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Barron, Clarence Walker (02 July 1855–02 October 1928), financial journalist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Henry Barron, a teamster, and Elana Noyes. He was educated at the Prescott Grammar School in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and Boston’s English High School, where he distinguished himself by writing prize-winning essays on railways and civil service reform. Preparing for a journalism career, Barron supplemented his writing talents by teaching himself shorthand, an activity he later would call “the best training for young men in practical life” ( ...

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Butler, Ellis Parker (05 December 1869–13 September 1937), author and humorist, was born in Muscatine, Iowa, the eldest of eight children of Audley Gazzam Butler, a pork packer, and Adela Vesey. At the age of seventeen he left Muscatine High School after one year for a job as a billing clerk and salesman at Muscatine Spice Mill to help support his family. He later held similar jobs at an oatmeal mill, a crockery shop, and, for his last years in Muscatine, a wholesale grocery store where his father, whose pork business had failed, was a bookkeeper....

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Ellis Parker Butler. Ellis Parker Butler, no date. Glass negative by Bain News Service. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-DIG-ggbain-50425).

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Heard, Dwight Bancroft (01 May 1869–14 March 1929), investment banker, farmer, and publisher, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Leander Bradford Heard, a wholesale grocer, and Lucy Bancroft. His father died in 1882. After Heard finished high school in Brookline, Massachusetts, his mother moved the family to Chicago, where Heard began work at the hardware sellers Hibbard, Spencer & Bartlett. The wife of the firm’s president, Adolphus Bartlett, was a distant relative of Heard, who quickly became Bartlett’s protégé. Heard was the company’s specialist in credit sales in Wisconsin and much of the Midwest. In 1893 he married Maie Pitkin Bartlett, Adolphus Bartlett’s daughter; they had one child....

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Holbrooke, Richard (24 Apr. 1941–13 Dec. 2010), diplomat, magazine editor, and investment banker, was born Richard Charles Albert Holbrooke in New York City, the son of Dan Holbrooke, a doctor, and Trudi Kearl (née Moos), a potter. Holbrooke’s Jewish parents immigrated to the United States separately before his birth. His father emigrated in the 1930s from Warsaw, Poland, and changed his last name from Goldbrajch, while Trudi emigrated to the US from Germany, via Argentina. Holbrooke’s father died of cancer when Richard was fifteen. Holbrooke attended and graduated from Scarsdale High School in New York in ...

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Hutton, E. F. (07 September 1875–11 July 1962), stockbroker, businessman, and syndicated columnist, was born Edward Francis Hutton in New York City, the son of farmer James Laws Hutton, an Ohioan who moved to New York to seek work. His mother’s name is not known....

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Eugene Meyer. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-105094).

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Meyer, Eugene Isaac (31 October 1875–17 July 1959), investment banker, government official, and newspaper publisher, was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Marc Eugene Meyer, a retail merchant, and Harriet Newmark. After growing up in San Francisco, Meyer attended the University of California for one year in 1892. He was a mediocre student who spent much of his time drinking and gambling. After his freshman year, his family moved to New York City and he transferred to Yale. By working much harder academically at Yale, Meyer earned excellent grades and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. After skipping his junior year, he graduated with an A.B. with honors in 1895, ranking nineteenth in a class of 250. Meyer then spent two years in Europe learning French and German and gaining work experience in banking and international finance. On returning to the United States, Meyer was employed by the international banking firm of Lazard Frères, where his father was a partner. However, because his duties there were menial compared with the work he had been doing in Europe, Meyer left the firm in 1901, much against his father’s wishes, to open his own investment firm....

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Mitchell, John, Jr. (11 July 1863–03 December 1929), newspaper editor and banker, was born near Richmond, Virginia, on the estate of James Lyons, where his parents, John Mitchell and Rebecca (maiden name unknown), were house slaves. After gaining their freedom, the Mitchells were employed by Lyons as servants in his mansion in the city, where their son performed various chores and became a keen observer of the rituals of polite society practiced there. Mitchell’s mother exerted the decisive influence on him during his formative years: she instilled in him a fierce sense of racial pride, instructed him in the ways of gentlemanly conduct, and insisted on his regular attendance at the First African Baptist Church, where he was baptized at the age of fourteen. Over the objections of her white employer, Rebecca Mitchell arranged for her son’s education, first in a private school and later in public schools. An intensely competitive student with considerable artistic ability, Mitchell regularly won medals for superior performance and graduated at the head of his class at the Richmond Normal and High School in 1881....

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Rukeyser, Merryle Stanley (03 January 1897–21 December 1988), financial columnist and lecturer, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Isaac Rukeyser and Pauline Solomon. Rukeyser grew up in Manhattan, New York, and graduated from Townsend Harris High School at the age of sixteen. He began his newspaper career at the age of seventeen while attending Columbia University. During the summers of 1914 and 1915, he worked as a reporter for the ...

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Smith, Samuel Harrison (1772–01 November 1845), journalist and banker, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Jonathan Smith, a merchant, and Susannah Bayard. Smith’s father changed his legal name to Jonathan Bayard Smith after marriage. Smith was educated in Philadelphia schools and earned a B.A. (1787) and an M.A. (1790) from the University of Pennsylvania....

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Edmund Clarence Stedman Photograph by Pirie MacDonald, 1903. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-104535).

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Stedman, Edmund Clarence (08 October 1833–18 January 1908), poet, critic, and stockbroker, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Edmund Burke Stedman, a lumber merchant, and Elizabeth Clementine Dodge, a poet. Stedman was two when his father died, forcing his mother to move with her two sons to the Plainfield, New Jersey, home of her parents. Her father, ...

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Streeter, Edward (01 August 1891–31 March 1976), literary humorist and banking executive, was born in Chestertown, New York, the son of Harvey B. Streeter, a businessman, and Frances “Fanny” Chamberlain. During his childhood in Buffalo, New York, Streeter made considerable use of his affluent parents’ extensive library and began to write fiction before he was ten years old. He went on to edit the school newspaper and his class yearbook at Pomfret School; and at Harvard he became editor of the ...

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Westcott, Edward Noyes (27 September 1846–31 March 1898), author and banker, was born in Syracuse, New York, the son of Amos Westcott, a dentist, and Clara Babcock. Although his father was a prosperous and prominent citizen of Syracuse, serving as the first president of the New York State Dental Society and, during part of the Civil War, as mayor of his city, Westcott was unable to follow his desire to pursue a formal education and attend college. After finishing high school at the age of sixteen he took a job as junior clerk with the Mechanics’ Bank of Syracuse. In 1866 he moved to New York City, where he worked for the Mutual Life Insurance Company for two years before returning to Syracuse to take a job as discount clerk with the Second National Bank. When that institution closed, he became a teller at the First National Bank and later a cashier with the banking firm of Wilkinson & Company. He married Jane Dows in 1874; the couple had three children....