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Ayres, Leonard Porter (15 September 1879–29 October 1946), educator, statistician, and economist, was born in Niantic, Connecticut, the son of Milan Church Ayres and Georgiana Gall. His father, a clergyman, author, and journalist, was editor of the Boston Daily Advertiser. The family moved to Newton Highlands, Massachusetts, where Leonard received his early education in public schools. An avid bicycle racer, he participated in national matches as a young man. After receiving his Ph.B. degree from Boston University in 1902, he taught school in Puerto Rico, rising rapidly to become general superintendent of the island’s schools and chief of the Education Department’s Statistics Division in 1906. Returning to the states, he moved to New York City and joined the Russell Sage Foundation in 1908 to conduct investigations of the health and education of schoolchildren under the direction of ...

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Babson, Roger Ward (06 July 1875–05 March 1967), businessman, author, and philanthropist, was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts, the son of Nathaniel Babson, a dry-goods merchant and wholesaler, and Ellen Stearns. As a child, Babson spent his summers in Gloucester on his paternal grandfather’s farm, an experience that later prompted him to write that he “owed more to that farm than any educational institution.” Off the farm, the young Babson, who was a rowdy albeit “nervous” boy, worried his mother by associating not with other middle-class Yankee children but with the “Gould Courters,” an Irish street gang....

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Hotelling, Harold (29 September 1895–26 December 1973), economist and statistician, was born in Fulda, Minnesota, the son of Clair Alberta Hotelling, a hay merchant, and Lucy Amelia Rawson. When Hotelling was about nine years old, the family moved to Seattle, Washington, which offered educational opportunities not available in Fulda. Hotelling attended high school there and then went on to study at the University of Washington, where he majored in journalism. His studies were interrupted by World War I army service, from which he was discharged early in 1919. He completed his degree in that same year. His undergraduate studies had included mathematics, science, and economics as well as journalism. Later, when he was a professor of economics, he was to exaggerate the amount of that subject he had taken (only three courses), probably because he was sensitive about the relatively little formal training he had received in it....

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Koopmans, Tjalling Charles (28 August 1910–26 February 1985), econometrician and mathematical economist, was born in ’s Graveland, the Netherlands, the son of Sjoerd Koopmans and Wijtske van der Zee, schoolteachers. The grammar school Koopmans and his two brothers attended was that at which their father was headmaster....

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McClintock, Emory (19 September 1840–10 July 1916), actuary and mathematician, was born in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the son of the Reverend John M’Clintock, a clergyman and professor of mathematics and classics at Dickinson College, and Caroline Augusta Wakeman. The young McClintock went to school for the first time at age thirteen; he then attended Dickinson College (1854–1856) and Yale (1856–1857) before transferring to Columbia. He received his A.B. in 1859 and his A.M. in 1862, from Columbia, and he taught mathematics there as a tutor during the 1859–1860 academic year. Becoming interested in chemistry, he studied it in Paris in 1860 and in Göttingen in 1861. In 1862 he returned to the United States intending to volunteer for military service in the Civil War, but illness prevented his entry into the Union army. He served as U.S. Consular Agent in Bradford, England, from 1863 to 1866, after which he worked in a private banking firm in Paris until 1867. Returning to the United States, McClintock worked as an actuary for the Asbury Life Insurance Company of New York (1867–1871) and the Northwest Life Insurance Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin (1871–1889), before joining the Mutual Life Insurance Company of New York. There he was a vice president and trustee from 1906 to 1911, and upon retiring he remained a consulting actuary from 1911 until 1916....

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Orshansky, Mollie (9 Jan. 1915–18 Dec. 2006), civil servant, economist and statistician, was born in the Bronx, New York City, the sixth daughter of Samuel Orshansky and Fannie Orshansky, recent Jewish immigrants from the Ukraine. Samuel worked at various occupations (tinworker, ironworker, plumber, repairman), eventually becoming the proprietor of a small neighborhood grocery store. Mollie was born in poverty and grew up understanding how families coped with inadequate incomes. In her South Bronx neighborhood few young women went even as far as high school, going directly into the labor force as soon as possible. Mollie was the first member of her family to attend high school. She graduated Hunter College High School in ...

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von Neumann, John Louis (28 December 1903–08 February 1957), mathematician, mathematical physicist, and theoretical economist, was born in Budapest, Hungary, the son of Max Neumann, a well-to-do banker, and Margaret Kann. He was born Neumann János (in Hungarian the surname is written first). In 1913 his father was ennobled by the Kaiser Franz Joseph with the hereditary title of “Margittai,” which is roughly the Hungarian equivalent of “von.” While studying in Germany, the young Neumann used the name Johann Ludwig von Neumann, and because this name appeared on his German publications before coming to the United States, his name was anglicized retaining the “von” title. He attended the Lutheran Gymnasium in Budapest and from 1921 to 1923 studied chemistry and mathematics at the University of Berlin. In 1923 he entered the Eidgenosse Technische Hochschule in Zürich, from which he received the degree of ...

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Walker, Francis Amasa (02 July 1840–05 January 1897), statistician, economist, and educator, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Amasa Walker, a retired shoe manufacturer who became a leading economist, and Hannah Ambrose. After graduating from Amherst College in 1860, Walker worked briefly as a lawyer before joining the Union army in August 1861. He was wounded at Chancellorsville in 1863 and held at the notorious Libby Prison in Richmond. After being released in an exchange, Walker’s ill health forced his resignation from the army in January 1865. He was brevetted brigadier general. His war experience matured him beyond his years, and he never lost his keen interest in military affairs, as revealed in his ...