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Burns, Eveline M. (16 March 1900–2 Sept. 1985), economist and Social Security expert, was born Eveline Mabel Richardson in London, the daughter of Frederick Haig Richardson and Eveline Faulkner. Her mother died of complications from her birth, and her father, who administered an office in London that sold silver flatware, remarried the next year. She characterized her father as a very conservative man who aimed to control his household. He did not encourage secondary education; he did not think women should work; he did not approve of government provision of services. Viewing her subsequent life choices, it is clear that Eveline did not let her father control her or her political views....

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Henry George. Oil on wood, 1888, by George de Forest Brush. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Mrs. Boris Chaliapin ©2008 Estate of Helcia Chaliapin.

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George, Henry (02 September 1839–29 October 1897), economist and reformer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Richard Samuel Henry George, a book publisher, and Catherine Pratt Vallance. George was raised in an atmosphere of daily religious exercises and serious reading. His father was a vestryman in the Protestant Episcopal church who, after a career as a dry-goods merchant and customs-house clerk, published books for the church and its related tract societies....

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Nearing, Scott (06 August 1883–24 August 1983), economist and social reformer, was born in Morris Run, Pennsylvania, the son of Louis Nearing, an engineer, and Minnie Zabriskie. During his youth, a central influence on Nearing’s life was his grandfather, Winfield Scott Nearing, the superintendent of the Morris Run Coal Mining Company. His grandfather embodied the contradictions of the elite in their exercise of authority for the benefit of the common good as well as their abuse of power for preserving wealth and status. Nearing attended the University of Pennsylvania beginning in 1901, earning a doctorate in economics from the university’s Wharton School in 1909 under the tutelage of progressive economist Simon Nelson Patten. Between 1906 and 1915 Nearing became involved in progressive social causes in Philadelphia, serving as secretary of the Pennsylvania Child Labor Committee while teaching sociology at Temple University and economics at Swarthmore College and at the Wharton School. Beginning in 1913 he taught at the Rand School in New York City and lectured on social science at the Chautauqau, New York, summer school. During this time he spent his summers and weekends at Arden, Delaware, a single-tax community based on ...