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Warren R. Austin. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-107894).

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Austin, Warren Robinson (12 November 1877–25 December 1962), U.S. senator and ambassador, was born in the rural community of Highgate Center, Vermont, near the Canadian border, the son of Chauncey Goodrich Austin, a successful country lawyer, and Anne Robinson. He attended the University of Vermont, receiving his Ph.B. in 1899. He married Mildred Lucas in 1901, and they had two children....

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Baker, Howard Henry, Jr. (15 Nov. 1925–26 June 2014), politician and diplomat, was born in Huntsville, Tennessee, to Howard Henry Baker, Sr., a lawyer and politician who subsequently served in the US House of Representatives (1951–1964), and Dora Ladd Baker. The Baker family were staunch Presbyterians, members of the Republican Party since the Civil War, and longtime defenders of civil rights for the minority African American population. Young Baker’s paternal grandfather was a prominent judge, and his maternal grandmother was the first female sheriff in Tennessee....

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Bayard, Richard Henry (26 September 1796–04 March 1868), lawyer, senator, and diplomat, was born in Wilmington, Delaware, the son of James Asheton Bayard, a Federalist leader, and Ann Bassett. Bayard graduated from Princeton College in 1814 and then read for the law. Toward the end of the War of 1812 his studies were briefly interrupted by military service. In 1815 he married Mary Sophia Carroll, granddaughter of ...

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Thomas F. Bayard. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-105898).

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Bayard, Thomas Francis (29 October 1828–28 September 1898), U.S. senator, secretary of state, and ambassador to Great Britain, was born in Wilmington, Delaware, the son of James Asheton Bayard, a political leader and U.S. senator, and Ann Francis. The family had been politically prominent in Delaware for generations, and Thomas was educated in private schools. In 1843, when his father moved briefly to New York, Thomas found employment in a mercantile house there and, for less than a year in about 1846–1847, in Philadelphia. Although he never attended college, he at about the age of twenty began to read law in Wilmington and was admitted to the bar in 1851. He developed a successful practice in Wilmington and Philadelphia administering estates and from 1853 to 1854 served as U.S. district attorney for Delaware. In 1856 he married Louise Lee, with whom he had three sons and six daughters....

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Solon Borland. Daguerreotype from the studio of Mathew B. Brady. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-109949).

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Borland, Solon (08 August 1811–15 December 1864), editor, U.S. senator, and diplomat, was born in Suffolk, Virginia, the son of Thomas Wood Borland, a physician, and Harriet Godwin. His father was politically active, serving as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Nansemond County between 1815 and 1820. In 1831 Borland married Huldah Wright, with whom he had two children. Following in the medical footsteps of his father, he attended the University of Pennsylvania Medical School during the academic year of 1833–1834. He then practiced medicine in Suffolk, but upon the death of his wife in 1836 Borland moved to Memphis, Tennessee. There he entered into a medical career with his brother, who was also a physician. In 1839 Borland married Eliza Hart, who died just a few months later. They had no children. By this time he had forsaken pills for politics, becoming the founding editor of the ...

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Brown, Ethan Allen (04 July 1776–24 February 1852), governor of Ohio, U.S. senator, and diplomat, was born in Darien, Connecticut, the son of Roger Brown, a prominent landholder, and Mary Smith. The youngest of seven children, Brown studied under private tutors who stressed a wide knowledge of languages, most beneficial later in his brief diplomatic career. With the American Revolution playing havoc on his father’s finances, Brown’s later education was sporadic, but in 1797 he began to study law in ...

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Brown, James (11 September 1766–07 April 1835), senator and diplomat, was born near Staunton, Virginia, the son of John Brown, a clergyman, and Margaret Preston. After schooling at the academy at Lexington, Virginia, that became Washington and Lee University, he probably attended William and Mary College; he then studied law under ...

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Simon Cameron. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-B8172-1599).

