1-20 of 67 results  for:

  • Social welfare and reform x
  • Science and technology x
Clear all

Article

Babson, Roger Ward (06 July 1875–05 March 1967), businessman, author, and philanthropist, was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts, the son of Nathaniel Babson, a dry-goods merchant and wholesaler, and Ellen Stearns. As a child, Babson spent his summers in Gloucester on his paternal grandfather’s farm, an experience that later prompted him to write that he “owed more to that farm than any educational institution.” Off the farm, the young Babson, who was a rowdy albeit “nervous” boy, worried his mother by associating not with other middle-class Yankee children but with the “Gould Courters,” an Irish street gang....

Article

Borlaug, Norman Ernest (25 March 1914–12 September 2009), biologist, agronomist, and humanitarian, was born in Saude, Iowa, to grandchildren of Norwegian immigrants. He grew up on his family’s working farm, where he learned to fish, hunt, raise corn and oats, and tend livestock. His grandfather encouraged him to pursue education, so Norman left the family farm in 1933 to enroll in the University of Minnesota. His college years coincided with the depths of the Great Depression. To earn money, Borlaug left school in 1935 and found employment with the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). In the CCC he saw the effect of starvation first hand, and this experience affected him deeply. Long before “food security” became a common phrase, Borlaug knew its significance. In 1937 he graduated with a B.S. in forestry from the College of Agriculture and secured a job with the United States Forest Service. In 1938 he married former classmate Margaret Gibson. The couple had three children....

Article

Caras, Roger (24 May 1928–18 February 2001), animal rights activist, Hollywood executive, and naturalist, was born in Methuen, a rural Massachusetts town around thirty miles north of Boston, the son of Jacob Caras, an insurance salesman, and Bessie Caras, an accountant. His affection for animals developed at an early age. At home he was exposed to dogs, cats, and canaries, and in the woods surrounding his house were raccoons, deer, opossums, and skunks. "Methuen was a wonderful place in which to learn and to explore," he recalled in his autobiography, ...

Article

Commoner, Barry (28 May 1917–30 September 2012), scientist-activist, biologist, and environmentalist, was born Barry Commoner in Brooklyn, New York, to Isaac (Isador) and Gussie Commoner, Russian immigrants. His uncle, the Slavonic scholar Avrahm Yarmolinsky, recommended the family adopt a more anglicized spelling of their last name. Commoner attended Brooklyn’s James Madison High School, where he discovered his passion for biology. Assisted by his wife, the poet ...

Article

Coolidge, Albert Sprague (23 January 1894–31 August 1977), chemical physicist, political activist, and civil libertarian, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Frederic Shurtleff Coolidge, an orthopedic surgeon, and Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge. His mother was the daughter of Albert Arnold Sprague, a pioneer merchant of Chicago, which made it possible for Sprague Coolidge to be financially independent. He was directly descended from John Coolidge of Watertown, Massachusetts, who emigrated from England in 1630 and whose farm occupied almost all of what is now Cambridge, Massachusetts. His college preparatory education was at the Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. He graduated summa cum laude with an A.B. from Harvard College in 1915. That year he married Margaret Stewart Coit. They had five children....

Image

Peter Cooper. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-11083).

Article

Cooper, Peter (12 February 1791–04 April 1883), inventor, manufacturer, and civic benefactor, was born in New York City, the son of John Cooper and Margaret Campbell. His father was a struggling merchant who moved the family successively to Peekskill, Catskill, and finally Newburgh, New York, in search of financial success. Assisting his father in a series of occupations (hatter, brewer, shopkeeper, and brickmaker), Cooper obtained valuable practical work experience. Given his family’s relative poverty and constant movement, Cooper was only able to obtain a year’s worth of formal schooling; this deficiency in his formal education haunted him throughout his life....

Article

Creighton, Edward (31 August 1820–05 November 1874), pioneer telegraph builder, banker, and philanthropist, was born in Belmont County, Ohio (near the present town of Barnesville), the son of James Creighton and Bridget Hughes, farmers. Creighton’s father had emigrated in 1805 from County Dungannon, Ireland, to the United States. In 1830 the Creighton family moved to a farm in Licking County, Ohio. Edward Creighton began full-time employment on the family farm and as a wagoner at the age of fourteen. In these early years he worked on the pike roads of Ohio with the young ...

Image

George Eastman. Courtesy of the Clendening History of Medicine Library, University of Kansas Medical Center.

Article

Eastman, George (12 July 1854–14 March 1932), inventor, businessman, and philanthropist, was born in Waterville, New York, the son of George Washington Eastman, a nurseryman and educator, and Maria Kilbourn. His father’s pioneering work in establishing Eastman Mercantile (or Commercial) College in Rochester in 1842, a prototype for later business schools, perhaps inspired Eastman to be a trailblazer in another field. His father died when George was seven, two years after the family moved to Rochester, and his mother took in boarders. Eastman attended public and private schools until age thirteen, when he became an office boy in a real estate firm to help support his mother and two older sisters. A year later Eastman transferred to an insurance office and in 1874 he became a bookkeeper for the Rochester Savings Bank....

