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Pierre S. du Pont. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-103865).

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du Pont, Pierre Samuel (15 January 1870–05 April 1954), industrialist and educational reformer, was born at “Nemours,” on the Brandywine Creek near Wilmington, Delaware, the son of Lammot du Pont and Mary Belin. He was named for his great-great-grandfather Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours, the French physiocrat who fled revolutionary France in 1799. His father, second in command of the family powder-making firm during the long reign of ...

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Folger, Henry Clay (18 June 1857–11 June 1930), industrialist, book collector, and philanthropist, was born in New York City, the son of Henry Clay Folger, a dealer in wholesale millinery, and Eliza Jane Clark. After attending Brooklyn’s Adelphi Academy on a scholarship, Folger entered Amherst College. When his father’s business failed during his junior year, Folger briefly attended the City University of New York. He returned to Amherst after being guaranteed the necessary funds by patrons who included Charles M. Pratt, an oil merchant and the father of Folger’s roommate. In March of his senior year Folger attended a lecture delivered by the aged poet and essayist ...

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Miller, Lewis (24 July 1829–17 February 1899), educator, religious leader, and industrialist, was born in Greentown, Ohio, the third son of John Miller and Mary Elizabeth York Miller, farmers. Miller's mother died soon after his birth. In 1830 his father married Elizabeth Tawney Aultman, a widow with two children, who bore six more children and brought a fervent Methodism to the household. An enthusiastic reader, Lewis Miller relished his little time spent in the local school. The demands of farming frustrated his desire for extensive formal education. By age sixteen Miller occasionally taught school but perceived little opportunity for advancement in the profession without additional schooling. He learned the plaster trade, which offered shorter hours than farming, and devoted the extra time to personal studies....

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Straus, Roger Williams (14 December 1891–28 July 1957), corporation executive and educational administrator, was born in New York City, the son of Oscar Solomon Straus, a lawyer, businessman, and diplomat, and Sarah Lavanburg. Straus’s father served as U.S. minister to Turkey and as secretary of commerce and labor in President ...