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Armstrong, Anne Legendre (27 December 1927–30 July 2008), politician and diplomat, was born Anne Legendre in New Orleans, Louisiana, the daughter of Armant Legendre, a coffee importer of Creole heritage, and Olive Legendre. Anne attended the Foxcroft School in Middleburg, Virginia, where she was class president and valedictorian, and graduated from Vassar College in 1949. In 1950 she married Tobin Armstrong after meeting him on a visit to the King Ranch in south Texas. Tobin was a prominent rancher, and Anne moved to Kenedy County, Texas, following the marriage, which produced five children. Throughout her career, she maintained a role in the ranch’s affairs....

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Black, Shirley Temple (23 April 1928–10 February 2014), child actor and diplomat, was born Shirley Jane Temple in Santa Monica, California, the third child and only daughter of George Temple, a banker, and Gertrude Krieger Temple. Shirley's mother had longed for a baby girl, and from the moment of her birth she became her mother's "pet project." Gertrude enrolled her in Ethel Meglin's nearby dance studio when Shirley was three years old, and, beginning in December 1931, Shirley joined other Meglin dance studio children in the Baby Burlesks series made by Educational Films Corporation, where she lampooned such stars as ...

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Shirley Temple Black. Color carbro print, 1938, by Harry Warnecke and Lee Elkins. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Elsie M. Warnecke.

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Clapp, Margaret Antoinette (11 April 1910–03 May 1974), educator and diplomat, was born in East Orange, New Jersey, the daughter of Alfred Chapin, an insurance broker, and Anna Roth. Educated in public schools, she received an A.B. with honors from Wellesley College in 1930, having served as student government president her senior year. Moving back to New Jersey, she commuted to New York City where she attended graduate school part time and taught English literature first at the Todhunter School (1930–1939) and then following its merger, at the Dalton School (1939–1942). She received an A.M. from Columbia University in 1937....

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Harriman, Daisy (21 July 1870–31 August 1967), political activist and diplomat, was born Florence Jaffray Hurst in New York City, the daughter of Francis William Jones Hurst, the head of a steamship company, and Caroline Elise Jaffray. Daisy, as she was always called, was three years old when her mother died. She grew up in the home of her grandfather Edward S. Jaffray, whose connections to British and American politicians inaugurated Daisy’s political education. Her formal education was private and scanty. She married Jefferson Borden Harriman, a New York banker, in 1889; they had one daughter....

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Harriman, Pamela (20 March 1920–05 February 1997), ambassador, socialite, and political fundraiser, was born Pamela Beryl Digby in Farnborough, England, the daughter of Edward Kenelm “Kenny” Digby, the eleventh Baron Digby and an officer in the Coldstream Guards, and Constance Pamela Alice “Pansy” Bruce Digby. A few months after Pamela was born she moved with her family to Australia, where Baron Digby had accepted a position as military secretary to the governor general. She spent the first three years of her life there, returning in 1923 to England, where the family settled into the quiet life of lesser British aristocracy at “Minterne Magna,” a 1,500-acre estate in the English countryside. Educated primarily in the arts and foreign languages, Pamela lived a relatively isolated existence, riding and hunting on the Minterne grounds, until 1935, when she spent a year in boarding school at Hertfordshire. She then lived for several months with a family in Paris for her “finishing,” which for the most part ended her formal education....

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Harris, Patricia Roberts (31 May 1924–23 March 1985), cabinet member and ambassador, was born in Mattoon, Illinois, the daughter of Bert Fitzgerald Roberts, a Pullman car waiter, and Hildren Brodie Johnson, a schoolteacher. After graduating from a Chicago high school, she entered Howard University, from which she was graduated, summa cum laude, with an A.B. in 1945. In 1943, while a student at Howard, she joined the nascent civil rights movement and participated in a sit-in to desegregate a cafeteria lunch counter in Washington, D.C. Roberts did graduate work at the University of Chicago. In 1946, while attending graduate school, she was also program director of the local YWCA. In 1949 she returned to Washington, D.C., where she pursued further graduate study at the American University until 1950. From 1949 to 1953 she served as an assistant director in the Civil Rights Agency of the American Council on Human Rights. Married in 1955 to attorney William B. Harris, who encouraged her to enter law school (the marriage was childless), she earned a J.D. degree at the George Washington University Law Center in 1960. Recognized early in her youth as an outstanding and diligent student, Harris graduated first out of ninety-four in her class....

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Nicholson, Meredith (09 December 1866–21 December 1947), author and diplomat, was born in Crawfordsville, Indiana, the son of Edward Willis Nicholson, a farmer and a Union officer in the Civil War, and Emily Meredith, a Civil War nurse. The family moved to Indianapolis when Meredith was six, and he remained there most of his life but still retained a close relationship with Crawfordsville. He attended the Indianapolis schools but quit at age fifteen, taking various jobs. He began sending his verses to newspapers and at age nineteen started to study law but soon deserted law for journalism, serving with the ...

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Ruth Bryan Owen Taking the oath of office as the first woman envoy of the U.S. Foreign Service, administered by P. F. Allen of the State Department, 1933. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-108591).

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Rohde, Ruth Bryan Owen (02 October 1885–26 July 1954), congresswoman, diplomat, lecturer, and author, was born in Jacksonville, Illinois, the daughter of William Jennings Bryan, a lawyer, and Mary Elizabeth Baird. When Ruth was two, the family moved to Lincoln, Nebraska, and then to Washington, D.C., three years later, when her father was elected to Congress. Young Ruth became “the sweetheart of the House” as she sat with her father during fierce tariff debates (Ramsey, ...

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Eleanor Roosevelt Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-25812 DLC).

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Roosevelt, Eleanor (11 October 1884–07 November 1962), first lady of the United States, social reformer, politician, diplomat, was born Anna Eleanor Roosevelt in New York City, the daughter of Elliott Roosevelt and Anna Hall. Her childhood was materially comfortable—both sides of her family were wealthy and prominent in New York society—but it was also emotionally arid. Her mother, beautiful but distant and so disappointed in the looks of her daughter that she called her “granny,” died when Eleanor was eight. Her youngest brother died the following year. She clung to her father, the younger brother of ...

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Willis, Frances Elizabeth (20 May 1899–20 July 1983), diplomat, was born in Metropolis, Illinois, the daughter of John Gilbert Willis (profession unknown) and Belle Whitfield James. When Frances was six, her family moved to Memphis, Tennessee, and subsequently to Kenosha, Wisconsin. As an undergraduate at Stanford University, California, Willis majored in history and was a reader in political science. She graduated with a bachelor of arts from Stanford in 1920 and in 1923, after spending a year at the University of Brussels, was awarded her Ph.D. in political science by Stanford. Upon graduating, she taught history for a year at Goucher College, Baltimore, Maryland, and political science at Vassar College from 1924 to 1927. The desire to gain practical experience in government prompted Willis to switch careers in her late twenties. “I didn’t want to just teach political science, I wanted to be part of it,” she explained ( ...