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Addams, Jane (06 September 1860–21 May 1935), social reformer and peace activist, was the daughter of John Huy Addams, a businessman and Republican politician, and Sarah Weber. Born on the eve of the Civil War in the small farming community of Cedarville, just outside Freeport, in northern Illinois, she was the youngest of five children, four of whom were girls. Her mother died during pregnancy when Jane was two years old. The Addams family was the wealthiest, most respected family in the community. Jane’s father owned the local grain mill, was president of the Second National Bank of Freeport, had interests in a local railroad and a local insurance company, taught Sunday School, and was active in local Bible societies. A founding member of the Republican party and supporter of ...

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Jane Addams. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-95722).

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Andrews, Fannie Fern Phillips (25 September 1867–23 January 1950), pacifist and educational reformer, was born in Margaretville, Nova Scotia, the daughter of William Wallace Phillips, a shoemaker, and Anna Maria Brown, a church activist. Andrews grew up in Lynn, Massachusetts; she graduated from Salem Normal School in 1884 and taught school in Lynn between 1884 and 1890. In 1890 she married Edwin G. Andrews, a salesman in Lynn; they had no children. In 1895–1896 Andrews resumed her studies, at the Harvard summer school, and in 1902 she received her A.B. from Radcliffe in education and psychology....

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Bailey, Hannah Clark Johnston (05 July 1839–23 October 1923), philanthropist, reformer, and peace advocate, was born in Cornwall-on-the-Hudson, New York, the daughter of David Johnston, a tanner, and Letitia Clark. In 1853 her father moved the family to Plattekill, New York, where he became a farmer and minister of the Society of Friends (Quakers). She attended public school and a Friends’ boarding school and taught in rural New York from 1858 to 1867. Accompanying a female Quaker preacher on a mission to New England churches, almshouses, and prisons, Bailey met her future husband, Moses Bailey, a fellow Society member and prosperous manufacturer of oil cloth. They were married in 1868 and settled at his Winthrop, Maine, home. They had one child....

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Emily Green Balch Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-114732).

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Balch, Emily Greene (08 January 1867–09 January 1961), peace activist, sociologist, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, was born in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, the daughter of Francis Vergnies Balch, a lawyer, and Ellen Maria Noyes. She was in the first graduating class at Bryn Mawr College, earning her degree in 1889. After studying privately for a year with sociologist ...

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Carrie Chapman Catt Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-28475).

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Catt, Carrie Chapman (09 February 1859–09 March 1947), suffragist leader and peace activist, was born Carrie Clinton Lane in Ripon, Wisconsin, the daughter of Lucius Lane and Maria Clinton, farmers. In 1866 the family moved to a farm outside Charles City, Iowa, and Carrie thereafter identified herself as an Iowan. She was graduated from Iowa State Agricultural College (now Iowa State University) in 1880 with a B.S. She was a feminist long before she knew the word; at thirteen she was indignant when she realized that her mother could not vote in the presidential election. At college she organized a debate on woman suffrage and broke tradition by joining a public-speaking society. After graduation she read law for a year, then taught high school in Mason City, Iowa. She soon became the school’s principal as well as the superintendent of schools. In these posts she developed her organizational and administrative talents. They were the keystones to her success as a leader of women for the next sixty years....

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Deming, Barbara (23 July 1917–02 August 1984), writer and activist, was born in New York City, the daughter of Katherine Burritt, who gave up her career as a singer to marry, and Harold Deming, a lawyer. Deming was born into a family that was influenced by her mother’s association with an artistic group of friends in Greenwich Village and her father’s association with Republican politics. She was educated at the Friends School of the Fifteenth Street Meeting in New York until she left for Bennington College in 1934....

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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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Detzer, Dorothy (01 December 1893–07 January 1981), peace lobbyist, was raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the daughter of August Jacob Detzer and Laura Goshorn. She attended the Chicago School of Civics and Philanthropy for two years but did not complete a college degree. Her family was Episcopalian and patriotic: her mother was in the Red Cross and an officer in the State Council of Defense; her younger brother attended Annapolis and embarked on a naval career; her older brother served with the army in France in World War I as did her twin brother, who was exposed to mustard gas at the battlefront and died a painful death from its effects a few years later. Detzer spent 1914–1918 working in Hull-House, Chicago, where she was inspired by the example of pacifist ...

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Dudley, Helena Stuart (31 August 1858–29 September 1932), settlement house worker and peace activist, was born in Florence, Nebraska, the daughter of Judson H. Dudley, a land developer, and Caroline Bates. Her early life was rather unsettled as the Dudley family moved about the West in pursuit of her father’s real estate ventures. Helena Dudley did not attend college until the age of twenty-six when she spent a year at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She then went on to Bryn Mawr college, graduating with the first class in 1889 with a degree in biology. Like so many other college-educated women of her generation, she became a teacher, first at the Pratt Institute and, a year later, at the Packer Institute, both in Brooklyn, New York....

