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Butler, Nicholas Murray (02 April 1862–07 December 1947), educator, politician, and president of Columbia University, was the son of Henry Leny Butler, an importer and textile manufacturer, and Mary Jones Murray. From early childhood Butler was an enthusiastic, self-motivated student. He attended public high School in Paterson, New Jersey, graduating at age thirteen after passing a series of rigorous examinations. He continued his education privately from age fourteen to seventeen, learning Latin and Greek and doing further work in mathematics....

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Joshua L. Chamberlain. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-1859).

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Chamberlain, Joshua Lawrence (08 September 1828–24 February 1914), soldier, politician, and educator, was born in Brewer, Maine, the son of Joshua Chamberlain, a farmer and shipbuilder, and Sarah Dupee Brastow. After attending a military academy in Ellsworth, Chamberlain entered Bowdoin College in 1848, graduating in 1852. Three years later, after graduating from the Bangor Theological Seminary, he joined Bowdoin’s faculty and taught a broad range of subjects, including logic, natural theology, rhetoric, oratory, and modern languages. In 1855 he married Frances Caroline Adams; of the couple’s five children, three survived to adulthood....

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Clark, Peter Humphries (1829–21 June 1925), educator, politician, and civil rights leader, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Michael Clark, a barber, and his wife (name unknown). Clark was the product of a complex, mixed racial ancestry that provided the basis for a lifelong struggle to find a place for himself in both the white and African-American worlds. The oral tradition of Peter Clark’s family and of the Cincinnati African-American community contends that Michael Clark was the son of explorer ...

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Frelinghuysen, Theodore (28 March 1787–12 April 1862), lawyer, politician, and educator, was born in Franklin Township, Somerset County, New Jersey, into one of New Jersey’s most prominent families. His great-grandfather, Theodorus Jacobus Frelinghuysen, participated prominently in the eighteenth-century religious movement known as the “Great Awakening”; his father, Frederick Frelinghuysen, served as a captain of artillery at the battles of Trenton and Monmouth and later was a Federalist U.S. senator. His mother, Gertrude Schenck, died when he was a boy, and the chief feminine influences in young Theodore’s life were his stepmother, Ann Yard, and his paternal grandmother, Dinah Frelinghuysen, both women of strong Christian convictions. His education prepared him for the kind of leadership expected of his social class: the Reverend Robert Finley’s Academy at Basking Ridge, College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) class of 1804, and law study with ...

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Hadley, Herbert Spencer (20 February 1872–01 December 1927), politician, lawyer, and educator, was born in Olathe, Kansas, the son of John Milton Hadley and Harriett Beach, farmers. He earned an A.B. in 1892 from the University of Kansas and an LL.B. in 1894 from Northwestern University. In 1901 he married Agnes Lee; they had three children....

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Mills, Elijah Hunt (01 December 1776–05 May 1829), lawyer, educator, and politician, was born in Chesterfield, Massachusetts, the son of the Reverend Benjamin Mills and Mary Hunt. The youngest of five children, Mills was orphaned before he was ten. He moved to Northampton, Massachusetts, and was adopted by his maternal uncle Elijah Hunt. Mills was schooled by private tutors before attending Williams College, from which he graduated in 1797. Returning to Northampton, he read the law, was admitted to the bar in 1803, and served as the town clerk from 1804 to 1814. Mills married twice: the first time in 1802 to Sarah Hunt, who died soon after their wedding, and the second time in 1804 to Harriette Blake, with whom he had seven children....

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Nash, Philleo (25 October 1909–12 October 1987), educator, federal administrator, and lieutenant governor of Wisconsin, was born in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, the son of Guy Nash, a cranberry grower, and Florence Philleo. He attended elementary and high schools in Wisconsin Rapids, followed by a brief period of study at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. In the fall of 1927 Nash enrolled in ...

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Northen, William Jonathan (09 July 1835–25 March 1913), politician and educator, was born in Jones County, Georgia, to Peter Northen, a planter, and Louisa Maria Davis. In 1840 the family moved to Penfield in Greene County, Georgia, where Peter Northen directed Mercer University’s manual labor program and farmed a modest plantation. William Northen attended Mercer University, graduating with a B.A. in 1853. That same year he experienced Christian conversion, joined the Baptist church, and suffered his first emotional and physical breakdown. Like many driven individuals, Northen struggled with depression and exhaustion several times during his life....

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Purnell, William Henry (03 February 1826–30 March 1902), politician and educator, was born in Worcester County, Maryland, the son of Moses Purnell and Maria Bowen, farmers. In 1846 he was graduated from Delaware College (now the University of Delaware). After reading law at Snow Hill with Judge John R. Franklin, Purnell was admitted to the Maryland bar in 1848. He was also elected a member of the county school board and chief town commissioner. At this time he was an ardent Whig. In 1849 he and Margaret Neill Martin were married. They had ten children, of whom the first five died from diphtheria in childhood....

