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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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Johnson, Reverdy (21 May 1796–10 February 1876), lawyer, U.S. attorney general, and U.S. senator, was born in Annapolis, Maryland, the son of John Johnson, a lawyer and Maryland legislator, and Deborah Ghieselen. A member of a distinguished Maryland legal family (John Johnson served as a judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals, chancellor, and attorney general), Johnson was educated at St. John’s College in Annapolis. After graduating in 1811 and serving briefly as a private in the War of 1812, he began his legal training under his father and entered the bar in 1816. He established his law practice in Baltimore in 1817 and remained active in the Baltimore bar for the next sixty years. He married Mary Mackall Bowie in 1819, with whom he had fifteen children....

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Kennedy, Robert Francis (20 November 1925–06 June 1968), politician, was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, the son of Joseph Patrick Kennedy, a capitalist, and Rose Fitzgerald. His father Joseph made a fortune in the stock market and through other investments and served from 1938 to 1940 as U.S. ambassador to Great Britain. The seventh of nine children, Robert, known as “Bobby,” graduated from Milton Academy in 1943. In March 1944 he enrolled in the Naval Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, leaving it in February 1946 to become an apprentice seaman aboard the destroyer USS ...

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Legaré, Hugh Swinton (02 January 1797–20 June 1843), jurist and attorney general of the United States, was born on John’s Island, South Carolina, the son of Solomon Legaré, a planter, and Mary Splatt Swinton. Legaré’s father died when Legaré was two years old. Fortunately his paternal grandfather, a South Carolina planter of Huguenot heritage, provided Legaré’s mother with the means for his upbringing. Legaré’s life was marked by many medical maladies, the first of which was an injurious childhood smallpox inoculation that not only left him scarred but also led, it seems, to a disproportionate shortness of his limbs. Nevertheless, he was a precocious child and in 1814 graduated first in his class from South Carolina College in Columbia, where he received a thoroughly classical education....

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Taney, Roger Brooke (17 March 1777–12 October 1864), lawyer, politician, and chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, was born in Calvert County, Maryland, the son of Michael Taney, a planter and politician, and Monica Brooke. The Taneys had been slaveholding planters since the first Taney arrived in Maryland in the 1660s, and at the time of Roger’s birth the family ranked among the most prestigious in the county. Originally Anglican, the Taneys had abandoned the English church for Catholicism well before the birth of Michael Taney, possibly in imitation of leading Maryland families....

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Wickersham, George Woodward (19 September 1858–25 January 1936), attorney, Republican party leader, and attorney general of the United States, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Samuel Morris Wickersham, an inventor and businessman, and Elizabeth Cox. Raised by his maternal grandparents in Philadelphia after his mother died in childbirth and his father became absorbed in the iron and steel business, Wickersham grew up in privileged circumstances on the fringes of the city’s social elite. His grandfather, for example, had helped found the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. Wickersham studied civil engineering at Lehigh University in the mid-1870s and caught the eye of one of the city’s leading Republican politicians, ...