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Benjamin, Robert Charles O’Hara (31 March 1855–02 October 1900), journalist and lawyer, was born on the island of St. Kitts in the West Indies. Details about his early life, including the names of his parents and his education, are not known. In the fall of 1869 he arrived in New York, where he worked as soliciting agent for the ...

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Bennett, James Gordon, Jr. (10 May 1841–14 May 1918), newspaper publisher and editor, was born in New York City, the son of James Gordon Bennett, the founder and editor of the New York Herald, and Henrietta Agnes Crean. The eldest child of the man who popularized sensational journalism, Bennett grew up in an environment of wealth and privilege. He spent most of his youth abroad, educated privately by tutors and then at the École Polytechnique in Paris. Returning to the United States in 1861, he served briefly in the navy as a lieutenant during the Civil War. After the war, Bennett entered journalism seriously for the first time, working as an intern at the ...

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Bingham, Robert Worth (08 November 1871–18 December 1937), lawyer, newspaper publisher, and diplomat, was born in Mebane, North Carolina, the son of Robert Bingham, an educator, and Delphine Louise Worth. Bingham graduated from the Bingham School, a private school run by his father, and from 1888 to 1890 attended the University of North Carolina (no degree). He married Eleanor Everhart Miller in 1896; they had three children. He received a law degree from the University of Louisville a year later and, settling in Louisville, went into law practice with fellow North Carolinian W. W. Davies....

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Birney, William (28 May 1819–14 August 1907), soldier, journalist, and lawyer, was born in Madison County, Alabama, the son of James Gillespie Birney, a lawyer, state legislator, and abolitionist leader, and Agatha McDowell. In 1818 his family had moved to Huntsville, Alabama, and in late 1835 they relocated to New Richmond, Ohio. Birney was educated at four colleges, including Yale University, and graduated from Cincinnati Law School in 1841. He began practicing law in that city and in 1845 married Catherine Hoffman. They would have nine children. For five years thereafter he resided on the Continent and in England. He contributed essays on the arts to English and American newspapers, and he upheld the activist reputation of his family by opposing French troops as a member of a Republican student battalion in Paris. In 1848 he accepted an appointment as professor of English literature at the lycée in Bourges....

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Bradwell, James Bolesworth (16 April 1828–29 November 1907), lawyer and publisher, was born in Loughborough, England, the son of Thomas Bradwell and Elizabeth Guthredge, farmers. He came to the United States with his family in 1829, settling first in Utica, New York. In 1833 they moved to west-central Illinois and later to Chicago, making the last journey by covered wagon in 1834. They remained in Chicago only a short time before moving to a site near Wheeling, where they lived in a log cabin. As an adult, Bradwell enjoyed recounting the hardships of his early days in Illinois, which included attacks by Indians....

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Burk, John Daly (1776?–?11 Apr. 1808), editor, historian, and dramatist, was born in Ireland, arriving in America at the age of twenty. His parents’ names are unknown. He was a student at Trinity College in Dublin, but he was dismissed for “deism and republicanism” and eventually forced to leave Ireland, presumably because of political difficulties. Legend has it that a woman named Miss Daly gave him her female attire to help him escape from the British, hence the use of Daly in his name....

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Calhoun, William Barron (29 December 1796–08 November 1865), lawyer, writer, and politician, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Andrew Calhoun, a merchant, and Martha Chamberlain. His father was one of the founders of Boston’s Park Street Church. Calhoun was prepared for college by Harvard graduate William Wells, then he attended Yale, graduating in 1814. While a senior at Yale, Calhoun was one of the editors of a student publication, the ...

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Cary, Mary Ann Camberton Shadd (09 October 1823–05 June 1893), African-American educator, journalist/editor, and lawyer, was born in Wilmington, Delaware, the daughter of Abraham Doras Shadd and Harriet Parnell. Although the eldest of thirteen children, Mary Ann Shadd grew up in comfortable economic circumstances. Little is known about her mother except that she was born in North Carolina in 1806 and was of mixed black and white heritage; whether she was born free or a slave is unknown. Shadd’s father was also of mixed-race heritage. His paternal grandfather, Jeremiah Schad, was a German soldier who had fought in the American Revolution and later married Elizabeth Jackson, a free black woman from Pennsylvania. Abraham Shadd had amassed his wealth as a shoemaker, and his property by the 1830s was valued at $5,000. He was a respected member of the free black community in Wilmington and in West Chester, Pennsylvania, where the family had moved sometime in the 1830s, and he served as a delegate to the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1835 and 1836....

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Chester, Thomas Morris (11 May 1834–30 September 1892), lawyer and Civil War correspondent, was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the son of George Chester and Jane Maria (maiden name unknown), restaurateurs. When, as a young man of eighteen, Chester decided to emigrate to Liberia, he wrote Martin H. Freeman, his former teacher at the Avery Institute in Pittsburgh, that his passion for liberty could no longer “submit to the insolent indignities and contemptuous conduct to which it has almost become natural for the colored people dishonorably to submit themselves.” It was a bold assertion of independence for one who had come of age in a household long associated with the anticolonization sentiments of radical abolitionism. But the country’s willingness to appease southern interests, symbolized by the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law in 1850, persuaded Chester, sometime before his 1853 graduation, to emigrate....

