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Burns, Eveline M. (16 March 1900–2 Sept. 1985), economist and Social Security expert, was born Eveline Mabel Richardson in London, the daughter of Frederick Haig Richardson and Eveline Faulkner. Her mother died of complications from her birth, and her father, who administered an office in London that sold silver flatware, remarried the next year. She characterized her father as a very conservative man who aimed to control his household. He did not encourage secondary education; he did not think women should work; he did not approve of government provision of services. Viewing her subsequent life choices, it is clear that Eveline did not let her father control her or her political views....

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Campbell, Persia Crawford (15 March 1898–02 March 1974), economist and consumer leader, was born in Nerrigundah, Australia, the daughter of Rodolph Campbell and Beatrice Harriet Hunt, schoolteachers. She was the first of two children. Her parents were strong Presbyterians and instilled in her at an early age a love of learning. Before she entered high school her father died, leaving her mother as the sole breadwinner. Persia tried to help by making and selling dolls’ clothes. With her excellent grades she was able to enter a state scholarship high school for girls from families of modest incomes....

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Chamberlain, Mariam K. (24 April 1918–02 April 2013), feminist economist, foundation officer, and women’s studies advocate, was born Mariam Kenosian in Chelsea, Massachusetts, the second child and only daughter of Avack Kenosian, a factory worker, and Zabel Kenosian, a homemaker. Her parents immigrated to the United States in 1912 and 1913 in the midst of ongoing Turkish violence against the Armenian community. Despite her parents’ poverty and lack of support for women’s higher education, Mariam was the valedictorian of her class at Chelsea High School. She was accepted to Radcliffe College in 1936, paying her deposit with a $50 prize she had won as the first girl marbles champion of Chelsea. Living at home, Mariam won scholarships, borrowed, and worked as a secretary, completing a B.A. in economics in June 1940. In 1941 she was accepted for the Ph.D. program in economics at Harvard University....

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Henry George. Oil on wood, 1888, by George de Forest Brush. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Mrs. Boris Chaliapin ©2008 Estate of Helcia Chaliapin.

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George, Henry (02 September 1839–29 October 1897), economist and reformer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Richard Samuel Henry George, a book publisher, and Catherine Pratt Vallance. George was raised in an atmosphere of daily religious exercises and serious reading. His father was a vestryman in the Protestant Episcopal church who, after a career as a dry-goods merchant and customs-house clerk, published books for the church and its related tract societies....

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Nearing, Scott (06 August 1883–24 August 1983), economist and social reformer, was born in Morris Run, Pennsylvania, the son of Louis Nearing, an engineer, and Minnie Zabriskie. During his youth, a central influence on Nearing’s life was his grandfather, Winfield Scott Nearing, the superintendent of the Morris Run Coal Mining Company. His grandfather embodied the contradictions of the elite in their exercise of authority for the benefit of the common good as well as their abuse of power for preserving wealth and status. Nearing attended the University of Pennsylvania beginning in 1901, earning a doctorate in economics from the university’s Wharton School in 1909 under the tutelage of progressive economist Simon Nelson Patten. Between 1906 and 1915 Nearing became involved in progressive social causes in Philadelphia, serving as secretary of the Pennsylvania Child Labor Committee while teaching sociology at Temple University and economics at Swarthmore College and at the Wharton School. Beginning in 1913 he taught at the Rand School in New York City and lectured on social science at the Chautauqau, New York, summer school. During this time he spent his summers and weekends at Arden, Delaware, a single-tax community based on ...

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Veblen, Thorstein Bunde (30 July 1857–03 August 1929), economist and social critic, was born in Cato Township, Manitowoc County, Wisconsin, the son of Thomas Anderson Veblen and Kari Thorsteindatter Bunde, farmers. Veblen’s parents had emigrated from Norway in 1847 and, after three earlier attempts at farming in Wisconsin, settled permanently in 1865 on a farm near Northfield, Minnesota....

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Warne, Colston Estey (14 August 1900–20 May 1987), economist and consumer leader, was born in Romulus, New York, the son of Clinton Arlington, a jack-of-all-trades, and Harriet Ellsworth Estey, a Seneca County feminist. Warne studied engineering and economics at Cornell, where he received a B.A. in 1920 and an M.A. in 1921. In 1920 Warne married Frances Lee Corbett; they had three children. At Cornell, Warne developed a strong interest in studying labor economics and theories of consumption under the guidance of ...

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Robert C. Weaver Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USE6-D-010813).

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Weaver, Robert C. (29 December 1907–17 July 1997), economist, political administrator, and educator, was born Robert Clifton Weaver in Washington, D.C., the son of Mortimer Grover Weaver, a postal clerk, and Florence Freeman Weaver. Weaver grew up in a middle-class and educated family, one of seven African-American families in a Washington suburb. His father worked for the post office. (One grandfather, ...