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Allen, Philip (01 September 1785–16 December 1865), manufacturer, governor, and senator, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Captain Zachariah Allen, a West Indies trader, and Nancy Crawford. Allen received his early education from tutors before attending Taunton Academy in Providence, Robert Rogers School in Newport, and Jeremiah Chaplin’s Latin School in Providence. In 1799 he entered Rhode Island College (now Brown University) and graduated in 1803....

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Bankhead, John Hollis (08 July 1872–12 June 1946), lawyer, businessman and U.S. senator, was born in Moscow in Lamar County, Alabama, the son of John Hollis Bankhead (1842–1920), a farmer and later U.S. senator, and Tallulah Brockman. After spending his childhood in Wetumpka and Fayette, Alabama, he received an A.B. from the University of Alabama (1891) and an LL.B. from Georgetown University (1893). In 1894 Bankhead married Musa Harkins of Fayette, with whom he had three children. Settling in Jasper, he became a lawyer for the Alabama Power Company and for leading railroads. From 1911 to 1925 he was president of the Bankhead Coal Company, a firm founded by his father, which owned one of Alabama’s largest mines....

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W. Warren Barbour. Courtesy of Congessional Biography.

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Barbour, W. Warren (31 July 1888–22 November 1943), businessman and U.S. senator from New Jersey, was born William Warren Barbour in Monmouth Beach, New Jersey, the son of Colonel William Barbour, president of The Linen Thread Company, and Julia Adelaide Sprague. Barbour was educated at the Browning School in New York City. Though admitted to Princeton in 1906, he instead entered the family's thread business. In 1908 Barbour enlisted in Squadron A of the New York National Guard....

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Bowen, Thomas Meade (26 October 1835–30 December 1906), U.S. senator and mining entrepreneur, was born in Burlington, Iowa. His parents’ names and occupations are unknown. Bowen was educated at Mount Pleasant Academy (Mount Pleasant, Iowa) and began practicing law in 1853 at the age of eighteen. He was elected to the Iowa House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1856 but served only one term before moving to Kansas, where he joined the Republican party over the issue of free soil. During the Civil War, Bowen organized and commanded the Thirteenth Kansas Infantry and was eventually brevetted a brigadier general in 1863. When the war ended, Bowen was stationed in Arkansas. He settled in Little Rock, where he married Margarette Thurston and established himself as a planter and a prominent lawyer. Whether they had children is not known....

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Blanche Kelso Bruce. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZC4-2781).

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Bruce, Blanche Kelso (01 March 1841–17 March 1898), black political leader and U.S. senator during the Reconstruction era, was born in Farmville, Virginia, the son of Polly (surname unknown), a slave. The identity of his father is unknown, but he took the surname of the man who owned his mother before he was born. His childhood as a slave on a small plantation, first in Virginia, then briefly in Mississippi, and finally in Missouri did not significantly differ, as he later recalled, from that of the sons of whites. This relatively benign experience in slavery perhaps owed a great deal to the fact that he was a light-skinned mulatto and the favorite of a benevolent master and mistress. He shared a tutor with his master’s son and thus obtained the education that prepared him for later success. During the Civil War, despite the benevolence of his owner, he fled to freedom in Kansas, but after slavery was abolished he returned to Missouri where he reportedly established the first school in the state for blacks, at Hannibal....

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Butler, Hugh Alfred (28 February 1878–01 July 1954), U.S. senator, was born in Calhoun, Iowa, the son of Harvey Gibson Butler and Ida Wills, farmers. In 1884 the family moved to a homestead south of Cambridge, Nebraska. In 1895 Butler entered Doane Academy in Crete, Nebraska, and the next year he enrolled in Doane College, a Congregational school. Graduating in 1900 with a bachelor of science degree, he considered studying law but instead took a job with the Burlington Railroad. In 1903 Butler married his college sweetheart, Fay Johnson; they had two sons, both of whom died early in life....

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Johnson Newlon Camden. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-101787).

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Camden, Johnson Newlon (06 March 1828–25 April 1908), oil company executive, pioneer industrialist, and U.S. senator, was born in Collins Settlement, Lewis County, Virginia (now Jacksonville, W.Va.), the son of John Scrivener Camden, a justice of the peace, and Nancy Newlon. Camden’s father bought a house and tavern in Sutton, Braxton County, and moved the family there in 1837....

