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Benton, Thomas Hart, Jr. (05 September 1816–10 April 1879), frontier educator and legislator, was born in Williamson County, Tennessee, the son of Samuel Benton, a congressman. His mother’s name is unknown. His uncle and namesake practiced law as an associate of Andrew Jackson...

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Benton, William (01 April 1900–18 March 1973), advertising executive, educator, and politician, was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the son of Charles Benton, a Congregationalist clergyman and professor of romance languages, and Elma Hixson, a schoolteacher. After brief military service in World War I, Benton attended Yale University and graduated in 1921. In 1928 he was married to Helen Hemingway. They had four children....

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Butler, Nicholas Murray (02 April 1862–07 December 1947), educator, politician, and president of Columbia University, was the son of Henry Leny Butler, an importer and textile manufacturer, and Mary Jones Murray. From early childhood Butler was an enthusiastic, self-motivated student. He attended public high School in Paterson, New Jersey, graduating at age thirteen after passing a series of rigorous examinations. He continued his education privately from age fourteen to seventeen, learning Latin and Greek and doing further work in mathematics....

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Cook, John Francis, Jr. (21 September 1833–20 January 1910), public official and businessman, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of the prominent African-American clergyman and educator John Francis Cook (1810?–1855) and Jane Mann. Educated first at his father’s school, Union Seminary, he later attended Oberlin College in Ohio from 1853 to 1855. Upon the death of their father, he and his brother George F. T. Cook, also a student at Oberlin, returned to Washington to assume direction of Union Seminary. Except for a brief tenure in New Orleans as a schoolteacher, John Cook was connected with the seminary until it ceased operation in 1867 after the District of Columbia opened public schools for blacks. While his brother remained in the education field and was for many years superintendent of the “separate colored school system” in the District of Columbia, John Cook embarked upon a career in government service, Republican politics, and business....

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Gibbs, Jonathan C. (1827–14 August 1874), clergyman, educator, and politician, was born free in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Maria Jackson and Jonathan C. Gibbs, a Methodist minister. He learned carpentry as a youth and followed that trade until the Presbyterian Assembly helped him enroll at Dartmouth College in 1848. Gibbs, who was one of only two black students at Dartmouth, claimed that he had been rejected by eighteen colleges before being accepted. After graduating from Dartmouth in 1852 he attended the Princeton Theological Seminary. He was ordained as a Presbyterian minister and pastored churches in Troy, New York, and in Philadelphia. While in New York Gibbs campaigned for the extension of black suffrage in the state. When he moved to Philadelphia in 1859 he became prominent in the local Underground Railroad. During the Civil War he joined the freedmen’s relief efforts, campaigned against segregated city streetcars, encouraged black enlistments in the army, served as vice president of the Pennsylvania State Equal Rights League, and continued his participation in the black convention movement. He represented Philadelphia at the black national convention in Syracuse in 1864, which severely criticized the Republican party for its failure to endorse black suffrage and which gave birth to the National Equal Rights League....

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Miller, Thomas Ezekiel (17 June 1849–08 April 1938), political leader and educator, was born in Ferrebeeville, South Carolina, the son of Richard Miller and Mary Ferrebee, occupations unknown. Miller’s race was a source of periodic concern and speculation. Although he always considered himself to be black, Miller’s very fair complexion led to allegations during his political career that he was white, the abandoned child of an unmarried white couple....