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Edward Everett Hale Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-99518).

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Hale, Edward Everett (03 April 1822–10 June 1909), author, reformer, and Unitarian minister, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Nathan Hale, a journalist, and Sarah Preston Everett. His father was a nephew of revolutionary war hero Captain Nathan Hale, and his maternal uncle and namesake was the orator and statesman ...

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Hamilton, Thomas (26 April 1823–29 May 1865), journalist and antislavery activist, was born in New York City, the son of William Hamilton, a carpenter and community leader who participated in the rising abolitionist and black convention movements of the early 1830s. His mother’s name and occupation are not known. Although young Thomas gained a rudimentary education in the city’s African Free Schools and African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, the primary influence on his career choice seems to have been growing up in the Hamilton household, where he was introduced to abolitionism and the reform press at an early age. A few months after his father’s death in 1836, he went to work as a carrier for the ...

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Hildreth, Richard (28 June 1807–11 July 1865), journalist, antislavery activist, philosopher, and historian, was born in Deerfield, Massachusetts, the son of Hosea Hildreth, a Congregational (later Unitarian) minister and educator, and Sarah McLeod Hildreth. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy, where his father was professor of mathematics and natural philosophy. After graduating from Harvard in 1826, he spent a year teaching school in Concord, Massachusetts. This experience inspired his earliest historical writing, ...

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Johnson, Oliver (27 December 1809–10 December 1889), reformer and journalist, was born in Peacham, Vermont, the son of Ziba Johnson and Sally Lincoln, farmers. After an elementary school education, Johnson apprenticed as a printer in the office of the Montpelier Vermont Watchman, edited by Ezekiel P. Walton....

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Ruggles, David (15 March 1810–26 December 1849), abolitionist and journalist, was born in Norwich, Connecticut, the son of David Ruggles and Nancy (maiden name unknown), both free blacks. Educated at the Sabbath School for the Poor, he moved to New York City at the age of seventeen. In 1829 he opened a grocery, selling goods of “excellent quality” but no “spirituous liquors.” He later served as an officer in the New York City Temperance Union....

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Whittier, John Greenleaf (17 December 1807–07 September 1892), poet, abolitionist, and journalist, was born on his family’s homestead near Haverhill, Massachusetts, the son of devout Quakers John Whittier and Abigail Hussey, farmers. Of slender build, Whittier was unsuited to heavy farm work, but the family’s impoverished circumstances required it. Over the years the hard work permanently impaired his health, and he was prone to chronic severe headaches and other ailments throughout his life. Although he received only a limited formal education, from stories told by members of his household he absorbed the local folklore and history of the Essex County region that would later inform his poetry. A zealous reader, he perused the limited family library, studying the Bible, various biographies, ...