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Alexander, Raymond Pace (13 October 1898–24 November 1974), lawyer, judge, and civil rights leader, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the third son of Hillard Boone and Virginia Pace Alexander, both slaves in Virginia who were freed in 1865 and migrated to Philadelphia in 1880. His background was working-class poor and he grew up in Philadelphia's seventh ward, an all-black community made famous by W. E. B. Du Bois's seminal study ...

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Allen, Florence Ellinwood (23 March 1884–12 September 1966), federal judge, was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, the daughter of Clarence Emir Allen, a lawyer, congressman, and mine manager, and Corinne Marie Tuckerman, a women’s club leader. In 1904 she earned a bachelor’s degree Phi Beta Kappa from the women’s college of Western Reserve University in Cleveland. She then worked for two years in Berlin, Germany, as a music critic. Returning to Cleveland, she taught at a private girls’ school. Lacking the talent for a concert piano career and bored by teaching duties, she took a master’s degree in political science from Western Reserve in 1908. The public law courses reminded her of the exciting connection between law and social reform, exemplified by her father’s political career....

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Chew, Benjamin (29 November 1722–20 January 1810), lawyer and judge, was born at West River, Anne Arundel County, Maryland, the son of Samuel Chew, a physician who became chief justice of the lower counties of Pennsylvania (present-day Delaware), and Mary Galloway. In 1732 increasing pressure for religious conformity in once-tolerant Maryland led Chew’s father, a Quaker, to seek the more congenial atmosphere of Philadelphia. There Chew received a classical education and from 1736 or 1737 to 1741 studied law under ...

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Cranch, William (17 July 1769–01 September 1855), jurist and Supreme Court reporter, was born in Weymouth, Massachusetts, the son of Richard Cranch, a watchmaker, judge, and legislator, and Mary Smith. His mother was Abigail Adams’s sister. Graduated from Harvard at the age of nineteen, Cranch was a classmate there of his cousin ...

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Crater, Joseph Force (05 January 1889–1930), jurist, was one of four children born in Easton, Pennsylvania, to Frank E. Crater, orchard owner and the operator of a produce market, and his wife (whose name cannot be ascertained). The family was comfortable financially, but Joseph learned the value of hard work from an early age by working long hours for his father. He also loved music, and encouraged by his mother he became a skillful pianist. After attending local public schools, he enrolled at Lafayette College, also in Easton, graduating with honors in 1911. He went on to law school at Columbia University and received his degree in 1916....

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Elliott, Carl A. (20 December 1913–09 January 1999), U.S. congressman, was born Carl Atwood Elliott in Gober Ridge, Franklin County, Alabama, the son of G. W. “Will” Elliott, farmer, and Nora Massey Elliott. The oldest of nine children, he grew up on a hardscrabble tenant farm and became interested in politics at an early age. After attending local public schools, he entered the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa on a shoestring budget in 1930. His first night on campus was spent sleeping under a truck; he then lived in an abandoned building during his first year and a half of college. Despite his lack of means, Elliott managed to support himself by working a variety of odd jobs. His success on campus was marked by his election as class president during his senior year. Upon graduating in 1933, he entered law school at Alabama and received his law degree in 1936....

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Endicott, William Crowninshield (19 November 1826–06 May 1900), jurist and secretary of war, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, the son of William Putnam Endicott, a farmer and politician, and Mary Crowninshield. William C. Endicott spent his childhood living in the former estate of colonial Massachusetts governor ...

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Force, Manning Ferguson (17 December 1824–08 May 1899), soldier, jurist, and writer, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Peter Force and Hannah Evans. His father was later mayor of Washington and was most famous as compiler of the “American Archives,” a vast collection of rare books, pamphlets, newspapers, maps, and other documents dealing with the history of the American colonies. Manning Force attended Benjamin Hallowell’s preparatory school in his mother’s hometown, Alexandria, Virginia, preparing himself for appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Instead, he went to Harvard, entering as a sophomore and graduating in 1845. He received a law degree after three years of further study, and in 1849 he moved to Cincinnati to practice law. He passed his bar examination in 1850, and the law firm he worked for made him a partner, changing its name to Walker, Kebler, and Force....

