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Ameringer, Oscar (04 August 1870–05 November 1943), humorist and socialist editor, was born in a Swabian village in Germany, the son of August Ameringer, a cabinetmaker. His mother’s maiden name was Hoffman, and she was the previously widowed owner of a twelve-acre farm. Relocated to Laupheim, Ameringer grew up in the relative comfort of the lower middle class, yet he despised the religiosity and anti-Semitism of his Lutheran schooling. An instinctive antimonarchist, storyteller, and musician, he seized his first opportunity, at age sixteen, to flee to the United States. There he would become the “Mark Twain of American socialism,” a famed literary comedian, stage entertainer, and labor and political organizer....

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Jones, Hamilton C. (23 August 1798–10 September 1868), humorist, lawyer, and journalist, was born Hamilton Chamberlain Jones in Greenville County, Virginia, the son of William Jones and Martha Loftin. His father, about whom little is known, died while Jones was still an infant, soon after the family’s move to Stokes County, North Carolina. His mother then married Colonel James Martin, a wealthy and politically influential landowner and brother to ...

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Leland, Charles Godfrey (15 August 1824–20 March 1903), poet and journalist, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Charles Leland, a prosperous commission merchant, and Charlotte Godfrey. Leland graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1845 and then studied abroad for three years at the Universities of Heidelberg and Munich and the Sorbonne. He manned the barricades in Paris for three days during the revolution of 1848....

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Locke, David Ross (20 September 1833–15 February 1888), literary comedian and newspaper editor, was born in Vestal, Broome County, New York, the son of Nathaniel Reed Locke, a laborer, tanner, and farmer, and Hester Ross. He was apprenticed as a printer to the ...

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Peck, George Wilbur (28 September 1840–16 April 1916), journalist and politician, was born in Henderson, New York, the son of David B. Peck, a farmer, and Alzina (maiden name unknown). Peck was brought to the Wisconsin Territory at the age of three and except for brief residences elsewhere, remained in Wisconsin until his death. He married Francena Rowley in 1860; they had two children....

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Smith, Seba (14 September 1792–28 July 1868), newspaper editor and creator of the comic figure Jack Downing, was born in Buckfield, Maine, the son of Seba Smith and Apphia Stevens, farmers. His “Down East” rural boyhood led to schoolteaching and three years at Bowdoin, which he entered as a sophomore in 1815; he graduated at the head of his class in 1818 and was a member of its most prominent literary society. After briefly teaching school and traveling to repair his weak health, in 1819 he began a career in newspapers and journals as assistant editor of the ...