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Henry Justin Allen. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-96805).

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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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James M. Cox [left to right] Franklin D. Roosevelt and James M. Cox, c. 1920. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-96173).

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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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Hill, Isaac (06 April 1788–22 March 1851), editor and politician, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the son of Isaac Hill and Hannah Russell, farmers. Hill had a difficult childhood because his family was poor, his father became insane, and he himself was left permanently lame by an early accident. In 1798 his mother moved the family to Ashburnham on the New Hampshire border, where Hill received a few months of formal schooling before being apprenticed in 1802 to the publisher of the ...

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Holden, William Woods (24 November 1818–02 March 1892), editor and political leader, was born near Hillsboro, North Carolina, the illegitimate son of Thomas Holden, a relatively prosperous mill owner, and Priscilla Woods. When he was two or three years old, he went to live with his father. He briefly attended a local “field school,” and at age nine or ten he became a printer’s apprentice in the office of the ...

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P. B. S. Pinchback. Courtesy of the National Afro-American Museum.

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Pinchback, P. B. S. (10 May 1837–21 December 1921), politician, editor, and entrepreneur, was born Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback in Macon, Georgia, the son of William Pinchback, a Mississippi plantation owner, and Eliza Stewart, a former slave of mixed ancestry. Because William Pinchback had taken Eliza to Philadelphia to obtain her emancipation, Pinckney was free upon birth....