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Ayres, Clarence Edwin (06 May 1891–24 July 1972), economics professor, was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, the son of William S. Ayres, a minister, and Emma Young. He entered Brown University in 1908, obtaining a B.A. in 1912. He was at Harvard in 1913 and then returned to Brown, where he obtained an M.A. in 1914. Ayres married Anna Bryant in 1915; they had three children and were divorced in 1925. He attended the University of Chicago, from which he received a Ph.D. in 1917. His major field of study was philosophy. After graduating he served as an instructor in the Department of Philosophy at Chicago until 1920....

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Bissell, Richard Mervin, Jr. (18 September 1909–07 February 1994), economics professor and government administrator, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Richard Bissell, a wealthy insurance executive, and Marie Truesdel. As a young man, Bissell studied at elite educational institutions, including Groton School; Yale University, where he received a B.A. in 1932; and the London School of Economics, where he began his postgraduate work. In 1933 he returned to Yale as an instructor and was promoted to assistant professor before earning his Ph.D. in economics in 1939. In 1940 he married Ann Cornelia Bushnell; they had five children. Described by one friend as “desperately shy,” Bissell seemed destined in 1941 to remain a university educator and scholar. However, the outbreak of World War II dramatically changed his life, as he left Yale to become a member of ...

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Dew, Thomas Roderick (05 December 1802–06 August 1846), economist and educator, was born in King and Queen County, Virginia, the son of Thomas Dew, a plantation owner, and Lucy E. Gatewood. He matriculated at the College of William and Mary and received an A.B. in 1820. In October 1826 he was appointed professor of political law at William and Mary, which required him to deliver lectures on political economy, government, and history. A decade later he became president of the college. Dew was reputed to have been an inspiring teacher and an effective academic administrator. Enrollments at William and Mary were strengthened under his leadership....

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Dewing, Arthur Stone (16 April 1880–20 January 1971), economics professor and author, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Charles Hamlet Dewing, a financial investor, and Eliza Dewing. From an early age he was burdened by eye troubles and was so afflicted with dyslexia that he did not learn to read until age twelve. A series of failed financial speculations by his father left the family all but destitute and forced his mother to take in boarders to maintain the family income. Dewing later attributed his mother’s financial resourcefulness to his own interest in economics....

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Douglas, Paul Howard (26 March 1892–24 September 1976), economist, educator, and U.S. senator, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, the son of James Howard Douglas and Annie Smith. The latter, a laborer, died when Paul was four. His father remarried but soon became an alcoholic and abandoned his wife and son. Douglas worked his way through Bowdoin College, from which he received a B.A. in 1913, and won a scholarship to Columbia University, where he earned an M.A. in 1915 and a Ph.D. in economics in 1921....

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Eckstein, Otto (01 August 1927–22 March 1984), economist, educator, and author, was born in Ulm, Germany, the son of Hugo Eckstein, a businessman, and Hedwig Pressburger. After attending schools in Germany and England, Eckstein completed his elementary schooling in New York City following his family’s move to the United States in 1939. He gained his U.S. citizenship in 1945, one year before he graduated from high school....

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Foster, William Trufant (18 January 1879–08 October 1950), educator and economist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of William Henry Foster, formerly employed by a merchant but an invalid since the Civil War, and Sarah J. Trufant. His father’s early death left the family poorly provided for, and Foster worked his way through Roxbury High School and Harvard University, where he was first in his class, receiving his B.A., magna cum laude, in 1901. After teaching as an instructor in English at Bates College in his mother’s hometown, Lewiston, Maine, from 1901 to 1903 Foster returned to Harvard for an A.M. in English (1904) and became an instructor in English and argumentation at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. On Christmas Day, 1905, he married Bessie Lucille Russell; they had four children....

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Hamilton, Earl Jefferson (17 May 1899–07 May 1989), economic historian, editor, and educator, was born in Houlka, Mississippi, the son of Joseph William Hamilton and Frances Regina Anne Williams. After graduating from Mississippi State University in 1920 with honors, Hamilton studied at the University of Texas, where he received an M.A. in 1924. He then went to Harvard University, where he completed both an A.M. (1926) and a Ph.D. (1929) in economics. In 1923 he married Gladys Olive Dallas; they had one child....

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Harris, Abram Lincoln, Jr. (17 January 1899–16 November 1963), economist, author, and educator, was born in Richmond, Virginia, the son of Abram Lincoln Harris, a butcher, and Mary Elizabeth Lee, both descendants of slaves freed before the Civil War. After completing his secondary education in the public schools of Richmond, Harris enrolled at Virginia Union University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1922. In 1924 he received a Master of Arts degree from the University of Pittsburgh....

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Harris, Seymour Edwin (08 September 1897–27 October 1974), economist, educator, and author, was born in New York City, the son of Henry Harris and Augusta Kulick. After graduating from high school, Harris entered Harvard University, from which he earned his B.A. in 1920. For the next two years, he taught at Princeton University, then he returned to Harvard in 1922 as a graduate student and an instructor in economics. In 1923 he married Ruth Black; they had no children. He received his Ph.D. in 1926, and his doctoral dissertation won him the David A. Wells Prize for 1927. In that same year, he advanced from instructor to lecturer within the Harvard faculty....