Article

Flick, Lawrence Francis (10 August 1856–07 July 1938), physician, historian, and early leader in the campaign against tuberculosis, was born in Carroll Township, Cambria County, Pennsylvania, the son of John Flick, a mill owner and farmer, and Elizabeth Schabacher (changed to Sharbaugh). Flick grew up on the family farm, but poor health excused him from the usual chores. A bookish boy and a devout Roman Catholic, he first attended local schools. For most of his teenage years, he studied at St. Vincent’s, a Benedictine college in Beatty (now Latrobe), Pennsylvania, but symptoms suggesting tuberculosis cut short his classwork, and he returned home. After a period of indecision and various jobs, he entered Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and graduated in 1879. He then completed an internship at Philadelphia Hospital and opened an office for the practice of medicine. His persisting illness, however, was finally diagnosed as tuberculosis and, following his physicians’ advice, he traveled to the West for his health. By 1883, improvement allowed him to resume his practice, which soon included increasing numbers of patients with tuberculosis. “When I recovered from tuberculosis as a young man,” he wrote, “I consecrated my life to the welfare of those afflicted with the disease and to the protection of those who had not yet contracted it” ( ...

Article

Forbush, Edward Howe (24 April 1858–08 March 1929), ornithologist and conservationist, was born in Quincy, Massachusetts, the son of Leander Pomeroy Forbush, a school principal, and Ruth Hudson Carr. Soon after their son’s birth, the parents moved their family to West Roxbury, Massachusetts, while Forbush’s father went into business in nearby Worcester. In early childhood, Forbush developed a strong interest in birds, mammals, and nature in general; in his early teens, he taught himself to be a competent taxidermist. Forbush attended the public schools in West Roxbury and Worcester, but he left at age fifteen, to help his father in his business, and never graduated. All thought of college was soon abandoned. He assisted his father as a laborer, mechanic, and farmer for seven years, and studied natural history in such spare time as he could find. At age sixteen he became a member of the Worcester Natural History Society, and served as volunteer curator of ornithology for its museum. At age nineteen he became president of the society, and with like-minded friends, worked hard to develop local interest in the organization and in the nature study programs it offered. For several years he enjoyed the luxury of pursuing his natural history avocation with little thought for earning any independent income....

Image

R. Buckminster Fuller. Oil on canvas, c. 1981, by Ruth Munson. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

Article

Fuller, R. Buckminster (12 July 1895–01 July 1983), inventor, designer, and environmentalist, often referred to as “Bucky,” was born Richard Buckminster Fuller, Jr., in Milton, Massachusetts, the son of Richard Buckminster Fuller, an importer of leather and tea, who died in 1910, and Caroline Wolcott Andrews. He was the grandnephew of author and literary critic ...

Article

Gabrielson, Ira Noel (27 September 1889–07 September 1977), wildlife biologist and first director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was born in Sioux Rapids, Iowa, the son of Frank August Gabrielson, a partner in a hardware store and later a farmer, and Ida Jansen. During a boyhood spent hunting, fishing, and exploring the countryside, Gabrielson developed a love of nature, photographed and studied birds, and became particularly interested in waterfowl. He graduated from Morningside College, Sioux City, Iowa, with a B.A. in biology in 1912 and spent the next three years teaching high school biology in Marshalltown, Iowa. Just as he was about to enter the University of Iowa on a graduate fellowship, he was offered and accepted a position he had coveted with the Bureau of Biological Survey....

Article

George, Wesley Critz (28 August 1888–29 October 1982), zoologist and social scientist, was born in Yadkin County, North Carolina, the son of Thomas Miller, a farmer, schoolteacher, and printer, and Mary Critz George. In 1900 George attended a private school established by his father in Yadkin, before the relocation of his family necessitated a move to public schools, first in Missouri and then in Elkin, North Carolina. He taught for one year at a school in Cabarrus County, North Carolina, before gaining admission to the University of North Carolina (UNC) in 1907, from which he received a master's degree in 1912 and a PhD in 1918, both in zoology....

Article

Gillette, King Camp (05 January 1855–09 July 1932), inventor and social theorist, was born in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, the son of George Wolcott Gillette, a hardware wholesaler, and Fanny Lemira Camp, later the author of the bestselling White House Cookbook. Shortly before the Civil War the family moved to Chicago, where he graduated from high school. Gillette clerked in a hardware store and then became a traveling salesman. Like his father and two older brothers, he delighted in inventive tinkering, and in 1879 he was granted his first patent, for a water-faucet component. In 1890 he married Atlanta Ella Gaines; they had one son....

Article

Goldman, Sylvan Nathan (15 November 1898–25 November 1984), inventor of the folding shopping cart and businessman-philanthropist, was born in Ardmore, Indian Territory (later Oklahoma), the son of Michael Goldman and Hortense Dreyfus, owners of a general store. He received eight years of education in local public schools and in 1912 underwent his bar mitzvah in a Jewish Reform temple....

Article

Griscom, John (27 September 1774–26 February 1852), teacher, chemist, and philanthropist, was born in Hancock’s Bridge, New Jersey, the son of William Griscom, a farmer and saddle and harness maker, and Rachel Denn. Educated in country schools except for a few months in 1783 at Friends’ Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he was self-taught in chemistry and physics. Griscom began teaching at a log cabin school near Salem, New Jersey, when he was seventeen. In 1794 he took charge of the Friends’ School in Burlington, New Jersey, where he taught chemistry to advanced pupils in a room in his house that he had converted into a laboratory....

Article

Hoffman, Frederick Ludwig (02 May 1865–23 February 1946), statistician and public health author, was born in the town of Varel, in the former Duchy of Oldenburg (near the North Sea, not far from the port city of Bremen), in present-day northwestern Germany, the son of Augustus Franciscus Hoffman, an accountant, and Antoinette Marie Elise von Laar. In 1876 Hoffman’s father died. A few years later, at age fifteen, Hoffman left school to become an apprentice in a mercantile business because there were not sufficient funds to provide for his university education. The work did not suit him; after six months, he left. After working at several other unsatisfactory jobs, he decided to emigrate to the United States. He arrived at New York City on 28 November 1884, and he became a U.S. citizen on 25 October 1893....