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Andrews, Eliza Frances (10 August 1840–21 January 1931), author and educator, was born at Haywood Plantation near Washington, Georgia, the daughter of Garnett Andrews, a judge and planter, and Annulet Ball. After attending the Ladies’ Seminary in Washington, Georgia, Andrews, often known as “Fanny,” was, in 1857, one of the first students to receive an A.B. degree at LaGrange Female College in LaGrange, Georgia....

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Gertrude Atherton Arnold Genthe, 1912. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-G432-0120).

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Atherton, Gertrude Franklin (30 October 1857–14 June 1948), author, biographer, and historian, was born Gertrude Franklin Horn in San Francisco, California, the daughter of Thomas Horn, a businessman, and Gertrude Franklin. Her maternal grandfather, a grandnephew of Benjamin Franklin, was a banker and editor of one of San Francisco’s first newspapers. Gertrude lived with him when her parents were divorced after three years of marriage. Although she was well read, her formal education was sporadic—while she was attending the Sayre Institute in Lexington, Kentucky, she contracted tuberculosis. After twice becoming engaged, she eventually eloped in 1876 with George H. Bowen Atherton, a former suitor of her mother’s. They had a daughter and a son who died at the age of six....

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Banning, Margaret Culkin (18 March 1891–04 January 1982), writer, was born in Buffalo, Minnesota, the daughter of William Edgar Culkin, a Duluth newspaper executive, and Hannah Alice Young. She attended Vassar College, where she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and graduated in 1912. Pursuing an interest in social work, she attended Russell Sage College on a fellowship in 1912–1913, then spent the following academic year at the Chicago School of Philanthropy, which awarded her a certificate in 1914 for completion of its program. That same year she married a Duluth lawyer, Archibald T. Banning, Jr. The couple, who were divorced in 1934, had four children, two of whom survived into adulthood....

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Barr, Amelia Edith Huddleston (29 March 1831–10 March 1919), author and teacher, was born in Ulverston, Lancashire, England, the daughter of the Reverend William Henry Huddleston and Mary Singleton. When Barr was young, her family moved often, according to her father’s assignment as a Methodist minister. Although her early education was frequently interrupted by relocations, returns on the Reverend Huddleston’s investments allowed Barr to attend the best private schools wherever the church sent the family. Furthermore, reading sophisticated books and treatises to her father reinforced her formal schooling and contributed to an excellent early education. This childhood security ended abruptly in 1847, when a family friend absconded to Australia with the Reverend Huddleston’s fortune, and Barr had to earn her own living as a “second teacher” at a school in Downham Market. Soon the family’s monetary situation improved and enabled Barr, in 1849, to attend Normal School in Glasgow to learn the Stowe teaching method, with its emphasis on moral training, lifelong learning, and understanding rather than rote learning. Marriage, in 1850, to Robert Barr, a prosperous young Scottish wool merchant, ended her teacher-training program. Nevertheless, teaching, on a formal or informal basis, was an important part of Barr’s life for the next twenty years....

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Bellamy, Elizabeth Whitfield Croom (17 April 1837–13 April 1900), author and teacher, was born near Quincy, Florida, the daughter of William Whitfield Croom, a plantation owner and merchant, and Julia Stephens. Elizabeth received her education in Philadelphia, at Pelham Priory, and in New York, at the Spingler Institute, under the direction of the Reverend ...

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Bonner, Marita Odette (16 June 1898–06 December 1971), educator and author, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Joseph Bonner, a machinist and laborer, and Mary A. Nowell. Educated in the Brookline, Massachusetts, public schools, she applied to Radcliffe College at the urging of her high school faculty adviser and was one of the few African-American students accepted for admission. She majored in English and comparative literature and founded the Radcliffe chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, a black sorority. A gifted pianist and student of musical composition, she won the Radcliffe song competition in 1918 and 1922. Bonner also studied German, a language in which she became fluent. During her last year in college she taught English at a Cambridge high school. After graduating with a B.A. in 1922, she taught at the Bluefield Colored Institute in Bluefield, Virginia, until 1924 and at Armstrong High School in Washington, D.C., from 1924 to 1930, when she married William Almy Occomy, a Brown graduate. The couple moved to Chicago, where they raised three children....

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Kay Boyle. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-113309).

