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Blum, Virgil Clarence (27 March 1913–05 April 1993), educator, author, activist, and clergyman, was born in Defiance, Iowa, one of twelve children of John Peter and Elizabeth (Rushenberg) Blum, both farmers. His grade school and high school years were spent at St. Peter's school in Defiance. In 1932 he began college at Dowling College, Des Moines, Iowa, and the next year transferred to Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. On 31 Aug. 1934 he entered the Society of Jesus at St. Stanislaus Seminary at Florissant, Missouri, where he earned a bachelor's degree in Latin and English in 1938. (A brother, Victor Joseph, also became a Jesuit and became a professor of geophysics and seismology at St. Louis University). Virgil studied philosophy at St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri, continuing studies in the summer until he earned a master's degree in history and political science in 1945....

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Curry, Jabez Lamar Monroe (05 June 1825–12 February 1903), politician and educational reformer, was born in Lincoln County, Georgia, the son of William Curry and Susan Winn, planters. He attended school in Lincoln County until his family moved to Talladega County, Alabama, in 1838. In 1839 he entered Franklin College (now the University of Georgia) in Athens, Georgia. He graduated from Franklin in 1843 and then enrolled in the Law School of Harvard College. He received his law degree in 1845 and returned to Talladega, where he read law and then joined the bar. In 1847 Curry married Ann Alexander Bowie; they had four children, two of whom died in infancy....

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Garnett, James Mercer (08 June 1770–23 April 1843), congressman, agricultural reformer, and educator, was born at “Mount Pleasant” plantation, near present-day Loretto in Essex County, Virginia, the son of planters Muscoe Garnett and Grace Fenton Mercer. He was privately educated, and in 1793 married his first cousin, Mary Eleanor Dick Mercer. The couple had four daughters and four sons....

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Greene, Roger Sherman (29 May 1881–27 March 1947), diplomat, medical administrator, and lobbyist, was born in Westborough, Massachusetts, the son of Daniel Crosby Greene and Mary Jane Forbes, two of the earliest American missionaries to work in Japan. He received his early education in Japan, where he spent most of his life before college. At Harvard University he earned an A.B. in 1901 and an A.M. in 1902....

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Thomas Smith Grimké. Portrait of Thomas Smith Grimké (1786-1834). Oil on canvas. Portrait by Abraham G.D. Tuthill. Courtesy of Miami University Art Museum, Oxford, Ohio.

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Grimké, Thomas Smith (26 September 1786–12 October 1834), lawyer, educational and peace reformer, politician, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the second son of John Faucheraud Grimké and Mary Smith Grimké. John Grimké, a native Charlestonian of French Huguenot stock, was educated at the University of Cambridge, an officer in the American Revolution, and head justice of the state’s Court of Appeals. Mary Grimké, a descendant of an English landgrave, the state’s founding aristocracy, and the famous Irish rebel leader Rory O’Moore, was a co-founder of Charleston’s female benevolent society. Other children included ...

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Keppel, Francis C. (16 April 1916–19 February 1990), educational administrator, was born in New York City, the son of Frederick Paul Keppel and Helen Tracy Brown. His father was dean of Columbia College and in 1923 became president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York....

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Prichard, Edward Fretwell, Jr. (21 January 1915–23 December 1984), lawyer, public official, and educational reformer, was born in Paris, Kentucky, the son of E. F. Prichard, a horse-breeder, beer distributor, and sometime politician, and Aileen Power. A precocious boy and voracious reader, young Prichard skipped grades and spent his afternoons not at the playground but at the Bourbon County courthouse soaking up Kentucky legal and political lore....

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Thayer, Eli (11 June 1819–15 April 1899), educator and congressman, was born in Mendon, Massachusetts, the son of Cushman Thayer, a farmer and storekeeper, and Miranda Pond. Thayer studied at Worcester Manual Labor High School (later Worcester Academy) and entered Brown University in 1840. He graduated in 1845, and that year he married Caroline M. Capron. They had seven children. Settling in Worcester, Massachusetts, Thayer taught in the town’s school and served as its principal from 1847 to 1849. He purchased land in Worcester on which he supervised the construction (1848–1852) of a castle-style building that housed the Oread Collegiate Institute, a pioneering school for young women. The building also served for nearly fifty years as the Thayer family home. As Thayer established himself as a New England educational reformer, he also entered politics as a champion of the Free Soil party. In 1852 he won election to the Massachusetts General Court....