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Adie, David Craig (03 September 1888–23 February 1943), social worker, was born in Hamilton, Scotland, the son of Lawrence Adie, a railway passenger agent, and Madeline Cooper. Raised in poverty, Adie attended school in Edinburgh but left at an early age to apprentice as a bookbinder. By the time he was twenty he had joined the Independent Labor Union and had begun working on the Clydeside as an organizer, campaigning from town to town on his bicycle. During these years he developed a rousing style of public speaking through both his union work and his service as a Methodist lay preacher. A voracious reader, Adie learned everything he could about America, and in 1913 he sailed for Canada....

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Billikopf, Jacob (01 June 1883–31 December 1950), social worker and leader in American Jewish philanthropy, was born in Vilna, Russia, the son of Louis Billikopf and Glika Katzenelenbogen. Billikopf immigrated to the United States in 1897 and briefly attended Richmond College. With the support of a fellowship from the National Council of Jewish Women, he studied philanthropy at the University of Chicago, from which he received a Ph.B. in 1903. He also studied at the School of Philanthropy in New York in 1905. He married Ruth Marshall, the daughter of ...

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Blaustein, David (05 May 1866–26 August 1912), rabbi, educator, and social worker, was born in Lida, Russian Poland, the son of Isaiah Blaustein and Sarah Natzkovsky. The family was of humble means, and David was eight years old when his father died. Nine years later he ran away from home to the Prussian town of Memel in order to obtain an education. He then journeyed to Schwerin, the capital of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, where he enrolled in a Jewish teacher’s preparatory school under the leadership of Dr. Fabian Feilchenfeld. His intention was to be a cantor-shochet-teacher to the German Jews, but Bismarck’s ban on Russian Jews in Germany forced him to emigrate to America....

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de Schweinitz, Karl (26 November 1887–20 April 1975), social worker and educator, was born in Northfield, Minnesota, the son of Paul Robert de Schweinitz, a clergyman, and Mary Catherine Daniel. After attending Nazareth Hall and the Moravian Parochial School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, de Schweinitz received bachelor’s degrees from Moravian College in 1906 and from the University of Pennsylvania in 1907. He spent two years as a reporter, first for the ...

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DeBerry, William Nelson (29 August 1870–20 January 1948), Congregational clergyman and social service worker, was born in Nashville, Tennessee, the son of Caswell DeBerry and Charlotte Mayfield, former slaves. His father was a railroad shop worker and a lay preacher in a local Baptist church; his mother’s occupation is unknown. DeBerry was educated in Nashville schools and entered Fisk University in 1886, graduating ten years later with a B.S. degree. DeBerry then went to Oberlin College in Ohio where he received a Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1899. In that same year, he was ordained in the Congregational ministry, became the pastor of St. John’s Congregational Church in Springfield, Massachusetts, and married Amanda McKissack of Pulaski, Tennessee; they had two children. After the death of his first wife (date unknown), DeBerry married Louise Scott in 1943....

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Devine, Edward Thomas (06 May 1867–27 February 1948), social worker, writer, and lecturer, was born near Union, Iowa, the son of John Devine and Laura Hall, farmers. He attended Cornell College in Iowa where in 1887 he obtained his A.M.

After graduation and until 1890, Devine was a teacher and the principal of public schools in three Iowa towns, and in 1889 he married Harriet Scovel; they had two children. During these years, he met Simon Patten, an original economic theorist, who emphasized that the United States should focus on wealth distribution to alleviate social problems. In 1890 Devine traveled to the University of Pennsylvania to study under Patten, who soon became his mentor and friend. That same year, he journeyed to Halle, Germany, to study economics, as had Patten. By 1893 Devine had earned his Ph.D. and had begun lecturing on economics for the American Society for the Extension of University Teaching. For this organization, which he later served as executive secretary, he taught courses in Oxford, England, Edinburgh, Scotland, and in several American cities....

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Haynes, George Edmund (11 May 1880–08 January 1960), sociologist and social worker, was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, the son of Louis Haynes, an occasional laborer, and Mattie Sloan, a domestic servant. He was raised by devout, hard-working, poorly educated parents. His mother stressed that education and good character were paths to improvement. She moved with Haynes and his sister to Hot Springs, a city with better educational opportunities than Pine Bluff. Haynes attended Fisk University, completing his B.A. in 1903. His record at Fisk enabled him to go to Yale, where he earned an M.A. in sociology in 1904. He also won a scholarship to Yale’s Divinity School but withdrew early in 1905 to help fund his sister’s schooling....

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Hunter, Robert (10 April 1874–15 May 1942), social worker and reformer, was born Wiles Robert Hunter in Terre Haute, Indiana, the son of William Robert Hunter, a carriage manufacturer, and Caroline Fouts. He graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor of arts degree in 1896....

