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Aldrich, Winthrop (02 November 1885–25 February 1974), lawyer, banker, and legal and political adviser, was born Winthrop Williams Aldrich in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Nelson Wilmarth Aldrich, a U.S. senator, and Abby Chapman. Aldrich graduated from Harvard College in 1907 and Harvard Law School in 1910. Upon graduation from law school Aldrich joined the New York City law firm of Byrne, Cutcheon & Taylor, specializing in finance and commercial law. In 1916 Aldrich was named a junior partner in the firm, and in December of that year he married Harriet Alexander, the granddaughter of California railroad and banking magnate ...

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Cheves, Langdon (17 September 1776–26 June 1857), lawyer, congressman, and financier, was born in Bull Town Fort, South Carolina, the son of Alexander Chivas (or Chivis) of Buchan, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, and Mary Langdon. It is not known when or why he changed the spelling of his last name. Alexander Chivas had migrated to America in 1762 and established himself as a frontier trader. A Loyalist supporter, he lost his livelihood during the Revolution and moved to the low country. Cheves’s mother, daughter of supporters of the colonial rebellion, died in 1779, and Langdon’s aunt, Mrs. Thomas Cheves, cared for young Langdon. He attended Andrew Weed’s school, and in 1785 his father took him to Charleston. He continued his formal schooling briefly but then pursued vigorous independent study. He apprenticed in a shipping merchant’s office, gaining experience in business and finance by keeping the firm’s accounts. He read for the law with Judge William Marshall and was admitted to the bar in 1797. Successful as a Charleston lawyer, he moved into the political arena. His first elected office was as warden of his city ward in 1802; he then served from 1802 to 1809 in the state legislature and became attorney general in 1809. He won national office in 1810 when he ran for Congress on the Republican ticket. In 1806 he married Mary Elizabeth Dulles; they had fourteen children. In addition to the law and politics, Cheves enjoyed success in designing and building houses and in farming....

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Davison, George Willets (25 March 1872–16 June 1953), lawyer and banker, was born in Rockville Center, New York, the son of Robert Anthony Davison, a lawyer, and Emeline Sealy. Davison, a Methodist, attended Wesleyan University where his academic excellence earned him election to Phi Beta Kappa and graduation with honors in 1892. He earned an LL.B. in 1894 from New York University. He married Harriet Rice Baldwin the following year; they had two children who both died young....

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Dexter, Andrew, Jr. (28 March 1779–02 November 1837), attorney, financier, real estate speculator, and swindler, was the eldest child of Andrew Dexter, a Boston dry goods merchant, and Mary Newton. He was born in Brookfield, Massachusetts, where his parents had fled during the British siege of Boston, and grew up in Providence, Rhode Island. Dexter graduated from Rhode Island College (later Brown University) in 1798. His salutatory address expressed the heady combination of reverence for the leaders of the Revolution, anxiety about the future, and soaring ambition that marked the Revolutionary generation....

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Few, William (08 June 1748–16 July 1828), lawyer, politician, and banker, was born near Baltimore, Maryland, the son of William Few, a failed tobacco planter turned frontier farmer, and Mary Wheeler. Few’s family moved in 1758 to North Carolina, where young William received little formal schooling but enough skills and enough love for reading that the future Founding Father was able to educate himself. In the early 1770s, the Few family joined the Regulator movement, rural westerners’ sometimes violent opposition to unrepresentative coastal political control. The family lost one of William’s brothers, the family farm, and the family fortune in the struggle for more local autonomy. The Fews then moved to Georgia, leaving William behind to settle the family’s affairs, to farm, and to teach himself law....

