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Mary S. Calderone Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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Calderone, Mary S. (01 July 1904–24 October 1998), physician and educator, was born Mary Steichen in New York City to Edward Steichen, a photographer, and Clara Smith Steichen. While Mary and her younger sister were growing up, living in both New York and France, their father emerged as one of the most acclaimed photographers in the world, and Mary Steichen later said that her father's ability to portray “human life and the human condition” made a deep impression on her at an early age. Her parents separated when she was ten, and Mary went to live with her father; she remained alienated from her mother for many decades, not restoring their relationship until Mary herself was in her sixties....

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Crothers, Thomas Davison (21 September 1842–12 January 1918), pioneer physician in the medical treatment of inebriety, temperance advocate, and editor, was born in West Charlton, New York, the son of Robert Crothers and Electra Smith. Members of Crothers’s family had taught surgery and medicine at Edinburgh University since the eighteenth century, and, with this influence, after attending the Fort Edward Seminary, he enrolled in Albany Medical College in 1862. With the outbreak of the Civil War Crothers signed on as a medical cadet at the Ira Harris Military College. Awarded his M.D. in 1865, Crothers continued his studies at Long Island College Hospital until he began his medical practice in West Galway, New York, in 1866. Four years later Crothers left West Galway for Albany, where, at his alma mater, he became assistant to the chair of the practice of medicine, lecturer on hygiene, and instructor in physical diagnosis. In 1875 he married Sarah Walton; the couple had no children. He also took a new position in Binghamton, New York, home of the nation’s first hospital for inebriates, the New York State Inebriate Asylum. There Crothers received his formal introduction to the medical treatment of inebriety. In 1878 he established his own private inebriate asylum in Hartford, Connecticut, the Walnut Hill Asylum (known after 1880 as the Walnut Lodge Hospital)....

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Day, Albert (06 October 1812–26 April 1894), physician, temperance advocate, legislator, and leader in the treatment of inebriety, was born in Wells, Maine, the son of Nahum Day and Persis Weeks. Little is known about Day’s family or his youth; his father died early, forcing Day to earn a living and save his studying for the evening....

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Dennett, Mary Coffin Ware (04 April 1872–25 July 1947), birth control and sex education reformer and pacifist, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, the daughter of George Whitefield, a wool merchant, and Livonia Coffin Ware. When Dennett was ten her father died and the family moved to Boston, where she attended public schools and went on to Miss Capen’s School for Girls in Northampton, Massachusetts. Dennett then studied at the school of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, where she displayed a great talent for tapestry and leather design. From 1894 to 1897 she headed the Department of Design and Decoration at the Drexel Institute in Philadelphia. After a trip to Europe with her sister, during which they collected gilded Cordovan leather wall hangings, the sisters opened a handicraft shop in Boston. Dennett helped organize the Boston Society of Arts and Crafts in 1897. She served on the council of the society until 1905, when her interest in politics and social welfare began to supersede her interest in the arts. In 1900 she married William Hartley Dennett, a Boston architect with whom she had two sons. The marriage ended in divorce in 1913 with Dennett receiving custody of their children....

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Neal Dow. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-90764).

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Dow, Neal (20 March 1804–02 October 1897), politician and social reformer, was born in Portland, Maine, the son of Josiah Dow and Dorcas Allen, operators of a tanning business. He received a basic education at the Portland Academy and later at the Friends’ Academy in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He also received an education in social involvement from his parents, who were ardent Quakers, committed to various types of social reform. As a child Neal witnessed escaped slaves moving through his home, which was a station on the Underground Railroad. His father traveled widely in New England in the interests of antislavery, with the support of the Society of Friends. Dow wanted to attend college and become a lawyer, but his parents objected, so he went into partnership with his father in the family business. In 1830 he married Maria Cornelia Durant Maynard; they had nine children, five of whom survived to adulthood....

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Endean, Steve (6 Aug. 1948–4 Aug. 1993), gay rights activist and lobbyist for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) causes, was born Stephen Robert Endean in Davenport, Iowa, to Robert Endean, a salesman, and Marilyn Endean. Raised in a Roman Catholic family, Endean grew up in Rock Island, Illinois; Peoria, Illinois; and Bloomington, Minnesota. After graduating from Lincoln High School in ...