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Collens, Thomas Wharton (23 June 1812–03 November 1879), Creole jurist and writer, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of John Wharton Collens and Marie Louise de Tabiteau. Collens’s father was descended from an English officer who had settled in Louisiana in the eighteenth century. His mother was a member of one of the city’s French-speaking, Creole families. Raised in a bilingual, Catholic household of modest means, Collens overcame a limited education during an apprenticeship in the print shop to which he was sent as a youth. By the age of twenty-one he had advanced to the position of associate editor of the ...

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Durant, Thomas Jefferson (08 August 1817–03 February 1882), publisher, lawyer, and politician, was born in Philadelphia, the son of John Waldo Durant and Sarah Heyliger. Little is known about Durant’s life in Pennsylvania. He was educated in public schools before matriculating at the University of Pennsylvania in 1830. At the age of fourteen, however, he migrated to New Orleans, apparently as the result of his family’s economic misfortune. By 1837 Durant, along with partner John C. LaRue, was publishing the ...

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Durham, John Stephens (18 July 1861–16 October 1919), diplomat, lawyer, and journalist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Samuel Durham and Elizabeth Stephens. Two of his uncles, Clayton Durham and Jeremiah Durham, were noted clergymen who helped Bishop Richard Allen establish the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church. A mulatto, Durham studied in the Philadelphia public schools, graduating from the Institute for Colored Youth in 1876....

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Garreau, Armand (13 September 1817–28 March 1865), Romantic writer, journalist, and educator, was born Louis-Armand Garreau in Cognac, France, the son of Louis-Armand Garreau, a lawyer and veteran of the Napoleonic wars, and Marie Rose Dumontet, a native of Saint-Pierre, Martinique. Apparently Garreau left home at a very early age to receive a classical education in Paris at the Lycée Henri IV. Financial difficulties prevented him from completing law school, but before he left Paris to take up a teaching position in the department of Gironde he encountered a New Orleanian who impressed him with talk of opportunity in Louisiana....

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Goodman, Joseph Thompson (18 September 1838–01 October 1917), writer, publisher, and archaeologist, was born in Masonville, Delaware County, New York, the son of Caleb Goodman. His mother’s name is unknown. Little is known of his early life. Sometime during the 1850s, Goodman moved west with his brother and father and began to work as a typesetter for the ...

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Gordon, Laura de Force (17 August 1838–05 April 1907), suffragist, newspaper publisher, and attorney, was born in Erie County, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Abram de Force and Catherine Doolittle Allan. Her mother helped support the family through needlework because her father suffered from rheumatism and could not work. Gordon was educated in the public schools, and at age seventeen she changed her religious affiliation from Congregationalist to Christian Spiritualist. She soon began a career as a traveling trance speaker, touring New York and her native Pennsylvania. Her lectures were well received by audiences and the press, and she expanded her territory in the 1860s to include Maine, Massachusetts, and New Jersey....

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Lloyd Carpenter Griscom Standing on a wharf in Yokohama, 1905. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-114538).

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Griscom, Lloyd Carpenter (04 November 1872–08 February 1959), diplomat, lawyer, and newspaper publisher, was born in Riverton, New Jersey, the son of Clement Acton Griscom, a shipping company executive, and Frances Canby Biddle. Shortly after his birth, Griscom moved with his family to Haverford, Pennsylvania. He enjoyed a privileged and cosmopolitan upbringing, attending private schools in Europe and mingling from childhood with America’s political and business elite. He received his Ph.B. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1891 and then attended the university’s law school....

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Griswold, Rufus Wilmot (13 February 1815–27 August 1857), editor and anthologist, was born on a farm in Benson, Vermont, the son of Rufus Griswold, a tanner and farmer, and Deborah Wass. Griswold’s early career consisted of a series of editorial and printing jobs for small-town papers in Vermont and New York. When ...

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Hall, John Elihu (27 December 1783–12 June 1829), lawyer and editor, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of John Hall, a member of a prominent Maryland landholding family, and Sarah Ewing ( Sarah Ewing Hall), an author. The eldest of ten children, Hall grew up in a literary household with strong ties to Philadelphia’s cultural elite. His maternal grandfather, John Ewing, was provost of the University of Pennsylvania. After studying for a time at Princeton without taking a degree, he returned to Philadelphia in 1804 and entered the law office of ...

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Hanson, Alexander Contee (27 February 1786–23 April 1819), lawyer, newspaper editor, and U.S. representative and senator, was born in Annapolis, Maryland, the son of Alexander Contee Hanson, a jurist and legislator, and Rebecca Howard. After graduating from St. John’s College in 1802, he practiced law in Annapolis, married Priscilla Dorsey, the daughter of a prominent planter, in 1805, and established his home, “Belmont,” near Elkridge. The couple probably had six children, three of whom survived until adulthood. In 1808 he founded the ...