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Harriet Chalmers Adams. Harriet Chalmers Adams. Harriet Chalmers Adams, 1908. Glass negative. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-DIG-npcc-19900).

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Adams, Harriet Chalmers (22 October 1875–17 July 1937), explorer, lecturer, and writer, was born Harriet Chalmers in Stockton, California. Her father, Alexander Chalmers, Canadian via Scotland, came to California in 1864 to try his luck mining; he later ran a dry goods store with his brother before becoming a mine superintendent and part-owner. Her mother, Frances Wilkins, had grown up in the Sierra Nevada foothills. From the age of eleven Harriet and her sister Anna had private tutors. Her mother encouraged Harriet’s love of reading, while travels with her father developed her interest in the natural world as well as the Native American and Spanish-speaking cultures in the region. At thirteen Harriet and her father spent more than six months meandering the length of the Sierras from Oregon to Mexico, cementing her lifelong love of adventure. As a young woman Harriet continued her indoor and outdoor studies and had an active social life. She was fluent in Spanish and spoke Portuguese, French, Italian, and German as well....

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Allen, Young John William (03 January 1836–30 May 1907), missionary, educator, and journalist in China, was born in Burke County, Georgia, the son of Andrew Young John Allen and Jane Wooten. Because of the early death of both parents, Allen was raised by an aunt and uncle, Wiley and Nancy (Wooten) Hutchins, who lived in Meriwether County, Georgia. He received a sizable inheritance from his father, which financed his education at several small private schools near his home in Starrsville, Georgia, including the Baptist-run Brownwood Institute in LaGrange, Georgia, and the Morgan H. Looney schools in Palmetto, Georgia. His inheritance also allowed him to collect a personal library, which made him the envy of his classmates as early as 1850, when he was only fourteen years old. He began college work at Emory and Henry College in Virginia in 1853 but transferred to Emory College in Oxford, Georgia, in the spring of 1854. At Emory, Allen acquired the secular learning of the European tradition as well as knowledge of Christianity. His extracurricular activities included membership in a debating society and religious study groups, both of which prepared him for his subsequent careers in China....

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Bleyer, Willard Grosvenor (27 August 1873–31 October 1935), journalism educator, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the son of Albert J. Bleyer, a newspaperman, and Elizabeth Groshans. Six of Albert’s brothers also worked for newspapers. While an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin (1892–1896), Bleyer edited the student newspaper, the ...

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Bowers, Claude Gernade (20 November 1878–21 January 1958), journalist, diplomat, and historian, was born in Westfield, Indiana, the son of Lewis Bowers, a storekeeper, and Juliet Tipton, a milliner and dressmaker. Reared in rural communities in central Indiana, Claude moved to Indianapolis with his divorced mother when he was thirteen. He was a voracious reader and became a confirmed Democrat while at Indianapolis High School. In 1898 Bowers graduated and also won the state oratorical contest but was unable to attend college for lack of funds. Instead he worked for the publishing firm that later became the Bobbs-Merrill Company. In 1900 Bowers became the major editorial writer for the ...

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Bruce, John Edward (22 February 1856–07 August 1924), journalist and historian, was born in Piscataway, Maryland, the son of Martha Allen Clark and Robert Bruce, who were both enslaved Africans. In 1859 Major Harvey Griffin, Robert Bruce’s slaveholder, sold him to a Georgia slaveholder. Raised by his mother, Bruce lived in Maryland until 1861 when Union troops marching through Maryland freed him and his mother, taking them to Washington, D.C., where Bruce lived until 1892. In 1865 Bruce’s mother worked as a domestic in Stratford, Connecticut, where Bruce received his early education in an integrated school. One year later they returned to Washington, where Bruce continued his education. Although he did not complete high school, he enrolled in a course at Howard University in 1872. Bruce married Lucy Pinkwood, an opera singer from Washington, D.C. They had no children. In 1895 Bruce married Florence Adelaide Bishop, with whom he had one child....

