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Atchison, David Rice (11 August 1807–26 January 1886), lawyer and U.S. senator, was born in Frogtown, in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky, the son of William Atchison and Catherine Allen, farmers. Educated at Transylvania University, he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1827. After practicing for three years in Carlisle, Kentucky, he moved to Liberty in western Missouri....

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Baldwin, Roger Sherman (04 January 1793–19 February 1863), lawyer, governor, and senator, was born in New Haven, Connecticut, the son of Simeon Baldwin, a lawyer, judge, congressman, and mayor of New Haven, and Rebecca Sherman. Baldwin was a direct descendant of the Puritan settlers of Connecticut and the Founding Fathers of the nation. His father’s family was among the original New Haven colonists, and his mother was the daughter of ...

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Benjamin, Judah Philip (06 August 1811–06 May 1884), Confederate cabinet member, U.S. senator, and lawyer, was born at Christiansted, St. Croix, West Indies, the son of Philip Benjamin, a shopkeeper, and Rebecca de Mendes. St. Croix was under British rule at the time of Benjamin’s birth. He grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. Though his father’s circumstances were always modest, wealthy relatives and other benefactors helped him attend Yale (1825–1827), but he left as a junior under circumstances that remain unclear....

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Costigan, Edward Prentiss (01 July 1874–17 January 1939), lawyer and U.S. senator, was born in King William County, Virginia, the son of Emilie Sigur and George Purcell Costigan, Sr., a lawyer and judge. His father successfully invested in mining ventures, and the family settled in Denver, Colorado. Illness interrupted his studies at Harvard University. Joining his brother, George, Jr., in Salt Lake City, he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1897. He completed his Harvard A.B. in 1899 and began practice in Denver in 1900. In 1903 he married Mabel Cory; childless, they became lifetime personal and political companions....

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Curtis, Carl T. (15 March 1905–24 January 2000), educator, lawyer, and politician, was born Carl Thomas Curtis near Minden, Kearney County, Nebraska, the youngest of the eight children of Frank Oscar Curtis, a farmer and courthouse caretaker, and Alberta Mae Smith Curtis. His grandfather had changed the family name from Swanson to Curtis upon immigration to the United States from Sweden in the 1860s. After graduating from Minden High School in 1923, Carl Curtis taught for a year in Danbury, Nebraska, then enrolled for a year at Nebraska Wesleyan. From 1925 to 1930 he taught at a Kearney County school and the Minden Elementary School, where he also served as principal. Meanwhile, he attended summer sessions at Nebraska Wesleyan in 1927 and the University of Nebraska in 1928 and studied at a local law office part time. Admitted to the Nebraska bar in 1930, he maintained a private practice at Minden until 1939. He married a local teacher, Lois Wylie Atwater, in 1931; the couple adopted two children. After his first wife's death in 1970, he married Mildred Genier Baker two years later....

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Deneen, Charles Samuel (04 May 1863–05 February 1940), lawyer, governor of Illinois, and U.S. senator, was born in Edwardsville, Illinois, the son of Samuel H. Deneen, a professor of Latin and ancient history at McKendree College in Lebanon, Illinois, and Mary F. Ashley. Educated in local public schools during his formative years, Charles graduated from McKendree College in 1882. He taught in downstate schools and in Chicago prior to attending the Union College of Law (later Northwestern University School of Law) in Chicago, from which he graduated in 1888. He was admitted to the bar that same year but returned to teaching before entering the practice of law in 1890. In 1891 he married Bina Day Maloney; they had four children....

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Gore, Albert, Sr. (26 December 1907–05 December 1998), U.S. senator, was born near Granville, Tennessee, the son of Allen Gore, a farmer, and Margie Denny Gore. He attended local one-room country schools and graduated from high school in nearby Gordonsville, after which he taught high school in Smith and Overton counties. He graduated with a B.S. from Middle Tennessee State Teachers College (now Middle Tennessee State University) in 1932 and in that same year lost his first attempt at elective office (superintendent of schools for Smith county). When his opponent died after a year in office, Gore was named to the post and served until 1936. By this time smitten with politics, Gore furthered his education by attending night law school at the Nashville YMCA. After three years of long-distance commuting from Carthage, he received his LL.B. in 1936. Admitted to the bar that year, he began practicing law in Carthage with his future wife, Pauline La Fon, whom he had met in Nashville while she was waitressing her way through Vanderbilt University Law School. Married on 27 April 1937, the couple had two children....