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Garrity, W. Arthur, Jr. (20 June 1920–16 September 1999), lawyer and federal judge, was born Wendell Arthur Garrity, Jr., in Worcester, Massachusetts, the first of four children of Wendell Arthur Garrity, a lawyer, and Mary B. Kennedy, a former schoolteacher. Garrity's father, a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross and Harvard Law School, served as a member of the Worcester School Committee, president of the Worcester County Bar Association, and United States Commissioner for his native city. Garrity, Jr. grew up in a devout, middle-class Irish Catholic family in the Green Hill section of Worcester. Both athletic (before serious injuries limited his sports participation) and studious, he attended public schools. At North High School (also known as Worcester North), Garrity was student council president, star of the debating team, and correspondent for a local newspaper, the ...

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Hand, Learned (27 January 1872–18 August 1961), federal judge, was born Billings Learned Hand in Albany, New York, the son of Samuel Hand, a prominent attorney, and Lydia Coit Learned. Learned Hand came from a family of lawyers, including his two uncles and his paternal grandfather. His father, a refined, emotionally removed gentleman, specialized in arguing before the New York Court of Appeals, on which he served briefly as a judge. His death, when Learned was only fourteen, heightened the boy’s esteem for his highly successful father but also led to unrealistic expectations that resulted in a lifelong sense of inadequacy. Hand was a studious, withdrawn boy whose primary pleasures were reading and hiking in the Adirondacks with his cousin ...

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Hastie, William Henry (17 November 1904–14 April 1976), civil rights attorney, law school professor, and federal judge, was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, the son of Roberta Childs, a teacher, and William Henry Hastie, a clerk in the U.S. Pension Office (now the Veterans Administration). He was a superb student and athlete. His father’s transfer to Washington, D.C., in 1916 permitted Hastie to attend the nation’s best black secondary school, the Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, from which he graduated as valedictorian in 1921. He attended Amherst College, where he majored in mathematics and graduated in 1925, valedictorian, Phi Beta Kappa, and magna cum laude. After teaching for two years in Bordentown, New Jersey, he studied law at Harvard University, where one instructor adopted the custom of saying after asking a question of the class, “Mr. Hastie, give them the answer” (Ware, p. 30). He worked on the ...

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Hobart, John Sloss (06 May 1738–04 February 1805), revolutionary committeeman and justice of the New York state supreme court, was born in Fairfield, Connecticut, the son of Rev. Noah Hobart and Ellen Sloss. After graduation from Yale College (1757) he resided in New York City. There he married Mary Greenill (Grinnell) (d. 1803) in 1764 and moved to the manor of “Eaton’s Neck,” Long Island, which he had inherited from his mother’s family. In 1765 Hobart was a member of the Sons of Liberty in Huntington, Suffolk County, and served as justice of the peace. In 1774 he was a member of the town and county committees of correspondence. He served in the four New York provincial congresses from May 1775 through May 1777. Hobart was an active participant in the last congress, called the “Convention,” served on several of its committees, and contributed proposals to the state constitution. In April 1777 he was one of six committeemen assigned to prepare a draft of the document. He also was a member of the state council of safety. In May 1777, even though he admitted “not having been educated in the profession of the law,” Hobart was appointed one of two associate justices of the state supreme court, serving with ...

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Holt, Joseph (06 January 1807–01 August 1894), jurist, secretary of war, and postmaster general, was born near Hardinsburg, Kentucky, the son of John Holt, an attorney, and Eleanor Stephens. Educated at St. Joseph’s College in Bardstown and Centre College in Danville, Holt subsequently read law in Lexington. In 1828 he established a practice in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, where he was briefly in partnership with Congressman ...

