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Dean Acheson. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-94484).

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Acheson, Dean Gooderham (11 April 1893–12 October 1971), lawyer and secretary of state, was born in Middletown, Connecticut, the son of Edward Campion Acheson, an Episcopal minister, and Eleanor Gertrude Gooderham. He grew up in comfortable, middle-class circumstances. His mother’s family wealth and his father’s appointment as a bishop in 1915 attest to his family’s secure place in local Connecticut society. Acheson attended Groton and then Yale University, receiving his B.A. in 1915 with an undistinguished academic record. In May 1917 he married Alice Caroline Stanley; they had three children. At Harvard Law School, he studied under ...

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Adams, Annette Abbott (12 March 1877–26 October 1956), lawyer and judge, was born in Prattville, California, the daughter of Hiram Brown Abbott, a storekeeper and justice of the peace, and Annette Frances Stubbs, a teacher. Adams earned a teaching credential from Chico State Normal School in 1897 and became schoolmistress of a country school until she entered the University of California-Berkeley in 1901. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in 1904, she taught high school in a rural county, serving as principal from 1907 to 1910. Encouraged by county trial judge John E. Raker, Adams entered Boalt Hall and supported herself while earning a J.D. The dean recommended her, the only woman in the class of 1912, to Western Pacific Railway for their house counsel. The company rejected her on the basis of gender, and she opened a private practice in Plumas County. She hired an instructor to learn how to change her voice from soprano to baritone to suit her masculine legal role. In 1906 she married Martin H. Adams but left him after one month. By 1914 she let others assume that she was a widow, although she and Adams never divorced. For thirty years she shared her home with her brother....

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Aldrich, Winthrop (02 November 1885–25 February 1974), lawyer, banker, and legal and political adviser, was born Winthrop Williams Aldrich in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Nelson Wilmarth Aldrich, a U.S. senator, and Abby Chapman. Aldrich graduated from Harvard College in 1907 and Harvard Law School in 1910. Upon graduation from law school Aldrich joined the New York City law firm of Byrne, Cutcheon & Taylor, specializing in finance and commercial law. In 1916 Aldrich was named a junior partner in the firm, and in December of that year he married Harriet Alexander, the granddaughter of California railroad and banking magnate ...

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Raymond Pace Alexander At his desk in his law office, circa 1935-1940. Collections of the University of Pennsylvania Archives.

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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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Alexander, Sadie Tanner Mossell (03 January 1898–01 November 1989), economist and lawyer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Aaron Mossell, an attorney and the first black graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and Mary Tanner. While a young girl her father abandoned the family, and she was raised by her mother with the assistance of relatives....

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Alioto, Joseph L. (12 February 1916–29 January 1998), businessman and mayor, was born Joseph Lawrence Alioto in San Francisco, California, the son of Giuseppe Alioto, a businessman, and Domenica Lazio Alioto. After receiving his early education in local parochial schools, he earned a B.A. from St. Mary's College in Moraga, California, in 1937. An excellent student, he entered the law school at Catholic University on a scholarship and received his J.D. in 1940. Although he gained admittance to the California bar that same year, he remained in Washington and began working at the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice. He married Angelina Genaro on 2 June 1941; the couple would have six children....

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Allen, Macon Bolling (1816–15 October 1894), lawyer and judge, was born A. Macon Bolling in Indiana; the names of his parents and exact date of birth are unknown. He changed his name to Macon Bolling Allen by act of the Massachusetts legislature on 26 January 1844. Details of Allen’s early life and education are sketchy and contradictory. His birth name is given in some sources as Malcolm B. Allen, and his birthplace as South Carolina. Evidence suggests that he lived in Maine and Massachusetts as a young man. Maine denied his initial application to the Maine bar because of allegations that he was not a state citizen, but he purportedly ran a Portland business before 1844. It is known that he read law in the Maine offices of two white abolitionist lawyers, Samuel E. Sewell and General Samuel Fessenden, and that the latter promoted his admission to the Maine bar in 1844....

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Robert L. Gale and Thaddeus Russell

Alpern, Anne X. (1903–02 February 1981), attorney and judge, was born in Russia, the daughter of Joseph Alpern and Mary Leaser. (Alpern would never explain what the X in her name stood for, and it was rumored that early in her life she added it simply for fun.) The family immigrated to western Pennsylvania when she was an infant. They settled in Scenery Hill, near Washington, Pennsylvania, where her father owned a general store. Alpern attended Nicholas Elementary School and Scenery Hill High School in the town of Washington. After the family moved to Pittsburgh, she enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh, from which she graduated in 1923 with a B.A. in education. Urged by her father to study law as a result of his admiration for ...