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Boyle, Kay (19 February 1902–27 December 1992), writer, educator, and political activist, was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, the daughter of Howard Peterson Boyle, a lawyer, and Katherine Evans, a literary and social activist. Her grandfather had founded the West Publishing Company, and the financial security afforded by this background allowed the Boyle family to travel extensively. Boyle’s education was sporadic, culminating in two years of architecture classes at the Ohio Mechanics’ Institute (1917–1919). In 1922 Boyle joined her sister Joan in New York City, where she began to work for ...

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Buckmaster, Henrietta (1909–26 April 1983), writer and editor, was born Henrietta Henkle in Cleveland, Ohio, the daughter of Rae D. Henkle, a newspaperman, and Pearl Wintermute. Her father moved with his family to New York City to become foreign editor of the New York Herald...

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Mary Ellen Chase. Photograph by Eric Stahlberg. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-113308).

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Chase, Mary Ellen (24 February 1887–28 July 1973), writer and educator, was born in Blue Hill, Maine, the daughter of Edward Everett Chase, a lawyer, and Edith Lord, a teacher of Latin. Religion, education, and reading were basic to the Chase family’s way of life, as described by Chase herself in three autobiographical volumes: ...

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Eastman, Mary Henderson (1818–24 February 1887), writer, was born in Warrenton, Virginia, the daughter of Thomas Henderson, a physician, and Anna Maria Truxton. Although scholars are uncertain exactly when the Henderson family moved from Virginia to Washington, D.C., it was probably in Washington that Eastman received her education, an excellent one for a girl growing up in the early nineteenth century....

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Jessie Redmon Fauset. Oil on canvas, 1945, by Laura Wheeler Waring. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the Harmon Foundation.

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Fauset, Jessie Redmon (27 April 1882–30 April 1961), writer, editor, and teacher, was born outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in Camden County, New Jersey, the daughter of Redmon Fauset, an African Methodist Episcopal minister, and Annie Seamon. Fauset was probably the first black woman at Cornell University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in classical and modern languages in 1905. She taught briefly in Baltimore before accepting a job teaching French and Latin at the famed all-black M Street (later Dunbar) High School in Washington, D.C. While teaching, Fauset completed an M.A. in French at the University of Pennsylvania (1919)....

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Dorothy Canfield Fisher. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-110621).

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Fisher, Dorothy F. Canfield (17 February 1879–09 November 1958), author and educational leader, was born Dorothea Frances Canfield in Lawrence, Kansas, the daughter of James Hulme Canfield, a professor of economics and sociology at the University of Kansas, and Flavia A. Camp, an artist. As a child Dorothy summered with relatives in Arlington, Vermont. In 1890 she went to Paris with her mother, visited her mother’s studio in the Latin Quarter, and attended a convent school....

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Forbes, Esther (28 January 1891–12 August 1967), historian and novelist, was born in Westborough, Massachusetts, the daughter of William Trowbridge Forbes, a judge, and Harriette Merrifield, an author of published studies of historical artifacts and documents. Harriette Forbes contributed greatly to background research for her daughter’s writing. The Forbeses were a New England family with a long history, and Esther reputedly drew on that history for historical novels such as ...

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Gerould, Katharine Fullerton (06 February 1879–27 July 1944), educator and author, was born in Brockton, Massachusetts. Orphaned in infancy, she was adopted by her uncle, Reverend Bradford Morton Fullerton, and his wife, Julia M. Bell Fullerton. She began her education at Miss Folsom’s School and received her B.A. (1900) and M.A. (1901) from Radcliffe College. She held a faculty position in English at Bryn Mawr until 1910....

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Gordon, Caroline Ferguson (06 October 1895–11 April 1981), author and teacher, was born on Merimont farm, near Trenton, Kentucky, the daughter of James Maury Morris Gordon, a teacher and preacher, and Nancy Minor Meriwether, a teacher. Gordon’s childhood at Merimont was both the inspiration for and the setting of her early fiction. From her mother’s sometimes eccentric family of local gentry she heard stories of frontier, antebellum, and Civil War days, and she learned of strong southern women. Her father, a Virginian who was often exasperated by the clannish Meriwethers, contributed to Gordon’s ability to appreciate the Meriwethers and the Southern past without lapsing into uncritical ancestor worship and nostalgia. She was for the most part educated privately by her parents, who stressed classical languages and literature. In 1912 she entered Bethany College in Wheeling, West Virginia, where she studied classics and graduated in 1916 with a bachelor’s degree and an associate degree in pedagogy....