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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....

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Benjamin Thompson. Courtesy of the Clendening History of Medicine Library, University of Kansas Medical Center.

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Thompson, Benjamin (26 March 1753–21 August 1814), physicist and social reformer, known as Count Rumford, was born in Woburn, Massachusetts, the son of Benjamin Thompson and Ruth Simonds, farmers. His father died before Thompson was four, and limited resources prevented him from receiving more than a grammar school education. He was essentially self-educated in the sciences. He was apprenticed in 1766 to John Appleton, a Salem merchant and importer....