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Jessup, Philip C. (05 January 1897–31 January 1986), diplomat, professor, and member of the International Court of Justice, was born in New York City, the son of Henry Wynans Jessup, a law professor at New York University, and Mary Hay Stotesbury. Philip spent his early years in the city but was later sent to the Ridgefield School in Connecticut, the beginning of what would become a lifetime of scholarship. Following high school, Jessup enrolled at Hamilton College, receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1919 after a brief stint in the U.S. Army during World War I. Despite his interest in academia, in 1919 Jessup began his professional career as a banker, working at the First National Bank in Utica, New York. In 1921 he married Lois Walcott Kellogg; the couple had one child....

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Johnson, Frank, Jr. (30 October 1918–23 July 1999), U.S. district and circuit judge, was born Frank Minis Johnson, Jr., in Delmar, Alabama, the son of Frank M. Johnson, a postmaster and local Republican official, and Alabama Sivilla Long Johnson, a teacher. Growing up in mountainous Winston County, an area of few slaveowners that became a Unionist stronghold during the Civil War, he decided to become a lawyer after watching trials at the county courthouse, where his father served as probate judge. After becoming what he would term “a little rancorous” at sixteen, he was enrolled at Gulf Coast Military Academy and then attended Birmingham Southern College for less than a semester on a football scholarship....

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Keating, Kenneth Barnard (18 May 1900–05 May 1975), congressman, senator, ambassador, and judge, was born in Lima, New York, the son of Thomas Mosgrove Keating, a local businessman, and Louise Barnard, a schoolteacher. Much of Keating’s early education was at Genesee Wesleyan Seminary in Lima, New York. He then attended the University of Rochester (N.Y.), from which he graduated in 1919, and Harvard Law School, which granted him an LL.B. in 1923. From that date until he entered the U.S. Congress in 1947 Keating was active in the law firm of Harris, Beach, Wilcox and Dale, earning a reputation as an adroit trial lawyer. In 1928 Keating married Louise Depuy; they had one daughter....

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Donald M. Roper

Kent, James (31 July 1763–12 December 1847), jurist, was born in Doanesburg, New York, the son of Moss Kent, Sr., a farmer and lawyer, and Hannah Rogers. Kent’s mother died when he was seven years old, and his father remarried. From the age of five to nine he lived with his maternal grandparents in Norwalk, Connecticut, and at various boarding schools, most notably Ebenezer Baldwin’s at Danbury. During Kent’s years at Yale, 1777–1781 (graduating in 1781), the college was subject to war-caused interruptions, and during one British raid his grandparent’s house was razed by the enemy. Nevertheless, Kent throughout his life remained the staunchest of Anglophiles (although he supported the patriot cause during the war). During one period that classes were suspended because of the war, Kent encountered Blackstone’s ...

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Landis, Kenesaw Mountain (20 November 1866–25 November 1944), federal judge and baseball commissioner, was born in Millville, Ohio, the son of Abraham Hoch Landis, a physician and farmer, and Mary Kumler. He was named after Kennesaw Mountain in Georgia, the site of a Civil War battle in which his father, a surgeon in the Union army, had lost a leg. Kenesaw—his father dropped an “n” when christening his son—moved to Indiana with his family in 1874 and grew up in Logansport. Despite his short stature and slight physique, young Landis gained a statewide reputation as a bicycle racer and played for amateur baseball teams in the Logansport area....

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Mack, Julian William (19 July 1866–05 September 1943), lawyer, judge, and Zionist leader, was born in San Francisco, California, the son of William Jacob Mack, an immigrant from Bavaria who prospered as a dry goods merchant, and Rebecca Tandler. Julian was the second of thirteen children born to the couple. Because of health reasons, William Mack resettled the family in Cincinnati in 1870, and there young Julian came under the influence of Rabbi ...

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McKean, Thomas (19 March 1734–24 June 1817), statesman, jurist, and signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, the son of William McKean, an innkeeper and farmer, and Letitia Finney. He studied at Francis Alison’s New London Academy (1742–1750), then left to study law (1750–1754) with his cousin David Finney of New Castle, Delaware. He joined the Delaware bar in 1754 and expanded his practice into Pennsylvania (1755) and New Jersey (1765). Following his admittance to practice before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 1757, he gained admission to the Society of the Middle Temple in London as a specialiter, which permitted him to earn certification in 1758 as a barrister without attending....