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Baldwin, Joseph Glover (21 January 1815–30 September 1864), attorney and author, was born in Friendly Grove Factory, Virginia, the son of Joseph Clarke Baldwin, a mill owner, and Eliza Cook. He was educated at Staunton Academy (Virginia), where he learned Latin and read widely in English and American authors. He left school at fourteen and became a clerk in the chancery court. This experience turned him toward a legal career, and after private study and law school he qualified as a lawyer at twenty. Baldwin also worked for a time as a newspaperman in Virginia and suffered a disappointment in love. In March 1836 he set out for the “Southwest”—specifically Alabama and Mississippi....

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Beer, Thomas (22 November 1888?–18 April 1940), writer, was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa, the son of William Collins Beer, a corporate attorney and lobbyist, and Martha Ann Alice Baldwin. Though born in western Iowa, Thomas Beer spent most of his childhood in Yonkers, New York, with summers in Nantucket and on his grandfather’s farm in Bucyrus, Ohio. Wealth and position from his father’s Wall Street business gave Beer a distinct sense of social superiority, which he manifested in personal relations and cultural criticisms. Despising the bourgeoisie, the working-class masses, and the chic lifestyles of the Jazz Age, Beer projected an image of extreme conservatism and tesselated sophistication. At Yale, class of 1911, he was class poet, lifelong friend of the actor Monty Wooley, editor of the literary review, and contributor of twenty stories, essays, and poems. After college he spent five years as a dilatory student in the Columbia law school and as clerk in his father’s law firm, but when his father died at his professional nadir in 1916, Beer turned to letters. His first important short story—“The Brothers”—was published a few months later in the ...

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Fosdick, Raymond Blaine (09 June 1883–18 July 1972), lawyer, author, and foundation president, was born in Buffalo, New York to Frank Fosdick, a teacher and school principal, and Amie Weaver. Fosdick’s childhood was a comfortable and content one, if somewhat constrained by his parents’ financial situation, which he described as “always precarious and frequently disastrous.” His parents sought to foster in their children a love of learning, books, and music, as well as a strong devotion to the Baptist faith. They also encouraged intellectual discussion and debate, which sometimes conflicted with Fosdick’s rigid religious upbringing. Out of the family’s Sunday dinner discussions, he recalled developing a growing “conviction . . . that moral values and ideals do not require the abdication of intelligence and critical judgment.” This early realization would profoundly shape Fosdick’s career in public and philanthropic service....

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Herndon, William Henry (25 December 1818–18 March 1891), lawyer and biographer, was born in Greensburg, Kentucky, the son of Archer G. Herndon, a farmer, tavern keeper, and merchant, and Rebecca Day Johnson. Herndon’s family moved to Illinois in 1820; in 1825 his father opened a tavern in Springfield, later expanding his business to include a general store. In 1836 Herndon briefly attended the preparatory department of Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois. Later, he worked as a clerk at a store in Springfield, joining ...

Article

Pierce, Edward Lillie (29 March 1829–05 September 1897), attorney and biographer, was born in Stoughton, Massachusetts, the son of Jesse Pierce, a farmer and legislator, and Elizabeth Lillie. An effective writer from the time of his youth, Pierce, a member of an old New England Puritan family, graduated from Brown University in 1850 and Harvard Law School in 1852. Several of his college essays were published in the ...