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Abel-Henderson, Annie Heloise (18 February 1873–14 March 1947), historian and author, was born in Fernhurst, Sussex, England, the daughter of George Abel and Amelia Anne Hogben. Her parents had immigrated to the United States in 1871 but had not found Kansas frontier life appealing and returned home to England. In 1884, however, they went back to Salina, Kansas, where George Abel worked as a gardener. Abel and two sisters joined their parents in 1885....

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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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Beard, Mary Ritter (05 August 1876–14 August 1958), historian, was born and reared in comfort in Indianapolis, Indiana, the daughter of Eli Foster Ritter, a lawyer, and Narcissa Lockwood. Her parents, both from families that had migrated from the Upper South, were observant Methodists and well educated (her mother had briefly taught school). Mary Ritter did not warm to religion, but shone academically, graduating as high school valedictorian and going on—as did her five siblings, following their father—to Methodist-affiliated DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, where she received the Ph.B. in 1897. At college she met fellow student ...

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Brown, Letitia Christine Woods (24 October 1915–03 August 1976), historian, was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, the daughter of Matthew Woods and Evadne Adams, professors. Her maternal grandfather, Lewis Adams, was born a slave and after the Civil War was instrumental in establishing the Tuskegee Normal School in 1881. Letitia’s parents both taught at Tuskegee Institute, continuing the family’s commitment to education. Letitia attended Tuskegee Institute High School and graduated with a B.S. from Tuskegee Institute in 1935. In 1937 she completed her M.A. at Ohio State University. While working on her advanced degree at Radcliffe College, she married Theodore E. Brown, a labor economist who later worked for the Agency for International Development in the U.S. Department of State. After raising two children and becoming involved in community projects in Mount Vernon, New York, she attended Harvard University, which awarded her a Ph.D. in 1966....

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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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Caulkins, Frances Manwaring (26 April 1795–03 February 1869), author, was born in New London, Connecticut, the daughter of Joshua Caulkins, a seagoing trader who died in Haiti before her birth, and Fanny Manwaring. Her mother married Philemon Haven in 1807. Caulkins attended schools in Norwichtown and Norwich, Connecticut. She was a voracious reader and began early in life to collect information about history and genealogies. She lived with a maternal uncle in New London, where she began to publish essays in local newspapers about people and events of regional interest....

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Coman, Katharine (23 November 1857–11 January 1915), economic historian and social reformer, was born in Newark, Ohio, the daughter of Levi Parsons Coman and Martha Seymour. An abolitionist and leader of a voluntary group serving in the Civil War, Katharine’s father held various occupations, including those of teacher, storekeeper, and lawyer. Because of poor health he moved his family to a farm near Hanover, Ohio, after the Civil War. Both of Katharine’s parents had college degrees, her father from Hamilton College and her mother from an Ohio seminary. Consequently, they sought good educations for all their children, male and female alike. As a young girl, Katharine took lessons in Latin and mathematics along with her brothers. She first attended Steubenville Female Seminary, but when the school refused to give her more challenging studies, Levi Coman moved his daughter to the high school of the University of Michigan. She later entered the university and received a bachelor of philosophy degree in 1880....

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Dawidowicz, Lucy S. (16 June 1915–05 December 1990), historian and Jewish public intellectual, was born Lucy Schildkret in New York City to Dora Ofnaem and Max Schildkret, Polish Jewish immigrants. Similar to other working-class immigrant daughters, she was educated in public schools and attended Hunter College, where she received a B.A. in English literature in 1936. She also received a supplementary secular Jewish and Yiddish education in Sholem Aleichem Folk Institute schools and summer camp....

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Debo, Angie Elbertha (30 January 1890–21 February 1988), historian, was born in Beattie, Kansas, the oldest child of Edward Debo and Lina Cooper Debo, tenant farmers. In 1899 the Debos moved to Marshall in Oklahoma Territory, where they bought a farm. Unfortunately the land proved unproductive, and they sold it to another farmer who discovered oil on the property just as Edward Debo's hardware store went under. Neither parent ever complained, thereby inculcating in Angie and her brother, Edwin, the “spirit of Oklahoma,” meaning one remembered the good times and accepted setbacks with cheerful stoicism. Angie Debo attended Marshall High School, which opened in 1910, and graduated in 1913. Debo taught school until she entered the University of Oklahoma. There she encountered Edward Everett Dale, a protégé of the historian ...

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Drinker, Sophie Lewis Hutchinson (24 August 1888–06 September 1967), feminist and amateur historian, was born in Haverford, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Sydney Pemberton Hutchinson, a business executive, and Amy Lewis. As a dedicated student of history in later life, she took pride in the fact that the Hutchinson family had played a prominent role in the Philadelphia area since colonial times. While not conspicuously wealthy, the family was socially prominent and considered to represent “blue blood.” Drinker’s education was completed at St. Timothy’s School in Catonsville, Maryland, from which she graduated in 1906; she enjoyed her school years, and her historical studies there provided inspiration for her later work as a historian of women....

