and Pauline Seidler. Following his father’s death in 1926, he dropped out of the university to take over the family firm. Although successful in business, he re-enrolled ten years later to become, in February 1938, one of the last Jews to obtain a Ph.D. from Vienna University before World War II. While he was a philosophy student, aesthetics was his main subject, but he also studied psychology under ...

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Blunt, Katharine (28 May 1876–29 July 1954), college administrator, educator, and nutritionist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Stanhope English Blunt, an army officer and technical writer, and Fanny Smyth. Little is know about her childhood except that she was first educated at a preparatory school before attending Miss Porter’s School in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1894 she enrolled at Vassar, where she studied chemistry. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa with an A.B. in 1898, then returned home to her family and engaged in service to her church and community for four years....

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Bradley, Amy Morris (12 September 1823–15 January 1904), educator, Civil War nurse, and school founder, was born in East Vassalboro, Kennebec County, Maine, the daughter of Abiud Bradley, a shoemaker, and Jane Baxter. As a child Bradley suffered from bronchial problems, a vulnerability that plagued her throughout her life. When she was six, her mother died. Her seven older siblings and elderly father cared for her until she was thirteen; her father then moved away, and her married brothers and sisters took turns boarding her in their homes. From this experience she developed self-reliance and disinclination to marriage....

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Burnham, William Henry (03 December 1855–25 June 1941), professor of psychology, was born in Dunbarton, New Hampshire, the son of Samuel Burnham, a farmer and proprietor of the general store, and Hannah Dane. He entered Harvard in 1878, following three years of teaching while he prepared for the university; he graduated with honors in 1882. He taught at Wittenberg College (Springfield, Ohio) and at the Potsdam (N.Y.) Normal School before enrolling in graduate studies in psychology at Johns Hopkins University in 1886. At Hopkins he was part of a group of students of ...

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Caldwell, David (22 March 1725–25 August 1824), Presbyterian minister, self-trained physician, and schoolmaster, was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the son of Andrew Caldwell and Ann Stewart, farmers. At the age of seventeen Caldwell became a carpenter’s apprentice and four years later a journeyman carpenter. At age twenty-five he experienced a religious conversion and a call to the ministry. He studied at the Reverend ...

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Corson, Juliet (13 January 1841?–18 June 1897), founder of the New York Cooking School and pioneer in the scientific cookery movement, was born in Mount Pleasant, Massachusetts, the daughter of Peter Ross Corson, a prosperous produce merchant, and Mary Ann Henderson. (Although most obituaries and biographical sources give Corson’s birth date as 1842, the Vital Records of Roxbury, Massachusetts, give the date as 1841.) Corson’s family moved to New York City when she was six years old. In New York her uncle, Alfred Upham, helped to raise her and provided her with a classical education. She began to support herself in her late teens after her mother’s death....

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Delany, Annie Elizabeth “Bessie” (03 September 1891–25 September 1995), and Sarah Louise “Sadie” Delany (19 September 1889–25 January 1999), dentist and schoolteacher, were born in Raleigh, North Carolina, the daughters of Henry Beard Delany, an educator and Episcopal bishop, and Nanny James Logan Delany. Bessie was to become a dentist, and Sadie a schoolteacher; late in life, they gained fame for their published reminiscences. Descended from a mix of black, American Indian, and white lineages, the sisters grew up in a family of ten children in Raleigh on the campus of St. Augustine's, the African-American school where their father, a former slave, served as priest and vice principal. The sisters graduated from St. Augustine's (Sadie in 1910 and Bessie in 1911) at a time when few Americans, black or white, were educated beyond grammar school. “We had everything you could want except money,” recalled Bessie. “We had a good home, wonderful parents, plenty of love, faith in the Lord, educational opportunies—oh, we had a privileged childhood for colored children of the time” ( ...

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See Delany, Annie Elizabeth “Bessie”

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Samuel Henry Dickson. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B07155).

