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Bissell, Richard Mervin, Jr. (18 September 1909–07 February 1994), economics professor and government administrator, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the son of Richard Bissell, a wealthy insurance executive, and Marie Truesdel. As a young man, Bissell studied at elite educational institutions, including Groton School; Yale University, where he received a B.A. in 1932; and the London School of Economics, where he began his postgraduate work. In 1933 he returned to Yale as an instructor and was promoted to assistant professor before earning his Ph.D. in economics in 1939. In 1940 he married Ann Cornelia Bushnell; they had five children. Described by one friend as “desperately shy,” Bissell seemed destined in 1941 to remain a university educator and scholar. However, the outbreak of World War II dramatically changed his life, as he left Yale to become a member of ...

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Michael H. Cardozo. Courtesy of Michael H. Cardozo V.

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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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Shirley Chisholm. Announcing her candidacy for presidential nomination, 25 January, 1972. Photograph by Thomas J. O'Halloran. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-DIG-ppmsc-01264).

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Chisholm, Shirley (30 November 1924–01 January 2005), first African-American congresswoman and educator, was born Shirley Anita St. Hill in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Charles Christopher St. Hill, a factory worker, and Ruby Seale, a seamstress and domestic worker. She was sent to Barbados for economic reasons at the age of three, where she lived on her maternal grandmother's farm and attended elementary school. Upon returning to New York seven years later she attended local public schools and graduated from Girls' High School in 1942. Despite scholarship offers her family lacked the funds to help her attend a more distant college, so she entered nearby (and tuition-free) Brooklyn College with the intent of becoming a teacher. She became interested in politics while earning her B.A....

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Cooper, William John (24 November 1882–19 September 1935), educator and U.S. commissioner of education, was born in Sacramento, California, the son of William James Cooper, a painter, and Belle Stanley Leary. Cooper spent most of his childhood in Red Bluff City, California. He received his A.B. in Latin and history from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1906 and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. In 1908 he married Edna Curtis. They had three children. He later returned to Berkeley for his M.A. in education and history in 1917....

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Douglas, Paul Howard (26 March 1892–24 September 1976), economist, educator, and U.S. senator, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, the son of James Howard Douglas and Annie Smith. The latter, a laborer, died when Paul was four. His father remarried but soon became an alcoholic and abandoned his wife and son. Douglas worked his way through Bowdoin College, from which he received a B.A. in 1913, and won a scholarship to Columbia University, where he earned an M.A. in 1915 and a Ph.D. in economics in 1921....

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Elliott, Harriet Wiseman (10 July 1884–06 August 1947), educator, political organizer, and government official, was born in Carbondale, Illinois, the daughter of Allan Curtis Elliott, a merchant who extended easy credit to poor coal miners, and Elizabeth Ann White, a staunch supporter of ...

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Goodrich, Carter (10 May 1897–07 April 1971), college professor and government official, was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, the son of Rev. Charles Lyman Goodrich, a minister, and Jeanette Margaret Carter. As a student at Amherst College, Goodrich edited the Amherst Monthly literary magazine and formed a close friendship with faculty member ...

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Edith Green. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-112920 ).

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Green, Edith (17 January 1910–21 April 1987), teacher and congresswoman, was born in Trent, South Dakota, the daughter of James Vaughn and Julia Hunt Starrett, schoolteachers. When she was six her family moved to Oregon. She attended public schools and Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. After marrying businessman Arthur N. Green in 1933, she continued to teach and to further her own education. She graduated from the University of Oregon in 1939 and took graduate courses at Stanford. Edith and Arthur Green had two sons and were later divorced....

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Anna Arnold Hedgeman. Oil on canvas, 1945, by Betsy Graves Reyneau. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the Harmon Foundation.

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Hedgeman, Anna Arnold (05 July 1899–17 January 1990), educator, policy consultant, and political activist, was born Anna Marie Arnold in Marshalltown, Iowa, the daughter and eldest child of William James Arnold II, an entrepreneur, and Marie Ellen Parker Arnold. The Arnolds subsequently moved to Anoka, Minnesota, becoming the only black family in that town. Young Anna graduated from high school in 1918 and went on to attend Hamline University in nearby Saint Paul, becoming the college's first black graduate in 1922....