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Clark, William Andrews (08 January 1839–02 March 1925), businessman and politician, was born in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, the son of John Clark, a farmer and Presbyterian elder, and Mary Andrews. In 1856 Clark moved to Van Buren County, Iowa. He taught school in Iowa and briefly in Missouri. He also attended Iowa Wesleyan College for two years as a law student, although the precise years of his attendance and whether he graduated are unknown. Most likely his college years fell between 1859 and 1862....

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Crane, Winthrop Murray (23 April 1853–02 October 1920), industrialist, governor of Massachusetts, and U.S. senator, was born in Dalton, Massachusetts, the son of Zenas Marshall Crane, a paper manufacturer, and Louise Fanny Laflin. A member of a wealthy and politically prominent western Massachusetts family, Crane attended Wesleyan Academy (later Wilbraham Academy) in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, and Williston Seminary in Easthampton. He left school in 1870 to work in his family’s paper mills. After trying every job from floor sweeper to mill superintendent, he found his niche in sales....

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Davis, Henry Gassaway (16 November 1823–11 March 1916), industrialist and U.S. senator, was born in Woodlawn, Baltimore County, Maryland, the son of Caleb Davis and Louise Warfield Brown. Davis’s father, a construction contractor who worked for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, suffered debilitating financial reverses when Davis was young, and his mother supported the family by operating a girls’ school....

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DeWolf, James (18 March 1764–21 December 1837), slave trader, politician, and businessman, was born in Bristol, Rhode Island. His father, Mark Anthony DeWolf, emigrated from Guadeloupe Island, West Indies, after being hired as a deckhand on a slave-trading vessel owned by Simeon Potter. Once back in Bristol, Potter introduced Mark Anthony to his sister Abigail Potter. The two married shortly thereafter and had fifteen children; eight were sons of which three died at sea. The remaining five boys, including James, became involved in the transatlantic slave trade. All the DeWolf children, boys and girls, received a formal education and lived a somewhat privileged life....

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du Pont, T. Coleman (11 December 1863–11 November 1930), industrialist and senator, was born Thomas Coleman du Pont in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of Ellen Susan Coleman and Antoine Bidermann du Pont, a businessman. He was a great-grandson of Eleuthère Irénée du Pont...

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Fair, James Graham (03 December 1831–28 December 1894), miner, financier, and U.S. senator, was born near Belfast, Ireland, the son of Scotch-Irish parents. His father’s name was James Fair; only his mother’s maiden name, Graham, is known. In 1843 Fair’s parents left Ireland with their son and emigrated to the United States. The family settled in Geneva, Illinois. After attending public schools, Fair continued his studies, primarily in business, chemistry, and mathematics in nearby Chicago....

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Flanders, Ralph Edward (28 September 1880–19 February 1970), industrialist and U.S. senator, was born in Barnet, Vermont, the son of Albert Wellington Flanders, a farmer and woodworker, and Mary Lizzie Gilfillan, a schoolteacher. At the age of six his family moved to Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and two years later to a farm near Lincoln, Rhode Island. Graduating from a country school at fifteen, the eldest of nine children in a poor family that needed his wages, he became an apprentice machinist....

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Grundy, Joseph Ridgway (13 January 1863–03 March 1961), business leader, lobbyist, and senator, was born in Camden, New Jersey, the son of William Hulme Grundy, a woolens manufacturer, and Mary Lamb Ridgway. Reared in an upper-class Quaker home in Bristol, Pennsylvania, he received a part of his early education at the Moravian School for Boys (Lititz, Pa.) and subsequently spent three years at Swarthmore College (two in its preparatory division). In 1880 he made a grand tour of Europe and after his return began work for his father’s company. In 1885, after working in each of the mill’s operations, he became a wool buyer. Following his father’s death in 1893, he became the company’s head and also the principal stockholder in the Farmers National Bank of Bucks County, originally founded by his great-great-grandfather. Under his leadership, Grundy and Company prospered, soon making him a multimillionaire. He never married....

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Joseph F. Guffey Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-115055).

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Guffey, Joseph F. (29 December 1870–06 March 1959), U.S. senator and businessman, was born in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, the son of John Guffey and Barbaretta Hough, wealthy farmers. From an early age he was interested in politics, and he and his sister, Emma Guffey Miller...