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Charles Francis Adams, Jr. During his Civil War service. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8171-7390).

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Adams, Charles Francis (27 May 1835–20 March 1915), railroad official, civic leader, and historian, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Charles Francis Adams (1807–1886), a diplomat and politician, and Abigail Brown Brooks. He was the grandson of John Quincy Adams (1767–1848) and great-grandson of ...

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Alexander, De Alva Stanwood (17 July 1845–30 January 1925), congressman and historian, was born in Richmond, Maine, the son of Stanwood Alexander and Priscilla Brown. When his father died in 1852, Alexander and his mother moved to Ohio, where he lived until his enlistment, at the age of sixteen, in the Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. After the war he completed his education at the Edward Little Institute in Auburn, Maine, and graduated from Bowdoin College in 1870. He later served for several years on Bowdoin’s board of overseers. In 1871 he married Alice Colby; their childless union ended with her death in 1890....

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George Bancroft. Half-plate daguerreotype (hand-colored), c. 1847, by John Jabez Edwin Mayall. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Dr. and Mrs. Lester Tuchman and Gallery purchase.

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Bancroft, George (03 October 1800–17 January 1891), scholar and diplomat, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, the son of Aaron Bancroft, the founder of Worcester’s Second Congregational Society and later president of the American Unitarian Association, and Lucretia Chandler. The eighth of thirteen children, George passed his childhood in a frugal rural household dominated by paternal activism. In 1811 he entered the Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, run by Benjamin Abbot, a family friend. Attending with a scholarship, Bancroft received a solid grounding in classics, which prepared him for Harvard, where he enrolled at the age of thirteen....

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Beard, Charles Austin (27 November 1874–01 September 1948), political scientist, historian, and pundit, was born near Knightstown, Indiana, the son of William Henry Beard, a farmer and banker, and Mary Payne. The family was of a Quaker heritage, and Charles attended a local Quaker academy before going on to DePauw University, from which he graduated in 1898. At DePauw his teachers introduced him to modern social theorists, including Herbert Spencer, Karl Marx, ...

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Albert J. Beveridge Photograph by Louis Fabian Bachrach, 1922. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-89794).

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Beveridge, Albert Jeremiah (06 October 1862–27 April 1927), U.S. senator and historian, was born in Highland County, Ohio, the son of Thomas Beveridge and Frances Parkinson, farmers. The family moved to Illinois when Beveridge was a child. Because of his father’s financial difficulties, Beveridge worked as a plowboy, railroad section hand, logger, and teamster. He attended Asbury College (now DePauw University), graduating in 1885. He made his mark there in oratory, and he had a reputation throughout his life as a spellbinding public speaker. He was admitted to the bar in 1887. He married Katherine Langsdale that same year; she died in 1900. He married Catherine Eddy in 1907; they had two children....

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Bowers, Claude Gernade (20 November 1878–21 January 1958), journalist, diplomat, and historian, was born in Westfield, Indiana, the son of Lewis Bowers, a storekeeper, and Juliet Tipton, a milliner and dressmaker. Reared in rural communities in central Indiana, Claude moved to Indianapolis with his divorced mother when he was thirteen. He was a voracious reader and became a confirmed Democrat while at Indianapolis High School. In 1898 Bowers graduated and also won the state oratorical contest but was unable to attend college for lack of funds. Instead he worked for the publishing firm that later became the Bobbs-Merrill Company. In 1900 Bowers became the major editorial writer for the ...

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Brodhead, John Romeyn (02 January 1814–06 May 1873), diplomat and historian, was born in Philadelphia, the son of the Reverend Dr. Jacob Brodhead, minister of the First Reformed Dutch Church, and Elizabeth Bleecker. He lived in Philadelphia until 1826, when his father was called to the Broome Street Reformed Dutch Church in New York City. Brodhead thereafter attended Albany Academy and Rutgers College. Graduating with honors from Rutgers in 1831, he studied law in the office of Hugh Maxwell for four years. After being admitted to the New York bar in 1835, he commenced a legal practice as Maxwell’s partner, but when his father fell ill two years later, Brodhead abandoned a legal career to care for his father at a summer home in Saugerties, New York, where he developed an interest in early American history....

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Bruce, William Cabell (12 March 1860–09 May 1946), author, municipal politician, reformer, and U.S. senator, was born at “Staunton Hill,” his father’s plantation, in Charlotte County, Virginia, the son of Charles Bruce, a planter, Virginia state senator, and captain during the Civil War, and Sarah Alexander Seddon, both members of established, affluent families in Virginia. Although the Bruce family lost much of their wealth during the Civil War, William still grew up surrounded by maids, servants, tailors, and tutors. Bruce’s mother, a devout Christian, instilled in William strong religious beliefs that influenced his character throughout his formative years....

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Bryce, James (10 May 1838–22 January 1922), author and statesman, was born in Belfast, Ireland, the son of James Bryce, a schoolmaster, and Margaret Young. The family moved to Glasgow, Scotland, when James was eight. His father instilled in Bryce a wide-ranging interest in the arts and sciences, and after attending Glasgow University he matriculated at Oxford. His entry there was a landmark event: he was the first student to be admitted without having to subscribe to the Thirty-nine Articles of the Anglican Church. Bryce distinguished himself as a scholar at Oxford, producing as his entry for the Arnold Historical Essay Prize a treatise that would be expanded for publication in 1864 as ...

