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Arthur, Timothy Shay (06 June 1809–06 March 1885), editor, temperance crusader, and novelist, was born in Orange County, New York, the son of William Arthur and Anna Shay, occupations unknown. He was named for his maternal grandfather, Timothy Shay, an officer in the revolutionary war. By his mid-twenties, Arthur had yet to identify a profession or receive an education. In the 1830s, however, he began an intense program of self-education as well as a writing career as a journalist in Baltimore, where he quickly became a well-known and articulate champion of numerous social causes including temperance, Swedenborgianism, feminism, and socialism. In 1836 he married Eliza Alden; they had seven children....

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Harry Benjamin. Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine (B02717).

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Benjamin, Harry (12 January 1885–24 August 1986), physician, endocrinologist, and sex researcher, was born in Berlin, Germany, the son of Julius Benjamin, a banker, and Bertha Hoffman. He became interested in human sexuality at the age of twenty, when he read August Forel’s ...

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Brooks, Walter Henderson (30 August 1851–06 July 1945), clergyman, temperance leader, and poet, was born in Richmond, Virginia, the son of Albert Royal Brooks and Lucy Goode, slaves. Brooks’s father was an enterprising slave who owned his own “snack house” and a livery business that brought him into contact with some of Virginia’s wealthiest citizens, including his wife’s owner, German consul Daniel Von Groning. Albert Brooks purchased his wife’s freedom in 1862 for $800. Still a slave, Walter Brooks at age seven was sold to the Turpin & Yarborough tobacco firm. He woefully recalled his time there, writing: “It was all I could do to perform the task assigned to my little hands. What I do remember is that I stood in mortal fear of ‘the consequences’ of failing to do what was required of me.” When the Richmond manufacturer fell victim to wartime economic decline, Brooks was allowed to reside with his mother and began working in hotels, boardinghouses, and restaurants. In his youth he acquired the doctrines that served as the foundation for his life’s work. He learned temperance from his pastor, the Reverend ...

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Cannon, James, Jr. (13 November 1864–06 September 1944), southern Methodist bishop and temperance crusader, was born in Salisbury, Maryland, the son of James Cannon and Lydia Robertson Primrose, merchants. The family was prosperous and prominent in Delaware, where James’s uncle, William Cannon, was governor from 1863 to 1865. Possessed of strong southern sympathies, the Cannons moved to Salisbury, Maryland, at the time of the Civil War, where the family business continued to thrive. Longtime Methodists, the family abandoned the Methodist Episcopal church and helped to found the local congregation of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. They were active in this congregation, in the Democratic party, and in the emerging local temperance movement....

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Cheever, George Barrell (17 April 1807–01 October 1890), clergyman and reformer, was born in Hallowell, Maine, the son of Nathaniel Cheever II, a printer and bookseller, and Charlotte Barrell. He was one of five children in a prosperous family. His father died when he was twelve, and he became extremely close to his mother, whose ardent Congregational faith significantly shaped his career. He entered Bowdoin College in 1821 and was a classmate of ...

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Cherrington, Ernest Hurst (24 November 1877–13 March 1950), temperance reformer and Methodist layman, was born in Hamden, Ohio, the son of George Cherrington, a Methodist clergyman, and Elizabeth Ophelia Paine. After attending the preparatory department of Ohio Wesleyan University (1893–1897), Cherrington taught school in Ross County, Ohio, and edited the ...

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Crothers, Thomas Davison (21 September 1842–12 January 1918), pioneer physician in the medical treatment of inebriety, temperance advocate, and editor, was born in West Charlton, New York, the son of Robert Crothers and Electra Smith. Members of Crothers’s family had taught surgery and medicine at Edinburgh University since the eighteenth century, and, with this influence, after attending the Fort Edward Seminary, he enrolled in Albany Medical College in 1862. With the outbreak of the Civil War Crothers signed on as a medical cadet at the Ira Harris Military College. Awarded his M.D. in 1865, Crothers continued his studies at Long Island College Hospital until he began his medical practice in West Galway, New York, in 1866. Four years later Crothers left West Galway for Albany, where, at his alma mater, he became assistant to the chair of the practice of medicine, lecturer on hygiene, and instructor in physical diagnosis. In 1875 he married Sarah Walton; the couple had no children. He also took a new position in Binghamton, New York, home of the nation’s first hospital for inebriates, the New York State Inebriate Asylum. There Crothers received his formal introduction to the medical treatment of inebriety. In 1878 he established his own private inebriate asylum in Hartford, Connecticut, the Walnut Hill Asylum (known after 1880 as the Walnut Lodge Hospital)....

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Day, Albert (06 October 1812–26 April 1894), physician, temperance advocate, legislator, and leader in the treatment of inebriety, was born in Wells, Maine, the son of Nahum Day and Persis Weeks. Little is known about Day’s family or his youth; his father died early, forcing Day to earn a living and save his studying for the evening....

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Delavan, Edward Cornelius (06 January 1793–15 January 1871), antiliquor leader, was born in Franklin, Westchester County, New York, the son of Stephen Delavan (occupation unknown) and Hannah Wallace. After his father died, the family moved to Albany, where the boy became an apprentice printer at Whiting, Backus & Whiting, from 1802 to 1806. He then attended the Reverend Samuel Blatchford’s school in Lansingburgh for two years....

