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Allen, Henry Justin (11 September 1869–17 January 1950), politician and newspaper editor, was born in Pittsfield, Pennsylvania, the son of John Allen, a farmer, and Rebecca Goodwin. In 1870 the Allens settled on a farm in Clay County, Kansas, which they lost in 1879. The family relocated in Osage County, Kansas, where Allen graduated from Burlingame High School. Working as a barber to attend Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas, he excelled at forensics, which led to his first newspaper job and forecast his later stature as one of America’s most popular public speakers. While at Baker, he met Elsie Jane Nuzman, and they were married in 1892. Only one of their four children survived to adulthood....

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Barrett, John (28 November 1866–17 October 1938), commercial publicist and diplomat, was born in Grafton, Vermont, the son of Charles Barrett and Caroline Sanford. His father, reportedly shy and withdrawn, served for a time as a town official and a Republican state legislator but devoted most of his life to artistic pursuits. His mother, who was more outgoing, had a lively regard for politics, law, journalism, theology, and economics, and Barrett’s letters to her suggest she strongly influenced him....

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Blair, Francis Preston (12 April 1791–18 October 1876), newspaper editor and presidential adviser, was born in Abingdon, Virginia, the son of James Blair, a lawyer and, later, attorney general of Kentucky, and Elizabeth Smith; he was usually called Preston. Reared in Frankfort, Kentucky, Blair graduated with honors from Transylvania University in 1811. In 1812 he married Eliza Violet Gist ( ...

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Bok, Edward William (09 October 1863–09 January 1930), editor, philanthropist, and peace advocate, was born in den Helder, Holland, the son of William John Hidde Bok and Sieke Gertrude van Herwerden, who, having lost their inherited fortune through unwise investments, immigrated to the United States in 1870. They settled in Brooklyn, where Bok and his older brother learned English in public school. With his father at first unable to find steady employment, Bok delivered newspapers, worked in a bakery, and wrote up childrens’ parties for the ...

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Borland, Solon (08 August 1811–15 December 1864), editor, U.S. senator, and diplomat, was born in Suffolk, Virginia, the son of Thomas Wood Borland, a physician, and Harriet Godwin. His father was politically active, serving as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Nansemond County between 1815 and 1820. In 1831 Borland married Huldah Wright, with whom he had two children. Following in the medical footsteps of his father, he attended the University of Pennsylvania Medical School during the academic year of 1833–1834. He then practiced medicine in Suffolk, but upon the death of his wife in 1836 Borland moved to Memphis, Tennessee. There he entered into a medical career with his brother, who was also a physician. In 1839 Borland married Eliza Hart, who died just a few months later. They had no children. By this time he had forsaken pills for politics, becoming the founding editor of the ...

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Brooks, Erastus (31 January 1815–25 November 1886), journalist and politician, was born in Portland, Maine, the son of the late James Brooks (c. 1788–1814), a commander of a privateer in the War of 1812 who had gone down with his ship, and Betsey Folsom. The financial problems caused by his father’s early death meant that Erastus had to begin work at age eight as a grocery store clerk in Boston. Ever enterprising, he used his pocket money to buy books and attend night school. He soon was placed in a printing office, where he learned to set type. Knowledge of this trade enabled him to earn enough money to attend classes at Brown University, although he did not complete the course of study. Eager to work for himself, he started his own newspaper, the ...

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Chambers, Whittaker (01 April 1901–09 July 1961), magazine editor and anti-Communist, was born Jay Vivian Chambers in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Jay Chambers, a staff artist on the New York World, and Laha Whittaker, an actress. Shortly after his birth, his family moved to Brooklyn, New York, then settled in Lynbrook on Long Island’s south shore. The family home was spartan and contentious, and his parents separated around 1908. It was at this time that he took the name David Whittaker. After graduating from high school, Chambers, now calling himself Charles Adams, and a friend obtained work for four months as day laborers in Washington, D.C. They then unsuccessfully sought employment in New Orleans. Late in 1919 Chambers returned to Lynbrook, agreeing to work at his father’s advertising firm in New York City. Now known as Whittaker Chambers, he also enrolled at Columbia University. Discarding the conservative Republicanism of his parents and influenced by a cadre of young intellectuals, he was attracted to Marxism. As editor in chief of the ...

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Cox, James Middleton (31 March 1870–15 July 1957), newspaper publisher and politician, was born in Jacksonburg, Ohio, the son of Eliza Andrews and Gilbert Cox, farmers. He attended a one-room school until he was sixteen. His parents divorced, and in 1886 Cox moved to nearby Middletown to live with his mother. Cox’s brother-in-law John Q. Baker, who published the ...

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Creel, George Edward (01 December 1876–02 October 1953), journalist and government administrator, was born in Lafayette County, Missouri, the son of Henry Clay Creel and Virginia Fackler, farmers. He grew up in the Missouri towns of Independence and Odessa, where his mother supported the family by sewing, gardening, and operating a boarding house, because his father was often drunk and unemployed. As a teenager, Creel ran away from home to follow county fairs, then to roam the Southwest. In 1896 he was hired as a cub reporter by the ...

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Daniels, Josephus (18 May 1862–15 January 1948), publisher, secretary of the navy, and ambassador, was born in Washington, North Carolina, during a bombardment by Union gunboats, the son of Josephus Daniels, Sr., a shipbuilder, and Mary Cleaves Seabrook. His father refused to join the Confederate forces and died in 1865. His mother raised three sons by opening a millinery shop and served as the town’s postmistress. She was later fired from the latter position because of her son’s anti-Republican editorials....