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Burdick, Usher Lloyd (21 February 1879–19 August 1960), author, educator, and legislator, was born in Owatonna, Minnesota, the son of Ozias Burdick and Lucy Farnum, farmers. In 1882 the family settled in Graham’s Island in the Dakota Territory, where Burdick attended local public schools and learned the Sioux Indian language and customs. Following his graduation from the State Normal School at Mayville, North Dakota, in 1900, he worked for two years as deputy superintendent of schools in Benson County, North Dakota. In 1901 he married Emma Rassmussen, and they had two sons and a daughter. Frustrated by local politics, Burdick changed career objectives and moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he taught in a business college while attending the University of Minnesota’s law program, from which he graduated in 1904. He also played football at the university, which won the Big Ten championships in 1903 and 1904. After graduating he returned to Munich, North Dakota, where he was admitted to the bar and began practicing law....

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Burgess, John William (26 August 1844–13 January 1931), political theorist, historian, and university dean, was born in Cornersville, Giles County, Tennessee, the son of Thomas T. Burgess, a planter, and Mary Judith Edwards. He was a descendant of Thomas Burgess, who landed in Massachusetts in 1630. Raised in Tennessee in a slaveholding, pro-Union southern Whig family, Burgess became interested in politics early in life upon hearing the orations and debates of ...

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DeBenedetti, Charles Louis (27 January 1943–27 January 1987), historian, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Louis Albert DeBenedetti, a bread delivery truck driver, and Clementine Caroline Diero DeBenedetti, a legal secretary. “Chuck,” as DeBenedetti liked to be called, attended Mendal Catholic High School and graduated in 1960. Reared in a strong Italian-Catholic family, DeBenedetti applied to and was accepted at the Jesuit-run Loyola University in Chicago, from which he graduated in 1964. On 29 August 1964 he married Sandra Kisala from Chicago. They had two children. DeBenedetti then enrolled in the graduate history program at the University of Illinois. In 1968 he was awarded his Ph.D. His dissertation, “American Internationalism in the 1920's: Shotwell and the Outlawrists,” supervised by ...

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Dennett, Tyler Wilbur (13 June 1883–29 December 1949), historian, government official, and college president, was born in Spencer, Wisconsin, the son of William Eugene Dennett, a Baptist preacher, and Roxena Tyler. He attended a small school in Pascaog, Rhode Island, where his parents moved shortly after he was born, and then the Friends School in Providence. His higher education included one year at Bates College in Maine and three years at Williams College in Massachusetts, where he was a scholarship student, edited the school paper, and played football....

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Dunning, William Archibald (12 May 1857–25 August 1922), historian and political scientist, was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, the son of John H. Dunning, a successful carriage manufacturer, and Catherine D. Trelease. John Dunning, a painter and connoisseur of art as well as a businessman, inspired his son’s love of learning and began himself to study classical Greek at the age of seventy-eight. The young William, known for his wit and wry sense of humor in his later career, was in constant disciplinary trouble and was expelled from Dartmouth in 1877 for his participation in pranks. He entered Columbia College in 1878, received his B.A. in 1881, M.A. in 1884, and Ph.D. in 1885. After a year abroad studying under Heinrich von Treitschke in Berlin, Dunning returned to Columbia, where he quickly moved up the academic ladder to full professor. In 1904 he received an LL.D. from Columbia, and he became, probably in 1903, the Francis Lieber Professor of History and Political Philosophy, a position he held until his death. He married Charlotte E. Loomis in 1888; they had no children....

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English, William Hayden (27 August 1822–07 February 1896), congressman, vice presidential candidate, and historian, was born in Lexington, Indiana, the son of Elisha G. English and Mahala Eastin. Elisha, a landowner and railroad vice president, was a Democrat who served in the Indiana legislature for nearly twenty years and was friends with many important politicians. William benefited from his father’s contacts and status and was influenced by his views....

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Ford, Guy Stanton (09 May 1873–29 December 1962), historian, editor, and academic administrator, was born in Liberty Corners, Salem Township, Wisconsin, the son of Thomas D. Ford, a medical doctor, and Helen E. Shumway, a teacher. During Guy’s early childhood, his father’s drinking and business failures forced his mother, with her two sons, to move in with a series of relatives, eventually leading them to Sutherland, Iowa, in 1883. Shortly thereafter his father moved to Plainfield, Iowa, a town of about 300 people. In 1884 the family reunited in Plainfield. Thomas Ford was an extremely impractical man and the family lived in relative poverty throughout Guy’s years in Plainfield....

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Ford, Thomas (05 December 1800–03 November 1850), governor of Illinois and historian, was born near Uniontown, Pennsylvania, the son of Robert Ford and Elizabeth Logue, farmers. His father died in 1803, and Ford’s remarkable mother moved her numerous family to Spanish Louisiana the next year, only to learn upon arrival at St. Louis that the free land she expected to find there was not available after the Louisiana Purchase. The Ford family located across the Mississippi at New Design, Illinois, where Thomas Ford received his first schooling and hired himself out to labor....