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Hammond, John (1613?–01 March 1663), promotion writer and lawyer, first appears in the historical records in Virginia in 1646. Nothing is known of his parentage or education. He remarked in 1654 that he had spent nineteen years in Virginia and two in Maryland, so he evidently emigrated to Virginia about 1633. He probably farmed and practiced law in Isle of Wight County, Virginia. He witnessed a deed there in 1646 and was elected a burgess in 1652, but the Puritan assembly expelled him as “a scandalous person, and a frequent disturber of the peace of the country, by libell and other illegall practices.” The offended Hammond, with his wife and four children, promptly moved to Maryland, where he bought a plantation in St. Mary’s County. In June 1653 he argued a case before the Maryland Provincial Court. The entrepreneurial Hammond was granted a license to sell liquor on 5 December 1654 and established an inn at Newtown. He was also given the right to provide a ferry over the Newtown River. In return, Hammond allowed the St. Mary’s County Court to meet at his inn, “the most Convenient place.”...

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Harvey, Coin (16 August 1851–11 February 1936), economic reformer, lawyer, and real estate investor, was born William Hope Harvey in Buffalo, West Virginia, the son of Robert Trigg Harvey and Anna Maria Hope, farmers. After two years at a local academy, he entered Marshall College in nearby Huntington but remained there only a few months. He then began to study law on his own while supporting himself by teaching school. After being admitted to the West Virginia bar, he practiced law, first in Barboursville (1870–1874), then with his brother in Huntington for two years, then in Cleveland, Ohio. He married Anna R. Halliday in 1876; they had four children. In 1879 they moved to Chicago and two years later to Gallipolis, Ohio, where Harvey served as attorney for several wholesale firms....

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Kane, Thomas Leiper (27 January 1822–26 December 1883), lawyer, soldier, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and defender of the Mormons, was born in Philadelphia, the son of John Kintzing Kane, a jurist, and Jane Duval Leiper. He attended school in Philadelphia and from 1839 to 1844 traveled in England and France, studying and visiting relatives. While in Paris he served for a time as an attaché of the American legation. Small in stature and never robust, he would spend most of his life struggling with ill health. In Paris he met Auguste Comte and others who surely encouraged his social conscience, which would be manifested later in his concern for philanthropic causes. In 1844 Kane returned to Philadelphia, where he studied law with his father. Although he was admitted to the bar in 1846 and clerked briefly for his father, who was a federal judge, his interests and activities generally moved in other directions....

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Lamb, Theodore Lafayette (11 April 1927–06 September 1984), southern liberal, advertising executive, and lawyer, was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Foster Lamb, a butcher, and Theodosia Braswell. Lamb’s father owned a small farm near Alexander, outside of Little Rock, Arkansas, where Lamb grew up. After attending the local one-room school, he hitchhiked into Little Rock, where he attended high school and served as class president. In 1944 he took classes at both Little Rock Junior College and Louisiana State University before enlisting in the army. He was sent to Yale University and trained as a Japanese linguist. He then served from 1944 to 1947 as a second lieutenant in the army’s 441st Counterintelligence Corps. He returned to Yale under the GI Bill and graduated in 1950....

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Lanier, James Franklin Doughty (22 November 1800–27 August 1881), lawyer and banker, was born in Washington, North Carolina, the son of Alexander Chalmers Lanier, a farmer and storekeeper, and Drusilla Doughty. The family moved to Kentucky, then to Ohio, and finally to the frontier village of Madison, Indiana, in 1817. Although Lanier’s father was a man of modest means, he managed to send his son to an academy in Newport, Kentucky, for a sound education. In 1819 Lanier began to read law with Alexander A. Meek in Madison, and in the same year he married Elizabeth Gardner. They would have eight children. His father died the following year, deeply in debt, and Lanier, an only child, struggled to support his mother while also paying his father’s debts....

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Leffingwell, Russell C. (10 Sept. 1878–2 Oct. 1960), lawyer, financier, and federal government official, was born Russell Cornell Leffingwell in New York City to Mary Cornell Leffingwell and Charles Russell Leffingwell. Charles Leffingwell, whose ancestors played a major role in the development of colonial and revolutionary Connecticut, operated his wife’s family’s lucrative iron business. He sent his son to fine private schools, first to Yonkers Military Academy and then to New York City’s Halsey School, where he graduated in ...

