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Bernays, Doris Elsa Fleischman (18 July 1892–10 July 1980), pioneer public relations counsel and early feminist, was born in New York City, the daughter of Samuel E. Fleischman, an attorney, and Harriet Rosenthal. Doris studied music and planned to become an opera singer when she completed her bachelor’s degree at Barnard College in 1913. Instead, that same year she joined the ...

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Burns, Eveline M. (16 March 1900–2 Sept. 1985), economist and Social Security expert, was born Eveline Mabel Richardson in London, the daughter of Frederick Haig Richardson and Eveline Faulkner. Her mother died of complications from her birth, and her father, who administered an office in London that sold silver flatware, remarried the next year. She characterized her father as a very conservative man who aimed to control his household. He did not encourage secondary education; he did not think women should work; he did not approve of government provision of services. Viewing her subsequent life choices, it is clear that Eveline did not let her father control her or her political views....

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Campbell, Persia Crawford (15 March 1898–02 March 1974), economist and consumer leader, was born in Nerrigundah, Australia, the daughter of Rodolph Campbell and Beatrice Harriet Hunt, schoolteachers. She was the first of two children. Her parents were strong Presbyterians and instilled in her at an early age a love of learning. Before she entered high school her father died, leaving her mother as the sole breadwinner. Persia tried to help by making and selling dolls’ clothes. With her excellent grades she was able to enter a state scholarship high school for girls from families of modest incomes....

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Carse, Matilda Bradley (19 November 1835–03 June 1917), temperance worker, editor, and entrepreneur, was born near Belfast, Ireland, the daughter of John Bradley and Catherine Cleland, Scottish merchants whose ancestors had migrated to Ireland in the seventeenth century. Educated in Ireland, Carse emigrated in 1858 to Chicago. In 1861 she married Thomas Carse, a railroad manager with whom she had three sons. After her husband’s death in 1870, her youngest son was killed by a drunken drayman, propelling Carse into the temperance cause just as the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was organizing. She devoted much of the rest of her life to business and volunteer activities related to that organization....

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Chamberlain, Mariam K. (24 April 1918–02 April 2013), feminist economist, foundation officer, and women’s studies advocate, was born Mariam Kenosian in Chelsea, Massachusetts, the second child and only daughter of Avack Kenosian, a factory worker, and Zabel Kenosian, a homemaker. Her parents immigrated to the United States in 1912 and 1913 in the midst of ongoing Turkish violence against the Armenian community. Despite her parents’ poverty and lack of support for women’s higher education, Mariam was the valedictorian of her class at Chelsea High School. She was accepted to Radcliffe College in 1936, paying her deposit with a $50 prize she had won as the first girl marbles champion of Chelsea. Living at home, Mariam won scholarships, borrowed, and worked as a secretary, completing a B.A. in economics in June 1940. In 1941 she was accepted for the Ph.D. program in economics at Harvard University....

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Herman Kohlmeyer Jr., Herman Kohlmeyer Jr. and Herman Kohlmeyer Jr.

Newman, Isidore (28 February 1837–30 November 1909), financier and philanthropist, was born Isidore Neumond in Kaiserslautern, Rhenish Bavaria (now the German state of Rheinland Pfalz), the son of Jacob Neumond, a merchant, and Clara Kahn. His family had been merchants in the area of Kaiserslautern for generations. In 1808, when the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte required all of the Jews in his Empire to take permanent family names, Isidore’s family adopted the name Neumond, which means “new moon.” Isidore Newman arrived in New Orleans on 18 November 1853 in steerage on a sailing ship, a penniless Jew sixteen years old. He was met by his uncle, Charles Newman, who had arrived in New Orleans in 1828 and set himself up, along with his sons Edward, Jacob, Louis, and Morris, in the money-changing business, probably changing money for sailors who had just docked in the port of New Orleans. Young Isidore had blond hair, blue eyes, a heavy German accent, a love of music, and a wardrobe consisting of one suit hand-sewn by his mother....

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Paul, Josephine Bay (10 August 1900–06 August 1962), businesswoman and philanthropist, was born Josephine Holt Perfect in Anamosa, Iowa, the daughter of Otis Lincoln Perfect, a realtor, and Tirzah Holt. In 1906 the family moved to Brooklyn, New York, where Josephine Perfect grew up. In 1916 Josephine graduated from Brooklyn Heights Seminary and enrolled at Colorado College in Colorado Springs, where she studied for a year. She then spent the next ten years as a secretary and as the director of the Brooklyn Junior League’s bookstore, helping the store to recover from near bankruptcy. In 1928 Josephine and her sister Tirzah established a greeting card business in Brooklyn. With Tirzah as designer and Josephine as sales manager, the sisters managed to sustain a thriving business with distribution stretching from the East Coast to the Midwest. In 1933, following Tirzah’s marriage, the sisters dissolved the business....

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Pleasant, Mary Ellen (1812?–1904), legendary African-American woman of influence and political power in Gold Rush and Gilded Age San Francisco, was born, according to some sources, a slave in Georgia; other sources claim that her mother was a Louisiana slave and her father Asian or Native American. Many sources agree that she lived in Boston, as a free woman, the wife of James W. Smith, a Cuban abolitionist. When he died in 1844 he left her his estate, valued at approximately $45,000....

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Riis, Mary Phillips (29 April 1877–04 August 1967), financier and social welfare reformer, was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the daughter of Richard F. Phillips, a cotton broker and later president of the Cotton Exchange in St. Louis, and Lina Rensch. She was educated in England and France but held no college degree. She moved to New York and was acting in small parts on Broadway when, at the age of twenty-six, she met the social reformer ...

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Walker, Maggie L. (15 July 1867–15 December 1934), educator, social activist, and bank president, was born Maggie Lena Draper in Richmond, Virginia, the daughter of Elizabeth Draper, a former slave, and Eccles Cuthbert, an Irish-American journalist. Her natural parents could not marry. (The Virginia law prohibiting the marriage of mixed-race couples was overturned in 1967, a century after Maggie's birth.) In 1868 Elizabeth Draper married William Mitchell, a mulatto butler who, like herself, was employed by the wealthy abolitionist and Union spy ...

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White, Eartha Mary Magdalene (08 November 1876–18 January 1974), social welfare and community leader and businesswoman, was born in Jacksonville, Florida, the daughter of Mollie Chapman, a former slave, and an unnamed prominent white man. She was adopted shortly after birth by freed slaves Lafayette White, a drayman and Civil War veteran, and Clara English, a domestic and cook. Lafayette White died when Eartha was five. Throughout her childhood Clara made Eartha feel as though God had chosen her for a special mission. Listening to stories of hardships that Clara endured as a slave and watching her mother’s humanitarian contributions to Jacksonville’s “Black Bottom” community convinced Eartha White that she too would someday make a difference in the African-American community....