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Neal Dow. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-90764).

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Dow, Neal (20 March 1804–02 October 1897), politician and social reformer, was born in Portland, Maine, the son of Josiah Dow and Dorcas Allen, operators of a tanning business. He received a basic education at the Portland Academy and later at the Friends’ Academy in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He also received an education in social involvement from his parents, who were ardent Quakers, committed to various types of social reform. As a child Neal witnessed escaped slaves moving through his home, which was a station on the Underground Railroad. His father traveled widely in New England in the interests of antislavery, with the support of the Society of Friends. Dow wanted to attend college and become a lawyer, but his parents objected, so he went into partnership with his father in the family business. In 1830 he married Maria Cornelia Durant Maynard; they had nine children, five of whom survived to adulthood....

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Endean, Steve (6 Aug. 1948–4 Aug. 1993), gay rights activist and lobbyist for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) causes, was born Stephen Robert Endean in Davenport, Iowa, to Robert Endean, a salesman, and Marilyn Endean. Raised in a Roman Catholic family, Endean grew up in Rock Island, Illinois; Peoria, Illinois; and Bloomington, Minnesota. After graduating from Lincoln High School in ...

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Everett, Robert (02 January 1791–25 February 1875), Congregational minister, publisher, and reformer, was born in Gronant, North Wales, the son of Lewis Everett and Jane Parry. The manager of a lead mine, Lewis Everett was also a Congregational lay preacher who raised his eleven children in a deeply religious atmosphere. Having decided at eighteen to enter the ministry, Robert studied theology at the Independent College at Wrexham and in 1815 was ordained pastor of the Swan Lane Welsh Congregational Church at Denbigh....

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Fairbanks, Erastus (28 October 1792–20 November 1864), governor of Vermont, businessman, and antislavery and temperance leader, was born in Brimfield, Massachusetts, the son of Joseph Fairbanks, a farmer, carpenter, and mill owner, and Phebe Paddock. He received a limited public school education in Brimfield. Erastus taught school himself for a time before moving north with his family to St. Johnsbury, Vermont. In 1815 he married Lois C. Crossman, with whom he had eight children. Three years earlier, at the invitation of his uncle, Judge Ephriam Paddock, Fairbanks began reading the law in Paddock’s office. Fairbanks was soon compelled to quit his legal studies, reportedly owing to poor eyesight. He instead became a merchant, operating country stores in the towns of Wheelock, Barnet, and East St. Johnsbury for eleven years while establishing “a reputation for absolute integrity and for interest in anything that concerned the public welfare” (Ullery, p. 89)....

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Foote, Edward Bliss (20 February 1829–05 October 1906), eclectic physician and birth-control pioneer, was born near Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Herschel Foote, a postmaster, and Pamelia Bliss. Foote left school at fifteen to pursue a career in journalism, first with the Cleveland Herald...

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Forsyth, Jessie (29 April 1847–18 September 1937), temperance reformer, was born in London, England, the daughter of Andrew Forsyth, a baker, and Eliza Maria Kitteridge, both of Scottish origin. The caricaturist and illustrator George Cruikshank was her great-uncle. Ill health left her with a skimpy formal education. She was a devout, lifelong member of the Church of England. Orphaned in her teens, Forsyth found her sense of belonging in a fraternal temperance society, the militantly prohibitionist Independent (later International) Order of Good Templars. According to her memoirs, she had not been a teetotaler when her desire to make new friends and enjoy sociable weekly lodge meetings persuaded her to become a Good Templar in 1872. Late in 1874 she sailed to the United States to take a job as a bookkeeper for a printing company in Boston, Massachusetts. Within a few months she joined an American lodge of the Templar Order....

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Funk, Isaac Kauffman (10 September 1839–04 April 1912), publisher and reformer, was born near Clifton, Ohio, the son of John Funk and Martha Kauffman, farmers. Funk graduated from Wittenberg College in 1860 and from its theological seminary the following year. He subsequently held pastorates at Lutheran churches near Moreshill, Indiana, and in Carey, Ohio, before moving to St. Matthews’ English Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, New York, where he remained the longest. In 1863 he married Eliza Thompson; they had two children. The year after his wife’s death in 1868 he married her sister, Helen G. Thompson. The couple had one son....

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Goodell, William (25 October 1792–14 February 1878), religious reformer, was born in Coventry, New York, the son of Frederick Goodell and Rhoda Guernsey. Goodell’s parents were Connecticut natives who became pioneer settlers in upper New York State. During his childhood Goodell suffered a “crippling disease” that kept him bedridden for several years; this confinement resulted in his cultivating a lifelong interest in religious reading and writing. After the death of his parents, Goodell went to live in Pomfret, Connecticut, with his paternal grandmother, a convert of evangelist ...

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Gough, John Bartholomew (22 August 1817–18 February 1886), temperance orator, was born in Sandgate, Kent, England, the son of John Gough, a pensioned British war veteran, and Jane (maiden name unknown), a schoolteacher. Although the family was poor, Gough attended an academy until 1829, when his parents, seeking better opportunities for their son, paid ten guineas to David Mannering, a neighbor planning to emigrate, to take Gough to the United States. The youth worked on Mannering’s farm in Oneida County, New York, and joined the Methodist church during the revival then sweeping that region. Mannering, however, provided neither schooling nor a trade as had been promised, and in 1831 Gough left....