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Lewis, Reginald Francis (07 December 1942–18 January 1993), arbitrager and business executive, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Clinton Lewis, a skilled worker and small businessman, and Carolyn Cooper. Lewis was strongly influenced by his mother, especially since his African-American parents divorced during his childhood. His mother married Jean S. Fugett, Sr., in 1951. An elementary school teacher, he was a graduate of Morgan State College and had five sons and daughters....

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McCloy, John Jay, Jr. (31 March 1895–11 March 1989), lawyer, banker, and diplomat, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of John Jay McCloy, a claims officer for an insurance firm, and Anna May Snader. McCloy’s father died just before McCloy’s sixth birthday. Left with a modest bequest, Anna McCloy learned hairdressing and developed a wealthy clientele to support herself, John, and her two spinster sisters. In summers Anna followed her clients to their vacation homes in the Adirondack Mountains, where John worked as a chore boy at resorts and taught tennis, a sport in which he excelled. Tennis opened doors for him for many years, as did his mother’s clients and his father’s business associated....

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Henry Morgenthau Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-93469).

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Morgenthau, Henry (26 April 1856–25 November 1946), lawyer, real estate agent, and diplomat, was born in Mannheim, Germany, the son of Lazarus Morgenthau, a cigar manufacturer, and Babette Guggenheim. After his business failed, Lazarus Morgenthau immigrated to the United States in 1866 and became an insurance salesman. Henry Morgenthau attended public high school, graduating in 1870, the same year he entered the City College of New York. He remained there only one year before financial pressures compelled him to work. Employed as an errand boy at a law firm, Morgenthau slowly learned the business, becoming expert in title searches and mortgage foreclosure sales. In 1875 he quit his job to enter Columbia Law School, supporting himself by teaching at night. He graduated in 1877 and was admitted to the bar....

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Napier, James Carroll (09 June 1845–21 April 1940), politician, attorney, and businessman, was born on the western outskirts of Nashville, Tennessee. His parents, William C. Napier and Jane E., were slaves at the time of his birth but were freed in 1848. After manumission and a brief residency in Ohio, William Napier moved his family to Nashville, where he established a livery stable business. James attended the black elementary and secondary schools of Nashville before entering Wilberforce University (1864–1866) and Oberlin College (1866–1868), both in Ohio....

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Harrison Gray Otis. Oil on canvas, 1833, by Chester Harding. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

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Otis, Harrison Gray (08 October 1765–28 October 1848), politician, lawyer, and businessman, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Samuel Allyne Otis, a merchant and the first secretary of the U.S. Senate, and Elizabeth Gray. “Harry,” as he was called, enjoyed the privileges of economic comfort and social elevation, including his family connection to two famous revolutionary figures: his paternal aunt ...

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Rice, Isaac Leopold (22 February 1850–02 November 1915), attorney and entrepreneur, was born in Wachenheim, Bavaria, the son of Mayer Rice, a language tutor, and Fanny Sohn. The family emigrated to Philadelphia about 1855. A brilliant student, Rice at sixteen left Philadelphia’s famed Central High School to study music and literature in Paris; at eighteen he became the Paris correspondent for the Philadelphia ...

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Ruggles, Samuel Bulkley (11 April 1800–28 August 1881), lawyer, land developer, and economist, was born in New Milford, Connecticut, the son of Philo Ruggles, a lawyer, and Ellen Bulkley. The family moved to Poughkeepsie, New York, around 1804. Samuel was educated at the Poughkeepsie Academy and Yale College, graduating with the class of 1814. He studied law in his father’s office and was admitted to the bar in 1821, setting up practice in New York City. There in 1822 he married Mary R. Rathbone, daughter of a prominent merchant; decades later her inheritance from her father helped the Ruggles family through difficult financial times. Samuel and Mary Ruggles had two sons and one daughter; after 1839 they lived in a house he had built on fashionable Union Square. Ruggles made many friends among New York’s “Knickerbocker” patricians and the leaders of the Whig party of New York City and state. Like most of their social circle, the Ruggleses were devout Episcopalians....