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Johnson, Alexander (02 January 1847–17 May 1941), social worker, was born in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, England, the son of John Johnson, a prosperous merchant tailor, and Amelia Hill. Educated at private schools, the Mechanics’ Institute, and Owens (later Victoria) College, Johnson left England for Canada in 1869, settling in Hamilton. There he found work in a tailoring factory and lived with his employer, William Johnston. In 1872 Johnson married Johnston’s daughter, Eliza Ann, with whom he had seven children. Soon after their marriage the couple moved to Chicago, and around 1877 Johnson moved his family to Cincinnati, where he worked in the manufacturing department of a clothing company....

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Lee, Porter Raymond (21 December 1879–08 March 1939), social worker and teacher, was born in Buffalo, New York, the son of Reuben Porter Lee, a banker, and Jennie Blanchard. He obtained his first experience in social service working at Westminster House, a Buffalo settlement, while he was still in high school. This plus a college course in the methods of modern philanthropy led him to pursue a career in social work. After graduating from Cornell University in 1903 he attended a summer institute at the New York School of Philanthropy, then the only center in the country providing professional social work training. That fall he began work as assistant secretary of the Charity Organization Society (COS) of Buffalo. He later described the six years he spent there under the supervision of secretary Frederick Almy as “the most important single factor” in his education. He married Ethel Hepburn Pollock in 1905; they would have five children....

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Levin, Louis Hiram (13 January 1866–21 April 1923), social worker and journalist, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Harris Levin, a merchant, and Dora Levine, daughter of a rabbi. The Levin family moved to Maryland in 1871 and settled in Baltimore by 1876. Levin graduated in 1881 from Bryant and Stratton College. He later attended Baltimore University School of Law and graduated in 1896....

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Lovejoy, Owen Reed (09 September 1866–29 June 1961), social worker and reformer, was born in Jamestown, Michigan, near Grand Rapids, the son of Hiram Reed Lovejoy and Harriett Helen Robinson. His parents’ occupations are not known. He obtained a B.A. at Albion College in 1891 and married Jennie Evalyn Campbell the following year. They had five children, of whom only two survived to adulthood. Lovejoy became a Methodist minister, serving in a number of Michigan communities while also earning an M.A. from Albion in 1894....

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Roche, Josephine Aspinwall (02 December 1886–29 July 1976), social worker and New Deal administrator, was born in Neligh, Nebraska, the daughter of John J. Roche, a lawyer, banker, and mining executive, and Ella Aspinwall, a former teacher. Roche spent her childhood in Nebraska, where her father was a member of the state legislature. While Roche was at Vassar College, where she earned a B.A. in 1908, her parents moved to Denver, Colorado, which remained her hometown for much of the rest of her life. After working for a short while as a probation officer there, she returned east....

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West, James Edward (16 May 1876–15 May 1948), social worker and lawyer, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of James Robert West, a merchant who died around the time of the child’s birth, and Mary Tyree, a seamstress. When West was six, his mother died, and he was sent to a local orphanage. The boy was frequently punished for laziness until it was recognized that he suffered from tuberculosis of the hip and knee. He spent two years in a hospital undergoing painful treatment and was then returned to the orphanage, still with a pronounced limp. His difficult early years helped shape his lifelong commitment to child welfare as well as his conviction that even the bleakest environment could be surmounted by strong character....

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Williams, Aubrey Willis (23 August 1890–03 March 1965), social worker and civil rights advocate, was born in Springville, Alabama, the son of Charles Evans Williams, a blacksmith, and Eva Taylor. Williams’s paternal grandfather voluntarily freed his slaves in 1855, and the Civil War completed the ruin of the once-affluent family. When Aubrey was six months old, the Williamses moved to Birmingham but remained so poor that he and his six siblings had to quit school early and go to work. Aubrey left school at the age of nine, when he became first a delivery boy and then a department store clerk. He attended night classes when he could. A devout Presbyterian, like his mother, the young sales clerk was influenced by a Presbyterian evangelist who preached to Birmingham’s exploited mill hands and convict laborers. Williams often accompanied the preacher on his rounds and began teaching literacy classes for workers....

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Whitney Moore Young, Jr. Tempera on board, 1967, by Boris Chaliapin. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Time magazine.

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Young, Whitney Moore, Jr. (31 July 1921–11 March 1971), social worker and civil rights activist, was born in Lincoln Ridge, Kentucky, the son of Whitney Moore Young, Sr., president of Lincoln Institute, a private African-American college, and Laura Ray, a schoolteacher. Raised within the community of the private academy and its biracial faculty, Whitney Young, Jr., and his two sisters were sheltered from harsh confrontations with racial discrimination in their early lives, but they attended segregated public elementary schools for African-American children and completed high school at Lincoln Institute. In 1937 Young, planning to become a doctor, entered Kentucky State Industrial College at Frankfort, where he received a bachelor of science degree in 1941. After graduation he became an assistant principal and athletic coach at Julius Rosenwald High School in Madison, Kentucky....