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Appleton, John (12 July 1804–07 February 1891), lawyer and judge, was born in New Ipswich, New Hampshire, the son of John Appleton and Elizabeth Peabody, farmers. After graduating from Bowdoin College in 1822, Appleton taught school briefly, then studied law in the offices of George F. Farley of Massachusetts and Nathan Dane Appleton, a relative and prominent attorney in Maine....

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Arnold, Thurman (02 June 1891–07 November 1969), lawyer, social and economic theorist, and government official, was born Thurman Wesley Arnold in Laramie, Wyoming, the son of Constantine Peter Arnold, a prominent attorney and rancher, and Annie Brockway. After spending his youth in what he would later remember “as a time that Tom Sawyer would have envied,” Arnold enrolled, for one year, at Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana, in 1907. After a college career characterized by loneliness, he graduated from Princeton University, Phi Beta Kappa, with a B.A. in 1911. Arnold received his LL.D. from Harvard Law School in 1914 and then entered legal practice in Chicago with the firm of Adams, Follansbee, Hawley, and Shorey. In 1916 he established the firm of O’Bryan, Waite, and Arnold. Eight months later his artillery battery of the Illinois National Guard was mobilized for duty with General ...

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Arvey, Jacob Meyer (03 November 1895–25 August 1977), lawyer and Democratic leader, was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Israel Arvey, a businessman, and Bertha Eisenberg. His parents were Jewish Lithuanian immigrants. Arvey, known as “Jack,” married Edith Freeman in 1915; they had three children. After earning a degree at the John Marshall School of Law, he opened a law practice in Chicago in 1916....

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David Rice Atchison. Daguerreotype from the studio of Mathew B. Brady. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109952).

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Atchison, David Rice (11 August 1807–26 January 1886), lawyer and U.S. senator, was born in Frogtown, in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky, the son of William Atchison and Catherine Allen, farmers. Educated at Transylvania University, he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1827. After practicing for three years in Carlisle, Kentucky, he moved to Liberty in western Missouri....

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Auchmuty, Robert (1687–28 April 1750), lawyer and Massachusetts vice admiralty judge, was born in Newtown Flood, County Longford, Ireland, of a Scottish family of noble lineage. He was the son of Captain John Auchmuty, a member of Parliament, and Isabella Stirling.

Auchmuty received his legal training in London at the Middle Temple beginning in 1705 and was called to the bar in 1711. He emigrated to Massachusetts in 1716, apparently as a protégé of the new royal governor, ...

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Auchmuty, Robert, Jr. (1725–11 December 1788), lawyer and Loyalist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Scottish-born Robert Auchmuty, a judge of admiralty in Massachusetts, and Mary Julianna. As a youth Robert attended Boston Latin School and was admitted to Harvard, class of 1746, but never matriculated. He benefited from growing up in an upper-class family and learned law from his father. In 1762 he became a barrister, and many considered him the third best lawyer in Massachusetts, just behind ...

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Austin, William (02 March 1778–27 June 1841), writer and lawyer, was born in Lunenberg, Massachusetts, the son of Nathaniel Austin, a pewterer and enterprising dealer in real estate, and Margaret Rand. Austin was raised in Charlestown, Massachusetts, which had been the family home for five generations. He received an A.B. from Harvard in 1798. The following year Austin obtained an appointment as both a schoolmaster and chaplain in the U.S. Navy. He sailed on the historic frigate ...

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Axtell, Samuel Beach (14 October 1819–06 August 1891), politician, lawyer, and jurist, was born near Columbus, Ohio, the son of Samuel Loree Axtell and Nancy Sanders, farmers. Axtell graduated from Western Reserve College in Hudson, Ohio, and, after studying law, was admitted to the bar. He married Adaline S. Williams in 1840, and in 1843 they moved to Mount Clemens, Michigan, where Axtell established a law practice. The couple had at least one child. In 1851 Axtell migrated to California, where he invested in the booming mining industry and practiced law. Politically active as a Democrat, he helped organize Amador County east of Sacramento in 1854 and was elected as the new county’s first district attorney, a post to which he was reelected in 1856 and 1858....

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Aycock, Charles Brantley (01 November 1859–04 April 1912), lawyer and governor of North Carolina, was born in Wayne County, North Carolina, the son of Benjamin Aycock and Serena Hooks. The youngest of ten children of a prosperous, slaveholding family whose farmlands by 1863 exceeded a thousand acres, Charles Aycock spent his early years in a rural setting. His father, an active member of the Democratic party, served as clerk of court of Wayne County for eight years and as a member of the North Carolina Senate from 1863 to 1866. Serena Aycock managed the family properties in her husband’s absence, but she could not read or write, and her lack of an education profoundly influenced young Charles. Although the Civil War imposed hardships on the Aycocks, their holdings expanded during the Reconstruction era. Benjamin Aycock’s support of the Confederacy and disdain for Radical Reconstruction and the enfranchisement of freedmen shaped Charles’s own politics....