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Adams, Charles (19 December 1845–19 August 1895), soldier and diplomat, was born Karl Adam Schwanbeck in Anclam, Pomerania, Germany, the son of Karl Heinrich Schwanbeck, a cabinetmaker, and Maria J. Markman. Adams was educated at the Gymnasium in Anclam and graduated with very high marks, especially in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin. Soon after his graduation in 1862, he moved to the United States. He had not been in the New World long before he enlisted in the Union army, serving in the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment. He fought in the Civil War for the remainder of the conflict and was wounded two times....

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Charles Francis Adams. Albumen silver print, c. 1860, by Mathew B. Brady. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

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Adams, Charles Francis (18 August 1807–21 November 1886), politician and diplomat, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of John Quincy Adams (1767–1848) and Louisa Catherine Johnson (Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams). In 1827, two years after graduating from Harvard, Adams read law at the office of ...

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John Adams. After a painting by Gilbert Stuart. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-13002 DLC).

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Adams, John (19 October 1735–04 July 1826), second president of the United States, diplomat, and political theorist, was born in Braintree (now Quincy), Massachusetts, the son of John Adams (1691–1760), a shoemaker, selectman, and deacon, and Susanna Boylston. He claimed as a young man to have indulged in “a constant dissipation among amusements,” such as swimming, fishing, and especially shooting, and wished to be a farmer. However, his father insisted that he follow in the footsteps of his uncle Joseph Adams, attend Harvard College, and become a clergyman. John consented, applied himself to his studies, and developed a passion for learning but refused to become a minister. He felt little love for “frigid John Calvin” and the rigid moral standards expected of New England Congregationalist ministers....

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Adee, Alvey Augustus (27 November 1842–05 July 1924), diplomat, was born in Astoria, New York, the son of Augustus Adee, a surgeon with the U.S. Navy, and Amelia Kinnaird Graham. Young Alvey grew up in New York City. He lost his father at the age of two, and his mother died when he was still a teenager. A life-threatening case of scarlet fever had left him hard of hearing, an affliction that would worsen with age. Adee never attended college; however, he managed to educate himself through wide readings and extensive travel abroad, becoming an accomplished linguist and an authority on William Shakespeare. He studied for a career in engineering with an uncle, Charles Kinnaird Graham, the surveyor of the Port of New York, before entering a career in foreign affairs in 1869 as private secretary to the minister to Spain, General ...

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Allen, Elisha Hunt (28 January 1804–01 January 1883), congressman and diplomat, was born in New Salem, Massachusetts, the son of Samuel Clesson Allen, a lawyer and later a congressman, and Mary Hunt. He graduated with honors from Williams College in 1823, studied law in his father’s office, was admitted to the bar in 1825, and worked as an attorney for two years in Brattleboro, Vermont. In 1828 he married Sarah E. Fessenden; they had four children. That same year he moved to Bangor, Maine, where he formed a law partnership with ...

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Allen, George Venable (03 November 1903–11 July 1970), diplomat, was born in Durham, North Carolina, the son of Thomas Ellis Allen, a merchant, and Harriet Moore. He earned his B.A. in 1924 from Duke University. Between 1924 and 1928 he worked as a high school teacher and principal in Buncombe County, North Carolina, and as a newspaper reporter for the ...

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Allison, John Moore (07 April 1905–28 October 1978), diplomat, was born in Holton, Kansas, the son of Oscar John Allison, a furnace and stove equipment wholesaler, and Anna Belle Moore. Allison earned an A.B. in 1927 at the University of Nebraska, where he developed an interest in international relations. Rather than accepting a scholarship for graduate study, he went to Japan, where he taught conversational English for two years in programs under the supervision of the Japanese government at Odawara, Kobe, and Kyōto. In June 1929 he joined General Motors Corporation as an advertising manager tasked with opening a new sales office in Mukden (Shenyang), China. While in China, he became friends with U.S. vice consul Arthur Ringwalt and American journalists ...

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Alvarez, Manuel (1794–05 July 1856), merchant and U.S. consul, was born in Abelgas, León, Spain, the son of Don José Alvarez and Doña María Antonia Arias. Alvarez spent his childhood in his native village in the Cantabrian Mountains. Under the care of his parents, he became proficient in both French and Spanish. As a youth he wanted to become a writer. An avid reader, he was familiar with the writings of Thomas Carlyle, Sir Walter Raleigh, and ...

