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Duffy, Clinton T. (24 August 1898–11 October 1982), prison warden, was born in San Rafael, California, the son of William J. Duffy, a San Quentin prison guard, and Eugenia Palmer. Raised at the San Quentin prison reservation and a graduate of San Quentin High School, Duffy left during World War I to fight with the U.S. Marines. After the war he worked briefly for the Northwestern Pacific Railroad. In the late 1920s he returned to San Quentin, where he began his career in prison administration. Throughout the 1930s Duffy held positions such as assistant to the warden’s executive secretary and assistant secretary of the parole board. Later in the decade a number of public scandals exposed harsh conditions, rebellion among inmates, and corruption by officials at San Quentin. In response, in 1940 the state board of prison directors, under the direction of Governor Culbert Olson, fired warden Court Smith, replacing him with Duffy. Duffy married Gladys Carpenter, and they had one son....

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Griffith, Goldsborough Sappington (04 November 1814–24 February 1904), civic and religious leader, prison reformer, and philanthropist, was born in Harford County, Maryland, the son of James Griffith and Sarah Cox. His father died in the War of 1812, leaving Griffith, not one year old, the youngest of eight. His mother subsequently remarried and, when Griffith was twelve, moved to Baltimore with her husband and family of fourteen children. Griffith left school and obtained regular employment in a tobacco manufacturing house to help support the family. He continued his education in night school and devoted his leisure time to reading. Several years later he found a rewarding position as a paperhanger and, at the age of twenty-two, with $500 in savings and a knowledgeable partner, began a prosperous paperhanging and upholstery business. In 1854 he sold this thriving business to his half brothers and turned his attentions to his very successful wholesale and retail carpet business in which he was joined by his nephews....

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Hodder, Jessie Donaldson (30 March 1867–19 November 1931), women's prison reformer, women’s prison reformer, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the daughter of William Donaldson, a tradesman, and Mary Hall. Her mother died when she was two, and her father remarried. Following physical abuse by her stepmother, Jessie was rescued and taken in by her paternal grandmother. Later an uncle, Andrew Donaldson, joined and supported the household. In 1883 Andrew Donaldson’s career with the Erie Railroad took the family from Cincinnati to New York City, where Jessie studied music. Either there or possibly in Cambridge, Massachusetts, she met Alfred LeRoy Hodder, whose family also had ties to Cincinnati and who was a favored doctoral student of Harvard University philosopher ...

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Isaac T. Hopper. From the frontispiece to Lydia Maria Child, Isaac T. Hopper: A True Life, 1853. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-75190).

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Hopper, Isaac Tatem (03 December 1771–07 May 1852), Quaker abolitionist and reformer, was born in Deptford township, near Woodbury, New Jersey, the son of Levi Hopper and Rachel Tatem, farmers. Educated in local schools, Isaac Hopper went to Philadelphia at sixteen to learn tailoring from an uncle, with whom he lived. He made his living there as a tailor and soon came to own his own shop....

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Jackson, George (23 September 1941–21 August 1971), political revolutionary and prisoners' rights activist, political revolutionary and prisoners’ rights activist, was born George Lester Jackson in Chicago, Illinois, the second of five children of Lester Jackson, a U.S. Postal Service employee originally from East Saint Louis, Illinois, and Georgia Davis Jackson of Harrisburg, Illinois. Growing up on Chicago’s Near West Side shaped George’s young life. After a white student beat George in kindergarten, his parents enrolled him and his older sister, Delora, in St. Malachy School, a segregated Catholic school. With Chicago’s white neighborhoods largely off-limits and in need of a larger apartment for their growing family, the Jacksons moved into a recently constructed public housing project. As he entered his teen years, the police began routinely picking up George for questioning....

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Korematsu, Fred (30 Jan. 1919–30 March 2005), prisoner of incarceration camps for Japanese Americans during World War II and civil liberties activist, was born in Oakland, California, the third of four sons of Kakusaburo Korematsu and Kotsui Aoki, immigrants from Japan who owned a flower nursery where the family worked. Korematsu’s given name was Toyosaburo, but when one of his elementary school teachers could not pronounce his first name, she asked to call him “Fred.” He used that name throughout his life. He attended public schools in Oakland, graduating from Castlemont High School, and was involved in the Boy Scouts and the San Lorenzo Japanese Holiness Church as a youth....

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McClaughry, Robert Wilson (22 July 1839–09 November 1920), warden and prison reformer, was born in Fountain Green, Illinois, the son of Matthew McClaughry and Marry (maiden name unknown). McClaughry attended Monmouth College in Illinois, receiving a B.A. in 1860. On 17 June 1862 he married Elizabeth C. Maiden, with whom he had five children. Two months after marrying Elizabeth, McClaughry became a private in the 118th Illinois Infantry. During the sectional conflict, McClaughry served in the Army of the Tennessee for two years and the payroll department for one, advancing to the rank of major in December, 1862. Mustered out of the army in October 1865, McClaughry returned to Illinois, taking a job as Hancock County Clerk....

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Nicholson, Timothy (02 November 1828–15 September 1924), Quaker reformer and printer, was born in Perquimans County, North Carolina, the son of Josiah Nicholson, a teacher and farmer, and Anna White. Both parents came from families long prominent in Quaker affairs in North Carolina, and by Timothy Nicholson’s own account, their influence and that of Quaker neighbors was such that he never questioned Quaker teachings. He was educated in the Quaker Belvidere Academy in Perquimans County and at the Friends Boarding School (now Moses Brown School) in Providence, Rhode Island. He married twice, first in 1853 to Sarah N. White, who died in 1865, and then in 1868 to her sister, Mary White. There were six children by the first marriage and two by the second....

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Round, William M. F. (26 March 1845–02 January 1906), journalist and reformer, was born William Marshall Fitts Round in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, the son of Daniel Round, a Baptist minister, and Elizabeth Ann Fitts. After attending local schools, he enrolled in Harvard Medical School but was forced to drop out because of ill health. He then began a career as a journalist, working at various times for the ...

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Wines, Frederick Howard (09 April 1838–31 January 1912), Presbyterian minister and prison reformer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Enoch Cobb Wines, a minister and prison reformer, and Emma Stansbury. After attending Washington College in Pennsylvania, Wines enrolled in the Princeton Theological Seminary in 1857. Forced to leave because of illness, he traveled to St. Louis, Missouri, where in 1860 the American Sunday School Union granted him a license to preach. Wines served as missionary in Springfield, Missouri, until 1862 when he received a commission as a hospital chaplain in the Union army. During the Civil War, Wines was the chaplain in charge of refuges at Springfield, Missouri, and served in the battle of Springfield (8 Jan. 1863). In 1864 he returned to Princeton and his studies, finally graduating from the seminary in 1865. That year he married Mary Frances Hackney, with whom he had eight children. The couple moved to Springfield, Illinois, where Wines spent the next four years as the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church....