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Brucker, Herbert (04 October 1898–05 April 1977), newspaper editor, syndicated columnist, and teacher, was born in Passaic, New Jersey, the son of Carl Brucker, the head of Fritzsche Bros., U.S. division of Schimmel & Cie., a German chemical company, and Adele Balthasar. After graduating from Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, in 1921, Brucker reported for the ...

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Burnett, Alfred (02 November 1824–04 April 1884), entertainer and journalist, was born in Bungay, Suffolk, England. The names of his parents and other facts about his early life are unknown. In 1828 he was sent to live with an aunt in New York City. After four years of schooling in Utica, New York, he moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1836. He later became proprietor of a confectionery business and by 1860 owned three such establishments....

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Cayton, Horace Roscoe (12 April 1903–22 January 1970), sociologist and writer, was born in Seattle, Washington, the son of Horace Roscoe Cayton, a newspaper reporter, and Susie Sumner Revels, an instructor at Rust College. Horace’s maternal grandfather, Hiram R. Revels, was elected senator from Mississippi at the height of Reconstruction; through the years, the family remained in the upper classes of African-American society. At the time of Horace’s birth, the Cayton family was prosperous, middle-class, and living in the heart of white Seattle....

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Coffin, Charles Carleton (26 July 1823–02 March 1896), novelist, journalist, and lecturer, was born in Boscawen, New Hampshire, the son of Thomas Coffin and Hannah Kilburn, farmers. He grew up on the family farm, attended the village school, and studied for a year at the local academy. Coffin, after his marriage to Sallie Russell Farmer in 1846, earned his living by farming and surveying, a skill he had taught himself. The couple had no children. In 1852, with his brother-in-law ...

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Davidson, James Wood (09 March 1829–15 June 1905), journalist and educator, was born in Craven County, South Carolina, the son of Alexander Davidson and Sarah (maiden name unknown). Davidson’s father was a planter in Craven County, later resurveyed and renamed Newberry, South Carolina. James was educated at South Carolina College at Columbia (later the University of South Carolina), and after graduating with distinction in 1852, he taught Greek and ancient languages in Winnsboro until 1859 and in Columbia until the beginning of the Civil War. Davidson was made adjutant of the Thirteenth Regiment of the South Carolina Volunteers under the command of ...

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Davis, Samuel Post (04 April 1850–17 March 1918), journalist, author, and historian, was born in Branford, Connecticut, the son of the Reverend George R. Davis, an Episcopalian priest, and Sylvia Nichols. As Davis’s father accepted different pulpits, the family moved to Ansonia, Connecticut; Newark, New Jersey; and Racine, Wisconsin. In Racine, Samuel attended the Racine College private school but apparently did not complete the secondary curriculum. He accompanied his parents when they subsequently moved to Brownsville, Nebraska, then to Nevada City, California, and finally to Carson City, Nevada....

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de Lima, Agnes Abinun (05 August 1887–27 November 1974), progressive journalist, publicist, and educator, was born in Holywood, New Jersey, the daughter of Elias S. Abinun de Lima, a partner in D. A. de Lima and Sons, a banking firm, and Esther Abinun de Lima. Her parents were from Curacao. De Lima was raised in an upper-class home in New York City and Larchmont Manor, New York, and was taught by tutors and music teachers....

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Ende, Amalie von (19 June 1856–25 August 1932), German-American writer, musician, and teacher, was born Amalie Kremper in Warsaw, Poland. The names of her parents are not known. Neither of her parents was native to Poland, but they became entangled in the Polish rebellions of the early 1860s and were forced to leave Poland. At age six von Ende arrived in Milwaukee, where she received early training in music. A student of the German-American writer and activist ...

