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Campbell, Persia Crawford (15 March 1898–02 March 1974), economist and consumer leader, was born in Nerrigundah, Australia, the daughter of Rodolph Campbell and Beatrice Harriet Hunt, schoolteachers. She was the first of two children. Her parents were strong Presbyterians and instilled in her at an early age a love of learning. Before she entered high school her father died, leaving her mother as the sole breadwinner. Persia tried to help by making and selling dolls’ clothes. With her excellent grades she was able to enter a state scholarship high school for girls from families of modest incomes....

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Frederick, Christine (06 February 1883–06 April 1970), home efficiency expert, advertising consultant, and consumer advocate, was born Christine Isobel Campbell in Boston, Massachusetts, to William Campbell, a clergyman, and Mimie Scott of St. Louis, Missouri. Soon after Christine’s birth, Mimie fled this unhappy union and took the child to St. Louis, where they spent two years with her family. From the age of two until she was five, Christine lived in czarist Russia, where Mimie served as a governess. Upon their return, a nasty divorce and custody battle in a Massachusetts court awarded custody to William while a separate Missouri ruling awarded custody to her mother; Christine remained in St. Louis. When she was eleven years old her mother married Wyatt MacGaffey, whose name Christine took when the family moved to Chicago. The memory of her untrained mother fleeing an unhappy marriage and trying to support herself had a profound influence on Christine’s life choices....

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Furness, Betty (03 January 1916–02 April 1994), actress, product spokesperson, and consumer advocate, was born Elizabeth Mary (Betty) Furness in New York City to George Choate Furness, an executive with the Union Carbide and Carbon Corporation, and Florence Sturtevant, who later became an interior decorator. Betty was educated at New York City’s elite Brearley School and then attended the Bennett School for Girls in Millbrook, New York, where one of her classmates predicted she would become an actress. That prophecy made sense because Betty had long shown an interest in performing. Her introduction to the media came at age seven, when she accompanied her father to the studio to watch him produce informational radio talks about the care and use of batteries. She got her first job at age fourteen, modeling for the John Robert Powers Modeling Agency during summer vacation. Several years later she caught the eye of a well-known photographer named Hal Phyfe, who was taking graduation pictures at the Bennett School. He too was impressed by how personable and photogenic she was, and he made sure her photos got to the right people....

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Kallet, Arthur (15 December 1902–24 February 1972), engineer, labor activist, and founder of the Consumers Union, was born in Syracuse, New York, the son of Barnett Kallet and Etta Kaplan. Kallet received a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1924 and then accepted a position with the New York Edison Company performing editorial work. Three years later Kallet married Opal Boston, with whom he had one child. The marriage lasted until her death in 1952. He remarried in 1954, to Mary R. Fitzpatrick, with whom he had two children....

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Kelley, Florence (12 September 1859–17 February 1932), social reformer, was born into a patrician Quaker and Unitarian family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of William Darrah Kelley, a leading politician, and Caroline Bartram Bonsall, a descendant of John Bartram, the Quaker botanist. Kelley’s rural residence and a childhood plagued by illness meant that she attended school only sporadically. Although her brief enrollment in Quaker schools introduced her to the wider reform world beyond her family and taught her mental discipline, most of her intellectual development occurred as part of her relationship with her father and her mother’s aunt, ...

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Lakey, Alice (14 October 1857–18 June 1935), pure-food crusader, was born in Shanesville, Ohio, the daughter of Charles D. Lakey, a clergyman and, later, an insurance publicist, and Ruth Jaques, who died when Alice was six. The next year her father married Emily Jane Jackson, a painter. After public and private schooling in Chicago, Lakey, with her stepmother, went abroad in 1879 and studied “the art of singing in the old Italian method” in Florence, Paris, and London. Lakey gave concerts in England, where critics complimented her “sympathetic mezzo-soprano voice” and “refined and unaffected manner.” Returning to America in 1888, Lakey gave a few performances, but poor health prevented a concert career, although she taught voice for several years. In 1895 the family moved to Cranford, New Jersey....

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Rumsey, Mary Harriman (17 November 1881–18 December 1934), social reformer and consumer activist, was born Mary Williamson Harriman in New York City, the daughter of Edward Henry Harriman, a railroad financier, and Mary Williamson Averell (Mary Williamson Averell Harriman). She enjoyed a comfortable childhood that included private schooling and vacations at her family’s ranches in the West, living most of the year in New York City and at “Arden,” the family’s country estate in Ramapo Hills, New Jersey. A buoyant and animated personality who mixed intensity with humor, Mary maintained a close relationship with her father, who shared with her his plans for railroad expansion as he acquired the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific railroad systems....

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Ware, Caroline Farrar (14 August 1899–05 April 1990), historian, consumer activist, and expert on community development, was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, the daughter of Henry Ware, a lawyer, and Louisa Farrar Wilson. Ware came from a prominent Unitarian family with an activist tradition. Her abolitionist grandfather and great aunt participated in the Port Royal experiment after the Union occupation of the Sea Islands of South Carolina in November 1861. Charles Ware served as a labor superintendent of cotton plantations, while his sister, Harriet Ware, taught in a school for freedmen and women. Her parents were active in community affairs. Her father served as the treasurer of many voluntary organizations; her mother taught Sunday school and did volunteer work for the Red Cross and the Girl Scouts....

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Warne, Colston Estey (14 August 1900–20 May 1987), economist and consumer leader, was born in Romulus, New York, the son of Clinton Arlington, a jack-of-all-trades, and Harriet Ellsworth Estey, a Seneca County feminist. Warne studied engineering and economics at Cornell, where he received a B.A. in 1920 and an M.A. in 1921. In 1920 Warne married Frances Lee Corbett; they had three children. At Cornell, Warne developed a strong interest in studying labor economics and theories of consumption under the guidance of ...