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Coppin, Fanny Jackson (1837–21 January 1913), educator, civic and religious leader, and feminist, was born a slave in Washington, D.C., the daughter of Lucy Jackson. Her father’s name and the details of her early childhood are unknown. However, by the time she was age ten, her aunt Sarah Orr Clark had purchased her freedom, and Jackson went to live with relatives in New Bedford, Massachusetts. By 1851 she and her relatives had moved to Newport, Rhode Island, where Jackson was employed as a domestic by ...

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Low, Seth (18 January 1850–17 September 1916), reform mayor and university president, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Abiel Abbot Low, a merchant, and Ellen Almira Dow. Low’s mother died a week after his birth, and two years later his father married Ann Davison Bedell Low, the widow of Low’s uncle. Low had all the advantages of wealth and social status: he enjoyed a home in fashionable Brooklyn Heights, summers spent in New England, and travel in Europe. After graduating first in his class from Columbia College in 1870, he joined his father’s tea and silk importing firm, A. A. Low and Brothers, eventually becoming a full partner. On 9 December 1880 he married Annie Wroe Scollay Curtis; they had no children....

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Pillsbury, John Sargent (29 July 1827–18 October 1901), businessman, politician, and "father" of the University of Minnesota, businessman, politician, and “father” of the University of Minnesota, was born in Sutton, New Hampshire, the son of John Pillsbury and Susan Wadleigh. He grew up in Sutton, where his father had a small manufacturing business. There he attended primary school and became an apprentice printer. In 1853 he moved to Warner, New Hampshire, where he worked as a store clerk for his brother and later went into business as a tailor and cloth merchant. It was there he met Mahala Fisk, whom he married in 1856; they had three children and adopted a fourth. In 1853, like many from the East, he traveled to the West Coast in search of greater opportunity and passed through Minnesota. He returned in 1855 and settled in St. Anthony, later incorporated into Minneapolis, and opened a hardware store that he operated for the next two decades. His business was almost wiped out during the panic of 1857 and by a disastrous fire the same year that burned his store to the ground. By living in near poverty for the next several years he paid his debts, restored his business, and eventually prospered....