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Atchison, David Rice (11 August 1807–26 January 1886), lawyer and U.S. senator, was born in Frogtown, in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky, the son of William Atchison and Catherine Allen, farmers. Educated at Transylvania University, he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1827. After practicing for three years in Carlisle, Kentucky, he moved to Liberty in western Missouri....

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Baldwin, Roger Sherman (04 January 1793–19 February 1863), lawyer, governor, and senator, was born in New Haven, Connecticut, the son of Simeon Baldwin, a lawyer, judge, congressman, and mayor of New Haven, and Rebecca Sherman. Baldwin was a direct descendant of the Puritan settlers of Connecticut and the Founding Fathers of the nation. His father’s family was among the original New Haven colonists, and his mother was the daughter of ...

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Barnard, Daniel Dewey (11 September 1796–24 April 1861), lawyer, congressman, and diplomat, was born in East Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Timothy Barnard, a county judge, and Phebe Dewey. Barnard’s early years were spent on the family farm near Hartford, Connecticut. When he was twelve the family moved to Mendon, New York (near Rochester). His formal education started with a year at Lenox Academy, after which he transferred to Williams College, where he graduated in 1818....

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Beck, James Montgomery (09 July 1861–12 April 1936), lawyer, solicitor general, and congressman, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of James Nathan Beck, the owner of a small music publishing company, and Margaretta C. Darling. Coming from modest financial means, Beck inherited his father’s interest in music and the family’s Moravian antiwar and communitarian heritage, which contributed to his early pacifism and anticorporation viewpoints. Following matriculation at Philadelphia’s Episcopal Academy, Beck graduated from Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in 1880. After reading law, he began legal practice in 1884. From 1888 to 1892, he served as assistant U.S. attorney for eastern Pennsylvania. In 1890 he married Lilla Mitchell, daughter of a Philadelphia businessman, with whom he had two children....

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Benjamin, Judah Philip (06 August 1811–06 May 1884), Confederate cabinet member, U.S. senator, and lawyer, was born at Christiansted, St. Croix, West Indies, the son of Philip Benjamin, a shopkeeper, and Rebecca de Mendes. St. Croix was under British rule at the time of Benjamin’s birth. He grew up in Charleston, South Carolina. Though his father’s circumstances were always modest, wealthy relatives and other benefactors helped him attend Yale (1825–1827), but he left as a junior under circumstances that remain unclear....

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Blair, Montgomery (10 May 1813–27 July 1883), postmaster general and lawyer, was born in Franklin County, Kentucky, the son of Francis Preston Blair and Eliza Violet Gist Blair. His father, who served in the War of 1812 and was an assistant newspaper editor at the time of Montgomery’s birth, later became the founder and editor of ...

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Brandeis, Louis Dembitz (13 November 1856–05 October 1941), "people's attorney" and U.S. Supreme Court justice, “people’s attorney” and U.S. Supreme Court justice, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of Adolph Brandeis, a successful businessman, and Frederika Dembitz. His parents, non-practicing Jews, had quietly supported the unsuccessful Austrian uprising of 1848 and had immigrated to the United States with their families in the wake of the repression and anti-Semitism that followed. Born as Louis David, Louis changed his middle name as a teenager in honor of his uncle, abolitionist lawyer ...

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Butler, Pierce (17 March 1866–16 November 1939), lawyer and U.S. Supreme Court justice, was born in Dakota County, Minnesota, the son of Patrick Butler and Mary Gaffney, farmers. His parents were Irish immigrants who came to the United States in 1848 because of the potato famine. Butler worked during his youth on the family farm and delighted in his parents’ tales of Ireland and their supposed acquaintance with General ...

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Cardozo, Benjamin Nathan (24 May 1870–09 July 1938), lawyer and jurist, was born in New York City, the son of Albert Cardozo, a lawyer, and Rebecca Washington Nathan. Cardozo’s mother died when he was nine, his father when he was fifteen. His sister, Ellen, ten years his senior, assumed much of the responsibility for raising him. Cardozo never married but resided with Ellen; she died in 1929 and thereafter he lived alone. The Cardozos were Sephardic Jews, congregants of Shearith Israel (Remnant of Israel), often called the Spanish-Portuguese Synagogue. Rabbi ...

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Cardozo, Michael H. (15 September 1910–20 October 1996), lawyer, educator, and government adviser, was born Michael Hart Cardozo IV in New York City, the son of Ernest Abraham Cardozo, a lawyer, and Emily Rebecca Wolff Cardozo. He was a first cousin of United States Supreme Court Justice ...

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Cobb, Howell (07 September 1815–09 October 1868), lawyer and politician, was born at Cherry Hill in Jefferson County, Georgia, the son of John Addison Cobb, a planter, and Sarah Robinson (Rootes). Enrolling in Franklin College (now the University of Georgia) in Athens, Georgia, in 1829, he graduated in 1834. His college years were marked by his expulsion from school after participating in a riot to protest disciplinary action by the faculty for a minor infraction of leaving campus without permission; he was later readmitted. At the same time, they saw him first show signs of his strong Unionism, for he opposed the nullification movement in South Carolina. On 26 May 1835 he married Mary Ann Lamar; the couple had six children. With marriage Cobb acquired his wife’s sizable estate, including several cotton plantations and some 200 slaves....

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Costigan, Edward Prentiss (01 July 1874–17 January 1939), lawyer and U.S. senator, was born in King William County, Virginia, the son of Emilie Sigur and George Purcell Costigan, Sr., a lawyer and judge. His father successfully invested in mining ventures, and the family settled in Denver, Colorado. Illness interrupted his studies at Harvard University. Joining his brother, George, Jr., in Salt Lake City, he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1897. He completed his Harvard A.B. in 1899 and began practice in Denver in 1900. In 1903 he married Mabel Cory; childless, they became lifetime personal and political companions....

