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Goucher, John Franklin (07 June 1845–19 July 1922), philanthropist and educator, was born in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, the son of John Goucher, a doctor, and Eleanor Townsend. Goucher was raised in a devout Methodist household, the youngest of four children. Religion was a sustaining and motivating force throughout his life. Another important influence was a meeting with President-elect ...

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Howland, Emily (20 November 1827–29 June 1929), educator, suffragist, and philanthropist, was born in Sherwood, New York, the daughter of Slocum Howland, a wealthy merchant and landowner, and Hannah Tallcot. Her ancestors were members of the Society of Friends (Quakers), and it was in that strict tradition of speech, dress, and conduct that Emily was raised....

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Porter, Eliza Emily Chappell (05 November 1807–01 January 1888), educator, relief worker, and missionary, was born in Geneseo, New York, the daughter of Robert Chappell and Elizabeth Kneeland, farmers. In 1811 her father died, increasing her emotional attachment to her highly religious mother. Nevertheless, when affluent relatives offered a home to the bright, attractive child, she agreed to live with them in Franklin, New York. She was educated with the family’s children but could not overcome her longing for her mother and guilt at the separation. She returned at twelve and, amid bouts of illness made worse by harsh medical treatments, sought comfort in religion. She joined the Presbyterian church in 1822; at fifteen she and her mother moved to Rochester to continue her education. Upon the death of her sister in childbirth, both returned to Geneseo....

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Sage, Margaret Olivia Slocum (08 September 1828–04 November 1918), teacher and philanthropist, was born in Syracuse, New York, the daughter of Joseph Slocum, a successful merchant and state assemblyman, and Margaret Jermain. Olivia, as she was known to family and close friends, was reared in comfortable circumstances and received her early education in Syracuse....

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Straight, Dorothy Payne Whitney (23 January 1887–13 December 1968), publisher, educator, and philanthropist, was born in Washington, D.C., the daughter of Flora Payne and William C. Whitney, then secretary of the navy. Her father had added a fortune made in urban railways to his wife’s dowry and with other socially prominent New Yorkers founded the Metropolitan Opera. Dorothy therefore enjoyed a materially and culturally rich childhood, whose comfort was marred by the death of her mother when Dorothy was six and of her father when she was seventeen. She then came into her own fortune and the temporary custody of her brother ...