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Anderson, Larz (15 August 1866–13 April 1937), diplomat and philanthropist, was born in Paris, France, the son of Nicholas Longworth Anderson, a highly decorated Civil War officer, and Elizabeth Coles Kilgour. Anderson grew up in a socially prominent and public-spirited Virginia and Ohio family known primarily for its military exploits and philanthropy. His notable forebears included soldier ...

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Anderson, Richard Clough, Jr. (04 August 1788–24 July 1826), congressman and diplomat, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of Richard Clough Anderson, Sr., a revolutionary war soldier, and Elizabeth Clark, sister of frontiersman George Rogers Clark. His father had come to Kentucky in 1783 to become surveyor of the Virginia Land District in Louisville. In 1789 the family moved to “Soldiers’ Retreat,” a farm ten miles east of the city, where young Anderson grew up. Tutors instructed him until 1800, when he went to a private school in Virginia. In November 1802 he enrolled at the College of William and Mary. After graduating, Anderson left Williamsburg in July 1806 and arrived at his father’s home in September. In February of the following year he moved to Frankfort, Kentucky, to study law under John Allen. He stayed in Frankfort about a year, then lived briefly at his father’s house before returning to William and Mary in September 1808 to complete his legal training. Returning to Kentucky by way of Washington, D.C., where he witnessed the inauguration of President ...

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Andrews, Israel DeWolf ( May 1813?–17 February 1871), diplomat and politician, was born either in Eastport, Maine, or on Campobello Island, New Brunswick, the son of Israel Andrews and Elizabeth DeWolf. His paternal grandfather had emigrated to Nova Scotia from Danvers, Massachusetts, in 1738. By the time Andrews was four, his family lived in Eastport. Thomas Keefer reported that Andrews was a frontier trader, mostly of contraband, as a young man and that experience sparked his interest in reciprocal trade between the provinces and the United States. His schooling is unknown, but he was a clear, persuasive writer at ease with statistical data, and he moved easily in the journalistic, commercial, and political circles of his time....

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Angell, James Burrill (07 January 1829–01 April 1916), educator and diplomat, was born near Scituate, Rhode Island, the son of Andrew Aldrich Angell and Amy Aldrich, farmers and tavernkeepers. He was educated in local schools and at Brown University, where he received an A.B. in 1849 and was significantly influenced by President ...

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Appleton, Thomas (2 Apr.1763–28 Apr.1840), art dealer and diplomat, was born in Boston, one of seven children of Nathaniel Appleton, Jr., a merchant and candle manufacturer, and his second wife, Rachel Henderson. The sixth generation of a prominent Massachusetts family that traced its lineage to Samuel Appleton, who landed with his family in Ipswich, Essex County in ...

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Armour, Norman (14 October 1887–27 September 1982), career diplomat, was born in Brighton, England, while his parents, George Allison Armour and Harriette Foote, were vacationing there. Armour earned his B.A. in 1909 from Princeton University, and following his graduation four years later from Harvard Law School, he was admitted to the New Jersey bar. In 1915, the same year he earned an M.A. from Princeton, Armour passed the State Department’s Foreign Service examination....

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Warren R. Austin. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-107894).

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Austin, Warren Robinson (12 November 1877–25 December 1962), U.S. senator and ambassador, was born in the rural community of Highgate Center, Vermont, near the Canadian border, the son of Chauncey Goodrich Austin, a successful country lawyer, and Anne Robinson. He attended the University of Vermont, receiving his Ph.B. in 1899. He married Mildred Lucas in 1901, and they had two children....

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Bacon, Robert (05 July 1860–29 May 1919), banker, diplomat, and soldier, was born in Jamaica Plain near Boston, Massachusetts, the son of William Benjamin Bacon and Emily Crosby Low. Raised in an old Massachusetts family long prominent in business, he was educated at Hopkinson’s School and at Harvard, graduating in 1880. Although his intellectual abilities were considerable, he won attention for his athletic ability, personality, and good looks, as he would throughout life. After graduation he traveled around the world, then joined the banking firm of Lee, Higginson, and Company. In 1883 he became a member of E. Rollins Morse and Brother. That year he married Martha Waldron Cowdin; they were the parents of three sons and a daughter....

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Baker, Howard Henry, Jr. (15 Nov. 1925–26 June 2014), politician and diplomat, was born in Huntsville, Tennessee, to Howard Henry Baker, Sr., a lawyer and politician who subsequently served in the US House of Representatives (1951–1964), and Dora Ladd Baker. The Baker family were staunch Presbyterians, members of the Republican Party since the Civil War, and longtime defenders of civil rights for the minority African American population. Young Baker’s paternal grandfather was a prominent judge, and his maternal grandmother was the first female sheriff in Tennessee....