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Abbott, Edith (26 September 1876–28 July 1957), social reformer, social work educator, and author, was born in Grand Island, Nebraska, the daughter of Othman Ali Abbott, a lawyer and first lieutenant governor of Nebraska, and Elizabeth Maletta Griffin, a woman suffrage advocate. Abbott grew up in a comfortable and politically progressive household on the American prairie. However, the severe economic depression that began in 1893 caused Abbott to postpone her college plans after graduation from an Omaha girls’ boarding school. Instead, at the age of seventeen she became a teacher at the Grand Island High School....

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Ainsworth, Dorothy Sears (08 March 1894–02 December 1976), physical education teacher and founder of international organizations for her discipline, was born in Moline, Illinois, the daughter of Harry Ainsworth, an engineering draftsman, and Stella Davidson. Miss Ainsworth graduated with a B.A. in history from Smith College in 1916. After her undergraduate education, she taught physical education at Moline High School. In 1918 she was invited to join the first Smith College Relief Unit, founded by another Smith alumna, ...

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Akeley, Mary Leonore Jobe (29 January 1878–19 July 1966), explorer, author, and educator, was born near Tappan, Ohio, the daughter of Richard Watson Jobe and Sarah Jane Pittis, farmers. (The year of her birth is sometimes erroneously given as 1886.) She received a Ph.B. at Scio College in Alliance, Ohio, in 1897. (Scio, a Methodist school, merged with Mount Union College in Alliance in 1911.) She took graduate courses at Bryn Mawr (1901–1903) and taught at Temple College (now Temple University). She was head of the Department of History and Civics at the New York State Normal School and Training School in Cortland, New York (1903–1906), studied history and English at Columbia University, and in 1907 began to teach American history at the Normal College of the City of New York (now Hunter College). She received her M.A. in history at Columbia in 1909....

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Allinson, Anne Crosby Emery (01 January 1871–16 August 1932), educator, was born in Ellsworth, Maine, the daughter of Lucilius Alonzo Emery, a lawyer, and Anne Crosby. She described her home as a literate and busy household where her parents encouraged their two children in serious study. Lucilius Emery, attorney general of Maine and later chief justice of Maine’s supreme court, and Anne Emery both pushed their daughter “Nan” to “develop independence of thought and vigorous belief in the capabilities of her sex.”...

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American, Sadie (03 March 1862–03 May 1944), social welfare activist and educator, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of German-Jewish immigrant Oscar L. American and Amelia Smith. Little is known of her childhood, but she was educated in Chicago public schools.

American became a founder in 1893 and later executive secretary of the philanthropic, middle-class reform organization the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW). In her early thirties she held positions in dozens of social welfare, charitable, and educational institutions from 1893 to 1904, including that of president of the New York Section of the NCJW and of the Consumers’ League of New York State (1893–1894). She also directed the Woman’s Municipal League in New York City and was chair of its Tenement House Committee (1893–1894)....

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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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Andrus, Ethel Percy (21 September 1884–13 July 1967), educator and founder of the National Retired Teachers Association and the American Association of Retired Persons, was born in San Francisco, California, the daughter of George Wallace Andrus, a lawyer, and Lucretia Frances Duke. After the births of Ethel and her sister Maud, the family moved to Illinois to enable her father to study advanced law at the University of Chicago. Influenced by her parents, Ethel developed a love and respect for learning that would mark both stages of her career....

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Angela, Mother (21 February 1824–04 March 1887), educator and religious sister, was born Eliza Marie Gillespie in Brownsville, Pennsylvania, the daughter of John Purcell Gillespie, an attorney, and Mary Madeleine Miers. After the death of her father the family moved to Lancaster, Ohio, in 1838. Eliza was educated by Dominican nuns in Somerset and later attended the Ladies’ Academy of the Visitation in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C....

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Anneke, Mathilde Franziska Giesler (03 April 1817–25 November 1884), suffragist, author, and educator, was born in Lerchenhausen, Westphalia, Germany, the daughter of Karl Giesler, a Catholic landlord and mine owner, and Elisabeth Hülswitt. She grew up comfortably and was well educated, more through learned company than tutors and schools. In fact, as a teacher in later years she would read “Fridjhoff’s saga to her pupils and recite from memory the translation she had read when eleven years old,” given to her by a prince (Heinzen, p. 3)....

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Margaret Miskelly Thomas

Atkins, Mary (07 July 1819–14 September 1882), educator, was born in Jefferson, Ohio, the daughter of Quintus Flaminius Atkins and Sarah Wright. Her father, an ardent abolitionist, worked as an auditor, a sheriff, and then as a judge. She began teaching at sixteen, entered Oberlin College while teaching, and graduated with honors in 1845. Two years later she returned to serve as assistant principal in the “Ladies’ Department.”...

