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Barnwell, Robert Woodward (10 August 1801–25 November 1882), educator, congressman, and U.S. and Confederate senator, was born at Beaufort, South Carolina, the son of Robert Gibbes Barnwell, a prosperous planter and Federalist member of Congress, and Elizabeth Wigg Hayne. In 1817 he entered Harvard College, where he became friendly with ...

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Albert J. Beveridge Photograph by Louis Fabian Bachrach, 1922. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-89794).

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Beveridge, Albert Jeremiah (06 October 1862–27 April 1927), U.S. senator and historian, was born in Highland County, Ohio, the son of Thomas Beveridge and Frances Parkinson, farmers. The family moved to Illinois when Beveridge was a child. Because of his father’s financial difficulties, Beveridge worked as a plowboy, railroad section hand, logger, and teamster. He attended Asbury College (now DePauw University), graduating in 1885. He made his mark there in oratory, and he had a reputation throughout his life as a spellbinding public speaker. He was admitted to the bar in 1887. He married Katherine Langsdale that same year; she died in 1900. He married Catherine Eddy in 1907; they had two children....

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Bruce, William Cabell (12 March 1860–09 May 1946), author, municipal politician, reformer, and U.S. senator, was born at “Staunton Hill,” his father’s plantation, in Charlotte County, Virginia, the son of Charles Bruce, a planter, Virginia state senator, and captain during the Civil War, and Sarah Alexander Seddon, both members of established, affluent families in Virginia. Although the Bruce family lost much of their wealth during the Civil War, William still grew up surrounded by maids, servants, tailors, and tutors. Bruce’s mother, a devout Christian, instilled in William strong religious beliefs that influenced his character throughout his formative years....

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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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Graham, Frank Porter (14 October 1886–16 February 1972), university president and U.S. senator, was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, the son of Alexander Graham, the superintendent of schools, and Katherine Sloan. Both parents were of Scotch Presbyterian ancestry.

At the University of North Carolina, which he entered in 1905, he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year, and, as president of the YMCA, took part in evangelical Protestant programs to improve society. The college yearbook for 1909 called him “Frank, Laddie Buck. Everyman’s friend, confidant and playfellow.”...

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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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Henry Cabot Lodge Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-89796).

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Lodge, Henry Cabot (12 May 1850–09 November 1924), senator and historian, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of John Ellerton Lodge, a wealthy merchant and shipowner, and Anna Cabot. He graduated from Harvard College in 1871 and on that day married Anna “Nannie” Davis, daughter of a naval officer; they had three children....

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Marshall, Humphrey (1760–26 June 1841), senator and historian of Kentucky, was born near Warrenton, Fauquier County, Virginia, the son of John Marshall and Mary Quisenberry, farmers. He received his education from family and private tutors at home and at the neighboring plantation of his uncle Thomas Marshall, the father of Chief Justice ...

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McGovern, George Stanley (19 July 1922–21 October 2012), historian, Senator, and 1972 Democratic presidential candidate, was born in Avon, South Dakota, a prairie town with a population of fewer than six hundred. His father, Joseph McGovern, was a Methodist pastor of Scotch-Irish descent, and his mother, Frances McLean McGovern, was a Canadian of Scottish heritage from Alberta. When he was six years old McGovern’s family moved to the small city of Mitchell in southeastern South Dakota, where he attended high school and college, enrolling at Dakota Wesleyan University in 1940. McGovern took leave from his studies during World War II to serve in the Army Air Corps. He flew dozens of bombing missions over Central Europe and earned a Distinguished Flying Cross. In 1943 McGovern married Eleanor Stegeberg, an identical twin from the farm town of Woonsocket, South Dakota, whom he met in college; the couple had five children. McGovern graduated from Dakota Wesleyan in 1946 and earned his Ph.D. in history from Northwestern University in 1953. His dissertation was a landmark study of the Colorado Coal Strike of 1913–1914, the bloodiest labor dispute in American history....

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Preston, William Campbell (27 December 1794–22 May 1860), U.S. senator and college president, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Francis Smith Preston, a wealthy and well-connected member of Congress from Abingdon, Virginia, and Sarah Buchanan Campbell, the daughter of the celebrated revolutionary war colonel ...

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Hiram Rhoades Revels. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-98798)

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Revels, Hiram Rhoades (27 September 1827?–16 January 1901), senator, clergyman, and educator, was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, the son of free parents of mixed blood. Little is known of his family or early years. At eight or nine he enrolled in a private school for black children, where he was “fully and successfully instructed by our able teacher in all branches of learning” (Revels, p. 2). About 1842 his family moved to Lincolnton, North Carolina, where Revels became a barber. Two years later he entered Beech Grove Seminary, a Quaker institution two miles south of Liberty, Indiana. In 1845 he enrolled at another seminary in Darke County, Ohio, and during this period may also have studied theology at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio....

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Terry Sanford [left to right] President-elect John F. Kennedy and Terry Sanford, 1960. Photograph by the Associated Press. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

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Sanford, Terry (20 August 1917–18 April 1998), governor, college president, and U.S. senator, was born James Terry Sanford in Laurinburg, North Carolina, the son of Cecil LeRoy Sanford, hardware merchant, and Elizabeth Terry Martin, schoolteacher. After receiving his early education in local public schools, he attended Presbyterian Junior College and then the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, graduating with a B.A. in 1939. After serving as a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation for two years (1941–1942), Sanford resigned and enlisted in the U.S. Army. He married Margaret Rose Knight in July 1942; the couple had two children. Sanford saw service as a paratrooper in several European campaigns (including the invasion of southern France and the Battle of the Bulge) and was decorated with both the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. Discharged as a first lieutenant in December 1945, he returned to his alma mater and received an LL.B. in 1946. Admitted to the bar that same year, he remained in Chapel Hill and served as assistant director of the Institute of Government until 1948....