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Bache, Alexander Dallas (19 July 1806–17 February 1867), scientist and educator, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Richard Bache, a postmaster, and Sophia Dallas. An elite family history supported Bache’s upbringing. He was the great-grandson of Benjamin Franklin and was related to a number of influential men, including his uncle ...

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Carver, George Washington (1864–05 January 1943), African-American scientist and educator, was born in Diamond (formerly Diamond Grove), Missouri, the son of Mary Carver, who was the slave of Moses and Susan Carver. His father was said to have been a slave on a neighboring farm who was accidently killed before Carver’s birth. His mother was apparently kidnapped by slave raiders while he was very young, and he and his older brother were raised by the Carvers on their small farm....

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Dana, James Dwight (12 February 1813–14 April 1895), geologist, zoologist, and teacher, was born in Utica, New York, the son of James Dana, a businessman, and Harriet Dwight. His father was a descendant of Richard Dana who settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1640. Dana, a studious scholar, was educated in the Utica High School, where his interest in science appeared early and developed through hard work, talent, and intelligence, despite his father’s disparagement of science as a career. Attracted to Yale College by ...

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Hall, Granville Stanley (01 February 1844–24 April 1924), psychologist and educator, was born in Ashfield, Massachusetts, the son of Granville Bascom Hall, a farmer and local leader, and Abigail Beals. Raised in a family of Congregational piety and intellectual and social ambition, Hall graduated from Williams College with a B.A. degree in 1867 and attended Union Theological Seminary from 1867 to 1869. Interested in a philosophical career, he then spent fifteen months of study in Berlin, where he was drawn to Hegelian philosophy and evolutionary naturalism. Although he returned to Union and earned a divinity degree in 1870, he did not want to preach. After teaching philosophy and literature at Antioch College from 1872 to 1876, he decided to focus on physiological psychology. At Harvard University he studied under ...

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MacNeven, William James (21 March 1763–12 July 1841), physician, professor, and Irish-American nationalist, was born on a small estate in Ballynahowne, County Galway, Ireland, the son of James MacNeven and Rosa Dolphin. William’s mother died when he was young, and he and his three brothers were raised by their aunt. At age ten or eleven William was sent to Prague to live with his uncle Baron William O’Kelley MacNeven, a court physician to Empress Maria Theresa. Following a classical education, William attended university in Prague and went on to study medicine at the University of Vienna, from which he graduated in 1783. In 1784 MacNeven returned to Dublin, where he established a medical practice....

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Rush, Benjamin (04 January 1746–19 April 1813), physician, professor of chemistry and of medicine, and social reformer, was born in Byberry Township, Pennsylvania, thirteen miles northeast of Philadelphia, the son of John Rush, a farmer and gunsmith, and Susanna Hall Harvey. John Rush died when Benjamin was five years old. His mother ran a grocery store to support the family. She sent Benjamin at age eight to live with an uncle by marriage, the Reverend Dr. ...

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Smith, Edmund Kirby (16 May 1824–28 March 1893), soldier and educator, was born in St. Augustine, Florida, the son of Joseph Lee Smith, a lawyer, soldier, and judge, and Frances Kirby. Both of the future Confederate general’s parents were originally from Connecticut. In childhood the precocious lad, who was known as “Ned” or “Ted,” was tutored by his older sister Frances Smith. Smith’s father was compelled to resign his federal judgeship in 1832 as a result of political pressures, and family finances grew increasingly strained. The decision was eventually made to prepare Smith for a career in the army, and he was sent to a private academy in Alexandria, Virginia, where he stayed from 1836 to 1841....