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Dickson, Samuel Henry (20 September 1798–31 March 1872), physician, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Samuel Dickson and Mary Neilson, Presbyterians of Scotch-Irish descent who had emigrated from Belfast, Ireland, before the American Revolution. Dickson received his early education from his father, a schoolteacher, and at private schools in Charleston. At the age of thirteen he entered Yale College as a sophomore and graduated with a B.A. in 1814 a few days before his sixteenth birthday....

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Goldsmith, Grace Arabell (08 April 1904–28 April 1975), nutritionist and public health educator, was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, the daughter of Arthur William Goldsmith, an accountant, and Arabell L. Coleman. An only child, she attended the University of Minnesota before transferring to the University of Wisconsin, where she received a B.S. in 1925. Active in all sports and an accomplished dancer, she was physical director at the YWCA in New Orleans, Louisiana, before entering the Tulane University Medical School, where she received her M.D. in 1932. She gave dancing lessons to pay her bills and graduated first in a class of 108 that included only six women....

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Hartshorne, Henry (16 March 1823–10 February 1897), physician, medical teacher, and writer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Joseph Hartshorne, a physician, and Anna Bonsall, the daughter of a prominent Quaker. He graduated from the Haverford School (later Haverford College) with an A.B. degree in 1839; in 1860 he was awarded an A.M. degree from the same school. Encouraged by his father to study medicine, he enrolled in the medical school of the University of Pennsylvania and graduated with an M.D. degree in 1845....

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Irwin, Elisabeth Antoinette (29 August 1880–16 October 1942), educator and psychologist, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of William Henry Irwin and Josephina Augusta Easton. Her father, a cotton merchant, provided a comfortable living, sending Irwin to Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn and to Smith College (A.B., 1903). As with many Smith students of the day, Irwin became interested in the settlement house movement and in a career in social work. During the summer after graduation, she took classes at the New York School of Philanthropy (later the New York School of Social Work). That fall she began work supervising a playground (1903–1904) and then became a resident at the College Settlement on New York’s Lower East Side. She also worked for a time as a freelance journalist....

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Thomas C. James. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B015234).

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James, Thomas C. (31 August 1766–05 July 1835), physician and teacher, was born Thomas Chalkley James in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Abel James, a merchant, and Rebecca Chalkley. The son of devout Quaker parents, James was named after his maternal grandfather, Thomas Chalkley, an eminent Quaker writer and minister. His father, one of Philadelphia’s leading merchants, was a member of the Provincial Assembly, a friend of ...

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Keller, Fred S. (02 January 1899–02 February 1996), psychologist and educator, was born Fred Simmons Keller on a farm in Rural Grove, New York, the son of Vrooman Barney Keller, a salesman, and Minnie Vanderveer Simmons Keller. Keller's early education was disrupted by his family's frequent relocations, prompting him to drop out of high school. He then worked as a messenger boy and telegraph operator for the Western Union Telegraph Company in Saranac Lake, New York. In 1918 he enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he served in the field artillery at Camp Jackson, South Carolina. During World War I he was first stationed in France, where he experienced combat, then he was sent to Germany with the Army of Occupation. In 1919 Keller left the army with the rank of sergeant, and in September of that year he returned to high school at Goddard Seminary in Barre, Vermont, on an athletic scholarship for football. In the fall of 1920 he gained admittance to Tufts College (now University), where under the tutelage of Robert C. Givler he became interested in psychology and philosophy. In response to his poor performance, Keller left and worked a year for the Andover Press in Andover, Massachusetts. He then returned to Tufts and majored in psychology, graduating with a bachelors degree in 1926....

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Kessen, William (18 January 1925–13 February 1999), psychologist, educator, and historian, was born in Key West, Florida, the only child of Maria Lord Kessen, a third generation Key Wester, and Herman Kessen of Georgia, a ship's engineer with the Peninsular and Occidental Steamship line. The family moved to Fort Lauderdale when Kessen was ten; he graduated from high school at the precocious age of sixteen. The first in his family to attend college, Kessen pursued a variety of interests at the University of Florida, including history, acting, and radio announcing, but his undergraduate studies were interrupted by the outbreak of World War II....