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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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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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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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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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Harrison, Marguerite (23 October 1878–16 July 1967), journalist, spy, world traveler, and writer, was born Marguerite Elton Baker in Baltimore, Maryland, to Elizabeth Elton Livezey and Bernard Baker. Her wealthy family made its fortune in transatlantic shipping, and she spent many summers in Europe, where she enhanced her language skills. Her education was a combination of private tutors and attendance at St. Timothy’s School in Catonsville, Maryland, where she experienced some social awkwardness, but she also learned much about the wider world that would influence the rest of her life. After high school, she attended Radcliffe College for one semester and then in 1901 quickly married Thomas Harrison against her parents’ wishes. In contrast to her family’s high standing and social connections, Thomas came from a family of lesser means and status....

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Ingalls, John James (29 December 1833–16 August 1900), journalist, lawyer, and U.S. senator, was born in Middletown, Massachusetts, the son of Elias Theodore Ingalls, a businessman, and Eliza Chase. His father operated a shoe factory in Lynn, a town one of his ancestors helped found in 1629. Ingalls attended public school in Haverhill until he was sixteen then studied Latin with a tutor before enrolling at Williams College in 1851. After graduation in 1855 he read law with John J. Marsh for two years and was admitted to the Essex County bar in 1857....

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Leggett, William (30 April 1801–29 May 1839), journalist, was born in New York City, the son of Abraham Leggett, a merchant, and Catherine Wylie. After a childhood in New York, Leggett enrolled in Georgetown College in 1815 but did not graduate. In 1819 he joined his family’s trek to Illinois, where he wrote sentimental poetry for the ...

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Lewis, Alfred Henry (20 January 1857–23 December 1914), lawyer, journalist, and author, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Isaac Jefferson Lewis, a carpenter, and Harriet Tracy. He attended Cleveland public schools, read for the law, and passed the Ohio bar in Columbus in 1876, placing first among those examined. He practiced law, dabbled in politics, became prosecuting attorney in the Cleveland police court (1880–1881), and moved to Kansas City, Missouri, with his parents and brothers. He turned to cowboy hobo-ing on ranches in Meade County, Kansas, along the Cimarron River and into Oklahoma Territory, driving cattle up to Dodge City, Kansas, and riding in Texas and Arizona. He was a journalist in New Mexico Territory—as the ...

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Masterson, Bat (26 November 1853–25 October 1921), frontier lawman and sportswriter, was born Bartholomew Masterson in Henryville, Quebec, Canada, the son of Thomas Masterson, a farmer, and Catherine McGurk. The name Bart was corrupted to Bat in his early years. He later assumed the name William Barclay, and it was as William Barclay “Bat” Masterson that he became a well-known frontier figure. The Masterson family entered the United States about 1861 and began a ten-year westward trek with stops in New York, Illinois, and Missouri before settling in Sedgwick County, Kansas, in June 1871. The seven Masterson children received limited formal education in one-room schoolhouses along the way....

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Perlman, Philip Benjamin (05 March 1890–31 July 1960), newspaperman, lawyer, and solicitor general, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Benjamin Perlman and Rose Nathan. He attended Baltimore City College, a high school for boys from 1904 to 1908, studied law at Johns Hopkins, and was admitted to the Maryland bar a year before he received a law degree from the University of Maryland in 1912. He remained a bachelor. Perlman served on the boards of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Walters Art Gallery, and the Baltimore Museum of Art and belonged to the National Press Club and Associated Jewish Charities....

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Plumb, Preston B. (12 October 1837–20 December 1891), journalist, lawyer, and U.S. senator, was born in Berkshire, Delaware County, Ohio, the son of David Plumb, a wagon maker, and Hannah Maria Bierce. He was educated in the Berkshire and Marysville, Ohio, schools and at twelve enrolled in Kenyon College, where he took three years of preparatory studies and worked in the school’s print shop to pay for room, board, and tuition. At fifteen he apprenticed as a printer on the ...

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Polk, George (17 October 1913–16 May 1948), journalist and broadcast foreign correspondent, was born George Washington Polk, Jr., in Fort Worth, Texas, the son of George Washington Polk, a lawyer, and Adelaide Roe, a librarian. Polk attended Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia, until 1933. He was forced to leave after his junior year because of financial setbacks suffered by his father. In 1937, after working for the Conoco oil company as a gasoline salesman for four years, he moved to Alaska. While attending the University of Alaska at Fairbanks he sent back columns about Alaska to the ...

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Pryor, Roger Atkinson (19 July 1828–14 March 1919), journalist, Confederate soldier and jurist, was born in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, the son of Theodorick Bland Pryor, a lawyer, and Lucy Eppes Atkinson. His mother died before Pryor was two years old, so he was raised by his father, who had become a Presbyterian minister. Pryor attended the Classical Academy in Petersburg before entering Hampden-Sidney College in 1843, where he graduated as class valedictorian in 1845. He went on to study law at the University of Virginia for two years, taking his degree in 1847....

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Rodell, Fred (01 March 1907–04 June 1980), legal educator and journalist, was born Alfred M. Rodelheim, Jr., in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Alfred M. Rodelheim, an engineer, and Florence Wolf Fleisher. Rodell’s parents, members of prominent assimilated Jewish families, divorced when he was four, and he and his younger brother John went with his mother to live on the estate of his uncle, Howard Loeb, president of Tradesmen’s National Bank. Rodell avoided contact with his father after he turned sixteen and changed his name to Fred Rodell in 1928. Attracted to journalism at an early age, Rodell edited his high school student newspaper and college yearbook. He entered Haverford College at the age of fifteen, received his B.A. in 1926 with high honors, and was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa. During the winter of 1926–1927 he studied with Harold Laski at the University of London. He edited for the Century Publishing Company and wrote for ...

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Round, William M. F. (26 March 1845–02 January 1906), journalist and reformer, was born William Marshall Fitts Round in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, the son of Daniel Round, a Baptist minister, and Elizabeth Ann Fitts. After attending local schools, he enrolled in Harvard Medical School but was forced to drop out because of ill health. He then began a career as a journalist, working at various times for the ...