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Anneke, Mathilde Franziska Giesler (03 April 1817–25 November 1884), suffragist, author, and educator, was born in Lerchenhausen, Westphalia, Germany, the daughter of Karl Giesler, a Catholic landlord and mine owner, and Elisabeth Hülswitt. She grew up comfortably and was well educated, more through learned company than tutors and schools. In fact, as a teacher in later years she would read “Fridjhoff’s saga to her pupils and recite from memory the translation she had read when eleven years old,” given to her by a prince (Heinzen, p. 3)....

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Henry Walton Bibb. Lithograph on paper, 1847, by Unidentified Artist. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

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Bibb, Henry Walton (10 May 1815–1854), author, editor, and antislavery lecturer, was born into slavery on the plantation of David White of Shelby County, Kentucky, the son of James Bibb, a slaveholding planter and state senator, and Mildred Jackson. White began hiring Bibb out as a laborer on several neighboring plantations before the age of ten. The constant change in living situations throughout his childhood, combined with the inhumane treatment he often received at the hands of strangers, set a pattern for life that he would later refer to in his autobiography as “my manner of living on the road.” Bibb was sold more than six times between 1832 and 1840 and was forced to relocate to at least seven states throughout the South; later, as a free man, his campaign for abolition took him throughout eastern Canada and the northern United States. But such early instability also made the young Bibb both self-sufficient and resourceful, two characteristics that were useful against the day-to-day assault of slavery: “The only weapon of self defense that I could use successfully,” he wrote, “was that of deception.”...

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Bradford, John (06 June 1749–20 March 1830), first printer in Kentucky, was born in Prince William (later Fauquier) County, Virginia, the son of Daniel Bradford, a surveyor for Fauquier County, and Alice Morgan. He was one of eleven children in a family that probably also farmed. Bradford’s father taught him the craft of surveying. In 1771 John Bradford married Eliza James; they had five sons and four daughters....

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Brant, Irving Newton (17 January 1885–18 September 1976), biographer, journalist, and historian, was born in Walker, Iowa, the son of David Brant, the editor of the local newspaper, and Ruth Hurd Brant. Irving Brant decided on a career in journalism. He was educated in local schools and at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, from which he earned a BA in 1909....

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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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Bryan, John Stewart (23 October 1871–16 October 1944), newspaper publisher and college president, was born at Brook Hill, Henrico County, Virginia, the son of Joseph Bryan, a newspaper publisher, and Isobel Lamont Stewart. Bryan grew up at “Brook Hill” and “Laburnum,” his family’s ancestral estates near Richmond, Virginia. Among his ancestors were Virginia’s first families, including the Byrds and the Blands, as well as many leaders of the Confederacy; General ...

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Burk, John Daly (1776?–?11 Apr. 1808), editor, historian, and dramatist, was born in Ireland, arriving in America at the age of twenty. His parents’ names are unknown. He was a student at Trinity College in Dublin, but he was dismissed for “deism and republicanism” and eventually forced to leave Ireland, presumably because of political difficulties. Legend has it that a woman named Miss Daly gave him her female attire to help him escape from the British, hence the use of Daly in his name....

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Carleton, Will (21 October 1845–18 December 1912), poet, lecturer, and editor, was born William McKendree Carleton in Hudson, Michigan, the son of John Hancock Carleton, a pioneer farmer, and Celestia Elvira Smith. An earnest, sensitive lad with an early passion for reading, he began writing poetry in his diary in his early teens....

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Cary, Mary Ann Camberton Shadd (09 October 1823–05 June 1893), African-American educator, journalist/editor, and lawyer, was born in Wilmington, Delaware, the daughter of Abraham Doras Shadd and Harriet Parnell. Although the eldest of thirteen children, Mary Ann Shadd grew up in comfortable economic circumstances. Little is known about her mother except that she was born in North Carolina in 1806 and was of mixed black and white heritage; whether she was born free or a slave is unknown. Shadd’s father was also of mixed-race heritage. His paternal grandfather, Jeremiah Schad, was a German soldier who had fought in the American Revolution and later married Elizabeth Jackson, a free black woman from Pennsylvania. Abraham Shadd had amassed his wealth as a shoemaker, and his property by the 1830s was valued at $5,000. He was a respected member of the free black community in Wilmington and in West Chester, Pennsylvania, where the family had moved sometime in the 1830s, and he served as a delegate to the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1835 and 1836....