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Cameron, Simon (08 March 1799–26 June 1889), secretary of war, U.S. senator, and ambassador to Russia, was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the son of Charles Cameron, a tailor and tavern keeper, and Martha Pfoutz. Growing up in an often impoverished family, Cameron received little formal schooling. At age eleven he was placed as a ward in the family of a local doctor. Subsequently he apprenticed himself to several printers in the Lancaster-Harrisburg area, and he became the editor of a newspaper. In Harrisburg he caught the attention of important state politicians who helped his journalistic career. At age twenty-three he moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked for the printing firm of Gales and Seaton, which printed the ...

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Clayton, Powell (07 August 1833–25 August 1914), governor of Arkansas, U.S. senator, and diplomat, was born in Bethel County, Pennsylvania, the son of John Clayton and Ann Clarke. His father was an orchard keeper and carpenter and was prominent locally in Whig politics. Clayton attended local public schools and the Partridge Military Academy at Bristol, Pennsylvania, and he studied civil engineering in Wilmington, Delaware. In 1855 he moved to Leavenworth, Kansas, where he was a land speculator and surveyor....

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Cooper, John Sherman (23 August 1901–21 February 1991), lawyer, senator, and diplomat, was born in Somerset, Kentucky, the son of John Sherman Cooper and Helen Gertrude Tartar. His father, considered the wealthiest man in town and a leader in Pulaski County, was both a county and a circuit judge, as his father had been before him. It was “assumed that the next generation of Coopers would provide the county its leaders” (Krebs, p. 13). Cooper attended Centre College in Kentucky, then Yale University, where he received his degree in 1923. He began to study law at Harvard but returned to Kentucky in 1925 because his father’s death and a recession in 1920 had depleted the family’s resources. During the next twenty-five years Cooper assumed financial responsibility for the family and sent his six brothers and sisters to college. He gained admission to the bar in 1928 at age twenty-seven....

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George Mifflin Dallas. Hand-colored lithograph on paper, 1844, by Nathaniel Currier. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

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Dallas, George Mifflin (10 July 1792–31 December 1864), vice president of the United States, senator, and diplomat, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Alexander James Dallas, a prominent lawyer and Democratic Republican politician, and Arabella Maria Smith. He graduated with highest honors from Princeton in 1810 and studied law with his father before his admission to the bar in 1813....

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Ellis, Powhatan (17 January 1790–18 March 1863), jurist, politician, and foreign minister, was born at Red Hill plantation in Amherst County, Virginia, the son of Josiah Ellis and Jane Shelton. Powhatan’s lineage can be traced backed to 17th-century Virginia; despite his assertions to the contrary, however, there is no evidence that he was related to the Indian leader for whom he was named....

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Ferguson, Homer (25 February 1889–17 December 1982), U.S. senator, ambassador, and judge, was born in Harrison City, Pennsylvania, the son of Samuel Ferguson, a coal mine supervisor, and Margarete Bush. At the age of fifteen Ferguson took his first job, working in the local coal mines. He attended the University of Pittsburgh from 1910 to 1911 and in 1913 received a law degree from the University of Michigan. In 1913 Ferguson married Myrtle Jones, was admitted to the bar, and began practicing law in Detroit, Michigan. He had one child. He continued in private practice until 1929, teaching night school to supplement his income....

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John P. Hale. Daguerreotype from the studio of Mathew B. Brady. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-110048).

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Hale, John Parker (31 March 1806–19 November 1873), senator and diplomat, was born in Rochester, New Hampshire, the son of John Parker Hale, a lawyer, and Lydia C. O’Brien. On the death of her husband in 1819, Hale’s mother took her thirteen children to Eastport, Maine, to live near her relatives and supported her family by taking in boarders. Despite the expense, she sent fourteen-year-old John to Phillips Exeter Academy in 1820 and to Bowdoin College in 1823. Although Hale was not an outstanding student, his cleverness carried him through scholastically, while his heartiness and resonant speaking voice made him a strong debater. After graduating in 1827, he trained for several years in law offices in Rochester and Dover, New Hampshire, before embarking on a successful law career in Dover in 1830. In 1834 he married Lucy Lambert; they had two children....