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Hruska, Roman (16 August 1904–25 April 1999), attorney, representative, and U.S. senator, was born Roman Lee Hruska in David City, Butler County, Nebraska, the son of Joseph C. Hruska, a schoolteacher, and Caroline L. Dvorak Hruska. He attended local public schools before entering the University of Omaha (now the University of Nebraska–Omaha) where he took a prelaw course. Hruska also studied at the University of Chicago before finally, in 1929, receiving his LL.B. from Creighton University School of Law and passing the state bar. On 24 September 1930 he married Victoria E. Kuncl of Omaha; the couple had three children....

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Johnson, Reverdy (21 May 1796–10 February 1876), lawyer, U.S. attorney general, and U.S. senator, was born in Annapolis, Maryland, the son of John Johnson, a lawyer and Maryland legislator, and Deborah Ghieselen. A member of a distinguished Maryland legal family (John Johnson served as a judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals, chancellor, and attorney general), Johnson was educated at St. John’s College in Annapolis. After graduating in 1811 and serving briefly as a private in the War of 1812, he began his legal training under his father and entered the bar in 1816. He established his law practice in Baltimore in 1817 and remained active in the Baltimore bar for the next sixty years. He married Mary Mackall Bowie in 1819, with whom he had fifteen children....

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Montoya, Joseph Manuel (24 September 1915–05 June 1978), senator and lawyer, was born in Peña Blanca, New Mexico, the son of Tomás O. Montoya, a county sheriff, and Frances de La, an elementary school teacher. While attending parochial elementary schools, he began at age nine to earn money for college by delivering newspapers. When Montoya was fourteen his father became sheriff of Sandoval County and moved the family to Bernalillo, the county seat. There he worked part-time in a drug store and sold produce from his own vegetable garden. In 1931 Montoya graduated from Bernalillo’s Our Lady of Sorrows High School and that same year enrolled at Regis College in Denver. Three years later he transferred to Georgetown University Law School and, while there, worked at the U.S. Department of the Interior. He earned his LL.B. in 1938 and gained admission the next year to the New Mexico bar. While still a law student, Montoya became the youngest person ever elected to New Mexico’s House of Representatives, representing Sandoval County and, following reelection, serving as majority leader. In 1940 he married Della Romero, a graduate nurse, and the couple would have three children. That same year Montoya won a state senate seat and, after serving six years, was elected lieutenant governor in 1946, 1948, 1954, and 1956. During this postwar decade, he spent two more years in the state senate, practiced law in Santa Fe, and pursued various business ventures. Montoya bought Western Freight Lines in 1945, securing a lucrative contract to truck and haul materials for the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. When New Mexico Congressman Antonio M. Fernández died in 1956, Democratic leaders elected Montoya as a temporary replacement. He won the special election to fill the seat in April 1957. In Washington, D.C., Montoya developed a reputation as a hardworking and moderate Democratic party regular....

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Soulé, Pierre (31 August 1801–26 March 1870), U.S. senator, jurist, and diplomat, was born at Castillon-en-Couserans in the French Pyrenees, the son of Joseph Soulé, a distinguished Napoleonic officer and a magistrate, and Jeanne Lacroix. Soulé spent his youth absorbing the republican spirit of revolutionary France and conversely enduring the strident discipline of a Jesuit seminary. He rejected the seminary and joined republican revolutionaries who opposed the Bourbon restoration. After a brief exile and pardon, he returned to Bordeaux, earned the degree of bachelor of letters in 1819, and went to Paris to study law. His admission to the bar in 1822 did not deter him from again plunging into the revolutionary movement against Charles X. Arrested and imprisoned, he managed to escape to England. After brief and unsatisfactory sojourns in Port-au-Prince, Baltimore, and New York, Soulé arrived in New Orleans, where many other Frenchmen had sought refuge....

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Underwood, Oscar Wilder (06 May 1862–25 January 1929), lawyer and congressional leader, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of Eugene Underwood, a well-to-do lawyer, and Frederica Virginia Smith. His father, accused during the Civil War of smuggling quinine to the Confederate army of General ...

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Walsh, Thomas James (12 June 1859–02 March 1933), lawyer and U.S. senator, was born in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, the son of Felix Walsh, a skilled laborer and town clerk, and Bridget Comer. Each of his parents had come separately from Ireland to the shores of Lake Michigan. Young Thomas (later preferring the initials “T. J.”) attended Catholic church and the town’s public schools. He early showed strong intellectual interests, undertook extra studies in the elementary school, and became a teacher. Soon he began to read law and enrolled for a year of law courses at the University of Wisconsin, graduating with an LL.B. in 1884....