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Cummings, Homer Stillé (30 April 1870–10 September 1956), attorney, Democratic party leader, and attorney general of the United States, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Uriah C. Cummings, a businessman, and Audie Schuyler Stillé. Educated at the Heathcote School in upstate New York, the Sheffield School of Engineering of Yale University, and the Yale Law School, from which he graduated in 1893, Cummings opened a legal practice in Stamford, Connecticut, soon thereafter and formed a partnership with Charles D. Lockwood that lasted until he joined the ...

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Curtis, Carl T. (15 March 1905–24 January 2000), educator, lawyer, and politician, was born Carl Thomas Curtis near Minden, Kearney County, Nebraska, the youngest of the eight children of Frank Oscar Curtis, a farmer and courthouse caretaker, and Alberta Mae Smith Curtis. His grandfather had changed the family name from Swanson to Curtis upon immigration to the United States from Sweden in the 1860s. After graduating from Minden High School in 1923, Carl Curtis taught for a year in Danbury, Nebraska, then enrolled for a year at Nebraska Wesleyan. From 1925 to 1930 he taught at a Kearney County school and the Minden Elementary School, where he also served as principal. Meanwhile, he attended summer sessions at Nebraska Wesleyan in 1927 and the University of Nebraska in 1928 and studied at a local law office part time. Admitted to the Nebraska bar in 1930, he maintained a private practice at Minden until 1939. He married a local teacher, Lois Wylie Atwater, in 1931; the couple adopted two children. After his first wife's death in 1970, he married Mildred Genier Baker two years later....

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Deneen, Charles Samuel (04 May 1863–05 February 1940), lawyer, governor of Illinois, and U.S. senator, was born in Edwardsville, Illinois, the son of Samuel H. Deneen, a professor of Latin and ancient history at McKendree College in Lebanon, Illinois, and Mary F. Ashley. Educated in local public schools during his formative years, Charles graduated from McKendree College in 1882. He taught in downstate schools and in Chicago prior to attending the Union College of Law (later Northwestern University School of Law) in Chicago, from which he graduated in 1888. He was admitted to the bar that same year but returned to teaching before entering the practice of law in 1890. In 1891 he married Bina Day Maloney; they had four children....

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Donovan, William Joseph (01 January 1883–08 February 1959), lawyer, soldier, and intelligence official, was born in Buffalo, New York, the son of Timothy Patrick Donovan, a railroad yardmaster, and Anna Letitia Lennon. After starting college at Niagara University, Donovan transferred to Columbia University from which he received an A.B. in 1905 and an LL.B. in 1907. He joined the law firm of Love and Keating in Buffalo. In 1912 he and Bradley Goodyear formed a partnership that merged with Buffalo’s leading firm, O’Brian and Hamlin, to become O’Brian Hamlin Donovan and Goodyear. Hamlin’s withdrawal led to the firm’s dissolution in 1920. Meanwhile, in 1914, Donovan married socially prominent Ruth Rumsey. They had two children....

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Gore, Albert, Sr. (26 December 1907–05 December 1998), U.S. senator, was born near Granville, Tennessee, the son of Allen Gore, a farmer, and Margie Denny Gore. He attended local one-room country schools and graduated from high school in nearby Gordonsville, after which he taught high school in Smith and Overton counties. He graduated with a B.S. from Middle Tennessee State Teachers College (now Middle Tennessee State University) in 1932 and in that same year lost his first attempt at elective office (superintendent of schools for Smith county). When his opponent died after a year in office, Gore was named to the post and served until 1936. By this time smitten with politics, Gore furthered his education by attending night law school at the Nashville YMCA. After three years of long-distance commuting from Carthage, he received his LL.B. in 1936. Admitted to the bar that year, he began practicing law in Carthage with his future wife, Pauline La Fon, whom he had met in Nashville while she was waitressing her way through Vanderbilt University Law School. Married on 27 April 1937, the couple had two children....

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Harlan, John Marshall (20 May 1899–29 December 1971), lawyer and Supreme Court justice, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of John Maynard Harlan, a lawyer, and Elizabeth Palmer Flagg. He was born into a wealthy family that had achieved distinction in the law. His great-grandfather ...

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Hruska, Roman (16 August 1904–25 April 1999), attorney, representative, and U.S. senator, was born Roman Lee Hruska in David City, Butler County, Nebraska, the son of Joseph C. Hruska, a schoolteacher, and Caroline L. Dvorak Hruska. He attended local public schools before entering the University of Omaha (now the University of Nebraska–Omaha) where he took a prelaw course. Hruska also studied at the University of Chicago before finally, in 1929, receiving his LL.B. from Creighton University School of Law and passing the state bar. On 24 September 1930 he married Victoria E. Kuncl of Omaha; the couple had three children....

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Jackson, Robert Houghwout (13 February 1892–09 October 1954), lawyer and U.S. Supreme Court justice, was born in Spring Creek, Pennsylvania, the son of William Eldred Jackson, a farmer and small businessman, and Angelina Houghwout. When Jackson was five, the family moved to Frewsburg in western New York state near Jamestown. Jackson began his legal career at the age of eighteen, immediately after high school, as a clerk to his cousin Frank H. Mott, a prominent Jamestown lawyer active in the Democratic party. Although he did attend the Albany Law School for a year, Jackson described himself as “a vestigial remnant of the system which permitted one to come to the bar by way of apprenticeship in a law office.” He was the last member of the Supreme Court of the United States to become a lawyer in that fashion....