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Faubus, Orval (07 January 1910–14 December 1994), publisher and governor of Arkansas, was born Orval Eugene Faubus in Combs, Arkansas, the son of John Samuel Faubus and Addie Joslen, poor farmers. The elder Faubus was a follower of the Socialist party presidential nominee ...

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Flagg, Azariah Cutting (28 November 1790–24 November 1873), newspaper editor and politician, was born in Orwell, Vermont, the son of Ebenezer Flagg and Elizabeth Cutting. In 1801 his parents apprenticed him to a cousin, a Burlington, Vermont, printer who over a period of five years taught him the trade. For the next five years, he was engaged in printing and publishing, and in 1811 he moved to Plattsburgh, New York. Two years later he founded the Plattsburgh ...

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Greeley, Horace (03 February 1811–29 November 1872), newspaper editor and political figure, was born in Amherst, New Hampshire, the son of Zaccheus Greeley and Mary Woodburn, poor New England farmers. Greeley’s youth was marred by his father’s struggle to improve his family’s financial situation. During his first ten years, the family moved four times, from Amherst to Bedford, New Hampshire, back to Amherst, and in 1821 to Westhaven, Vermont. These years of economic uncertainty made a deep impression on young “Hod” Greeley. He was often absent from school because of the need to help his father; his formal education ended at the age of fourteen. Yet, both in school and on his own, he displayed a remarkable and lively intelligence. In later years Greeley paid tribute to the various influences of his Yankee childhood: the Scotch-Irish ancestry on his mother’s side and his English forebears on his father’s, the powerful hold of Calvinism, the promise of the Enlightenment from the revolutionary era....

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Griscom, Lloyd Carpenter (04 November 1872–08 February 1959), diplomat, lawyer, and newspaper publisher, was born in Riverton, New Jersey, the son of Clement Acton Griscom, a shipping company executive, and Frances Canby Biddle. Shortly after his birth, Griscom moved with his family to Haverford, Pennsylvania. He enjoyed a privileged and cosmopolitan upbringing, attending private schools in Europe and mingling from childhood with America’s political and business elite. He received his Ph.B. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1891 and then attended the university’s law school....

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Hall, Abraham Oakey (26 July 1826–07 October 1898), politician and journalist, was born in Albany, New York, the son of Morgan James Hall, a wholesale merchant whose business was in New Orleans, and Elsie Lansing Oakey. In 1830 his father died of yellow fever and his mother moved to New York City, where she ran a boardinghouse. Relatives helped his mother finance his education, and Oakey (as he preferred to be called) graduated from New York University in 1844. He attended Harvard Law School for one term but decided that study in a law office would allow him to practice law sooner. Living with an uncle in New Orleans, he studied under noted states’ rights Democrats ...

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Hawley, Joseph Roswell (31 October 1826–18 March 1905), soldier, editor, and politician, was born in Stewartsville, North Carolina, the son of Francis Hawley, a Baptist minister, and Mary McLeod. Hawley’s father wrote and spoke widely against the sins of affluence and slavery, and when the boy was eleven, his family moved to his father’s native state, Connecticut. Young Hawley was educated there and in New York. In 1847 he graduated from Hamilton College, and during the early 1850s he taught school and embarked on a law career....

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Hébert, Felix Edward (12 October 1901–29 December 1979), journalist and congressman, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Felix J. Hébert, a trolley car conductor, and Lea Naquin, a schoolteacher. Hébert attended Tulane University (1920–1924, no degree), and throughout high school and college, he covered sports for local newspapers. His journalistic experience resulted in Hébert’s appointment in 1929 as the political editor of the ...

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Hitchcock, Gilbert Monell (18 September 1859–03 February 1934), lawyer, publisher, and politician, was born in Omaha, Nebraska, the son of Phineas W. Hitchcock, a lawyer and politician, and Annie M. Monell. Educated in Omaha and in Baden-Baden, Germany, he studied law at the University of Michigan. Graduating in 1881 with an LL.B., he passed the bar exam and practiced law in Omaha for four years. The young lawyer married Jessie Crounse in 1883; they had two children....

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Hobby, Oveta Culp (19 January 1905–16 August 1995), publisher and government official, was born Oveta Culp in Killeen, Texas, the daughter of Isaac William Culp, a lawyer, and Emma Hoover Culp. As a child, Oveta was close to her father and with his encouragement developed an early interest in law. She was educated in the local schools as well as tutored at home, and after graduation from high school she studied at Mary Hardin Baylor College in Belton, Texas, and at the University of Texas Law School in Austin. As a law student she became parliamentarian of the Texas House of Representatives, serving in that post from 1925 until 1931 and later from 1939 to 1941. In her early twenties she also served as a legal clerk in the Texas State Banking Department, and in that capacity she helped to codify Texas banking laws. In addition, in 1930 she served as an assistant to the Houston city attorney....

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Huck, Winnifred Sprague Mason (14 September 1882–24 August 1936), congresswoman and journalist, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of William Ernest Mason, an attorney, state legislator, and, later, congressman and U.S. senator, and Edith Julia White. After attending public schools in Chicago and Washington, D.C., she graduated from Central High School in the nation’s capital. In 1904 she married Robert Wardlow Huck, a steel company executive. The mother of four children, Winnifred Huck played an active role in Chicago’s social community....