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Fall, Bernard B. (19 November 1926–21 February 1967), war correspondent, historian, and educator, was born in Vienna, Austria, the son of Leon Fall, a businessman, and Anna Seligman. After the German seizure of Austria in 1938, Bernard was taken to France. His parents perished during World War II—his father was executed by the Germans for resistance activity, and his mother was deported to Germany, where she disappeared. In November 1942, following the Nazi occupation of southern France, Fall joined the Resistance, fought in the Alps, and was twice wounded. During the Liberation, he enlisted in the French regular army and served for the duration of the war. He was later awarded the Medal of Liberated France for his valor....

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Fine, Benjamin (01 September 1905–16 May 1975), educational author, editor, and lecturer and school administrator, was born in New York City but was raised on a farm in Attleboro, Massachusetts, the son of Charles Fine and Rebecca Goldin, farmers. From his early youth Fine was rigorously active and would remain so for the rest of his life. He walked miles to get the school bus (good for later story enhancement), milked the cows, and did the farm chores, thus confirming philosopher ...

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Finley, John Huston (19 October 1863–07 March 1940), educator and journalist, was born in Grand Ridge, Illinois, the son of James Gibson Finley and Lydia McCombs, farmers. After attending Illinois rural public schools and acquiring knowledge of Latin from tutors, Finley enrolled at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, in the fall of 1882. Also attending Knox at the time was Martha “Mattie” Boyden, a banker’s daughter from Sheffield, Illinois, John’s future wife. An old-time coed college with a radical antislavery tradition, Knox sought to reconcile learning, moral rectitude, and worldly success. Finley hoped to become a journalist but realized that he needed the further training the new universities were offering. Thus, after graduation from Knox in 1887, he enrolled at the pioneering Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he studied social science in the period prior to disciplinary specialization....

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Fry, Varian (15 October 1907–13 September 1967), editor, journalist, and teacher, was born on West 150th Street in Manhattan, the only child of Arthur Fry, a partner in a small Wall Street brokerage firm, and Lillian Mackey Fry, a Hunter College graduate who taught school until her marriage. Two years after their son's birth the couple moved to Ridgewood, New Jersey. At age fourteen, Fry was sent to the prestigious Hotchkiss Prep School in Lakeville, Connecticut, where he remained for two unhappy years. Bright but unruly and rebellious, he tangled with the school authorities and by mutual consent left Hotchkiss in 1924 for the Taft Prep School in Watertown, Connecticut, where he remained for less than six months. Enrolled in 1925 at the Riverdale Country School, he commuted to classes in a new four-door Packard given to him by his father. At one point during that year, the headmaster suspended Fry for "loss of control and unpardonable impertinence," adding however that his "mind is in many respects brilliant" and that he had "clear possibilities of genius." He was accepted by Harvard University in 1926, and his freshman year was spent in a frenzy of intellectual and social activity. Together with a classmate, ...

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Hearn, Lafcadio (27 June 1850–26 September 1904), journalist and author, was born on the Greek island of Leucadia (also known as Santa Maura), the son of Charles Bush Hearn, an Irish surgeon in the British army, and Rosa Antonia Cassimati. He moved to Dublin with his mother in July 1852 to join his father’s relatives. His mother returned to Greece two years later, leaving her son in the custody of Sarah Brenane, a great-aunt. A convert to Catholicism, she enrolled her charge in the Institution Ecclésiastique, a church school near Rouen, France, in 1862, and in St. Cuthbert’s College, a Catholic boys’ school near Durham, England, in 1863. There young Hearn suffered a disfiguring injury when a knotted rope struck him in the face and destroyed the vision in his left eye. He was withdrawn from school in October 1867 when his great-aunt could no longer pay his fees, and after boarding in London for a few lonely months he was given passage money to America....

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Hildreth, Richard (28 June 1807–11 July 1865), journalist, antislavery activist, philosopher, and historian, was born in Deerfield, Massachusetts, the son of Hosea Hildreth, a Congregational (later Unitarian) minister and educator, and Sarah McLeod Hildreth. He attended Phillips Exeter Academy, where his father was professor of mathematics and natural philosophy. After graduating from Harvard in 1826, he spent a year teaching school in Concord, Massachusetts. This experience inspired his earliest historical writing, ...