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Coggeshall, William Turner (06 September 1824–02 August 1867), journalist, state librarian, and diplomat, was born in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, the son of William C. Coggeshall, a coachsmith, and Eliza Grotz. At the age of eighteen he headed west and settled in Akron, Ohio. There he launched his career by starting the ...

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Croly, David Goodman (03 November 1829–29 April 1889), journalist and social thinker, was born in County Cork, Ireland, the son of Patrick Croly and Elizabeth (maiden name unknown), Irish Protestants; the family moved to New York City when David was an infant. Although a poor man, Croly’s father collected books and read widely in history, theology, and letters. As a youth David served an apprenticeship to a silversmith but found his real pleasure in reading, thinking, writing, and debating. He attended New York University (then called the University of the City of New York) for a year, receiving a “special diploma” in 1854. In 1855 he became a reporter for the ...

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Dabney, Virginius (08 February 1901–28 December 1995), journalist and historian, was born in University (now Charlottesville), Virginia, the son of Richard Heath Dabney, a history professor, and Lily Heth Davis. Schooled at home until the age of thirteen, he then attended the prestigious Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Virginia. He earned a B.A. in 1902 and an M.A. in 1921 from the University of Virginia, taught French at Episcopal High School (1921–1922), and then began a long and accomplished career in journalism in Richmond, Virginia. He married Douglas Harrison Chelf in 1923; they had three children, and their marriage lasted until her death in 1994....

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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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Day, William Howard (16 October 1825–02 December 1900), educator and editor, was born in New York City, the son of John Day, a sailmaker, and Eliza Dixon, a seamstress. J. P. Williston, an inkmaker from Northampton, Massachusetts, first met Day during a visit to a school for black children in New York City. Williston was so impressed with the young student that he persuaded Day’s mother to allow him, a white man, to adopt her son. Day spent five years in Northampton, where he attended school and was apprenticed as a printer at the ...

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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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Freeman, Douglas Southall (16 May 1886–13 June 1953), newspaper editor and military historian, was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, the son of Walker Burford Freeman, a general agent for the New York Life Insurance Company, and Bettie Allen Hamner. He was not yet six years old when the family moved to Richmond, the former capital of the Confederacy and a center of Confederate memorials and gatherings. He earned a B.A. from Richmond College (now the University of Richmond) in 1904 and a Ph.D. in history from Johns Hopkins University in 1908 at the age of twenty-two. Freeman never published his dissertation, on secession in Virginia, but he published an edited volume in 1908, ...

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Funk, Isaac Kauffman (10 September 1839–04 April 1912), publisher and reformer, was born near Clifton, Ohio, the son of John Funk and Martha Kauffman, farmers. Funk graduated from Wittenberg College in 1860 and from its theological seminary the following year. He subsequently held pastorates at Lutheran churches near Moreshill, Indiana, and in Carey, Ohio, before moving to St. Matthews’ English Lutheran Church in Brooklyn, New York, where he remained the longest. In 1863 he married Eliza Thompson; they had two children. The year after his wife’s death in 1868 he married her sister, Helen G. Thompson. The couple had one son....

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Garreau, Armand (13 September 1817–28 March 1865), Romantic writer, journalist, and educator, was born Louis-Armand Garreau in Cognac, France, the son of Louis-Armand Garreau, a lawyer and veteran of the Napoleonic wars, and Marie Rose Dumontet, a native of Saint-Pierre, Martinique. Apparently Garreau left home at a very early age to receive a classical education in Paris at the Lycée Henri IV. Financial difficulties prevented him from completing law school, but before he left Paris to take up a teaching position in the department of Gironde he encountered a New Orleanian who impressed him with talk of opportunity in Louisiana....

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Goodman, Joseph Thompson (18 September 1838–01 October 1917), writer, publisher, and archaeologist, was born in Masonville, Delaware County, New York, the son of Caleb Goodman. His mother’s name is unknown. Little is known of his early life. Sometime during the 1850s, Goodman moved west with his brother and father and began to work as a typesetter for the ...