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Rayner, John Baptis (13 November 1850–14 July 1918), politician and educator, was born in Raleigh, North Carolina, the son of Kenneth Rayner, a planter, and Mary Ricks, a slave. His father had a long public career as a Whig congressman, Know Nothing party leader, and, after the Civil War, a Republican federal officeholder. The elder Rayner acknowledged that John was his son and helped him secure a college education at Raleigh Theological Institute (today Shaw University) and St. Augustine’s Normal and Collegiate Institute....

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Ricord, Frederick William (07 October 1819–12 August 1897), public official and educator, was born on the island of Guadaloupe, the son of Jean Baptiste Ricord, a physician, and Elizabeth Stryker, an educator and writer, and the brother of Philippe Ricord, the famous specialist on venereal diseases. Ricord’s grandfather, a Girondist, left France in 1794, migrated to Italy and Guadaloupe, and arrived in Baltimore in 1798. When Ricord’s father, who was educated in the United States and naturalized in 1810, died in 1827, the family moved to Woodbridge, New Jersey, a farming community near the small ports of Elizabeth and Perth Amboy. A year or two later, the Ricords moved to Geneva, New York, where Ricord’s mother operated a school for girls. At fourteen Ricord entered the school that became Hobart College and later transferred to Rutgers College. For unknown reasons, he did not finish his course and returned to Geneva, where he read law. He then settled in Newark, New Jersey, the home of his maternal grandparents. In 1843 he married Sophia Bradley, with whom he had four children....

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Schuschnigg, Kurt Alois Josef Johann von (14 December 1897–18 November 1977), Austrian statesman and American university professor, was born at Riva del Garda, South Tirol, Austria, the son of Artur Viktor Schuschnigg, a general in the imperial army, and Anna Wopfner. Early life in garrisons and school led Schuschnigg to emphasize duty, propriety, and rectitude as well as to value Austria’s traditional Catholic culture. He received rigorous schooling at Stella Matutina, a Jesuit academy in Vorarlberg. After front-line service from 1915 to 1918 and a year-long imprisonment in Italy, Schuschnigg studied at Freiburg and then, despite a personal preference for the liberal arts, completed a degree in law at the University of Innsbruck in 1922. He began his career in Innsbruck, his mother’s hometown, and in 1924 he married Hermine Masera, with whom he had one son. “Herma” died in 1936. In 1927 he took a seat in the ...

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Franz Sigel. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-1512).

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Sigel, Franz (18 November 1824–21 August 1902), soldier, educator, and politician, was born in Sinsheim, Grand Duchy of Baden, the son of Franz Moritz Sigel, a chief magistrate, and Maria Anna Lichtenauer. Sigel graduated from the military academy at Karlsruhe in 1843 and entered the service of the Grand Duke of Baden as a lieutenant. He played a conspicuous role in the revolutionary ferment that swept Baden five years later. During the 1848 revolt for unification of the German states along liberal constitutional lines, he held a command in the revolutionary army in Baden. Defeated by the Prussian army, he fled to Switzerland. In 1849, after a revolutionary government came to power, Sigel returned to Baden and became secretary of war. Prussian troops entered Baden soon after to restore the deposed government. Sigel took the field as adjutant to the commander of the army, which was defeated at the battle of Waghäusel. With the revolution over, Sigel took command of the beaten army and conducted a difficult retreat to Switzerland. He would be fondly remembered by his fellow exiles as a magnificent failure in a memorable cause....

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Snow, Wilbert (06 April 1884–28 September 1977), college professor, poet, and politician, was born Charles Wilbert Snow on White Head Island, St. George, Maine, the son of Forrest Alwin Snow, a coast guardsman, and Katherine Frances Quinn, the Canadian-born daughter of Irish immigrants. When he was seven the family moved to Spruce Head on the mainland so that four of the six children could attend the village school. Before attending high school in Thomaston, Maine, Snow worked for three years as a lobsterman, deepening his acquaintance with the tasks and rhythms of the coastal life that were to figure in his poetry. After high school he worked in a stone quarry. Fired for trying to organize the laborers there, he taught for two short periods in rural schools. Seeing in both settings the plight of people who worked hard and faced retirement with no pensions and little savings motivated Snow to improve social conditions through political action....

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Wilson, William Lyne (03 May 1843–17 October 1900), politician and educator, was born in Jefferson County, (West) Virginia, the son of Benjamin Wilson, a teacher and farmer, and Mary Ann Whiting Lyne. Wilson received a B.A. from Columbian College (now George Washington University) in 1860 and attended the University of Virginia (1860–1861). From 1861 to 1865 he served as a private in the Confederate cavalry. His diary from these years reveals Wilson as an effective, learned writer. In 1865 Wilson returned to Columbian College to teach Latin and study law. Three years later he married Nannie Judson Huntington; they had six children. Admitted to the bar in 1869, Wilson entered practice at Charles Town, West Virginia, in 1871. There he played an active role in the Democratic party, serving as city attorney and county superintendent of schools and running unsuccessfully in 1874 for state representative. In 1880 he represented West Virginia at the national convention and served as a presidential elector. His speeches that year, tinged with erudition, earned him renown as a scholar in politics, and two years later the Democratic Board of Regents appointed him president of West Virginia University. But he held that post for less than a year. In 1882 he won election to Congress, where he served for the next twelve years....