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Barton, Clara (25 December 1821–12 April 1912), philanthropist, was born Clarissa Harlowe Barton in North Oxford, Massachusetts, the daughter of Stephen Barton, a farmer and local politician, and Sarah Stone. The childhood nickname “Clara” stuck, and throughout her life she was known to the world as Clara Barton. Her family had lived in New England for generations, and Barton grew up hearing stories of her ancestors’ escapades during the American Revolution. Despite her family’s comfortable position and local renown, however, her childhood was not happy. Her parents’ troubled marriage and erratic behavior, the insanity and early death of her favorite sister, and the questionable business dealings of her brothers made for an unstable home life. When in later life she recalled her childhood, she wrote, “I remember nothing but fear.”...

Article

Brown, Margaret Tobin (18 July 1867–26 October 1932), social rights activist, philanthropist, actress, and Titanic survivor, social rights activist, philanthropist, actress, and Titanic survivor, popularly known as Molly Brown, was born Margaret Tobin in Hannibal, Missouri, the daughter of Irish immigrants. The real life of Margaret Tobin Brown has little to do with the myth of Molly Brown, a story created in the 1930s and 1940s that culminated in the 1960 Broadway hit ...

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Graham, Isabella (29 July 1742–27 July 1814), educator and philanthropist, was born Isabella Marshall in Lanarkshire, Scotland, the daughter of John Marshall and Janet Hamilton. She grew up in Elderslie, near Paisley, where she was educated in schools conducted by Rev. John Witherspoon...

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Hearst, Phoebe Elizabeth Apperson (03 December 1842–13 April 1919), philanthropist, was born in Franklin County, Missouri, the daughter of Randolph Walker Apperson and Drucilla Whitmire, farmers. She was educated by her parents and in a rude common school near what is now St. Clair, Missouri, southwest of St. Louis. At age seventeen she spent a year with cousins in St. James where she studied French and began the wider reading that became a lifelong occupation. She taught for a year in the Reedville or Ironworks (District 93) School near Sullivan but reportedly was nursing the family neighbor for whom she was named—Elizabeth Collins Hearst—when ...

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Huntington, Anna Vaughn Hyatt (10 March 1876–04 October 1973), sculptor and philanthropist, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the daughter of Alpheus Hyatt II, a professor of zoology and paleontology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at Boston University, and Audella Beebe, an amateur landscape painter. She attended private schools in Cambridge, but at about age seventeen, she began to show an interest in sculpture. This was encouraged by her family, especially by her older sister, Harriet R. Hyatt, who began sculpting in the 1880s. Anna may have accompanied her sister to the Cowles School in Boston to study drawing with ...

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McCarty, Oseola (07 March 1908–26 September 1999), philanthropist, was born near Shubuta, Mississippi, the daughter of Lucy McCarty and an unnamed father. Largely raised on a small farm by her maternal grandmother, Oseola was taken as a child to visit her mother in various turpentine-processing camps, where her mother was following her stepfather. In 1916 her mother relocated the family to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where Oseola would spend the rest of her life....

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Newcomb, Josephine (31 October 1816–07 April 1901), philanthropist, was born Josephine Louise Le Monnier in Baltimore, Maryland, the daughter of Alexander Le Monnier, businessman, and Mary Sophia Waters Le Monnier. Her father, a French émigré, was devoted to his three children and was financially able to provide an above-average education for them. After supervising their initial academic training, he sent them to Europe, where they lived with relatives who further expanded their education with travel throughout Europe and Asia....

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Schott, Marge (18 August 1928–02 March 2004), baseball team owner, philanthropist, and eccentric, was born Margaret Unnewehr in Cincinnati, Ohio, the second child of five daughters born to Edward and Charlotte Unnewehr. The family business, the Cincinnati Veneer Company, provided the means for the Unnewehrs to live in Clifton, an upper-middle-class section of the city. Something of a tomboy, Margaret (called Marge) was enrolled in the private Sacred Heart Academy where she spent much of her energy playing sports, especially field hockey. Marge attended the University of Cincinnati for three years but left school to work for her father's business. In 1952 she married Charles Schott, a member of one of Cincinnati's wealthiest families. Together they purchased an estate in the upscale Indian Hill community where Marge would live for the rest of her life. The couple had no children....

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Shouse, Catherine Filene (09 June 1896–14 December 1994), philanthropist, patron of the arts, and advocate for careers for women, was born Catherine Filene in Boston, Massachusetts, the eldest daughter of A. Lincoln Filene and Thérèse Weil. As a child, she was known as Catherine; as an adult, she was always Kay. She grew up in a wealthy, progressive home where politicians, businessmen, musicians, and social reformers were frequent visitors. Her father, who never finished high school, engaged in civic, educational, and labor reforms while president of William Filene and Sons, the Boston retail store founded by her grandfather. Her mother, a talented amateur musician, supported the Boston Symphony Orchestra and founded a music settlement house....