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Childs, Morris (10 June 1902–02 June 1991), Communist official and American intelligence double agent, was born Moishe Chilovsky in Kiev, Ukraine, the son of Joseph Chilovsky, a cobbler, and Anna Chilovsky. Joseph Chilovsky, a Jew, fled Tsarist oppression, arriving in America in 1910; he sent for the rest of his family late the next year. (In 1926 the spelling of their name was Americanized, and Morris became a naturalized citizen the following year.) In 1916 Morris went to work as an apprentice in his father's business; then he became a milkman. In 1919 he joined the Communist party in Chicago. Twice arrested for participating in street demonstrations, he soon became a protégé of future party leader ...

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Digges, Thomas Attwood (04 July 1742–06 December 1821), gentleman, confidential agent, ne'er-do-well, and novelist, gentleman, confidential agent, ne’er-do-well, and novelist, was born in Warburton, Maryland, the son of William Digges and Ann Attwood, the owners of “Warburton Manor.” Digges was sent abroad to be educated. Family tradition holds that he attended Oxford University, but his Catholic faith and the absence of his name in university records make this unlikely. In 1767, after being disowned by his family for reasons that are not known, Digges purportedly went to live in Portugal, where he stayed until 1773 or 1774. In a subsequent letter to ...

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Hale, Nathan (06 June 1755–22 September 1776), martyr of the American Revolution, was born in Coventry, Connecticut, the son of Richard Hale and Elizabeth Strong, successful farmers. A sickly infant, he barely survived his first year, but as he grew he became an outdoorsman and a powerful athlete. He enjoyed reading, and his father decided to prepare him for the ministry, first by hiring Rev. Joseph Huntington to tutor him and then by sending him in 1769 to Yale College. At Yale he was widely admired by his teachers and fellow students. Dr. ...

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Hughes, Emmet John (26 December 1920–19 September 1982), journalist, author, and government official, was born in Newark, New Jersey, the son of John L. Hughes, a Union County (N.J.) judge, and Grace Freeman. Reared in Summit, New Jersey, he attended Princeton University, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and was graduated ...

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Lafayette, James (1748–09 August 1830), patriot spy, also known to history as James Armistead, was born in slavery; little is recorded of his parentage or early life except that he belonged to William Armistead of New Kent County, Virginia. In the summer of 1781 James was attending his master while Armistead worked as a commissary in Richmond, supplying patriot forces under the command of the ...

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Martin, John Bartlow (04 August 1915–03 January 1987), author, political consultant, and speechwriter, was born in Hamilton, Ohio, the son of John Williamson Martin, a carpenter, and Laura Bartlow Martin. When Martin was three years old, his father moved the family to Indianapolis, Indiana, to a home on Brookside Avenue. It was “a mean street in a mean city,” Martin noted in his autobiography (1986). A lifelong Democrat, a party affiliation his son later shared, the elder Martin nevertheless refused to join the Ku Klux Klan, which was a significant social and political force in Indiana during the 1920s. The boy's childhood was unsettled. His brothers both died, and his father's business as a general contractor failed during the Great Depression. His parents divorced but later remarried. Encouraged by his teachers at Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis, Martin found comfort in books and devoured the works of ...

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Sorensen, Theodore Chaikin (8 May 1928–31 Oct. 2010), lawyer, presidential advisor, and speechwriter, was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, to Christian A. Sorensen, a lawyer who also served as attorney general for the state of Nebraska from 1929 to 1933, and Annis Chaikin, a social worker. Christian Sorensen was influenced by the progressive wing of the Republican Party and named his son after President ...

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Tallmadge, Benjamin (25 February 1754–07 March 1835), intelligence officer and congressman, was born in Setauket (now Brookhaven), New York, the son of Benjamin Tallmadge, a Congregational minister, and Susannah Smith. Yale president Naphtali Daggett admitted Tallmadge at age twelve, but Tallmadge entered in 1769. ...