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Bradwell, James Bolesworth (16 April 1828–29 November 1907), lawyer and publisher, was born in Loughborough, England, the son of Thomas Bradwell and Elizabeth Guthredge, farmers. He came to the United States with his family in 1829, settling first in Utica, New York. In 1833 they moved to west-central Illinois and later to Chicago, making the last journey by covered wagon in 1834. They remained in Chicago only a short time before moving to a site near Wheeling, where they lived in a log cabin. As an adult, Bradwell enjoyed recounting the hardships of his early days in Illinois, which included attacks by Indians....

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Durant, Thomas Jefferson (08 August 1817–03 February 1882), publisher, lawyer, and politician, was born in Philadelphia, the son of John Waldo Durant and Sarah Heyliger. Little is known about Durant’s life in Pennsylvania. He was educated in public schools before matriculating at the University of Pennsylvania in 1830. At the age of fourteen, however, he migrated to New Orleans, apparently as the result of his family’s economic misfortune. By 1837 Durant, along with partner John C. LaRue, was publishing the ...

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Hall, John Elihu (27 December 1783–12 June 1829), lawyer and editor, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of John Hall, a member of a prominent Maryland landholding family, and Sarah Ewing ( Sarah Ewing Hall), an author. The eldest of ten children, Hall grew up in a literary household with strong ties to Philadelphia’s cultural elite. His maternal grandfather, John Ewing, was provost of the University of Pennsylvania. After studying for a time at Princeton without taking a degree, he returned to Philadelphia in 1804 and entered the law office of ...

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Jones, Thomas P. (1774–11 March 1848), science publisher and patent expert, was born in Herefordshire County, England, and trained as a physician. Little is known about his early life. As a young man he emigrated to the United States, possibly in company with ...

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McWilliams, Carey (13 December 1905–27 June 1980), activist attorney, writer, and editor, was born in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, the son of Jerry McWilliams, a cattle rancher, and Harriet Casley. He entered the University of Southern California in 1922 and pursued a liberal arts curriculum but apparently was permitted to enroll in the university’s law school without receiving a B.A. To say that McWilliams was educated in southern California means not merely that he received a J.D. from USC in 1927 but rather, and more importantly, that he learned about the particular injustices that characterized the region in which he lived and committed himself to seeking radical change in those aspects of society....

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Minor, Benjamin Blake (21 October 1818–01 August 1905), editor, educator, and lawyer, was born in Tappahannock, Essex County, Virginia, the son of Dr. Hubbard Taylor Minor, a physician, and Jane Blake. Both parents were from prominent Virginia planting families. In 1835 Minor enrolled at the University of Virginia, an institution he much preferred to Bristol College, a small mechanical school near Philadelphia where he had earlier studied. For the next three school terms Minor pursued his studies there, eventually receiving several diplomas in various schools. In 1836 Charles Bonnycastle, one of Minor’s professors, offered him a principalship at a Baton Rouge academy. Although Minor did not accept the offer, he was persuaded to lodge with Professor Bonnycastle and tutor his children....

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O’Sullivan, John Louis (13 November 1813–24 March 1895), lawyer, journalist, and legislator, was born aboard a British man-of-war off the coast of Gibraltar, the son of John Thomas O’Sullivan, a U.S. diplomat and sea captain, and Mary Rowly. Descended from a long line of colorful Irish expatriates and soldiers of fortune, in childhood O’Sullivan eagerly absorbed tales of the family’s adventures. The romantic twist of his birth aboard an enemy ship during the War of 1812 was repeated throughout his life’s uneven course. ...

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Peabody, Oliver William Bourn (09 July 1799–05 July 1848), lawyer, editor, and Unitarian clergyman, was born in Exeter, New Hampshire, the son of Oliver Peabody, a jurist, politician, and trustee of Phillips Exeter Academy, and Frances Bourn. Oliver had an identical twin brother, William Oliver Bourn Peabody, who achieved prominence as a Unitarian clergyman and miscellaneous author. The twins were nearly identical not only in their names but also in their handwriting, physical appearance, voice, and manner, and they remained in close contact throughout their lives....

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Rusher, William Allen (19 July 1923–16 April 2011), conservative activist and publisher of National Review, conservative activist and publisher of National Review, was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Evan Rusher, a businessman, and Verna Self Rusher. When Bill (as he was known throughout his life) was six years old, the Rusher family moved to Long Island so his father could pursue new opportunities. While still in his teens, he developed an interest in Republican politics. His parents were not particularly politically active Republicans, but they followed the 1936 presidential election with some interest because his mother, like the Republican nominee ...

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Waite, Catharine Van Valkenburg (30 January 1829–09 November 1913), lawyer, suffragist, and writer, was born in Dumfries, Canada West, the daughter of Joseph Van Valkenburg and Margaret Page, presumably farmers. Very little is known about Van Valkenburg’s early schooling. When she was seventeen, her family immigrated to the United States, settling in Fort Madison, Iowa. She studied at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, and then at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, graduating in 1853. In 1854 she married Charles Burlingame Waite, a judge whom she had met at Knox. The couple had six children, five of whom survived childhood....