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Bacon, Alice Mabel (06 February 1858–01 May 1918), writer, educator, and lecturer, was born in New Haven, Connecticut, the daughter of Leonard Bacon, a minister, and Catherine Terry. Her father served as the pastor of the Center Church in New Haven for nearly sixty years; he was also a teacher at Yale University and a local civic leader. Bacon was educated at private schools in New Haven and later took the Harvard “examinations for women” in 1880 and 1881....

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Barker, Mary Cornelia (20 January 1879–15 September 1963), schoolteacher and teachers' union leader, schoolteacher and teachers’ union leader, was born in Rockmart, Georgia, the daughter of Thomas Nathaniel Barker, a teacher and small businessman, and Dora Elizabeth Lovejoy, a teacher. After spending her early years in rural Rockmart, Barker moved with her family to Atlanta, where she attended the public schools. She went on to Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, from which she received a diploma for completing the normal course in 1900....

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Barnes, Mary Downing Sheldon (15 September 1850–27 August 1898), educator, was born in Oswego, New York, the daughter of Edward Austin Sheldon, an educator, and Frances Anna Bradford Stiles. After completing her early education in the public schools of Oswego, she entered the Oswego Normal and Training School, where she finished the classical course in 1868 and the advanced course the following year. While at Oswego, Sheldon was greatly influenced by her father, who as principal of the school had molded the institution into a leading center of Pestalozzian-based education. Following graduation, she taught at the Normal and Training School in Oswego for two years before entering the sophomore class at the University of Michigan in September 1871. One of the first female students to attend the university, Sheldon was originally interested in the natural sciences. Having taken two history courses under Professor C. K. Adams, however, she was invited to teach Greek, Latin, and botany as well as history at the Normal and Training School upon her graduation in 1874. Denied the chance to teach her first love, physics, she “revenge[d] herself by applying scientific methods to history” (Barnes, quoted in Keohane, p. 68)....

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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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Bates, Katharine Lee (12 August 1859–28 March 1929), educator and writer, was born in Falmouth, Massachusetts, the daughter of William Bates, a Congregational minister, and Cornelia Frances Lee, a former schoolteacher. When Bates was less than a month old, her father died, leaving the family in straitened circumstances. They remained in Falmouth for a dozen years, then moved to Wellesley, Massachusetts, which would be Bates’s home and professional base for the rest of her life. Although the family was unusually education-minded—Bates’s paternal grandfather had been president of Middlebury College, and her mother had graduated from Mount Holyoke Seminary (later Mount Holyoke College)—poverty prevented her older brothers from continuing their schooling. Because they contributed to the family’s income, however, Bates was able to complete high school and to enroll in the newly established Wellesley College, from which she received her B.A. in 1880....

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Bauer, Catherine Krouse (11 May 1905–22 November 1964), housing advocate and urban-planning educator, was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, the daughter of Jacob Louis Bauer, a highway engineer, and Alberta Louise Krouse, a suffragist. Bauer graduated from Vassar College in 1926, having spent her junior year at Cornell University studying architecture. Following graduation she lived in Paris and wrote about contemporary architecture, including the work of the modernist Le Corbusier. In New York from 1927 to 1930, she held a variety of jobs and began a friendship with the architectural and social critic ...

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Beckwith, Martha Warren (19 January 1871–28 January 1959), educator, folklorist, and ethnographer, was born in Wellesley Heights, Massachusetts, the daughter of George Ely Beckwith and Harriet Winslowe Goodale, schoolteachers. Beckwith was the grandniece of Lucy Goodale Thurston, one of the first company of Congregational missionaries to the island of Hawaii, and Beckwith’s father had spent sixteen years in Hawaii before she was born, working as a missionary and a teacher, and then as manager of a sugar plantation. In 1874 the Beckwiths moved back to Hawaii. There Beckwith was introduced to the “cousins” society, a group formed by the descendants of the early missionaries, most of whom had intermarried, producing an intricate web of family relations. Beckwith was adopted immediately into the cousins society, through which she developed an interest in their history and in the legends and culture of early Hawaii....

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Beecher, Catharine Esther (06 September 1800–12 May 1878), educator and social reformer, was born in East Hampton, New York, the oldest child of Lyman Beecher, the most prominent Evangelical clergyman of the 1820s, and Roxana Foote. At the age of ten Catharine Beecher moved with her family from the isolated and rural tip of Long Island to class-conscious Litchfield, Connecticut. There she acquired the normal accomplishments of her well-born status. When her mother died of consumption in 1816, Catharine assumed responsibility for her younger siblings, including Harriet and ...

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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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Bingham, Sybil Moseley (14 September 1792–27 February 1848), missionary and teacher, was born in Westfield, Massachusetts, the eldest child of Pliny Moseley and Sophia Pomeroy. Both parents had died by the time Sybil was nineteen, and she supported her three younger sisters by accepting teaching positions in Hartford, Connecticut; Canandaigua, New York; and Ontario Female Seminary. Invited by friends, she attended the ordination ceremony of ...