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Fairbanks, Erastus (28 October 1792–20 November 1864), governor of Vermont, businessman, and antislavery and temperance leader, was born in Brimfield, Massachusetts, the son of Joseph Fairbanks, a farmer, carpenter, and mill owner, and Phebe Paddock. He received a limited public school education in Brimfield. Erastus taught school himself for a time before moving north with his family to St. Johnsbury, Vermont. In 1815 he married Lois C. Crossman, with whom he had eight children. Three years earlier, at the invitation of his uncle, Judge Ephriam Paddock, Fairbanks began reading the law in Paddock’s office. Fairbanks was soon compelled to quit his legal studies, reportedly owing to poor eyesight. He instead became a merchant, operating country stores in the towns of Wheelock, Barnet, and East St. Johnsbury for eleven years while establishing “a reputation for absolute integrity and for interest in anything that concerned the public welfare” (Ullery, p. 89)....

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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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Gougar, Helen Mar Jackson (18 July 1843–06 June 1907), suffragist, temperance reformer, and lecturer, was born near Litchfield in Hillsdale County, Michigan, the daughter of William Jackson and Clarissa Dresser, farmers. After attending the preparatory department of Hillsdale College from 1855 to 1859, she moved to Lafayette, Indiana, to teach in the public schools in order to help support her family. There she joined the Second Presbyterian Church, where she met John D. Gougar, a promising young lawyer, whom she married in 1863. The couple, who had no children, made their home in Lafayette for the rest of their lives....

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Gough, John Bartholomew (22 August 1817–18 February 1886), temperance orator, was born in Sandgate, Kent, England, the son of John Gough, a pensioned British war veteran, and Jane (maiden name unknown), a schoolteacher. Although the family was poor, Gough attended an academy until 1829, when his parents, seeking better opportunities for their son, paid ten guineas to David Mannering, a neighbor planning to emigrate, to take Gough to the United States. The youth worked on Mannering’s farm in Oneida County, New York, and joined the Methodist church during the revival then sweeping that region. Mannering, however, provided neither schooling nor a trade as had been promised, and in 1831 Gough left....

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Hay, Mary Garrett (20 August 1857–29 August 1928), suffragist and reformer, was born in Charlestown, Indiana, the daughter of Andrew Jennings Hay, a prosperous physician, and Rebecca Garrett. Hay was close to her father, a committed Republican, and got her first taste of politics as a young girl, attending meetings with him and helping him host political gatherings at their home. After attending Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio (1873–1874), she returned home. She participated in a number of reform groups and women’s clubs but soon began giving most of her time to the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). After a brief period as secretary-treasurer of its local branch, she served for seven years as treasurer of the state organization. By 1885 Hay was running a small department in the national office....

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Kearney, Belle (06 March 1863–27 February 1939), temperance advocate, suffragist, and legislator, was born Carrie Belle Kearney in Madison County, Mississippi, the daughter of Walter Gunston Kearney, a planter, lawyer, and politician, and Susannah Owens. Kearney was educated consecutively by a governess, public school, and the Canton Young Ladies’ Academy until the family could no longer afford the tuition. Between the ages of sixteen and nineteen, she led the life of an impoverished “belle”: her autobiographical account describes taking in sewing for former slaves as well as dancing at the governor’s inaugural ball....

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Milk, Harvey (22 May 1930–27 November 1978), politician and gay rights activist, was born Harvey Bernard Milk in Woodmere, Long Island, New York, the son of William Milk and Minerva Karns. His father operated a department store in Woodmere that was founded in 1882 by his grandfather, Morris Milk (originally Milch), a Lithuanian immigrant. Before she married his father, Milk’s mother was an early feminist activist who joined the Yoemanettes, a group agitating for the inclusion of women in the U.S. Navy during World War I....

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St. John, John Pierce (25 February 1833–31 August 1916), governor of Kansas and Prohibitionist, was born in Brookville, Indiana, the son of Samuel St. John and Sophia Snell, farmers. He attended country schools in Indiana, receiving a rudimentary education. Owing to his father’s fondness for alcohol, the family suffered economically, and during his teens he was forced to support himself by working in a store. Later in life St. John recalled, “Boy as I was, I hated the demon, Drink, that had made such a change in my father, had broken my mother’s heart, and darkened my boyhood’s home” (Headley, pp. 776–77). In 1847 he moved with his parents to Olney, Illinois, where at the age of nineteen he married Mary Jane Brewer. Two months after the marriage St. John left his wife and departed for California. This marriage produced one child and ended in divorce in 1859....

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Yellowley, Edward Clements (12 August 1873–08 February 1962), federal Prohibition and Internal Revenue administrator, was born on a plantation near Ridgeland, Mississippi, the son of James Brownlow Yellowley, a lawyer and planter, and Jessie Perkins. His parents belonged to the antebellum plantation aristocracy and were financially devastated by the Civil War. The family moved to a plantation near Greenville, North Carolina, during his childhood. Best known as E. C., Yellowley attended a military academy in 1888 and subsequently operated his father’s plantation. He married Mary Helms about 1896; she died childless two years later....