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Arvey, Jacob Meyer (03 November 1895–25 August 1977), lawyer and Democratic leader, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Israel Arvey, a businessman, and Bertha Eisenberg. His parents were Jewish Lithuanian immigrants. Arvey, known as “Jack,” married Edith Freeman in 1915; they had three children. After earning a degree at the John Marshall School of Law, he opened a law practice in Chicago in 1916....

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Homer Cummings. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-90035).

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Cummings, Homer Stillé (30 April 1870–10 September 1956), attorney, Democratic party leader, and attorney general of the United States, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Uriah C. Cummings, a businessman, and Audie Schuyler Stillé. Educated at the Heathcote School in upstate New York, the Sheffield School of Engineering of Yale University, and the Yale Law School, from which he graduated in 1893, Cummings opened a legal practice in Stamford, Connecticut, soon thereafter and formed a partnership with Charles D. Lockwood that lasted until he joined the ...

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Dargan, Edmund S. (15 April 1805–24 November 1879), legislator and judge, was born near Wadesboro, in Montgomery County, North Carolina, the son of a Baptist minister, whose given name is unknown, and a woman whose maiden name was Lilly. Dargan’s full middle name is listed in a number of sources as either Strother or Spawn. His father died when Dargan was very young. There was no adequate estate, and to earn a livelihood he became an agricultural laborer. Dargan was a self-educated young man who studied the law in typical nineteenth-century fashion, in the law office of a local practitioner in Wadesboro. After a year of study he was admitted in 1829 to the North Carolina bar. The following year he walked to Alabama, where he settled in Washington in Autauga County. He was admitted to the Alabama bar and served as a justice of the peace in Autauga County for a number of years....

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Dembitz, Lewis Naphtali (03 February 1833–11 March 1907), attorney and activist in public affairs, was born in Zirke, Prussia. His father, Sigmund Dembitz, was a surgeon whose degree from a Prussian university precluded his practicing in Austria, which required an Austrian degree. He, his wife Fanny Wehle, and their three children therefore led a wandering existence throughout other parts of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, particularly Poland, while Sigmund unsuccessfully sought a profitable practice in various small towns. The young Dembitz attended schools in Munchenberg, Brandenburg, Frangbord, and Sagan and graduated at age fifteen from the Gymnasium of Glogau University in Frankfort-on-the-Oder. Dembitz’s family did not observe religious rituals. A schoolmate at Glogau introduced him to Orthodox Judaism when Dembitz was thirteen, however, and as an adult he adhered strictly to its tenets and rituals. His one semester of legal studies in Prague was interrupted by the unsuccessful political uprising of 1848. Although neither he nor his family were active participants, they found that the combination of their sympathy for the uprising’s libertarian goals and their Jewishness, assimilated though it was, made life in the Empire uncomfortable. Thirty-five members of the interrelated Wehle, Dembitz, and Brandeis families therefore immigrated to the United States in 1849....

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Judith Ellen Foster. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-102556).

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Foster, Judith Ellen Horton Avery (03 November 1840–11 August 1910), lawyer, temperance activist, and Republican party leader, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, the daughter of Jotham Horton, a blacksmith and a Methodist minister, and Judith Delano. Both parents died when she was young, and Judith moved to Boston to live with her older married sister. She then lived with a relative in Lima, New York, where she attended the Genessee Wesleyan Seminary. After graduation she taught school until her first marriage to Addison Avery in 1860. They had two children, one of whom died in childhood. The marriage ended about 1866, and she moved to Chicago, supporting herself and her child by teaching music in a mission school. In Chicago she met Elijah Caleb Foster, a native of Canada and a recent graduate of the University of Michigan Law School. After their marriage in 1869, they moved to Clinton, Iowa. They had two children; one died at the age of five....

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Gardiner, John ( December 1733?–08 August 1793), attorney, political radical, and legal reformer, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Silvester Gardiner, a physician, and Anne Gibbins. He attended local schools and in 1745 was sent to the office of attorney Benjamin Prat...

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Garfield, Harry Augustus (11 October 1863–12 December 1942), lawyer, educator, and public official, was born in Hiram, Ohio, the son of James A. Garfield, the twentieth president of the United States, and Lucretia Rudolph (Lucretia Rudolph Garfield). A witness to the fatal shooting of his father in 1881, Garfield grappled with the implications of that tragedy for the rest of his life. He earned a B.A. at Williams College, 1881–1885, and after teaching briefly at St. Paul’s, a private school for boys, he studied law at Columbia University, 1886–1887, and in England at Oxford University and the Inns of Court, 1887–1888. In the latter year he married Belle H. Mason; they had four children....

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Ivins, William Mills (22 April 1851–23 July 1915), lawyer and municipal reformer, was born in Freehold, New Jersey, the son of Augustus Ivins, a prominent street railway builder, and Sarah Mills, a noted charity worker. Ivins attended Adelphi Academy and then secured employment with local publisher D. Appleton & Company. He soon entered Columbia Law School, graduating and gaining admission to the bar in 1873. In 1879 he married Emma Laura Yard of Freehold, New Jersey....