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Hoover, Calvin Bryce (14 April 1897–23 June 1974), economist and educator, was born in the village of Berwick, Illinois, the son of John Calvin Hoover, a railroad worker and part-time farmer, and Margaret Delilah Roadcap. Hoover grew up poor. His father was a railroad section gang foreman, and he himself worked as a “gandy dancer” in his father’s gang during summer vacations, weekends, and holidays. He also helped his father farm the rented land that he was sharecropping. He never forgot what it was like to be poor. In his memoirs, he tells of going down to the railroad station to watch the trains come in wearing old clothes and carrying a rifle with a broken stock held together by twine and having a passenger shout at him, “Shades of ...

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Alvin Johnson Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-116973 ).

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Johnson, Alvin Saunders (18 December 1874–07 June 1971), economist, educator, and journalist, was born near Homer, Dakota County, Nebraska, the son of John Johnson and Edel Maria Katrina Bille, farmers. Johnson’s father emigrated from Denmark to the United States in 1849 with the name Jens Jensen Deyrup; the immigration officer gave him the name John Johnson. Johnson’s mother emigrated from Denmark in 1867. By the time she arrived in Nebraska, John had fought in the Civil War and outlived two other wives, who had left him with five children. Johnson’s parents subsequently had three more children....

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Seligman, Edwin Robert Anderson (25 April 1861–18 July 1939), economist, educator, and government consultant, was born into a prominent Jewish family in New York City, the son of Babette Steinhardt and Joseph Seligman, a distinguished financier and founder of J & W Seligman & Company. Seligman was educated by a private tutor in preparation for entering Columbia Grammar School and later Columbia College. After his college graduation in 1879, Seligman spent three years in Europe, mostly at the University of Berlin and at the University of Heidelberg, where he was influenced by economist Karl Knies and other members of the German historical school. Seligman there developed a lifelong interest in the fields of public finance and policy analysis and would use this knowledge to support practical social reform in the United States as the historical school had done in Germany....

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Taylor, Fred Manville (11 July 1855–07 August 1932), philosopher, economist, and pedagogue, was born in Northville, Michigan, the son of Barton S. Taylor, a clergyman, and Marietta Rowland. On graduating from Northwestern University (A.B. 1876; A.M. 1879), Taylor spent two years as teacher and principal at Winnetka High School in Winnetka, Illinois, before becoming professor of history and politics at Albion College in Albion, Michigan, in 1879. In 1880 he married Mary Sandford Brown, with whom he had four children. Political philosophy was then his main interest, and his University of Michigan doctoral dissertation (1888), written under the Hegelian ...

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Walker, Amasa (04 May 1799–29 October 1875), political economist, professor, and businessman, was born in Woodstock, Connecticut, the son of Walter Walker, a blacksmith, and Priscilla Carpenter. Walker planned to go to college, but poor health made this impractical. In 1820 he formed a business partnership in North Brookfield, Massachusetts, that manufactured shoes. Three years later he dissolved that partnership and joined the Methuen Manufacturing Company as its agent. In 1825 Walker moved to Boston, where he pursued a variety of retail business ventures and served in 1839 as a director of the Franklin Bank. He married Emeline Carleton in 1826; they had no children. He married Hannah Ambrose in 1834 after Emeline’s death in 1828; they had three children....

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Walker, Francis Amasa (02 July 1840–05 January 1897), statistician, economist, and educator, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Amasa Walker, a retired shoe manufacturer who became a leading economist, and Hannah Ambrose. After graduating from Amherst College in 1860, Walker worked briefly as a lawyer before joining the Union army in August 1861. He was wounded at Chancellorsville in 1863 and held at the notorious Libby Prison in Richmond. After being released in an exchange, Walker’s ill health forced his resignation from the army in January 1865. He was brevetted brigadier general. His war experience matured him beyond his years, and he never lost his keen interest in military affairs, as revealed in his ...

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Robert C. Weaver Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USE6-D-010813).

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Weaver, Robert C. (29 December 1907–17 July 1997), economist, political administrator, and educator, was born Robert Clifton Weaver in Washington, D.C., the son of Mortimer Grover Weaver, a postal clerk, and Florence Freeman Weaver. Weaver grew up in a middle-class and educated family, one of seven African-American families in a Washington suburb. His father worked for the post office. (One grandfather, ...

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Young, Allyn Abbott (19 September 1876–07 March 1929), economist, educator, and government adviser, was born in Kenton, Ohio, the son of Sutton Erastus Young, a school superintendent, and Emma Matilda Stickney. After graduating with a Ph.B. from Hiram College in 1894 and working as a printer in Ohio and Minnesota, Young began his graduate education in economics at the University of Wisconsin in 1898. Young spent the academic year of 1899–1900 in Washington, D.C., working in the Section of Analysis and Research for the Twelfth Census. He returned to Wisconsin in 1900 and earned his Ph.D. in 1902. In 1904 Young married Jessie Bernice Westlake; they had one child....