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MacDonald, Thomas Harris (23 July 1881–07 April 1957), highway engineer and public official, was born in Leadville, Colorado, the son of John MacDonald, a grain and lumber merchant, and Elizabeth Harris. The family soon moved to Montezuma, Iowa, where MacDonald attended public schools and the Iowa State Teachers College in 1899 before entering Iowa State College of Agricultural and Mechanic Arts, from which he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1904. MacDonald married Elizabeth Dunham of Ames, Iowa, in 1907, and the couple had two children before her death in 1935....

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Elwood Mead Seated second from right, 1924. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-110612).

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Mead, Elwood (16 January 1858–26 January 1936), U.S. Commissioner of Reclamation, was born near Patriot, Indiana, the son of David B. Mead, a farmer, and Lucinda Davis. Mead spent his early years studying in a one-room schoolhouse, doing chores on his father’s farm, and enjoying “long summer days playing in the groves of ash, oak, wild cherry, hickory, poplar, and walnut trees along the slopes of the Ohio River.” In this idyllic, mid-nineteenth-century setting he came to value the benefits of rural community life even as he broadened his horizons in his grandfather’s library, reputed to be the largest personal one in southern Indiana....

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Page, Logan Waller (10 January 1870–09 December 1918), highway engineer and government administrator, was born in Richmond, Virginia, the son of Legh R. Page and Page Waller (occupations unknown). His family was well off, and several relatives were noted public servants, including a cousin ...