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Hooper, Jessie Annette Jack (08 November 1865–08 May 1935), peace activist, was born on a farm in Winnesheik County, Iowa, the daughter of David Jack, a refrigerator manufacturer and businessman, and Mary Elizabeth Nelings. Her frail health as a child and young woman required her to be educated by a governess until she eventually was able to attend art school, first in Des Moines, Iowa, and later in Chicago, Illinois. On a visit to her older sister in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, she met a young attorney and wholesale grocer, Ben Hooper, whom she married in 1888. They had two children....

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Hughan, Jessie Wallace (25 December 1875–10 April 1955), pacifist, socialist, and teacher, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Samuel Hughan, an accountant and librarian, and Margaret West. Both parents were religious seekers and followers of Henry George’s Single Tax theory. Hughan attended Barnard College, graduating in 1898 with an A.B. in economics. A year later she received an A.M. from Columbia University with a thesis on Henry George’s economic theories. In 1910 she was awarded a Ph.D. from Columbia; the title of her dissertation was “The Present Status of Socialism in America.” Having become acquainted with Socialist party members through her research, she herself became a socialist in 1907. The Socialist party recognized her leadership potential and appointed her to its executive committee and that of the Inter-Collegiate Socialist Society, later the League for Industrial Democracy. She also ran as a socialist candidate for a number of offices, including the U.S. Senate in 1924....

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Hull, Hannah Hallowell Clothier (21 July 1872–04 July 1958), peace activist and suffragist, was born in Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Isaac Hallowell Clothier and Mary Clapp Jackson. The fourth of nine children, Hannah Clothier grew up within the sheltered confines of wealthy Philadelphia society. Her father was a founding partner in the largest dry goods store in the United States, Strawbridge & Clothier, and the family devoted its considerable fortune to Quaker philanthropies, especially Swarthmore College. After attending the Friends’ Central School in Philadelphia, seventeen-year-old Hannah attended Swarthmore College for two years, leaving with a B.L. degree in 1891. The family forbade her from seeking paid employment, but she was able to spend five years engaged in volunteer settlement work in Philadelphia. In 1896 and 1897 Hannah resumed her studies in history and biblical literature at Bryn Mawr, and in 1898, at the age of twenty-six, she married William Isaac Hull, an associate professor of history and political science at Swarthmore College....

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King, Coretta Scott (27 April 1927–30 January 2006), human rights advocate and peace activist, was born Coretta Scott in Heiberger, Alabama, the third daughter of Obadiah Scott and Bernice McMurray Scott, small farmers. Coretta’s siblings included two older sisters, one who did not survive childhood, and a younger brother; like many farm children, in her youth Coretta helped to tend crops and pick cotton. She credited the early influence of her family, who encouraged her to question not only racial and economic injustice but gender inequality as well, for her commitment to social justice. Bernice Scott admonished Coretta and older sister Edythe to “get an education and try to be somebody” so that “you won’t have to depend on anyone for your livelihood—not even on a man”; both parents understood the constraints placed on young black women in the Jim Crow South and were unwilling to allow their children to let such limitations define them (Scott King, p. 34). Heeding her mother’s advice, as her sister had before her, Coretta entered Lincoln School, a private black school in Marion, Alabama, with an integrated faculty. In 1945 she graduated as class valedictorian and again followed Edythe’s lead by enrolling in Antioch College, a predominantly white school in Yellow Springs, Ohio, committed to the principles of integration....

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Mead, Lucia True Ames (05 May 1856–01 November 1936), pacifist and suffragist, was born in Boscawen, New Hampshire, the daughter of Nathan Plummer Ames, a businessman and farmer, and Elvira Coffin. (She was initially given the middle name Jane but apparently changed it herself to True.) After her mother died when Lucia was five, the family moved to Chicago. Nine years later she returned east to live with an older brother in Boston; she was educated privately and then attended public high school in Salem, Massachusetts. Her intellectual development was encouraged by her maternal uncle, ...

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Jeannette Pickering Rankin. Gelatin silver print, c. 1917, by L. Chase. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Margaret Sterling Brooke.

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Rankin, Jeannette Pickering (11 June 1880–18 May 1973), first woman in Congress and peace activist, was born near Missoula, Montana, the daughter of John Rankin, a successful developer, and Olive Pickering, a former schoolteacher. The eldest of seven surviving children, Rankin exhibited considerable sangfroid and sense of responsibility from an early age. An indifferent student at Montana State University in Missoula (now the University of Montana), she lacked direction upon her graduation in 1902. Following an eye-opening tour of the slums of Boston in 1904, she enrolled in the New York School of Philanthropy, which later became the Columbia University School of Social Work. After brief and dissatisfying service as a social worker in Spokane, Washington, she enrolled in a wide range of courses at the University of Washington in Seattle, where in 1910 she began her career in woman suffrage. During a visit to her home state in December of that year she stunned the Montana populace when, in an address on behalf of the Equal Franchise Society, she became the first woman to speak to the legislature....

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Schwimmer, Rosika (11 September 1877–03 August 1948), pacifist and feminist, was born in Budapest, Hungary, the daughter of Max Schwimmer, an experimental farmer who raised seed corn, produce, and horses, and Bertha Katscher. Schwimmer’s upper-middle-class, secularized Jewish family had a history of involvement in progressive political and social movements....