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Kenyon, Dorothy (17 February 1888–11 February 1972), attorney, political activist, and judge, was born in New York City, the daughter of William Houston Kenyon, an attorney, and Maria Wellington Stanwood. In 1904 Kenyon graduated from Horace Mann High School in New York City. She then attended Smith College, graduating in 1908 with a bachelor of arts degree in economics and history....

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Kunstler, William Moses (07 July 1919–04 September 1995), attorney and political activist, was born in New York City, the son of Monroe Bradford Kunstler, a prosperous physician, and Frances Mandelbaum. A French major and varsity swimmer, he graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University in 1941. Kunstler volunteered for the signal corps in World War II and rose to the rank of major, winning the Bronze Star for his service in the Pacific. After the war he attended Columbia Law School, graduating in 1948. While in law school he wrote book reviews for the ...

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Lowenstein, Allard Kenneth (16 January 1929–14 March 1980), lawyer, congressman, and political agitator, was born Allard Augustus Lowenstein in Newark, New Jersey, the son of Gabriel Abraham Lowenstein, a medical school teacher who turned restaurateur, and Augusta Goldberg. Lowenstein later chose Kenneth to replace Augustus, his given middle name. Only a year old when his mother died he was not told at first that his stepmother was not his birth mother, which he discovered when he was thirteen. In 1945 Lowenstein graduated from Horace Mann School in New York City and four years later graduated from the University of North Carolina. At North Carolina he succeeded in ending the practice of pairing Jewish students as roommates and gained them access to campus fraternities, and when the student state legislature met in Chapel Hill in December 1945 he got a resolution passed opening it up to black participation. Becoming a powerful personality on campus, Lowenstein found a hero and friend in the school’s president, ...

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MacVeagh, Isaac Wayne (19 April 1833–11 January 1917), lawyer, diplomat, and political reformer, was born near Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, the son of Major John MacVeagh and Margaret Lincoln, hotelkeepers. Margaret was a relative of Abraham Lincoln. Isaac, known as Wayne, attended Freeland Seminary (later Ursinus College) for two years before entering the junior class at Yale College, graduating in 1853. In 1856 he married Letitia Minor Lewis, who died in 1862. The couple had three children, one of whom died in infancy. In 1866 MacVeagh married Virginia Rollette Cameron, daughter of ...

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Margold, Nathan Ross (21 July 1899–16 December 1947), attorney and political activist, was born in Jassy, Romania, the son of Wolf Margulies and Rosa Kahan. He was brought to the United States when he was two, grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and received his B.A. from the City College of New York in 1919. Margold studied law at Harvard University, serving as an editor of the law review and catching the attention of Professor ...

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Morton, Ferdinand Quintin (09 September 1881–08 November 1949), attorney and political leader, was born in Macon, Mississippi, the son of Edward James Morton, a clerk in the U.S. Treasury Department, and Willie Mattie Shelton. Morton’s parents were former slaves. His father accepted the position with the Treasury Department in 1890, when the family moved north to Washington, D.C. Morton attended school in Washington, then enrolled at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. He graduated in 1902 and entered Harvard. He left Harvard after his junior year, in 1905, seemingly for financial reasons. Despite the fact that he was not a college graduate, he began studying at Boston University Law School that fall. He remained there for only a year and a half, again leaving without a degree, probably because of monetary problems....

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Overton, John (09 April 1766–12 April 1833), attorney, judge, and politician, was born in Louisa County, Virginia, the son of James Overton, a small planter, and Mary Waller. At age twenty-one he migrated to Mercer County, Kentucky, and read law for two years before taking up practice in Nashville on the raw Tennessee frontier. From a few rows of crude cabins on the Cumberland River, the town’s population exploded to nearly 6,000 during Overton’s lifetime. Upon his arrival, he took up residence in a boardinghouse run by the widow of Colonel ...

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Pinchot, Amos Richards Eno (06 December 1873–18 February 1944), attorney and liberal publicist, was born in Paris, France, the son of James Wallace Pinchot, a successful businessman, and Mary Jane Eno. An ingrained belief of the family held that his brother, Gifford Pinchot...

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Prichard, Edward Fretwell, Jr. (21 January 1915–23 December 1984), lawyer, public official, and educational reformer, was born in Paris, Kentucky, the son of E. F. Prichard, a horse-breeder, beer distributor, and sometime politician, and Aileen Power. A precocious boy and voracious reader, young Prichard skipped grades and spent his afternoons not at the playground but at the Bourbon County courthouse soaking up Kentucky legal and political lore....

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Rauh, Joseph L., Jr. (03 January 1911–03 September 1992), attorney and political activist, was born Joseph Louis Rauh in Cincinnati, Ohio, to Joseph Rauh, a shirtmaker, and Sarah Weiler Rauh. Joseph Rauh Sr. had emigrated with his own father in 1891 from Germany to Cincinnati, where they worked in the shirtmaking industry, and by 1912 he was able to establish his own shirt-manufacturing company. Young Joseph and his brother and sister grew up in a well-to-do Jewish household with a strong emphasis on education. He attended the University School in Cincinnati, and after his graduation in 1928, he entered Harvard College, where he majored in economics and played center on the basketball team. He graduated magna cum laude in 1932....