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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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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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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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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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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 ...

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Gilbert M. Hitchcock. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-36752).

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Hitchcock, Gilbert Monell (18 September 1859–03 February 1934), lawyer, publisher, and politician, was born in Omaha, Nebraska, the son of Phineas W. Hitchcock, a lawyer and politician, and Annie M. Monell. Educated in Omaha and in Baden-Baden, Germany, he studied law at the University of Michigan. Graduating in 1881 with an LL.B., he passed the bar exam and practiced law in Omaha for four years. The young lawyer married Jessie Crounse in 1883; they had two children....

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Jones, Hamilton C. (23 August 1798–10 September 1868), humorist, lawyer, and journalist, was born Hamilton Chamberlain Jones in Greenville County, Virginia, the son of William Jones and Martha Loftin. His father, about whom little is known, died while Jones was still an infant, soon after the family’s move to Stokes County, North Carolina. His mother then married Colonel James Martin, a wealthy and politically influential landowner and brother to ...

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Newsome, Joseph Thomas (02 June 1869–08 March 1942), lawyer and editor, was born in Sussex County, Virginia, the son of Joseph Newsom and Ann (maiden name unknown), former slaves. He graduated from Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute (later Virginia State University) in 1894 and, after teaching for a time in Sussex County, graduated from Howard University Law School in 1899. He joined the Virginia bar in 1899, moved to Phoebus (near Hampton), and then settled in Newport News. He married Mary B. Winfield, an 1892 graduate of Virginia Normal, in 1900; they had one daughter....

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O’Sullivan, John Louis (13 November 1813–24 March 1895), lawyer, journalist, and legislator, was born aboard a British man-of-war off the coast of Gibraltar, the son of John Thomas O’Sullivan, a U.S. diplomat and sea captain, and Mary Rowly. Descended from a long line of colorful Irish expatriates and soldiers of fortune, in childhood O’Sullivan eagerly absorbed tales of the family’s adventures. The romantic twist of his birth aboard an enemy ship during the War of 1812 was repeated throughout his life’s uneven course. ...

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Patterson, Thomas McDonald (08 November 1839–23 July 1916), lawyer and editor, was born in County Carlow, Ireland, the son of James Patterson, a watchmaker, and Margaret Mountjoy. During his youth, his family suffered from the notorious Irish potato famine of the mid-1840s, prompting them in 1848 to immigrate to New York City. Thomas attended public school in Astoria, Long Island. Five years later the Pattersons headed west for Crawfordsville, Indiana, a farming community west of Indianapolis, lured by that state’s boast that some 25 percent of all community members hailed from Ireland. The Indiana network offered opportunities: Thomas began working in the composing room at the ...