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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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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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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....