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Hunt, Carleton (01 January 1836–14 August 1921), lawyer, educator, and congressman, was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of Thomas Hunt, a physician, and Aglae Carleton, the daughter of an associate justice of the Supreme Court of Louisiana. Hunt spent his early life in the stimulating surroundings of an upper-class family of professionals and academicians. He took his A.B. degree from Harvard in 1856 and then read law in the office of ...

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Barbara Jordan. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-88189).

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Jordan, Barbara (21 February 1936–17 January 1996), lawyer, politician, and university professor, was born Barbara Charline Jordan in Houston, Texas, the daughter of Benjamin M. Jordan and Arlyne Patten Jordan. Her father, a graduate of the Tuskegee Institute, was a warehouse employee until 1949 when he became a minister at Houston's Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church, in which his father's family had long been active. Arlyne Jordan also became a frequent speaker at the church. The Jordans were always poor, and for many years Barbara and her two older sisters shared a bed, but their lives improved somewhat after their father became a minister. Barbara attended local segregated public schools and received good grades with little effort. She gave scant thought to her future, beyond forming a vague desire to become a pharmacist, until her senior year at Phillis Wheatley High School, when a black female lawyer spoke at the school's career day assembly. Already a proficient orator who had won several competitions, she decided to put that skill to use as an attorney....

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Larrazolo, Octaviano Ambrosio (07 December 1859–07 April 1930), politician, lawyer, and schoolteacher, was born in Allende, Chihuahua, Mexico, the son of Octaviano Larrazolo, a prosperous landowner, and Donaciana Corral. The Larrazolo family lost everything in the 1860s, when the French invasion force under the emperor Ferdinand Maxmilian crushed the Mexican revolt led by Benito Juarez. An old family friend, the Reverend J. B. Salpointe, the Catholic bishop of Arizona, offered in 1870 to ease the family’s financial burdens by taking Larrazolo (who had assisted Salpointe as an altar boy) to the United States. After five years in Tucson, Salpointe, who in the interim had become archbishop of Santa Fe, New Mexico, enrolled Larrazolo in that community’s Christian Brothers’ preparatory program known as St. Michael’s College....

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Lusk, Georgia Lee Witt (12 May 1893–05 January 1971), congresswoman and educator, was born in Carlsbad, Eddy County, New Mexico, the daughter of George Witt, a surveyor and rancher, and Mary Isabel Gilbreath. She graduated from New Mexico State Teachers College (now Western New Mexico University) in 1914 and also attended New Mexico Highlands University and Colorado State Teacher’s College (now the University of Northern Colorado). She taught in southeastern New Mexico for one year before her marriage in 1915 to Dolph Lusk, a rancher and banker. The Lusks lived on a ranch in southeastern New Mexico near the community of Lovington. The couple had two sons, and Georgia was pregnant with their third son when Dolph died in 1919. Newly widowed with three small children, Lusk returned to teaching and at the same time managed the ranch she had inherited from her husband....

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Moron, Alonzo Graseano (12 April 1909–31 October 1971), educator and public servant, was born Alonzo Brown in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, Danish Virgin Islands, the son of Caroline Louisa Brown, a seamstress, and Joseph Metzante Moron, about whom little is known. No father was listed on Alonzo Moron's birth certificate, and Joseph Moron played no significant role in his son's life. Alonzo Moron's mother, who worked out of her house, reared her two children as a single parent in a working-class neighborhood. Moron spent his first eight years as a Danish colonial subject in poverty and changed his surname from Brown to Moron in his early teens....

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Nash, Philleo (25 October 1909–12 October 1987), educator, federal administrator, and lieutenant governor of Wisconsin, was born in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, the son of Guy Nash, a cranberry grower, and Florence Philleo. He attended elementary and high schools in Wisconsin Rapids, followed by a brief period of study at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. In the fall of 1927 Nash enrolled in ...