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See Durant, Will

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Earle, Alice Morse (27 April 1851–16 February 1911), antiquarian and social historian, was born Mary Alice Morse in Worcester, Massachusetts, the daughter of Edwin Morse, a machinist and factory owner, and Abigail Mason Clary Goodhue. Her father, originally from rural Andover, Vermont, transformed his mechanical proficiency into a partnership in Shepherd, Lathe, and Company, a Worcester machine and tool manufactory. Her mother, from the village of Jackson, Maine, applied her teaching experience and domestic abilities to the creation of a safe, nurturing environment in which to cultivate her urban family. Mary Alice (who was always known as Alice) grew up in a comfortable, middle-class world, graduated from Worcester’s Classical and English High School in 1869, and completed her formal education at Dr. George Gannett’s finishing school in Boston. In 1874 she married Henry Earle of Providence, Rhode Island, and moved to Brooklyn, New York. Sixteen years later, when the last of her four children was eight, Earle began to write....

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Ellet, Elizabeth F. (Oct. 1812 or 1818–03 June 1877), historian and poet, was born Elizabeth Fries Lummis in Sodus Point, New York, the daughter of Dr. William Nixon Lummis, an early and wealthy settler of Lake Ontario’s shores, and Sarah Maxwell. Elizabeth was educated at Aurora Female Seminary under the direction of an English Quaker, Susanna Marriott. She became fluent in French, German, and Italian. Her first book was a translation of Silvio Pellico’s tragedy ...

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Flexner, Eleanor (04 October 1908–25 March 1995), historian, feminist, and labor activist, was born in New York City, the second of two daughters of Abraham Flexner and Anne Crawford Flexner. Abraham was a prominent author and innovator in education reform who founded the Lincoln School at Teachers College of Columbia University and established the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Anne earned fame and fortune for her Broadway-produced play ...

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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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Green, Constance McLaughlin (21 August 1897–05 December 1975), historian, was born Constance Winsor McLaughlin in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the daughter of Andrew McLaughlin, a professor of American history at the University of Michigan, and Lois Angell. Her father later joined the faculty of the University of Chicago, and the family moved to that city. Constance McLaughlin attended the University of Chicago High School, where she excelled in both academics and sports. After graduating in 1914, she spent a term as a student at a private secondary school in Munich....

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Hurd-Mead, Kate Campbell (06 April 1867–01 January 1941), gynecologist and women's historian, gynecologist and women’s historian, was born Kate Campbell Hurd in Danville, Quebec, Canada, the daughter of Edward Payson Hurd, a physician, and Sara Elizabeth Campbell. Hurd’s family moved to Newburyport, Massachusetts, in 1870; there her father, who served as an inspiration to her own medical career, established a medical practice, held a professorship in a Boston medical school, and served on the editorial board of two leading medical magazines. Hurd pursued two years of private tutorials after her 1883 high school graduation in Newburyport before enrolling in the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She received an M.D. in 1888, some thirty-seven years after the college awarded its first medical degree to a woman. She interned the following year at the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Boston. This hospital, founded in 1862, had, by Hurd’s time, gained a national reputation for being what medical historian Regina Markell Morantz-Sanchez has dubbed the “showplace for quality medical care” administered by women. Under the leadership of ...

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James, Janet Wilson (23 December 1918–10 June 1987), historian, was born in New York City, the daughter of Willard Oliver Wilson, an automobile executive, and Helen Augusta Peters. The family moved several times in and around New York before relocating to Dallas, Texas, in 1928. These early upheavals and a traumatic relationship with her mother shadowed her childhood; she found sustenance in a close and protective relationship with her much younger sister, Lucy. After completing her secondary education at the Hockaday School in 1935, Janet joined her parents in New York, where Willard Wilson, who had lost his job due to the depression, found employment with the Chrysler corporation....

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Judd, Laura Fish (02 April 1804–02 October 1872), missionary and historian, was born in Plainfield, New York, the daughter of Elias Fish, a carpenter and sailor, and Sybil Williams. After her mother’s death in 1806, she and her six older brothers were raised by an elder sister. Laura was educated at a boarding school from the age of four and lived for a time in the home of her maternal grandfather. After her elder sister married, she lived with the couple in Watertown, New York. At the age of fourteen she accepted a position in the home of her schoolmaster, exchanging domestic service for her education. In 1819 she accepted a teaching position in Mexico, Oswego County, New York, where she lived with a brother....